DENYS, Sir Walter (c.1501-71), of St. Augustine's Green, Bristol.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1501, 1st s. of Sir William Denys of Dyrham, Glos. by his 1st w. Anne, da. of Maurice, de jure 3rd Lord Berkeley. m. (1) 1522, Margaret, da. of Sir Richard Weston of Sutton, Surr.; (2) Alice; 5s. inc. Richard 2da. prob. all by (1). suc. fa. 1533, bro. Sir Maurice 1563. Kntd. bet. Jan. 1535 and Oct. 1537.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Glos. June-Nov. 1533, 1538-9, 1543-4, 1551-2, 1555-6; j.p. Glos. by 1537, temp. rem. c.1553, q. by 1559; commr. musters, Glos. 1542; steward and receiver of St. Augustine’s monastery, Bristol by Sept. 1550.2


Denys was returned for Cricklade by Edmund Brydges, and Baron Chandos, his relative by marriage. He had property at Alveston, Siston, Dyrham and elsewhere in Gloucestershire. In 1553 and later he bought for over £1,400 further property in Gloucestershire, including the manor of Horsley, with considerable lands and liberties. In 1561 he and his son Richard alienated the manor to Rowland Hayward and others; three years later they sold other property in the county, and in Somerset, formerly belonging to Bath abbey; while in 1571 they parted with the manor and park of Dyrham. Denys had earlier held other land in Somerset and at Kingston Russell, Dorset, but in 1542 he had sold most, if not all, of the Dorset estate to his brother Maurice.3

He began to hold county office immediately after the death of his father, whom he succeeded as sheriff: he may have been acting as under-sheriff since the previous November. His membership of the Gloucestershire commission of the peace was continuous from 1537 to his death, except for a short period at the beginning of Mary’s reign. In addition to his regular offices, he carried out a number of other duties in his county, and was a member of several local commissions. In June 1554 the Council took bonds from him and his brother Sir Maurice for a debt to the Crown of nearly £5,500 incurred by Sir Maurice, probably as treasurer of Calais, Walter presumably acting as surety. He died between 2 Feb. and 12 May 1571. His will left £2 to the poor, ‘to be divided 4d. a house as my executors shall think good’. There were bequests to the heir Richard, and to a younger son Walter, parson of Dyrham; the residue of the property was left to ‘Dame Alice my wife’ and her co-executor Thomas Ivie.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. C142/56/9; E150/368/4; Harl. 1041, f. 50v; 1543, ff. 37v, 39v, 75d; Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 51-2; PCC 26 Holney; LP Hen. VIII, viii. 49; xii(2), p. 320.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xvii. 496; CPR, 1549-51, pp. 277-8.
  • 3. C142/56/9; E150/368/4; CPR, 1549-51, pp. 277-8; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, p. 103; 1555-7, pp. 482-3; 1558-60, pp. 134-5; 1563-6, p. 131; 1569-72, pp. 179, 300; LP Hen. VIII, xvii. 255.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, viii. 49; xii(2), p. 352; xviii(1), p. 67; xx(1), pp. 312, 325; CPR, 1550-3, p. 394; 1553 and App. Edw. VI, pp. 354, 361, 414; 1553-4, p. 19; 1554-5, pp. 106, 111; APC, v. 41-2; PCC 26 Holney.