Thursday, December 31

The Clifford Connection

There has been some debate about the arms represented in this shield displayed in the window of Wiston church in Sussex. It has usually been described as Brewes impaling Clifford which would imply the existence of an Anneys de Clifford with a Brewes as husband. However, the glass in the window only gives a slight indication of the "fess gules" which would be needed on the field "checky or and azure" to confirm the Clifford connection. There are several other sets of arms which could easily fit the present observed state of the glass.

By coming across Grimm's 1781 drawing of the Brewes tomb in Horsham, I have been able to add a new insight into the question. The memorial includes five shields along one side which today show no trace of the arms which were once displayed. But Grimm, in 1781, was able to see more. He was able to depict the arms displayed on each shield. In particular, the one on the far left, shown here, is a repeat of the Wiston window, this time clearly confirming the Clifford arms. The drawing uses the standard heraldic code to show colours; dotted for "or", horizontal hatchings for "azure" and vertical hatchings for "gules".

This confirms the existence of a Brewes - Clifford marriage (without letting us know who is concerned) and also suggests a fairly close relationship between the Brewes of Wiston and the Thomas Brewes buried at Horsham. Since both are commemorating this marriage, it is surely that of a Brewes who is closely related to both of them.

Friday, December 18

Peter de Brewes of Wiston - a new candidate for his father?

Amongst the pleas of the king's army taken at Perth in 1296 is this one :

"John Lovel was attached to answer Alebinus de Whelton on a plea of trespass. Whereon he complains that when on Friday in Easter Week [30 March] in the said year he came with the king's army to Berwick, took lodgings and spent the night there and found some money there, on the following Wednesday John came and took the money, namely £29 13s 4d, and carried it off by means of his groom Thomas de Breuse. Later he took Alebinus and imprisoned him until the latter should agree to appear before the king's justices to declare his indebtedness to John for 20 marks, and to repay the money within a certain term. Furthermore, John kept Alebinus in this state until he agreed to make out for Sir Thomas Lovel, the brother of John, a note of discharge for 26 marks in which Thomas was indebted to him, whereby Alebinus has been wronged and has suffered damage."

I wondered who was this Thomas de Breuse, groom of John Lovel? He does not seem to be recorded elsewhere.

Perhaps a consideration of John Lovel will help. John seems likely to be Sir John Lovel of Titchmarsh. He was married to Joan de Ros, sister of Mary de Ros, mother of Peter de Brewes of Tetbury. That makes John Lovel the uncle of Peter de Brewes of Tetbury and all his siblings. Could it be that Thomas is a younger brother of Peter, as yet unrecorded?

If so he is likely to be younger than the last recorded brother, William, who seems to be born between 1274 and 1280. That is likely to make him under 16 years old in 1296, a good age for a groom.

The name Thomas is an indication too. Peter's oldest son was named Thomas - after his brother?

If Thomas had a son named Peter in a similar act of respect we have a good candidate for Peter de Brewes of Wiston!

The chronology for Peter of Wiston could never sit happily with his being a son of Peter of Tetbury who died in 1312 but it would work much better for a Peter who was the son of a younger brother.

Just another speculation to add in to the ongoing investigations!

Wednesday, December 9

Arms in Fressingfield Church

Laurence Barber has a webpage showing pictures of many of the coats of arms displayed in Fressingfield Church. He asks for help in identifying whose arms they are. This post gives details about the three which have a Brewes connection.

This first set is that of William de Brewes with his wife Elizabeth Hopton.

The explanation is:

Quarterly, 1 & 4 Brewes, 2 Carbonel, 3 Shardelowe...impaling Hopton.

William's great grandfather, Sir John de Brewes, married Joan, daughter and heiress of Sir John de Shardelowe. I'm not certain how the Carbonel arms were acquired but they are associated with John de Shardelowe whose mother may have been a Carbonel heiress.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Sir John Hopton, but not an heiress, so the Hopton arms were not added to the family's achievement.

William Brewes' daughter, Thomasine, married Thomas Hansard and as an heiress, she carried the Brewes achievement to the Hansard arms.

This second set is that of their son Anthony Hansard, who married a daughter of the Lovells of Norfolk.

Here we have:

Quarterly, 1 Hansard, 2 Brewes, 3 Carbonel, 4 Shardelowe...impaling Lovell.

Again, the Lovell wife was not an heiress so the Hansard achievement was not augmented and their son carried the same arms.

Anthony Hansard died on 5th August 1517 and the wardship and marriages of his children was granted to his uncle Roger Townshend. Roger sold them on to Thomas Skipworth (or Skipwith) of Utterby. This third shield marks a marriage which resulted from this.

The arms show Hansard as before, impaling Skipwith.

Giles Hansard, the heir of Anthony, was married to Jane, the daughter of Thomas Skipwith.

The manor of Fressingfield had been a long-running cause of dispute between the Townshends and the Hansards which had been settled by Anthony. Giles was able to pass it on to his daughter Katherine who married Thomas Rouse.

The whole story of these three sets of arms is illustrated in the pedigree below.

Friday, November 13

The Wiston Question

One of the biggest problems in the genealogy of the Braose/Brewes family concerns the Wiston branch. Just how do they relate to the rest of the family?

There were just two generations at Wiston. Peter de Brewes bought the manor along with four other Sussex manors in 1357. His son John inherited the estate but died without issue in 1426. His heir was his sister Beatrix, married to Hugh Shirley, and so the house and manor became the home of the Shirleys.

Peter was knighted after the battle of Crécy, and became a chamber knight to Edward III. He served the king for at least 20 years, dying soon after Edward in 1378. Peter held some estates in Buckinghamshire and he was granted fraternity at Missenden Abbey in April 1378, so he probably died there and was buried nearby.

His son John, however, seems to have made his base at Wiston in Sussex. When he died in 1426 he was commemorated by a magnificent brass in the church adjacent to Wiston House.

John is depicted here in an image derived from that brass.

Two Braose marriages are also commemorated in the windows of this church.

But just where did Peter and John fit into the Braose family? Who was Peter's father? You can read in some respected genealogical works that he was a son of Peter de Braose of Tetbury, making him a nephew of William de Braose, Lord of Bramber and Gower, who died in 1326. But there is no evidence to support this position.

Paul Mackenzie in Australia and I, in England, have been sharing our detailed research on this question for many years now but we have as yet been unable to come to any firm conclusions. Does anyone out there think they can help?

Thursday, November 5

Wife of Thomas de Brewes

Thomas Brewes, the last Baron Brewose, died in 1395 and was buried in St Mary's church, Horsham. I recently came across this 1781 drawing by Grimm of his monument there. It shows what used to be on the shields which today appear to be blank. The most interesting is the central one. It shows the Braose arms impaled with the arms of Ralph Cheney. (Seen much more clearly on the full size version you can view by clicking the image )

This lends support to a piece of information that I came across recently. In A Survey of London, John Stow (1603) lists amongst monuments in Aldgate church, "Dame Margaret daughter to Sir Ralph Chenie, wife to Sir Iohn Barkeley, to Sir Thomas Brues, and to Sir W. Bursir"

It is known that the widow of Sir Thomas Brewes, married subsequently to William Burcestre and John Berkeley, so now it seems clear that she was Margaret Cheney, daughter of Ralph Cheney, and her marriage to Sir Thomas Brewes is commemorated on his tomb by the impaled arms.

Monday, November 2

The Braose Arms

The shield on the left, barry, shows the earlier set of arms used by the main line of the family down to Reginald and his son William. John de Braose of Gower probably used them too as his son William uses this set of arms on one of his earlier seals.

The second set of arms, lion rampant with crosslets, was used by this William on later seals and forms of these arms are used by most of the later Braoses or Brewes as they came to be called. I believe it may have been a variation on the arms of the Earl of Devon, Baldwin de Redvers, as I think that the William de Braose who adopted them was a close associate of this Earl's widow, Amicia de Redvers.