BUTLER, Arnold (by 1521-64), of Johnston, Pemb.

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



Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1521, 1st s. of William Butler of Johnston. educ. M. Temple. m. by 1542, Ellen, da. of (Sir) John Wogan of Wiston, at least 1s.1

Offices Held

Constable of the marshal, M. Temple 1551.

Under sheriff, Pemb. 1542-3, sheriff 1557-8; sewer, the chamber by 1546; j.p. Pemb. and Haverfordwest 1555-d.2


The Butlers of Pembrokeshire, with their two main branches at Coedcanlass and Johnston, came from the Norman family of Dunraven in Glamorgan. Arnold Butler hailed from Johnston, which his grandfather Sir John Butler had acquired by marriage to the heiress of John Tankard of Johnston.3

It is not known when Butler entered the Middle Temple, of which he was described as a member when he appeared at the Exchequer in 1549. His first known appointment, as under sheriff to his father-in-law Sir John Wogan, brought him in May 1543 to the Fleet prison, whence he was released on 12 May after being bound in £100 to wait daily upon the Council and not to ‘write nor send into his country until the return of the commission which is directed into Wales for the trial of the matter laid unto his charge’. The nature of that charge appears in his further undertaking to ‘restore and redeliver to the King’s use all such gold or other treasure as having been taken out of the French prize in Milford Haven is come into his hands’. Butler evidently escaped serious consequence, for in May 1544 he was granted a 21-year lease of the rectory of Camrose, formerly belonging to Haverfordwest priory, and when he attended Henry VIII’s funeral it was as a sewer of the chamber. He did so in the company of Thomas Cathern, another son-in-law of Sir John Wogan, who had presumably brought them both to court. It would not have been Butler’s only benefit from the alliance: when he was twice returned to Parliament in 1554 the sheriff was Wogan.4

As a Member of the Parliament of November 1554 Butler was not among those who withdrew before it ended and were prosecuted for this dereliction. As sheriff of Pembrokeshire he emulated his father-in-law by returning his kinsman Thomas Cathern to Parliament. By then Butler had seen Sir John Wogan to his grave, being a witness to his will and a member of the commission appointed to survey his lands in Cardiganshire. With the accession of Elizabeth he accommodated himself sufficiently well to the new religious settlement to be retained on the commission of the peace and included in the quorum.5

Not long before he died Butler entered into two land transactions: in April 1563 he took out a 21-year lease of a tenement in Steynton, Pembrokeshire, and in May he joined another in leasing various lands in the vicinity of St. Clears and Llanstephan, Carmarthenshire. He died on 17 May 1564 and was succeeded by his son Thomas, then aged 21. At his death Butler held the manor of Johnston and various other lands in the county, notably at Honeyborough, Nattshook and Rosemarket.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Dwnn, Vis. Wales, i. 132; G. T. Clark, Limbus Patrum Morganiae, 368.
  • 2. APC, i. 130; LC2/2/64; CPR, 1560-3, pp. 446-7; 1563-6, pp. 30-31; SP11/5/6.
  • 3. Dwnn, i. 76, 132.
  • 4. E159/328; APC, i. 130, 135; LP Hen. VIII, xix.
  • 5. PCC 45 Wrastley; CPR, 1557-8, p. 364.
  • 6. Augmentations (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiii), 47, 254; C142/143/48.