Welcome to the Brabazon Blog! We are trying to get a forum going that would be more instantaneous and universal than either the family website (brabazonarchive.com) or separate emailing. We have commenced with a handful of topics - taken from the website - to kick-start conversations. Your suggestions for additional areas of interest and emails of a personal nature can be sent to Michael Brabazon at mbbrabazon@yahoo.co.uk

As we are probably all now aware, the Brabazon Clan is not homogenous but rather a mosaic of smaller genetic groupings, sometimes explicable by descent via a Brabazon female line, sometimes due to the adoption of the Brabazon name for various known or unknown reasons. By casting the discussion network as wide as possible perhaps we can begin to shed more light on each of the sub-lineages of the Clan - worldwide brainstorming, so to speak!

The Earl and Countess of Meath remain the standard bearers of the Brabazon name, and I think we would all agree that we have an excellent family at the very heart of the Brabazon Clan. Across the spectrum of our Family we are a good microcosm of Irishness in all its cultural forms and our cohesiveness in diversity is perhaps the best testimony to the greatness of our ancestors. So start blogging and let's see where it goes!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Brabazons of Eastwell

by  Jan Barnes


This lineage revises the research material that was first published in The Brabazon Archive website in 2003. The family of John Brabazon, third son of John and Matilda, is speculative and does not follow traditional lineages.

Eastwell (Estwell) is situated about seven miles from Melton Mowbray in the north-eastern part of Leicestershire. In 1129 Roger de Mowbray held six carucates or ploughlands, the largest land holding in the village, formerly held by Geoffrey de Wirce. In the early thirteenth century when another Roger de Mowbray was the lord, his tenant in Eastwell was Thomas de Endelsouere (Edensor, pronounced Ensor). Later in the same century a branch of the Brabazon family of Mowsley became tenants of this manor and remained in possession for over three hundred and fifty years.

For the first two hundred years this family lived the life of country gentlefolk, the eldest son inheriting and the younger sons having to make their own way in life. Of the other sons and daughters in this time, little is known. In the last decade of the fifteenth century Roger Brabazon, the current lord of the manor died. He had no brothers so his properties passed to his two sisters. In this era people were more inclined to make wills, so from then onwards there is more information available about the family at large.

The first member of the family to live in Eastwell was probably Roger Brabazon the younger. The historian John Nicholls presumed that this was Sir Roger le Brabazon of Mowsley, Chief Justice of England, thereby confusing lineages produced in the later peerages. The younger Roger was the son of Joan Brabazon, and nephew of the justice. Like his uncle before him, he was an attorney employed by the Duchy of Lancaster.

 In 1293 Roger and his wife Elizabeth made an agreement with Amice de Derleye, one of Thomas de Endelsouere’s daughters, regarding a property worth twenty pounds per annum in Eastwell, later described as half a knight’s fee. Amice transferred ownership to the Brabazons but retained possession until her death in 1302. Roger already had a property in Saddington near Mowsley.  It isn’t clear why he and his wife Elizabeth acquired the manor in Eastwell, nearly thirty miles away to the north. Perhaps Elizabeth was related to Amice, who by 1293 had no direct heir; her two husbands, only son and granddaughter, all having died before her.

Between 1295 and 1299 Roger also acquired property in Wilnecote Warwickshire. It is likely that because of his job Roger was based in London but the country estates would have provided him with extra income, as well as places where he and his family could live. He died 1309-10. In 1332 his widow Elizabeth was living in Eastwell and paying the largest amount of tax in the Lay Subsidy. This was a tax on moveables (possessions) not on the land. A daughter married Philip de Dovre. Their eldest son and heir,

Thomas Brabazon was born 1295 or before. -  A male heir could inherit land held in socage when he was 15 years old. At this age he would be considered capable of running a farm. By June 1310 Thomas had inherited land in Saddington and was a free tenant there paying rent of 11s 6d yearly for five and a half virgates of land - about 165 acres. In 1325 Thomas also inherited his Grandmother Joan’s one third share of Mowsley and Gumley. He appears to have remained living mainly in Saddington until shortly after 1342. In 1345, when Edward III was raising an army to invade France, all those who held lands or rents worth 100 shillings per annum were obliged to find an archer. In 1346 Thomas paid forty shillings for the expenses of this archer. At the landing at Hogue the king knighted his eldest son, Edward of Woodstock. On the aid then granted to the king Thomas was assessed ten shillings for a quarter of a knight’s fee in Estwell. In this year he also arranged the purchase of a property in Fleckney (near Saddington) for his son John and John’s wife Joan, possibly as a marriage settlement. Thomas was living in 1347.


John Brabazon who married Joan was next in line. His son and heir,

John Brabazon had inherited Eastwell by 1363 but was still underage. According to Lodge’s Peerage he married a daughter of the family of Harcourt.  (The arms of Harcourt impaled with Brabazon were seen in the church at Eastwell cir 1622). In the 1381 Eastwell poll tax John was the squire and his wife was named Elisabeth, so possibly she was Elisabeth Harcourt. John was alive in 1402.

John’s ancestral lineage, and that of his relatives, was recited in court in 1371 when he and Thomas de Outheby attempted to recover the wardship of the Sproxton heir, John de Woodford, the loss of which had left them a thousand pounds out-of-pocket.  The following passage is a translation from the court record by George Farnham. The ‘certain Roger Brabazon’ in paragraph two is Sir Roger le Brabazon the chief Justice. The claimants were his heirs so had a right to the wardship as mesne lords. The ‘certain Roger’ in paragraph four is Roger Brabazon the younger.

"Thomas de Outheby and John Brabason of Estwell v John Botiler of Eyton, in a plea that he render them the custody of the land and heir of Joan who was the wife of William de Wodeford, which belongs to them because Joan held her land of them by knight service.
They say that a certain Roger Brabazon was seised of the manor of Sproxton in his desmesne as of fee in the time of king Edward I, which he held of the prince of Wales, as of his honour of Huntingdon, by homage, fealty and 20s to the scutage, more or less, when it happens; which Roger afterwards enfoeffed William Brabazon and Joan his wife, to hold the said manor to them and their issue, of the said Roger and his heirs, rendering to the same Roger and to his heirs one penny at Michaelmas yearly.
 And from Roger, who died without issue, the right went to Matthew Brabazon as brother and heir and from Matthew, who died without issue, the right descended to certain Joan, Anabil and Emma as sisters and heirs. And from Joan the right of her purparty descended to a certain Roger as son and heir, and from Roger to Thomas as son and heir, and from Thomas to John as son and heir, and from John to John Brabazon who now demands, as son and heir. 
And from Anabil the right of her purparty descended to Roger as son and heir, who died without issue, when the right came to Theobald as brother and heir, and from Theobald to Thomas Outheby, who now demands as son and heir.
And from Emma the right of her purparty descended to Thomas as son and heir, and from Thomas to William Curson as son and heir.
And from the said William Brabazon the manor descended to John as son and heir, and from John to Joan who was the wife of William de Wodeford, as daughter and heir.
William de Wodeford after the death of the said Joan, held the said manor by the courtesy of England, during which time William Curson, son of Thomas, son of Emma, by his writing granted to William de Wodeford and his heirs all his right and claim to the said manor and rent. John the son of Joan was in the custody of Thomas de Outheby and John Brabazon until they were disseised by John Botiler, by which disseisen Thomas and John Brabason say that they are damaged £1,000. "

Nicholas Brabazon was the next in line. He inherited Eastwell and the Warwickshire properties before 1415.  In 1430 Nicholas and his wife Agnes were sued by William de Ferrers of Groby for trespass and taking trees at Lyndeford in Charnwood Forest. He was living in 1445. He was followed by

John Brabazon who married Matilda, daughter and co-heir to Nicholas Jervis of Harby. In the traditional lineages John is said to have died at the Battle of Bosworth (22 August 1485) but this is incorrect. He possibly died late in 1494, and certainly well before the battle, because Matilda was a widow early in 1485, when Richard was still king. He was buried at Eastwell in the chapel of St Goodlack.

Matilda inherited lands from her father, but also brought lands in Scalford, Wycomb and Chadwell to the Brabazon family, inherited from her paternal grandmother Agnes Hauberk, hence the Hauberk arms incorporated in later Brabazon shields, such as the one at Kilruddery made for the 4th Earl of Meath. Her share of the Jervis and Hauberk properties was divided between her children. Her dower included Eastwell and other lands, but apparently she neglected the properties because her grandson Roger, while still underage, took her to court for ‘having made waste and destruction of gardens, houses, woods and tenements in Estwell, Mouseley and Flecney’ which were his inheritance’. She died on 14 October 1490.

John and Matilda had at least six children.

  1. Roger, the heir (see below).
  2. Adam of Allexton, an attorney who died unmarried 25 January 1509. His will was proved 24 April 1510.
  3. John, ancestor of the earls of Meath (see below ).
  4. William of Eastwell, who continued farming there (see below).  
  5. Alexander, a farmer who was living in Saddington in 1500 and  Eaton in 1524. His school age children were beneficiaries of   Adam Brabazon’s will.  
  6. Isabel, who lived in Barston and didn’t marry.  

1. Roger Brabazon inherited Eastwell probably late in 1484. He appears to have been the Brabazon who died on Bosworth Field during the battle, although that is not certain. According to a 1490 court case he died at Bosworth, intestate, on 12 August 1 Hen VII. Possibly the date on the roll was an error because 22 August was the date of the battle and there was no other reason for mentioning the place. At his death he had ten messuages and ten virgates of land in Eastwell, held of the Duchess of Norfolk. The capital or principal messuage would have been the manor house and its associated buildings and land. The other nine messuages would have been leased to farmers. His wife Margaret remarried to James Huddleston.

The situation regarding the manor and lands of Eastwell becomes confusing at this time. Court cases describe disputes between family members and tenants about land rights and enclosures. Many involve William Brabazon, John and Matilda’s fourth son.  The 1490 case mentioned above was brought against Margaret and her new husband James Huddleston, to determine who had the lease to 360 acres in Eastwell that belonged to the Abbey of Garendon. This land was not part of the Brabazon manorial holdings. It was given to the abbey in the twelfth century by Robert de Insula. Within the transcript of that case are the day that Roger supposedly leased the land as well as the date of his death at Bosworth. Evidence was given that in December 1484 Roger took out a twenty year lease on the 360 acres belonging to the Abbot. This could be the renewal of a lease that his father had held.  Roger left three children:

a. Roger, a minor at his father’s death was made a ward of the Lady Elizabeth Duchess of Norfolk until he came of age, sometime before 1492. He married, but died cir 1493, having had no children, and his inheritance passed to his two sisters, by then both married into the Sherard family. His wife, Isabel recovered one third of the property at Eastwell, and other lands and rents, as dower.

b. Joan, who was married to Robert Sherard of Stapleford  and while married to him was abducted by George Hastings (later Sir George, Baron Hastings) and taken away to Yorkshire where they were married by licence dated 27 November 1493. They were granted a pardon by Henry VIII in the first year of his reign, on 12 May 1510. Their children were:

John  Hastings (1498-1514).

Hugh Hastings (cir 1505-1540) who succeeded his brother and became the 14th de jure Baron Hastings. In 1537 the Hastings family agreed to sell Eastwell and the other Brabazon family lands to William Brabazon.

c. Margaret, who married William Sherard of Stapleford. She re-married to Nicholas Mounteney of Gryswyk Yorkshire and possibly died in 1516. After her death her son and heir

Hugh Sherard attempted to prove that Hugh Hastings had no claim to the Brabazon inheritance, on the grounds that his birth was illegitimate. Records held by British National Archives suggest that cir 1530 Hugh Sherard mortgaged Eastwell and other properties to finance unsuccessful trading activities. His share of the Brabazon properties may have passed to the Hastings family before 1537 when William Brabazon made a purchase agreement with them but William seems to have lent Hugh money and this may be how he acquired Hugh’s share.

3. John Brabazon third son of John and Matilda, about whom little is known. John was possibly dead in 1495 because in that year Thomas Brabazon (presumably the son below) requested re-payment of money owed by a gentleman who lived in Eastwell. John is not mentioned in his brother Adam’s will in 1509 and neither are his children. He possibly lived in Little Bowden. The scant records available indicate that he had at least four children:

a.  Thomas,  his eldest son and heir was possibly born in the early 1470s. There are several records of a Thomas Brabazon between 1492 and 1503 that might relate to him and suggest that he was already an adult. In 1492 he may have been one of Matilda Brabazon’s executors.  It was possibly him in court recovering the debt in 1495 and another debt in 1499. He was probably witness to a deed in 1503.

In 1505 he was granted lands and tenements in Wycomb and Chadwell by Edmund Cappe who would have been a relative. This would be part of the Haubeck inheritance -  Nicholas Jervis had two daughters, Matilda who married John Brabazon and Margaret who married Thomas Cappe. Lands in Wycomb and Chadwell were shared between the Brabazon and Cappe families.

In British Archives there are records where Thomas, and later his son and heir John, are in court with Richard Neale to make an arrangement about land in Little Bowden Northamptonshire. According to The Visitation of Leicestershire 1619 Richard was married to Elizabeth daughter of John Brabazon of Eastwell so this would be a family arrangement. Thomas must have died sometime before April 1531 because by that date John had taken his place in the court proceedings.

John, his son and heir was living in 1538. Sometime between then and 1544 he exchanged a property in Little Bowden for lands in Haselbeech Northamptonshire.

b.  William, ancestor of the Earls of Meath, who recovered Eastwell and the other Brabazon properties. According to Burke’s Peerage he was the only son of John Brabazon and ---- Chaworth of Wiverton Nottinghamshire. His brother Thomas seems to be quite a bit older than him so perhaps John had two wives and William was the son of the second marriage. (Brabazon arms impaled with Chaworth were seen in Eastwell church cir 1622)

William was employed by Thomas Cromwell, secretary to Henry VIII. In August 1534 he was sent to Ireland as Under Treasurer and Receiver-General, offices that were granted to him to hold for his life.  As such he was a member of the Privy Council of Ireland. He was afterwards three times head of the Irish Government as Lord Justice in 1543, 1546 and 1550. In March 1546 he was knighted in Ireland.

In his first few years of office in Ireland William made a great deal of money so by 1537 he was able to purchase all the family properties and pay for the court actions which would break the entails. In this way, from being a younger son of a third son he became a substantial landowner and greatly improved his social position. He married the very eligible Elizabeth Clifford and had four children,

  • Anne  
  • Elizabeth
  • Edward his heir, born cir April 1549 (aged 3 years and 3 months at his father’s death).
  • Anthony, ancestor of the Brabazons of Brabazon Park, Mayo

William died 9th July 1552, at Carrickfergus while on campaign and was buried in St. Catherine's Church, Dublin. His heart was interred in the family tomb at Eastwell. This illustration of his tomb was published in the Genealogical History of the Family of Brabazon.

His inquisition said :
William Brabazon, knight was seised long before his death of the manor of Estwell and a windmill, 16 messuages, 8 cottages, 20 acres of land, 60 of meadow, 40 of pasture, and 20s rent in Estwell, Harby, Eyton, and Wykham. Also of the manor of Mowsell, 4 messuages, 2 cottages, 100 acres of land, 20 of meadow, 40 of pasture and 6s rent in Mouseley and Wylmercote.
The manor and lands in Estwell were held of the king, as of the duchy of Lancaster by a fourth part of a knight’s fee, and worth beyond reprises £21 3s. 4 d
The manor of Mouseley was held of the king, as of his honour of Leicester, parcel of the duchy of Lancaster, by a third part of a knight’s fee, and worth £9 7s 4d. 

William’s widow Elizabeth married three more times and had seven more sons; (how many more daughters we are left to wonder) She retained the title of Lady Brabazon until her fourth husband Sir Edward Moore was knighted in 1579 after which she was called Lady Moore.

c.  Robert, who went to Ireland after William’s appointment there, and held land in Kilkeel, Greencastle and nine other townlands in County Down. He was Constable of Carlingford in 1536 and of Kildare cir 1540. He was criticised for his incompetent defence of Kildare so possibly returned to England.

d.  Elizabeth, who married Richard Neale of Ab Kettleby in Leicestershire.

4. William  Brabazon fourth son of John and Matilda was a farmer. He and his brother Alexander were wool exporters; merchants of the Staple of Calais.  William leased land in Eastwell from the Abbey of Garendon. He had a property in Plungar and owned houses in Eaton (adjacent to Eastwell), and Stathern. He and his wife Agnes had daughters Margaret, Elizabeth, Joan, Margery and Isabel and a son named John. William’s will was proved in 1521. His son and heir

John Brabazon lived at Woolston Warwickshire in the early 1530s. Like his cousin William Brabazon he worked for Thomas Cromwell. In 1536 Willliam Brabazon, then army treasurer in Ireland, asked if John could be sent to Ireland to help him, together with two or three clerks. After William acquired the manor at Eastwell John possibly occupied it as a tenant - in 1543 John was recorded in the Lay Subsidy roll paying the largest amount of tax. Like his father he leased land and farms in Eastwell from the Abbey of Garendon and also land in Melton Mowbray. He died cir 1548 and at his request was buried in St Goodlack’s Chapel where his grandfather was buried. He left an only daughter, Rose, by his wife Jane Loo (Lowe). Jane remarried to Henry Hawtrey. In his will John left his land in Wickham and Caldwell to his cousin William providing that William was good to his wife Jane and daughter Rose. William presumably was good, allowing Jane to remain living there, because a Henry Hawtre is recorded paying tax for land at Eastwell in 1572.

Edward Brabazon son and heir of Sir William Brabazon and Elizabeth Clifford had a political career in both England and Ireland and owned considerable property in both. Although he was described as ‘of Eastwell’ in 1580 it isn’t certain that he actually lived there. The Eastwell manor, Wilmercote in Warwickshire, and the other properties remained in the ownership of this branch of the family.

Edward’s grandson, Edward, second earl of Meath, who had supported the King during the Civil War was afterwards forced to sell Eastwell to cover costs.
On 1 April 1652 his estates were sequestrated, but on 7 Jan 1652/3 the Court of Articles ordered restoration of his property. He recovered only part of them, portions having been granted away. He alleged that he had lost $40,000 by the rebellion; he had raised 1,500 men, all Protestants, and armed them at little cost to the State, and had entered into bonds for the support of the English army in Ireland, which had not been satisfied. He also claimed that he had to mortgage all his lands in Leicestershire and sell his ancient manor at Eastwell, which ‘had descended to him in a lineal line since Edward I and that sequestration had cost him at least £6,000’. (Cockayne)

The purchaser was Rowland Eyre, who had already bought another manor in Eastwell.
'...on November 23rd 1653, Rowland Eyre entered into an agreement with the Earl to purchase the Brabazon manor. In February the following year the deeds were executed.... the purchase price was £3,750.'  (Meredith) 

And so ended a long association with this manor.

Main References:-

Burton, William, The Description of Leicestershire, 2nd Ed, 1777.
Nichols, John, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, Vol 2 Part 1, 1795.
Farnham, George F, Leicestershire Medieval Village Notes, (late 1920s-early 1930s)
Farnham, George F, Leicestershire Medieval Pedigrees, 1925.
Cockayne, George Edward, The Complete Peerage, Revised Ed. Vol 8, 1932.
Thomson, A. Hamilton, Wyggeston Hospital Records, 1933.
Meredith, Rosamund, A Derbyshire Family in the Seventeenth Century: The Eyres of Hassop and their Forfeited Estates, The Catholic Record Society, Recusant History, Vol 8, 1965-6.
Public Record Office, various calendars of medieval chancery rolls and inquisitions post mortem.
Public Record Office, Inquisitions and Assessments Relating to Feudal Aids 1284-1431,Vol 3.
British National Archives, Common Plea Rolls, images accessed through Anglo American Legal Tradition (AALT) website.
British National Archives, Court of Chancery, Six Clerks Office, Pleadings C1 series.
Some Notes on Medieval English Genealogy website,  Abstracts of Feets of Fines, with links to images at AALT.
British History Online, Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic, Hen VIII.


Detail from the Ormesby Psalter, Bodleian Library MS. Douce 366 f131r (late 13th C)
Detail from The Luttrell Psalter, British Library Add MS 42130 (1325-1340) f163r, accessed through Pinterest.
Monument to Sir William Brabazon reproduced in Genealogical History of the Family of Brabazon by H. Sharpe, 1825, p.10.

For more about Sir William Brabazon see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 1885 and 2004. Aspects of his career in Ireland may be found on British History Online website in Letters and Papers Foreign and Domestic Hen VIII.

Many many thanks to John Lacey for his help in translating the abbreviated Latin on the rolls.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


by Victoria Killeen.

In her family files, Ann Brabazon-Shevill had many references to Eastwell in England. She handed them to her cousin Victoria Killeen, nee Brett and asked for a summary. The following excellent contribution was forthcoming in mid 1998. In her last paragraph Victoria referred to an illustration which perhaps is the one shown below.

Editor's note. Since this article was written research has moved on and some information will be out of date; for instance the Coritani tribe are now thought to have been named Corieltauvi;  Brabazons probably arrived in Eastwell towards the end of the thirteenth century.

EASTWELL: a brief look at the past.

The smallest of English villages have much to tell of their past and Eastwell may have more to tell than most. lt has been said that the landscape we see today is a history book of the past, and, with practice, we may learn to read it like any other book, This short essay is concerned with helping the present inhabitants of Eastwell to see the village with new eyes.

To look for a beginning to Eastwell, one has to travel back over many centuries ~almost certainly to the years before the birth of Christ. The name "Estewelle" in its early form literally means the well or stream in the east, but settlement in the area will have begun before the village took this name. Successive migration to Britain from the Continent by Bronze Age and Iron Age people established small settlements at sites where water was to be had, and the land could be easily cultivated. These
sites were developed, and sometimes abandoned, by the later influx of Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. Thus, with water available, the right sort of soil, the existence of prehistoric trackways like the Saltway passing close to ~ or through the parish, and field names like Roundhill suggesting Bronze Age burial mounds, a picture of man living at Eastwell for at least the past three thousand years can be easily visualised.

Prior to the Roman invasion of Britain in A.D. 43, the area around Eastwell lay within the territory of the Coritani – an Iron Age tribe who were farmers. Although the Romans overcame the resistance of the Coritani, along with the other Celtic tribes in England, rural life would have continued in much the same way, with the inevitable fraternisation growing up between the conquered and the conquerors. No doubt, the Romans would have taken the best of land for their estates, and introduced a new
style of living. Pottery sherds found within the parish, along with the coin board unearthed at Goadby Marwood in 1953, shows that there was considerable farming and industrial activity going on in the area during the four hundred years after A.D. 43. Where did these people live? No-one really knows yet, but there must be some clues waiting to be ‘discovered’ in Eastwell.

By the year 400 A.D. the Roman occupation of Britain was being challenged by the Saxons, and, with the departure of the Roman soldiers to defend Rome in 410, the Saxons soon over-ran the countryside. The village and parish as we know it today, occupying some 1346 acres (Nicholls 1291 acres), would have been established during this Saxon period, which lasted from 410 until 787, when Viking pirates began to attack the east coast of Saxon England. Many signs of the Saxon influence on the landscape remain to be seen today. Most obvious are the ridges and furrows which formed the arable strips of the village open field system of cultivation. The strips still cover much of the parish, and even where they have disappeared on the lighter soils, field names such as Westinghams testify to their Saxon origins. Some people will have noticed that the fields adjacent to Stathern Road as far as Lodge Farm, do not have ridges and furrows, and this area undoubtedly formed the pasture area in the open field system.  lndeed, the fields are still called the ‘Pasture’, although the parish has been inclosed for at least 300 years.

lt was in this pasture area that the escutcheon of an early Saxon hanging bowl (dated at 450 A.D.) was found in 1963, and jet finger rings have turned up here also. Do we have a Saxon cemetery to be found somewhere in Eastwell? Double hedged parish boundaries are often of Saxon origin too. Does the parish boundary running north-east from Harby Hill mark the boundary of some great Saxon estate? Answers to the questions may never be found, yet small clues, when pieced together, may lead to important discoveries.

The coming of the pagan Viking marauders in the last half of the 9th century has already been mentioned.  lt was a turbulent time. and the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia, in which Eastwell lay, became part of the Danish occupied area known as Danelaw. Fighting and plundering were never far away, and peace was not really established until William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Prior to the advent of the Normans, one has to rely very much on archaeology to tell the story of the village, but in 1086, the Domesday Book gives us our first written evidence of Eastwell. Part of the land was held by Geoffrey de Wirce, who had the Manor of Melton Mowbray, and part by Aschil, one of the King's Sergeants.  Between them, they appeared to have sufficient arable land for four ploughs, and there was 30 acres of meadow. Leicestershire is fortunate in having further written evidence of land holdings in the form of the Leicestershire Survey of 1124/1129, and it is clear that changes had taken place between the two surveys. During the passage of the 800 years, from the arrival of the Normans until the early part of this century, the fortunes of the village were intimately interwoven with those of the lords of the Manor, and any history of Eastwell must, of necessity, make reference to them.

Nichols, in his "History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester 1795/1815" confirms that there were two manors in Eastwell, the largest of which was the chief seat of the Brabazon family from around 1250 to 1630. This family originally came from Normandy. Of the other manor very little information is immediately available, apart from the fact that it was sold by a Mr. Blith in 1631.

The Brabazon family had a very great influence in national affairs during the fourteenth century, Roger le Brabazon being a judge of the Common Pleas, and, afterwards Lord Chief Justice of England. The involvement with affairs of State continued throughout the Brabazon association with Eastwell, Sir William becoming Treasurer of lreland and Lord Justice there in the 1540's. This association with lreland eventually led to settlement of the family in lreland, where, in 1627, William, Lord Brabazon, was created Earl of Meath. Another member of the family who is worth a mention is John Brabazon, who was slain at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

The fact that such an influential family lived within the village must have had a considerable impact on it.  lt is fairly certain that the site of the Brabazon manor house was on that of the present Manor Farm, some calamity having overtaken it during the sixteenth century. Foundations of the old manor are said to extend over a considerable area outside the present Manor Farm and garden. The water from the Town Wells was held in fish ponds which can still be seen alongside the stream to the
east of Manor Farm.

Having spoken at the national prestige of one noble Eastwell Family, what is known of the lot of the peasant dwelling in the village at the same time? Certainly his life would be rough and hard. This is typified by an entry on a Court Roll for 1391 stating that "John Brabazon came by attorney, and protesting that he did not know that Robert Godeknave, of Braundeston, Chaplin, had any sheep at Eastwell. Said that a certain Ralph Clerk of Eastwell, on Saturday aforesaid, killed a certain John Danyell  of Eastwell, by which all his goods and chattels were seized, etc....."  Numerous other entries refer to disputes such as reaping someone else’s corn, of taking with force and arms 40.s worth of goods and chattels, and of taking his horse and detaining it.

It may be surprising, but the names of many villagers are recorded on Lay Subsidy rolls. These start in 1327, and are available for 1323 and 1381. In the latter, 47 people are named, and, with children being excluded, gives an indication of the size of the village at that time. Occupations are also given, these being mainly husbandman, with the odd shepherd, ploughman and webster.

The only present day building which can he said to go back to this period is the Parish Church. It is quite possible that a timber church would have existed before the present stone one was built, and it is perhaps worth mentioning that sites are known where religious worship can be traced back on the site to pre-Christian times. That is not to say that this happened at Eastwell. Certainly, the church in its early days had associations with Croxton Abbey, and we know that, in 1209, Robert de Arraby gave the church to the Abbey and Convent of Leicester. The architectural style suggests that the chancel was first built around 1220, and that the remainder was erected during the following hundred years. The outstanding Feature is the stone screen between the chancel and nave, and it has been suggested that the church consisted of only the chancel initially.

The church we know today has changed considerably since the time when Nichols wrote of it in 1800. Then it must have been much more like the one known by the Brabazons. Nichols records that "at the upper end of the south aisle is a little chapel, parted out from the rest of the church by an old wainscot screen. On the floor of this chapel is a large gravestone, in memory of one of the family of Brabazon, with this inscription "...cujus anime propitietur dous. Amen."  If one looks carefully at the pillars on the south side aisle, one can see the grooves cut out in them, presumably for the wainscot screen. What a pity it has gone. A victim of the mild restoration of 1861 no doubt? As for the gravestone, one fitting this description is to be found in front of the pulpit, disappearing under the first pew.

At the west end of the south aisle is an old gravestone hearing a cross upon it, but little seems to be known of its age, or whom it commemorates. Nichols tells us that it formerly stood at the East end (another gravestone of the Brabazons!) which has been converted into a burial place for the family of Eyre; a family we shall deal with later. On the north side of the chancel, a well-preserved early 14th century effigy of a priest holding a chalice is to be found, and on the west side of the south porch entrance, one can see a Mass dial - a necessity in the days before clocks and watches. Little of the
medieval glass which decorated the windows remains, the only pieces being in the east window of the north aisle.

So much for the church. How did the Rector live in this quite well endowed parish? The Glebe terrier, taken in 1611, tells us that "the house consisted of 7 baies, covered with thatch, three chambers plastered, and the parlour borded" ~ that is, a timber framed house. By 1708 it had become a house "built with stone, and covered with thatch. lt contained a back kitchen floored with earth, a
hall floored with earth, a parlour floored with plaster, a kitchen payed with broadstone, a room
to set drink, etc., all these being, on the first floor. Above stairs there is no chamber. Above the
back kitchen over the hall are two chambers floored with Plaster. Over the kitchen, a chamber floored with boards. Over the room to set drinks, etc. is a chamber floored this year with plaster. "

Considerable improvement has taken place in the century between the two descriptions, but it is not clear how much is new. It is probably unlikely that the old Rectory was totally demolished. We have a clue as to when the improvements took place, for when Mr Mellors was renovating the Rectory in 1970, alter it ceased to be a Rectory, a stone was found carrying the initials W.C.M. and a date of
1658. Are the initials those of the builder or the rector? lt should he possible to  find out.

The year 1631 marks an important landmark in the history of Eastwell, for it saw the coming of the Eyre Family, who were to bring the whole of the parish under a single ownership, and keep it for 170 years. It also saw the end of the Brabazon influence which had lasted for something like 300 years, the two families spanning a total of 500 years. Rowland Eyre, of Hassop, in Derbyshire, acquired land from a Mr Blith in 1631, and on this site he built his house, the present Hall. In fact, if one looks closely, one can see Mr Blith‘s manor house standing between the Eyre Hall and the road. The Eyre building carries the date 1635 on the lead rainwater pipe heads. The Blith manor house is, therefore, earlier than this, and probably the oldest building, in the village.

Illustration: St Michael’s Church Eastwell, 1791 from John Nichols, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, Vol 2 Part 1, p.168.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Basil Beaufort Brett

Adapted from material supplied to the Longreach Leader for the Centenery celebrations of ANZAC Day, by Basil’s granddaughter, Mary Killeen.

Basil Beaufort Brett was born on 15 August 1892 at “Beaufort” Pine Hill via Alpha, son of Arthur and Matilda Brett (nee Ross.) He enlisted at the start of World War 1, on 3 September 1914, at Randwick giving his previous address as “Eldersley Station” Winton and his occupation as overseer.

He was assigned to G Company, 4th Battalion Australian Light Horse Brigade and departed for Egypt on 20 October 1914. On arrival he and some close friends transferred to the Infantry Division.

Before landing at Gallipoli the troops waited for about two weeks near Limnos Island in Murdos Bay in the Straights of the Dardanelles. On 24 June 1915 he was wounded in the left knee by shrapnel and on 30 June was admitted to hospital at Heliopolis.

In July 1915 he received special mention for acts of conspicuous gallantry or valuable service. He was posted to England and on 18 November was appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal. On 11 March 1916 he was transferred from 4th Battalion to 56th Battalion and promoted to Acting Sergeant Major and on 14 April was promoted to Battery Sergeant Major with the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2. On 5 May he transferred to 5th Division Artillery Column (D.A.C.) as Battery Major.

He left England on 20 June 1916 to join the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium and France. In November he was granted the temporary rank of Regimental Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class 1 5th D.A.C. On 12 October he was mentioned in Dispatches from General Sir Douglas Haig for gallant and distinguished services in the Field (for action in France). This citation reads “This Warrant Officer throughout the period this unit has been in France has been most zealous in the carrying out of his duties. During the operation 19th/20th July 1916 at Petillon he remained without rest for three days and nights and showed a fine example of endurance. This Warrant Officer was wounded on Gallipoli peninsular on 24th June 1915 and “Mentioned in Despatches.”

On 1 December 1916 he was posted to 5th D.A.C. headquarters and on 2 January 1917 he was again mentioned in dispatches for “distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty” by General Sir Douglas Haig, for actions in France. On 17 January 1917 he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant and posted to Field Artillery. Following that, on 24 January 1918 he was detached as Lieutenant to Reserve Brigade Australia in London but in October he returned to France and rejoined his unit.  It would appear that this is when he was gassed and he had a six to eight week recuperation period. Some of time was spent in Wales with the Duke of Beaufort who was his cousin and also his God Father.

He returned to Australia aboard the H.M.A.T.”Derbyshire” and was discharged on 4 June 1919.

He married Dorothea Millicent Brabazon on 3 January 1922 at “Elderslie” Winton. She was the daughter of Charles Brabazon and Amy McMillan.  She was born 3 January 1902 at “Maneroo” Longreach, and died 22 July 1973 in Brisbane.

Basil was managing “Walgra” near Cloncurry when their two sons Brab (Basil) and Peter were born.
It is believed that he then drew a selection called “Binyeah” but the drought and depression took their toll and the family was forced off the selection in 1929. During the time at “Binyeah” two of their three daughters were born:  Victoria (Vicky) and Dorothea. He was cutting railway sleepers at Prairie, when their fifth and final child, Susan was born.  Prior to this he conducted a stock and station agency at Prairie, before being forced out by debtors.

In 1931-32 he was a station hand on “Ashton” south of Prairie.  In 1933 he worked on “Zara” south of Hughenden as drought and the depression were taking their toll on the rural industry.  In 1935 he became manager of “Mt Sturgeon” near Hughenden.  In 1939 he was appointed Pastoral Inspector for the Australian Pastoral (AP) Company at “Noondo” at Dirranbandi.  In 1941 he took up the position of manager of “Cubby” station at Dirranbandi and in 1942 he became manager of “Dagworth.”  In 1946 he moved to Townsville for some time.  Basil’s last job was that of manager of “Oorindi Park.” He died at there on 18 November 1959.

“Lest We Forget”

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Brabazons and Countess Markievicz (1867-1927)

By Michael Brabazon

The heroine par excellence of the struggle for Irish independence is undoubtedly Constance Gore-Booth, otherwise known as Countess Markievicz.  She was not only a fighter and Irish politician but also a leading women’s emancipation advocate and the first British woman M.P.  Her role in the founding of the modern Irish State is legendary.

The poet W.B. Yeats was a close family friend of the Gore-Booths and wrote of Constance and her sister Eva as "two girls in silk kimonos, both beautiful, one [Constance] a gazelle".

Constance and Eva were descended from Jane Brabazon (1665-1740), daughter of Edward Brabazon, the 2nd Earl of Meath.  Another branch of the Gore family also had Brabazon ancestry, this time from the Brabazons of Swinford.  John Ellard Gore (1845-1910), an Irish astronomer of note, through his mother Frances Brabazon Ellard, was a descendant of Edward Brabazon, the youngest brother of Sir Anthony Brabazon Bart of Brabazon Park, Swinford.

Once again, we can appreciate and celebrate the importance of the Brabazons in the development of modern Ireland.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Leicestershire Brabazons by Jan Barnes

In the traditional lineages the Brabazon family moved from Surrey to Leicestershire when Thomas le Brabazon of Betchworth married Amicia daughter of John de Mowsley, their marriage taking place in 1236 or before. Their son and heir Roger was knighted in 1268.
Research has revealed that a Thomas le Brabazon sold his town property in Haverberg (Market Harborough) in 1236. The town, situated close to the border with Northamptonshire, originated probably in the mid-eleventh century as a market in Great Bowden parish, and from this a market town gradually evolved.  Traders had shops fronting onto the road or the market place and used the rear of their long narrow sections for their business activity. Perhaps Thomas had a business in the town and was able to move to the country after marrying an heiress. Unfortunately, his wife was not mentioned.

About thirty years later, in 1265, Richard Chase of Little Bowden (near Market Harborough) was pardoned for the death of Thomas Brabazon. Thomas and Richard were both pardoned for killing another man. So far, the relationship of this Thomas Brabazon to the earlier Thomas, or to the Mowsley family is not known.

 Mowsley is a small village about seven miles west of Market Harborough in the southern part of Leicestershire, within the civil parish of the same name. The de Mowsley family, who were tenants of one of the manors there, took their name from the village. Court records show that John de Mowsley had a daughter and sole heir named Avice, who claimed her inheritance in court in 1199. To claim her land she had to be at least fourteen at the time, so would have been born 1185 or before. The records also show that Avice married Amfrid de Medburn before 1203. Perhaps she married Thomas Brabazon later on.

Many years later, in 1268, an inquisition found that Roger Brabazon was a landholder in Mowsley. Records also show that his mother had some land there, and was named Amice, but the lands that they held were not in the manor tenanted by the de Mowsley family. Recently it has been established that Roger’s father was named William, not Thomas. It seems that Amice has been confused with Avice de Mowsley, that heiress of an earlier generation, with a similar name.

The Brabazon family based in Mowsley are reasonably well recorded, mainly because of Sir Roger Brabazon’s high profile as a judge and also because of his landholdings, but in putting together the traditional lineages the genealogists of the time had different opinions about the relationship between Sir Roger Brabazon and Roger Brabazon ‘the younger’ and between either of them and Sir William Brabazon of Sproxton and Garthorpe. Eventually a lineage was traced through every prominent person.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Brabazons and Catholic Emancipation

Daniel O’Connell, “The Great Liberator” 1775-1847
Irish Parliamentarian and leader of the Catholic emancipation movement

Two leading Brabazons - both Church of Ireland - of the time played significant parts in O’Connell’s movement: the 10th Earl of Meath, John Brabazon, and the 2nd Baronet of Brabazon Park, Swinford, William John Brabazon.

The Earl very courageously permitted a Catholic mass to take place at Killruddery in 1798, the year of the great rebellion.  He was a champion of Emancipation and in 1831 Daniel O’Connell commented he was “deeply convinced that Lords Meath and Cloncurry have it in their power to put themselves at the head of the popular party in Ireland, and to do more good to the country, and prevent more evil, than any two persons ever had before”.

Baronet Brabazon was elected in the 1830s as an MP for Mayo, serving then at Westminster until his demise in 1840 of a heart problem.  His support of the local community in Swinford was well recognized and his election victory was assured when he won the backing of the nationalist Catholic Archbishop of Tuam, John McHale.  In his acceptance speech, Sir William made reference to his ancestor Capt William Brabazon who had fought bravely for King James II at the Battle of Aughrim.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Killruddery - The movie set

Did you know that Killruddery has served as the backdrop for many famous movies.  Here are all the ones that we know about.