WALSHE, John (by 1517-72), of Cathanger, Som. and Bethnal Green, Mdx.

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



Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1517, 1st s. of John Walshe of Cathanger by 1st w. Joan, da. of John Broke of Bristol, Glos.; half-bro. of Thomas Walshe. educ. M. Temple. m. by 1538, 1da.4

Offices Held

Bencher, M. Temple 1554-9, Lent reader 1555, 1559.

Justice, Card., Carm., Pemb. 6 May 1551; recorder, Bristol 1552-?71; member, council in the marches of Wales 1553; j.p. Glos., Herefs., Salop, Som., Worcs. and Welsh counties 1554-58/59, six northern counties 1562; serjeant-at-law 19 Apr. 1559; j.c.p. 10 Feb. 1563; c.j. Lancaster 1563.5


John Walshe, who is to be distinguished from several namesakes resident in Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, came from a minor Somerset family. In the heralds’ visitations for Gloucestershire and Somerset he appears to have been confused with one of his namesakes, Sir John Walshe of Little Sodbury, Gloucestershire, leaving the identity of his wife uncertain. Walshe’s father may be identifiable with an early 16th century Middle Templar, as the Member subsequently entered the same inn. In doing so, Walshe was following in the steps of his maternal grandfather and his uncle David Broke, and like them he became a serjeant. It is clear that Walshe owed his early advancement to his uncle, whom he succeeded as justice of Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke and who secured his appointment as recorder of Bristol.6

Walshe’s return for Cricklade was probably arranged by Broke as the brother-in-law of Sir John Brydges whose parliamentary patronage is discernible in the borough during this period. No connexion between Walshe and Admiral Seymour, who held the manor by right of his wife Catherine Parr, is known; but Walshe’s daughter was married by 1556 to one of the Protector Somerset’s sons by his repudiated first wife, and this relationship, if it had been established or foreshadowed by 1547, might have entered into the matter. In the third session of the Parliament of 1547, after the coup against the Protector, a proviso in the bill for patentees was committed to Walshe and Robert Broke on 26 Dec. 1549, and in 1550 he and Thomas Gawdy I acted as attorneys in Chancery for Bishop Barlow of Bath.7

On becoming recorder of Bristol Walshe was assured of the city’s senior seat and he was to fill it in seven out of the next eight Parliaments; only in 1558 did he exchange it for the knighthood for Somerset. Both in 1555 and 1558 Walshe had bills committed to him in the House, one for punishing procurers of murder on 30 Nov. 1555, and two others, for tithes on waste ground and against the abduction of young women, on 28 Jan. and 12 Feb. 1558; he was also appointed with three fellow-Members to investigate the grants for sanctuary at Westminster.8

Elizabeth at her accession confirmed Walshe in his appointments and later made him a judge. He made his will on 3 Feb. 1572 and died nine days later.9

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Hatfield, 207.
  • 2. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 3. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 4. Date of birth estimated from marriage. Collinson, Som. i. 41-42; Vis. Som. ed. Weaver, 86; Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 134, 204-5.
  • 5. CPR, 1550-3, p. 54; 1553-4, pp. 19-24; 1560-3, pp. 435-45, 469; Stowe 571, f. 196; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 373; Somerville, Duchy, i. 471; Bristol AO, 04026/5/189.
  • 6. E. W. Ives, ‘Some aspects of the legal profession in the 15th and early 16th centuries’, (Birmingham Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1955), iii.
  • 7. CJ, i. 14; CPR, 1549-51, p. 222; C142/162/156.
  • 8. CJ, i. 46-47, 49.
  • 9. PCC 18 Daper; C142/162/156.