CHARLTON (CHORLTON), William (by 1517-67), of Wombridge, Salop.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1517, 4th s. of William Charlton of Apley Castle, by Alice, da. of Thomas Horde of Bridgnorth. m. Elizabeth, s.p.1

Offices Held

Escheator Salop 1548-9, Jan.-Nov. 1560, Jan.-Nov. 1563; j.p. 1562-d.; sheriff 1566; commr. for chantry lands, Much Wenlock 1554, musters, Salop 1563.2


Although he was a younger son William Charlton acquired importance in Shropshire through the minorities of his nephew and great-nephew, successive heirs to Apley Castle. When his father died in 1531/32 Charlton’s eldest brother was already dead, and his nephew Francis Charlton became the ward of Francis, Lord Talbot, later 5th Earl of Shrewsbury. Charlton was chief steward of the priory of Wombridge, near the family seat, and by 1538, when the priory had been dissolved, he was bailiff of its lands; he settled on these lands, purchasing the priory itself and 96 acres around it in 1547. He also played a part in the dissolution of the monasteries of Shrewsbury and Lilleshall and acquired lands from them; he did his best to see that the Lilleshall brethren were paid their pensions. In the affairs of Shrewsbury abbey Charlton seems to have acted for the 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, to whom the abbey was eventually granted. Charlton’s family was also influential in Much Wenlock, and in July 1554 he was appointed to a chantry commission in that borough with John Herbert and Richard Lawley.3

Charlton’s election as knight of the shire to the second Marian Parliament was probably due in the first place to the influence of the Earl of Shrewsbury. His nephew Francis, formerly the earl’s ward and now the head of the family, may have been in poor health—he was to die young in 1557—and have yielded the place he could otherwise have claimed. Charlton’s religious outlook is likely to have commended him to the conservative Shrewsbury, for ten years later, under a new orthodoxy, he was to be judged an ‘adversary of religion’ by the bishop of Lichfield, and later there were to be recusant Charltons: he was thus doubtless a supporter of the Marian government’s measures.4

Charlton was one of his nephew’s executors, and in April 1558 he and his brother Alan Charlton, a priest, were granted the wardship and marriage of Francis Charlton’s heir, another William. This younger namesake came of age in 1564, but it was his great-uncle who, despite the adverse comment passed on him in the same year, was pricked sheriff in 1566, only to die on the following New Year’s Day. He had made no will but is known to have left a widow named Elizabeth. His heir was another Elizabeth, whose father, Charlton’s great-nephew and former ward, had died a few months earlier.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Harding


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 101-2; E150/879/2.
  • 2. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 1), vi. 123; (ser. 2), ii. 231, 234; CPR, 1560-3, p. 442.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, vi, xii, xiii, xvi, xxi; Val. Eccles. iii. 195; CPR, 1547-8, p. 98; 1554-5, p. 185; Cam. Soc. xxvi. 288-9; HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot, ii. 338; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 1), vi. 123.
  • 4. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 45; Cath. Rec. Soc. xviii. 262; lxi. 76.
  • 5. Lichfield consist. ct. 1559; CPR, 1557-8, pp. 263-4; 1563-6, p. I; 1569-72, p. 299; E150/879/2; PCC admons. act bk. 1559-71, f. 115v.