SALUSBURY, John I (by 1485-1547/49), of Denbigh.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1485, 4th s. of Sir Thomas Salusbury (d.1505) of Lleweni by Sionet, da. of William Gruffydd of Penrhyn, Caern. m. at least 2s.1

Offices Held

Groom, the chamber by 1506, sewer by 1509; forester and master of the game, lordship of Denbigh 1506; parker, Cors Nodiog, nr. Denbigh 1513; constable, Conway castle, Caern. by 1526; esquire of the body by 1530; steward, Denbigh by 1530; jt. (with bro. Thomas Salusbury) steward and custos rot., lordship of Denbigh and constable, Denbigh castle June 1530-6; member, council of Ireland in 1535; chancellor and chamberlain, Denb. Aug. 1536-d.; commr. defence, N. Wales 1539, subsidy, Denb. 1547; sheriff, Denb. 1540-1; j.p. and custos rot. Denb. and Mont. 1543-d.2


The Salusburys were of English origin, probably sprung either from Herefordshire or Lancashire, but had settled at Lleweni by 1334. They increased in wealth and power throughout the 15th century and then sealed their success by their support of the Tudor dynasty. Thomas Salusbury was knighted at Blackheath and appointed steward of the lordship of Denbigh and his fourth son John, nicknamed Sion y Bodiau (John of the Thumbs), was found a place in the royal household.3

It was as a groom of the chamber that John Salusbury was granted his first Welsh office, that of forester and master of the game in the lordship of Denbigh, in succession to his father. He attended the funeral of Henry VII and continued in the service of Henry VIII. On the death of his eldest brother Sir Roger Salusbury in 1530 he became the effective head of the family during the minority of his nephew John Salusbury II, and although his brother’s offices of steward and custos rotulorum of the lordship of Denbigh were granted to a Mr. Radcliffe of the privy chamber before Salusbury could reach the King, he was able to purchase Radcliffe’s interest for 400 marks: his brother Thomas Salusbury of Leadbrook, Flintshire, was joined in the patent but on condition that he should receive none of the fees during Salusbury’s lifetime. It was largely through the profits of office that Salusbury became the wealthiest man in Denbighshire, assessed for subsidy in the hundred of Isaled on lands worth 300 marks a year and goods valued at 440 marks. As steward, he maintained his brother’s quarrel with Robert Dolben over the recordership of Denbigh and between 1530 and 1534 appeared as plaintiff against him in the court of requests. Dolben, who argued that the recordership was separate from the stewardship and who had been supported by Wolsey, claimed that Salusbury and ‘his eldest brother before him and their father and friends afore them have had the rule and offices in that country, thereby have deceived the King of his right sundry wise and hurt the town and the country such as pleased them’. In 1538 Piers Lloyd of Henllan, father of Fulk Lloyd, further accused Salusbury in the Star Chamber of having abused his power in defence of his two sons against whom Lloyd had commenced a suit before the council in the marches.4

In 1534 Salusbury went to Ireland as a captain of 250 foot in the army sent to suppress the Geraldine rebellion and by August 1535 he was a member of the council there. In the following May he expressed his concern to Cromwell on hearing ‘that Denbighland is a shire enacted by Parliament’ and his hope that ‘the said Act [27 Hen. VIII, c.26] shall not hurt nor diminish me of my said room and fees’. His fears proved groundless for in August 1536 he was appointed chancellor and chamberlain of the new shire, with the same fees he had enjoyed as steward, and granted the appointment of a baron of the exchequer at Denbigh. Three years later he wrote to Cromwell as a commissioner for the defence of North Wales to ask whether he should ‘come up and wait upon the King and your lordship the said Parliament time, or else tarry at home and do my devoir according to the said commission’, a request which has been mistakenly taken to mean that Salusbury was a Member of the Parliament of 1539. He was returned in 1542 as the first knight for Denbigh by his nephew and namesake who had followed him as the shire’s second sheriff: he was distinguished in the return from the younger man by the suffix ‘senior’.5

The date of Salusbury’s death has not been found but he served on his last commission in May 1547 and was succeeded in his Denbighshire offices by Sir Anthony Wingfield in December 1549.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Dwnn, Vis. Wales, ii. 331; Griffith, Peds. 222; St.Ch.2/23/169.
  • 2. CPR, 1494-1500, p. 483; LP Hen. VIII, i, ii, iv, ix, xi, xiv; C193/12/1, ff. 44, 45; E179/220/171.
  • 3. Salusbury Corresp. (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiv), 1-7.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, x; E179/220/169; Req. 2/12/60; St.Ch.2/23/167.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, ix, xi, xiv; SP1/103/217, 150/165; Salusbury Corresp. 7; DWB (Salusbury of Lleweni); C219/18B/125.
  • 6. E179/220/171; CPR, 1549-51, pp. 163-4.