BRERETON, Owen (d.c.1595), of Borras, Denb. and London.

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

1st s. of John Brereton of Borras by Margaret, da. and h. of Richard ap Ievan ap David Ithel Vychan of Llaneurgain, Flints. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of John Salusbury of Llewenny, 7s. 5da.; (2) Katherine, da. of Henry Salusbury, wid. of John Lloyd of Bodidris. suc. fa. by 1562.2

Offices Held

Servant of Sir Francis Knollys by 1562-aft. 1579; escheator, Denb. 1567-8, j.p.q. from c.1573, sheriff 1580-1, 1587-8.


The ‘Owen Brereton, esquire’ returned by Banbury for the Parliament of 1563 to replace Francis Walsingham, who had chosen to sit for Lyme Regis, was no doubt the ‘servant and daily attendant upon’ Sir Francis Knollys, who brought several actions in Chancery during that year. Knollys was knight of the shire for Oxford and a powerful figure in the county. This man’s identity with Owen Brereton of Borras, a Denbighshire gentleman who was j.p. and twice sheriff, is proved by one of these cases, in which the complainant calls himself son and heir of John Brereton, and is termed by his opponent—his wife’s grandfather, Sir John Salusbury—‘a gentleman well friended and allied and dwelling in the same shire where the said defendants inhabit’. Other cases mention his lands in Denbighshire and his second wife Katherine.3

Brereton was a servant of Sir Robert Rochester, comptroller of the Queen’s household under Mary, and presumably he joined Knollys’s service after Rochester’s death in 1557. In 1562 he was planning to go to Italy, but there is no evidence that he went. The patent rolls show a pardon of outlawry for him dated 6 Feb. 1570 in respect of a debt of £100, for which he had ‘surrendered himself to the Fleet prison’. He remained an active servant of Knollys at least until 1580, presumably spending more time in Denbighshire as he grew older. His appointment as sheriff in 1580 may indicate that he had left Knollys’s service and retired to his estates. During his second term as sheriff he was one of the principals in the notorious Denbighshire election of 1588, when he secured the return of his favoured candidate against the opposition of the Salusburys, his kinsmen by marriage.4

Besides his inherited lands Brereton leased certain property in Denbighshire from the Crown. No inquisition post mortem survives, but that of his grandson and namesake, who outlived him only some seven years, reveals a comparatively small amount of freehold land. Brereton died old, probably shortly before August 1595, when letters of administration were issued to his son Edward.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Dwnn, Vis. Wales, ii. 353; St. Ch. 5/B87/13; C3/28/18.
  • 3. C3/11/47, 13/41, 17/29, 28/18.
  • 4. C1/1335/59; C3/11/47; St. Ch. 5/B87/13; CPR, 1569-72, pp. 24-5; Neale, Commons, 112-18; EHR, xlvi. 212 seq.
  • 5. Augmentations, ed. Lewis and Davies (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist and Law ser. xiii), 354, 373; C142/282/47; PCC admon. act. bk. 1601, f. 88.