WALSH, William (c.1561-1622), of Abberley, Worcs.

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.1561, 1st s. of Walter Walsh of Wraysbury, Bucks. by Dorothy, da. of Richard Hill of London. m. Elizabeth, da. of George Board of Cuckfield, Suss., s.p. suc. fa. Kntd. 1603.

Offices Held

J.p. Worcs. from c.1591, sheriff 1598-9.


Walsh’s grandfather Walter, member of a long established Worcestershire family, had been a favourite courtier of Henry VIII, married an heiress, and established a cadet branch of the family. In 1582 Richard Shelley and his wife Dorothy, probably William’s mother and her second husband, transferred the family estates to William, presumably on his coming of age. His father had evidently died some time previously while William was still a minor, for in a suit over copyholds in the manor of Abberley, William was represented by one Edmund Broughton, his ‘prochain amy’. The trouble with tenants at Abberley was recurrent throughout Walsh’s life, but evidently did not affect his prosperity. In the 1590s he purchased several further manors, including Upton Snodsbury, Hurcott and Broughton, Worcestershire.

Walsh had relatives in places of influence: his aunts were all married to men with posts at court or in central offices, but he does not appear to have used them to promote his career. Although he served a turn as sheriff and was active as a justice, he played only a minor role in county life. In religion he was a protestant like his maternal grandfather, and his fellow knight of the shire (Sir) Henry Bromley. Their candidature probably had the support of the Lytteltons, who were related to Bromley, and of another strong protestant, John Russell II. His one experience of Parliament was not happy—in London he and Bromley were recruited by Richard Stephens to join Wentworth’s scheme to raise the succession question in the House, and in consequence they both spent most of the session in the Fleet prison.

He died 8 Apr. 1622 and was buried with his wife in the south aisle of the church at Abberley. His estates descended to his nephew William, who sold some to Thomas Coventry, the lord keeper.

Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 140; Nash, Worcs. i. 2-4; Req 2/25/60, 29/105; C3/195/18; VCH Worcs. iii. 172; iv. 44, 87, 209, 220-1; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 682; HMC Hatfield, xviii. 34; Q. Sess. Pprs. 1591-1643 (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), passim; Neale, Parlts. ii. 260; EHR, xxxix. 192-4; Habington’s Worcs.(Worcs. Hist. Soc.), i. 244-6.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. M. Thorpe