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.