BRERETON, Sir William II (1550-1631), of Brereton, Cheshire.

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

bap. 6 Feb. 1550, o.s. of Sir William Brereton I. educ. ?Oxf. BA 1568; L. Inn 1569. m. Margaret, da. of Sir John Savage of Rocksavage, Cheshire, sis. of Edward and John Savage, 4s. all d.v.p. 4da. suc. fa. 1559. Kntd. 1588; cr. Baron Brereton [I] 1624.2

Offices Held

J.p.q. Cheshire from 1573, sheriff 1581-2; commr. musters 1595, 1596.3


Brereton succeeded to the extensive family estates at an early age. In 1586 he built a magnificent house at Brereton similar in design to that of his father-in-law and possibly the work of the same architect. He had apparently been known to the Earl of Leicester, chamberlain of Chester, for some years before accompanying him on the Netherlands expedition. Most references to Brereton show him as a Cheshire county gentleman: being consulted by the Privy Council in the 1590s about arrangements for the transport of troops to and from Ireland, serving as a commissioner for musters, and considered ‘meet for fidelity and soundness in religion’ to be employed in various measures taken against recusants.

Brereton’s family status was doubtless sufficient to secure him a parliamentary seat as knight of the shire. Although he was not named to any committees in 1597-8, as knight for Cheshire he may have attended the following: enclosures (5 Nov.), poor law (5 Nov., 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.) and the subsidy (15 Nov.).4

He had entailed his lands in 1575, but revoked the settlement in 1599 after the death of his wife and all his children except one son and one daughter. Under the new arrangement, he entailed two-thirds of his lands on his son, with contingent remainders to various kinsmen, and left one-third to trustees to provide £1,000 for his daughter. In his will, made on 20 May 1630, he bequeathed his soul to Almighty God and hoped for ‘the fruition of the eternal glory prepared for his elect and chosen people’. He died on 1 Oct. 1631, and was buried at Brereton.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. Folger V. b. 298.
  • 2. Ormerod, Cheshire, iii. 89; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 42; Funeral Certificates 1600-78, ed. Rylands (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. vi), 34; C142/120/19.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 295.
  • 4. Ormerod, 85; APC, passim; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 664, 679; Add. 1580-1625, p. 19; HMC Hatfield, iv. 240; v. 524; D’Ewes, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561.
  • 5. Cheshire Inquisitions (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. lxxxiv), 69-73; Wills and Inventories, ed. Piccope (Chetham Soc. liv), 188-9.