SHERSTON, William (-d.1621), of Northgate Street, Bath, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

m. Helen (bur. 22 Feb. 1615), 3s. d.v.p. 4da. (1 d.v.p.). bur. 11 Sep. 1621.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Bath by 1579, chamberlain 1579-81, alderman by 1580, mayor and coroner 1580-1, 1584-5, 1589-90, 1598-9, 1604-5, 1616-17, commr. subsidy 1608, j.p. 1614-15.2


Sherston, previously mis-named William Shareston,3 was a prominent clothier and the leading figure on Bath’s corporation throughout the later Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. Connected through marriage to other eminent Bath families, especially the Walleys, Sherston not only served as mayor on six occasions but also represented the town in Parliament six times. Despite the length of his parliamentary service, Sherston made little impact on the records of the Commons. He went unmentioned in the Elizabethan sources, and the records of the first Jacobean Parliament notice only that he was named to a joint conference on the Union (20 Apr. 1604) and that he was awarded privilege after he received a writ of nisi prius (1 Mar. 1610).4 The Bath chamberlains’ accounts indicate that he was regularly at Westminster, although in 1604 he was paid for only eight weeks and four days, approximately half the session. Further payments were made to him, some in arrears, of £12 16d. (1606-7), 5s. (1607-8), £11 (1610-11) and £5 (1611-12).5

Following the dissolution, Sherston continued to act as the city’s agent, often travelling to London on corporation business. In particular he defended the town’s claim to jurisdiction over lands at nearby Barton.6 Sherston died in September 1621. With no surviving male children, the majority of his property, including his house in Northgate Street, was bequeathed to his grandson, Arthur Sherston. Two daughters, Margaret Light and Mary Prynne were each granted £100. In Mary’s case, Sherston ordered that his bequest was to pass after her death to her son, the future pamphleteer and parliamentarian, William Prynne†. Sherston’s final resting place was Bath Abbey, for the repair of which he left the substantial sum of £100.7

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Chris Kyle


PROB 11/138, ff. 219v-21v.

  • 1. Bath RO, St. Michael, Bath par. reg. transcript, 2-4, 150, 152, 156, 160, 162.
  • 2. Bath RO, mayoral list transcript; council min. bk., i. pp. 1, 3, 8, 9; chamberlains’ accts. transcript, i. no. 45; SP14/31/1.
  • 3. HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 370-1.
  • 4. CJ, i. 180a, 403a.
  • 5. Bath RO, chamberlains’ accts. transcript, i. nos. 45, 47-9, 51-2.
  • 6. HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 371. See also STAC 8/267/20.
  • 7. PROB 11/138 ff. 219v-21v.