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.