GLASIER, William (c.1525-88), of Chester and Lea by Backford, 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

b. c.1525, 1st s. of William Glasier of the Isle of Man, later of Chester (mayor 1551-2), by Jane, da. of Richard Fletcher of Morley. educ. I. Temple bef. 1554, called 1582. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of (?Hugh) Aglionby, 2s. inc. Hugh 2da.; (2) Alice, s.p.1

Offices Held

Servant of Sir Robert Dudley by June 1553; v.-chamberlain, Chester, to Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby 10 May 1559-2 July 1565, to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester 1565-88; member, council in the marches of Wales 1560; j.p. Cheshire from c.1561, Glos., Herefs., Salop, Worcs. and Welsh counties from c.1573, eccles. commr. (?Cheshire and) Lancs. Nov. 1568; ?steward to dean and chapter of Chester, chapter clerk and auditor c.1573.2


Though Glasier received his Chester office when the Earl of Derby was chamberlain, his political affiliations were with Sir Robert Dudley (Earl of Leicester from 1564), who brought Glasier into Parliament for St. Ives and imposed him on the corporation Chester in 1571 and 1572. During a bitter quarrel in 1562, which culminated in his being disfranchised, the corporation epitomized Glasier as ‘very haughty and passionate’. Leicester reacted to this treatment of his vice-chamberlain by serving the mayor with 22 articles exhibited against him by Glasier, and an order to appear before the Privy Council. The matter was finally compromised, but in 1571 when the corporation wished to return to Parliament a Mr. Snogge or Snagge (perhaps Robert Snagge), they had to accept Glasier at Leicester’s insistence. Glasier was appointed to a committee concerning purveyance on 7 Apr. Returned again for the 1572 Parliament, he was appointed to a committee on the collection of fines in Wales in the second session, 7 Mar. 1576.3

Glasier’s advancement at the Inner Temple was equally dependent on patronage. The pardon roll of 1553-4 styles him ‘late of the Inner Temple, gent., alias late of London, alias late of the city of Chester, the younger’, but nothing else is known of him at his inn until February 1565, when he and John Dudley I were admitted to a lodging there, ‘notwithstanding it is a bencher’s chamber’ : they were still in possession in 1576. Glasier’s call to the bar was at the request of the lord chancellor, (Sir) Thomas Bromley, and may have been once more at the suggestion of Leicester, who was governor of the inn. Glasier was to be ‘discharged from all learnings and charges wherewith an utter barrister is chargeable’, as his son, ‘a steward of the reader’s drinking’, had agreed to carry out these obligations for him.4

Glasier also made himself a nuisance to the dean and chapter of Chester over tenancy of fee-farm lands, and to Richard Hurleston, whom he accused in 1572 of misappropriating documents about land tenure. By 1576 the quarrel about overlapping jurisdictions had become acute enough for Leicester to ask Lord Burghley, as master of the wards, to dismiss Hurleston from office, which he did. Similarly, Glasier’s membership of the council in the marches of Wales was marked by disagreement over the right of imprisonment. Early in 1569 he obtained a decision from a royal commission of judges that Chester lay outside the council’s jurisdiction. A similar matter led to a quarrel between Glasier and John Throckmorton I, justice of Chester: this was finally settled by an appeal to the Earl of Leicester.5

Though classified as a favourer of the Elizabethan church settlement in 1564, and though he wrote about ‘great confederacies of papists’ in Lancashire in 1568, a later document includes him among seven Cheshire justices ‘not known to be of any religion, and therefore suspected to be papists’. There was at least one proposal to remove him on the ground that he did not possess the necessary subsidy qualification, but as far as is known he remained on the commission. His will, made 26 June 1588 and proved at Chester 29 Oct., shows that he still owned considerable property in Cheshire. The widow was sole executrix. Glasier died 21 Sept. that year.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. St. Ch. 5/M7/13; G. Ormerod, Cheshire, ii(2), p. 386; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii) gives his fa.’s name as James; CPR, 1553-4, p. 450; I.T. Recs. i. 319-20; Lancs. and Cheshire Wills, iii (Chetham Soc. lix), 128 seq.; Rylands Eng. ms 311.
  • 2. DKR, 39, p. 133; CPR, 1563-6, p. 320; Ormerod, i(1), p. 60; P. H. Williams, Council in the Marches of Wales, 348-9; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 321; Chester RO, P/1/57-60.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 52; Add. 1547-65, p. 546; CPR, 1554-5, p. 321; Chester RO, M/L/5/270; CJ, i. 83, 111.
  • 4. CPR, 1553-4, p. 450; I.T. Recs. i. 234, 286, 319-20, 375. See also John Dudley I.
  • 5. Harl. 2003, ff. 669 seq., 752; 2009, ff. 165-6, 169-72; 2016, f. 41 seq.; 2071, ff. 52, 164; 2143, f. 22; R. H. Morris, Chester in Plantagenet and Tudor Reigns, 73; J. Hemingway, Hist. Chester, i. 150; Cheshire Sheaf ii. 399; ix. 5; Chester ass. bk. i. ff. 128, 133-5, 141; APC, viii. 207, 210, 224 seq.; CSP, 1547-80, p. 670; HMC Hatfield, ii. 36; Lansd. 22, f. 188; 51, f. 194; DKR, 39, p. 133; Williams, 198-200, 348-9.
  • 6. Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 76; J. S. Leatherbarrow, Lancs. Eliz. Recusants (Chetham Soc. n.s. cx), 29; CSP Dom. Add. 1580-1625, p. 35; Lansd. 53, f. 180; Lancs. and Cheshire Wills, iii (Chetham Soc. liv), 128 seq.; Ormerod ii(2), p. 386; Cheshire Sheaf, ii. 399; Chester ass. bk. i. f. 217v.