GARNONS, John (by 1529-1601 or later), of the Middle Temple, London and Garnons, Mansell Gamage, Herefs.

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



Family and Education

b. by 1529, 1st s. of Nicholas Garnons of Garnons by Alice, da. of Walter Parry. educ. M. Temple. m. by 1558, Elizabeth, da. of Stephen Cole, 3s. 4da. suc. fa. by 1559.1

Offices Held

Under treasurer, M. Temple 1556-7.

Attorney, ct. common pleas by 1554-60 or later; escheator, Herefs. 1565-6; j.p.q. Herefs. 1569-91, Rad. 1583-90; commr. recusancy, Herefs. 1586.2


Several members of the Garnons family belonged to the Middle Temple: William Garnons of Hereford entered in 1510, another William in 1557, John Garnons’s brother James in 1560 and his son and heir Robert in 1572. The date of Garnons’s own admission is not recorded, but he was described as of the Middle Temple when returned and by 1556 he was its under treasurer.3

Garnons’s return for Pembroke Boroughs to Mary’s third Parliament, which transgressed the Queen’s direction for the return of residents, is probably to be explained by his practice as an attorney at the great sessions there and his legal standing generally: at about the time of his election he was attorney in the common pleas for Sir Henry Jones I of Abermarlais, Carmarthenshire, half-brother of Sir John Perrot, to whose influence Pembroke was amenable. Garnons may have sought a seat in the Commons as a weapon against Sir John Price, secretary to the council in the marches, whom he was at the time suing in the Star Chamber. It was, Garnons alleged, during Whitsun week 1554 that one of his servants had been assaulted in Hereford by a group of armed men at Price’s instigation and gaoled for three days, despite the fact that Price’s jurisdiction as sheriff of Herefordshire did not extend to the city. After a stormy interview with Price, Garnons was himself accosted by one of the sheriff’s servants, who drew a sword on him. This was followed by other incidents culminating in a planned assault by several of Price’s servants from Breconshire at the time of the quarter sessions at Hereford. Forewarned of the danger Garnons left the city and shire, at a loss both to himself and to those for whom he was attorney in the court of common pleas. As Price was himself returned to the same Parliament for Ludgershall the two must have eyed one another angrily across the House. Neither he nor Price quitted the Parliament without leave before its dissolution.4

When Garnons sued out a general pardon at the accession of Elizabeth he was described as of Garnons and the Middle Temple. He is found practising as an attorney in the common pleas in 1560, and ten years later the inn resolved to repay him moneys owing from his under treasurership as soon as possible after the building of the new hall: this it did in part in 1572 by allowing him to keep a fine of 20s. levied on his son Robert. It was as one ‘meanly learned in the laws of the realm’ as well as favourable to the established religion that his bishop recommended Garnons for the Herefordshire bench in 1564: the advice was adopted five years later and in 1574 the agent of Mary Queen of Scots wrote him off as a ‘heretic’. His work as a justice of the peace, together with a colleague’s, was summed up by a hostile critic as doing ‘service in serving much their own turns, being but common attorneys’. No will or inquisition has been found but Garnons was still alive in the spring of 1601 when he sent to Sir Robert Cecil papers received by him about the Essex conspiracy, with an assurance that if he had still been a member of the bench he would have undertaken an inquiry into their contents, and if age and health had allowed would have delivered them personally. After Robert Garnons’s death in 1612 an inquisition found that his father had possessed the capital messuage of Garnons and lands in Byford, Mansell Gamage, Yazor and elsewhere in Herefordshire, and that his mother Elizabeth had been left all her husband’s estates for life, with remainder to Robert.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from his appearance as an attorney at the great sessions in Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire in 1550. Vis. Herefs. ed. Weaver, 32-33.
  • 2. CP40/1163, r. 609; St.Ch.4/3/33; CPR, 1558-60, p. 380; 1569-72, p. 225; Duncumb, Herefs. iii. 161.
  • 3. M.T. Adm. 22, 26, 36.
  • 4. NLW, mss Wales 18/10, m. 3v; 25/7, m. 11v, 8, 9, m. 3, 10, m. 12, seq., 12, m. 1; CP40/1163, r. 609; St.Ch.4/3/33.
  • 5. CPR, 1558-60, p. 207; Duncumb, iii. 161; iv. 120; M.T. Recs. i. 174, 187; Stowe 570, f. 60v; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 14; CSP Dom. 1581-90, pp. 325, 331; Cath. Rec. Soc. xiii. 134, 191; HMC Hatfield, xi. 132, 135; SP12/95/55.