ATHERTON, John (c.1557-1617), of Atherton Hall, Leigh, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1557, 1st s. of Sir John Atherton by his 2nd w. Margaret, da. and coh. of Thomas Catterall of Catterall. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Byron, 1s. 2da.; (2) Katherine, da. and coh. of John, 2nd Lord Conyers, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1573.1

Offices Held

J.p. Lancs. by 1583, sheriff 1582-3.


Atherton took one turn as knight of the shire, and, as he was in the senior place, he could have taken part in the deliberations of the subsidy committee, 22 Feb. 1587. He must have owed his borough seat to an arrangement with the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. Though his mother was a recusant, Atherton was described as a sound protestant in a letter to Walsingham dated December 1586, and, in 1587, when the lists of the commission of the peace were revised, he had ‘sufficient qualification both for religion and other ways’. Little more is known about him. In 1580 he served as an ecclesiastical commissioner at Manchester, and at the time of the Armada he was appointed captain of the Lancashire and Cheshire forces.2

He died in May 1617, and was buried at Leigh. His son, also John, became a barrister of Gray’s Inn.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.C.H.


  • 1. C142/163/37; Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxiv), 21.
  • 2. D’Ewes, 409; Harl. 286, art. 60; Lansd. 53, f. 178; Baines, Lancs. iv. 338-9; CSP Dom. Add. 1580-1625, p. 25; Rylands Eng. ms 311; Pink and Beaven, Parl. Rep. Lancs. 67.
  • 3. Al. Cant. i. 51 (where he is confused with his son John).