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!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sir William Brabazon – From England to Ireland

Extracted from a talk given by Michael Brabazon at the family Reunion – September 2003

The Tudor Conquest of Ireland and the transplantation of the Brabazons to the new realm - like the move from Betchworth - has greater meaning than simply a change of scenery. Sir William Brabazon - sent to Dublin by Henry VIII in 1534 as part of the new Irish Establishment - left his community in Leicestershire, and like his antecedent Jacques, displayed all the qualities of a fierce and able warrior, but without regard to the national community of which his descendants would become a very integral part.

From his grandfather fighting against the Tudors, William became one of their greatest supporters. He must have been very much a favourite of Henry VIII as he excelled at jousting, being one of the main English contestants at the historic meeting between Henry and Frances I of France at the so-called Field of the Cloth of Gold near to Calais. The name was drawn from the appearance of so many gold covered tents housing the assembled Courts. The king liked to surround himself with young knights who were intended to revivify the spirit of Arthurian Albion. Who better then to champion Henry in Ireland than William - like Jacques, a standard bearer for a conquering king? To add, there may have been a further reason; that of existing Irish land ownership. There are a handful of pre Tudor references to names like Brabazon occurring in Ireland, one such record is for a John Brabesoun in Ardee in the year 1362. There is a John Brabazon at Eastwell at this time – is it the same person? The reason I pick on this reference is the co-incidence of the name with the town of Ardee. We are all aware, I assume, that the title of Baron Ardee preceded that of the Earldom of Meath by one generation – but why Ardee when, to my knowledge the acquisition of property by Sir William was principally in Dublin and its environs? Is this pointing to a more ancient connection to Ireland than we assume? I leave the question necessarily open but would be most interested if anyone is able to elucidate.

Hercules Brabazon Brabazon (Sharpe) 1821-1906

Hercules Brabazon Brabazon 1821-1906 was born Hercules Brabazon Sharpe, the nephew of Sir William Brabazon Bart. of Brabazon Park, Swinford, Co Mayo, Ireland. He inherited the Brabazon estates on the death of his elder brother William in 1847 and the Sharpe estates on the death of his father in 1858. HBB's main residence was Oaklands, Sedlescombe, Surrey, leaving his nephew Harvey Combe to manage the Irish property. He also had an apartment in Morpeth Terrace, just behind what is now Westminster Cathedral (RC).

He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge where he studied mathematics and later entered the legal profession. However, with his inherited wealth he could afford to travel widely, capturing the scenery in his impressionistic watercolours.
His social circle encompassed many of the leading names in the music and painting world, including Liszt and John Singer Sargent. Brabazon was a leading member of the New English Art Club, holding his first one-man exhibition at the age of 71. He was much praised by Ruskin and Sir Federick Wedmore wrote of him, "a country gentleman, who at seventy years old made his debut as a professional artist, and straightway became famous".
He was unmarried and left his estates to his nephew Harvey Combe of Oaklands. The Combe lineage, although no longer at their country seat, has continued to the present day. Eileen (Combe) Barber was the last of the family to live at Sedlescombe and she has a daughter Robin Brabazon Wells and two grandsons, Robert and Patrick


Monday, November 4, 2013

Do Pigs fly?

Lord Brabazon answers the question, back in 1909!

Read all the details here - http://www.porkopolis.org/2008/first-pig-to-fly/

Image via Porkopolis

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lord Brabazon of Tara

By Michael Brabazon


Lord Brabazon of Tara was born in England, February 8, 1884 and died in London, May 17, 1964. He first soloed in a French Voisin biplane at Issy-les-Montineaux, Paris, France, in November 1908. French F.A.I, brevet #AO was issued to him under the name of Brabazon Moore, on March 8, 1910, before he became a member of the House of Lords in England. British F.A.I. Airplane Pilot's Certificate Number 1 was issued to him by the Royal Aero Club, making him the first person to be licensed in Great Britain as an Airplane Pilot. In 1909 he made the first live cargo flight by airplane, by tying a waste-paper basket to a wing-strut of his Voisin airplane. Then, using it as a "cargo hold", he airlifted one small pig.

In October of that year Mr. Moore Brabazon won the first all-British competition of L1000 offered by the Daily Mail for the first machine to fly a circular mile course. His aeroplane was fitted with a 60-horse-power Green aero engine. In the same year M. Michelin offered L1000 for a long-distance flight in all-British aviation; this prize was also won by Mr. Brabazon, who made a flight of 17 miles.
Charles Rolls and Lord, Brabazon of Tara made an ascension in the first spherical balloon made in England, which was built by the Short Brothers. In the First World War, he took a leading role in the development of aerial photography.

Baron Brabazon of Tara was a particular colourful character, the family name being Moore-Brabazon, but who wanted to preserve the Brabazon ancestry in his title.

Does anyone have any funny anecdotes or stories to share?  I’m sure his grandson, the 3rd Baron, would be amused as well.


Notes compiled by Ann Shevill - September 2003

Since the early 1600s Brabazons have been in the area now known as Bray, which has indeed a very
interesting history.
It is unlikely that there was a permanent settlement there before the Norman invasion of England in 1066
which was the year that Jacques le Brabancon crossed the English Channel with William the Conqueror.
All Brabazons are descendants of Jacques, known then as the Great Warrior.

There is known history of Bray since the mid 12th century.

From 1850 to 1870 apparently there was a degree of political tension within the town

A diary note reads:
In 1880 Lord Brabazon offered to build a new Market House and Town Hall for the town. It is an important example of the quaint tudor style architecture popularized in England by Shaw and Nesfield in the 1870s. It is of three bays and two storeys, built of red brick with central carriage arch containing wrought-iron gates. The ground floor served as a covered market. On the first floor there was a chamber room with windows incorporating Coats of Arms of the Brabazon family. 
In 1881 a Town Hall and Market House was commissioned by Lord Brabazon (afterwards the 12th Earl) at a cost of six thousand pounds.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

THE EVOLUTION OF AN INSPIRATION Submitted by Ann Shevill (nee Brabazon)

Email:  shevilla@bigpond.net.au  who lives in Brisbane, Australia.

The Brabazon History Project  (BHP) which has taken up so much of my time and effort over more than half of my life, was inspired when I was a teenager by my Grandmother, Ruby Brabazon, I now realize that there is an interesting tale to relate. These notes aim to share the story with Brabazon Family members, and others who have an interest in Family History. They relate to my favourite hobby, the History of my local Brabazon Family, and how it has evolved, having in mind circumstance, necessity and the advance of technology, particularly in regard to electronic communication.

During World War II Grannie Brabazon was chatting with me and a couple of my cousins about the man with our name who was then often in World News: Lord Brabazon of Tara, who was a Minister in the British War Cabinet of Winston Churchill. Grannie reminded us that we must always be proud of our birth name, to which was attached such interesting history, since Jacques le Brabancon, 'The Great Warrior', from  the village of Barbencon in Normandy, France, came in 1066 to England, leading the army of William the Conqueror.

After that war, my father's sister, Ruby Rudd, when her son Robert Rudd - my cousin - was in England with the Royal Australian Air Force, posted a letter addressed to     " Lord Brabazon, care of Winston Churchill, No 10 Downing Street, London, UK ".  There was prompt response from Lord B (such a modest lovable man who had many interests and was a pioneer of the aircraft industry in UK) and his wife Lady Hilda; they were very kind to Bob Rudd, and our cousin Peter Brett, another RAAF Officer, who had been shot down over Germany and had been released as a Prisoner of War and returned to England.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


It was once thought that the name Brabazon was brought to Ireland in the sixteenth century by Sir William Brabazon, ancestor of the Earls of Meath, but the name was recorded there in earlier times, although not in great numbers. Could some of those people be the ancestors of Brabazons living today?

In D’Alton’s ‘History of Ireland’ there is a map of Anglo-Norman settlements of the thirteenth century. Brabazon is marked in Uriel County (Louth) approximately in the barony of Ardee, so this might be where Brabazons first settled in Ireland. Could this be the origin of the title, Baron of Ardee, which is held by the Earls of Meath? 

The following are some records from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Most of the original records have been destroyed and only the basic details survive. The land deeds are held in the National Library of Ireland. 

Records from the second half of the thirteenth century show Adam in Tipperary, Dublin and Limerick, Nicholas in Kilkenny and Louth, William in Kildare and Walter in Dublin, the majority being from the courts or county sheriff’s accounts. Money received by the exchequer was often owed for many years, so it is possible that some of the payments could have been received months or even years after the initial event.

There was no standard spelling for the name. For instance, Adam’s surname was written as Brabecun, de Brabebouns and Brabeston. About 1275 Adam paid a penalty of half a mark for not appearing at a court hearing in Tipperary. In 1288-89 he was being held as a hostage, but either escaped or was released. In 1299 the Bishop of Ossary complained that Adam unjustly occupied goods belonging to Theobald Casteillon, who had died without making a will.

Before the deed below was made, in about 1277, Nicholas Brabezun or Brabecun had land in Kilkenny, possibly two townlands. One of them was named Brabasuniston in 1314, Brabyston or Brabbeston in the sixteenth century. It was in the parish of Tulleroan. Today it is called Brabston. There is another townland named Brabston in Listerlin parish.

Henry Schenegord grants to Adam le Leye, burgess of Kilkenny, and his heirs in fee, eight acres in Corbali, two of which lie together in the moor between the land of William Casse and the land of Nicholas Brabezun ; and six acres lie in four places in the field that lies between the mansion that was Walter Cor's, and the land that was Nicholas Brabecun's ; paying yearly two shillings silver, saving to grantor and his heirs said rent and to Sir William Grasse and his heirs suit of their mill. Consideration five marks ten shillings sterling. Witnesses: Sir Geoffrey de Forestall, Sir Richard Ollard, Silvester de Netilton, David Archebold, John Archebold, Thomas Archebold.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


John Brabazon (1828 - 1914) from Mullingar, Co.Westmeath Ireland
EDMUNDO MURRAY - Université de Genève (Switzerland)

The 19th Century migration from Ireland to the River Plate was the only organised Irish settlement in a non-English speaking country. Particularly between 1840 and 1880, encouraged by their leaders and favoured by their condition of British subjects, nearly 11,000 Irish immigrants developed a unique community throughout the Irish Diaspora [a]. The Catholic Church and the local anglophile bourgeoisie were the key factors for the successful configuration of the community, which developed its own cultural vehicles, including education, press and literature. Slowly but surely, the Irish in Argentina became closer to the local society, and in the 20th Century they completely united to the Argentine national project. Irish-Argentine literature is the bilingual product of a unique array of cultural representations, including among others, those related to gender, religion, land, home and ethnicity. In order to establish their relative share and their importance for the community, some of these values will be analysed during this presentation.

In Imaginary Homelands, Salman Rushdie says that the effect of mass migrations has been the creation of 'radically different types of human beings.' We would like to identify and summarise the new types of human beings created as a result of the Irish emigration to Argentina. These human beings are not new because of their physical, racial or psychological characteristics, but for the cultural models which they formulate and follow. Taking disparate elements from their Anglo-Irish heritage, and joining them with the local post-colonial Spanish culture, immigrants and their families developed a unique set of shared values, which will be represented in Irish-Argentine literature. But does such a literature exist?

Certainly, as the editor of The Buenos Aires Herald notes, there is an Anglo-Argentine literature. Not very strong, not very well known (and in some cases does not deserve to be), but there are some individuals who fit the classification of "British-Argentine" or, better still "Southamericana", who are excellent and who have made their mark on the literature of a continent (Graham-Yooll, 1999: 205).

From the perspective of the cultural history (we will see later the importance of the Britishness value among Irish settlers), it would not be inappropriate to classify Irish-Argentine literature within the Southamericana. Additionally, since it is not just an English-speaking literature from Argentina, we must be open enough to include in this literature bilingual works and others written in Spanish.

Aubrey Brabazon, Irish jockey, died on September 30 aged 76. He was born on January 7,1920

Forever associated with the post-war Cheltenham triumphs of Cottage Rake and Hatton's Grace, Aubrey Brabazon developed from top-flight racing jockey into one of the best-loved 'characters' in Irish racing. Bloodstock agent, motor racing driver, boxer, all-round sportsman and renowned raconteur, 'The Brab' became a legend in his own lifetime. Nobody on the Irish Turf has ever combined such racing accomplishments with the aptitude to capture those triumphs and disasters so entertainingly on paper. His love of life, his endearing charm and mischievous humour shine from every page, without ever quite concealing the tactical brain and will to win that won him renown. Too diplomatic or too diffident, to publish in his lifetime, 'The Brab' simply 'lived and loved and laughed and left.' This is how he will be remembered.
The Times 3rd October 1996

AUBREY BRABAZON was a jockey blessed with perfect hands, superb balance in the saddle, and an uncanny mastery of tactics in a race. But, above all, he fused this talent and understanding into a rapport with his mounts, and this was nowhere better demonstrated than with Cottage Rake and Hatton's Grace - both trained by Vincent O'Brien - which he rode to win three Cheltenham Gold Cups and two Champion Hurdles respectively.
Through their joint exploits, which made racing history and first established the potency of the Irish challenge at the season's greatest National Hunt meeting at Cheltenham, their rider became a legend in his native land, known simply as "the Brab". Such was the fame of his deeds that they even gave rise to verse:

Aubrey's up, the moneys down, - the frightened bookies quake, - come on, my lads, and give a cheer, - 'Begod, tis Cottage Rake"

Yet the sequence of success had an unlikely genesis. Cottage Rake, a nine-year-old, came to Cheltenham in 1948 with -only one previous win over fences, and had fallen in the Leopardstown Chase immediately proceeding the Cheltenham Gold Cup. O'Brien, also on his way to becoming a legend, and Brabazon, were so nervous before the big event that they had to stiffen their resolve with a large port and brandy at the bar, despite the rider being clad in his silks and weighed out for the race.
Cottage Rake started at odds of 10-1, which beforehand seemed a realistic assessment of his chance of taking National Hunt racing's crown of crowns. But the reality was different, approaching the first fence he took the lead. Then the better-fancied Happy Home, owned by Miss Dorothy Paget and ridden by another outstanding Irish jockey, Martin Malony, out jumped him.


Michael Brabazon calling all male Brabazons (no discrimination intended, ladies!).
Genealogical paper trail gone cold? Spent years attempting in vain to verify your ancestry? This may be the answer you were looking for...........in 2003 I commenced a Brabazon Y chromosome matching project, hosted by FamilyTreeDNA website.


The Y chromosome is passed from father to son and is traceable over many generations. Therefore, male descendants from a common ancestor will show common Y markers. There are five levels of testing: the basic 12-marker will establish a blood relationship and the 25, 37, 67 and 111-marker have the possibility of indicating how many generations back the division occurred.


The DNA kit consists of two small brushes which are used to rub the inside of the cheek. They are placed in small sealed containers and sent to the lab for analysis. See below for details.


I have identified a number of reasons that this project will prove invaluable to many individuals and their families as well as to the Clan as a whole.
Firstly, there are many Brabazons who can only trace back a few generations with little hope of further success. The basic 12-marker test may establish a blood relationship to groups within the Brabazon Clan and the refined marker tests will assist in which area to concentrate research. I'm sure I don't have to spell out how much wasted time and money can be expended in fruitless dead ends.


The website is www.familytreedna.com Go to the home page and search on Brabazon. Click on Brabazon. Order either the Y chromosome 12-marker or higher kit. By ordering it via the Brabazon project there is a reduction is price.


As the project manager, I alone - besides the individual being tested - will have access to the results. There will be no disclosure of personal information beyond what the individual agrees to or requests.

Michael Brabazon

Extracted from a talk given to the Swinford, Co Mayo Historical Society - September 2001

George Brabazon
1720 - 1780
James Brabazon
1844 - 1920
Martin Brabazon
1913 - 2000


My name is Michael Brabazon and am resident in West Cork, Ireland.   My family is of the Swinford branch of the Brabazon Clan and here are some central parts of our history.  Please respond if you are interested in what is displayed or not displayed.

Conversion to Catholicism and Irish Nationalism

Anthony Brabazon of Ballinasloe married Ellice Dillon from one of the Old English families, which had remained Catholic, in 1641.
 Anthony's change of spiritual allegiance was the precursor to his joining - what was soon to become - the Kilkenny Confederation. From his base at Ballinasloe Castle he wreaked much havoc, firstly against the Dublin Establishment and later the Cromwellian Army. The ferocity of his actions, fighting literally to the bitter end in 1651, was as much, I imagine, due to a guilty conscience of his former anti-Catholic actions as to his military prowess. His guerrilla raids against Cromwell's lines of supply seriously hindered the English advance around the coast, for which - amongst other incidents - he was tried in absentia and sentenced to death. Anthony escaped with many others to the Continent and died in exile in Seville, the old royalist capital, two years later, in the service of the Spanish king in a regiment specifically for Irish officers. Anthony may have been defeated but his inheritance was reclaimed in part by a presumed young son, William, the son of Anthony’s widow, who was later to take up the gauntlet in the army of King James. By his actions my ancestor at Ballinasloe had transformed himself from New English to Old English, and then, in common with the other Confederates, to New Irish. This then is the cultural watershed for my lineage, which has affected the fortunes of my family and those associated with us down to the present.

Acquisition of Land in Kilconduff Parish  

The first mention of my family being connected to the Swinford-to-be locale is the marriage settlement of Anthony's son William in 1679 to Mary Browne of the Neale. William is styled "of Tullinacurra" and in later documents he is "of Tullinacurra, Lough Maske and Ballinasloe". All of our Mayo properties were acquired by inheritance from our Dillon relatives, not the Brabazons.  What is interesting is that later on Hercules Brabazon, who inherited from Sir William Brabazon, the 2nd Baronet, in the 1840s administered the Swinford estate through his nephew Harvey Trewythen Combe whose address was The Lodge, Tullinacurra, (demolished in the early 1900s). If there are sufficient archaeological remains, I'm sure the Combe house will date to the Stuart period.
William is then the founder of Brabazon residency in Swinford, and Tullinacurra, therefore, is the genesis of Swinford town.

Captain William Brabazon 1650-1731

William - as I have said - was supposed to have been raised a Protestant by his mother and Dillon relatives, who outwardly had conformed. The reality was very different. As he would have had little or no memories of his putative father, being just an infant at the time of his exile, it must have been his mother, her new Dillon husband and grandparents who instilled in him the political and religious faith of the New Irish. William became a Captain in the army of King James, fighting at the Boyne in 1690, Aughrim in '91 and finally at the following doomed siege of Limerick, being one of the Jacobite representatives negotiating the surrender treaty. As with his father before him, he faced his kinsman the Earl of Meath, a leading supporter of William and Mary. Indeed, the negotiators of the Treaty of Limerick had Brabazons and Dillons sitting on both sides of the table.
Perhaps no wonder then that the resultant document shocked the Establishment in Dublin and Westminster with its lenient terms, which were later annulled. After the war, Captain William settled down to estate management and cattle rearing, neither in Ballinasloe or Tullinacurra, but at Partry on the northern shore of Lough Mask.
In a list of Catholic officers drawn up in 1693 William is registered in Mayo, along with members of the Fitzmaurice family who were later to become his in-laws from his second marriage in 1717. The Fitzmaurice seat was at Coolnaght near Claremorris and the family had been vehemently opposed to the New English influence from the beginning. The choice of Lough Mask/Partry seems logical from both an administrative and political stance: firstly, it was located in the middle of Brabazon holdings, facilitating universal access, and secondly, it was in Mayo, one of the counties where Jacobite officers had immunity under the Treaty of Limerick. However, there must have been a final move to what is now Swinford towards the end of Captain William's life, as according to the plan of the Brabazon vault at Kilconduff - dated 1827 - the 'Old Generation' is buried therein, which has to refer to William and his wife Catherine Fitzmaurice, dating the vault to at least 1742.

The Inheritance to the Younger Family

Captain William had two sons by his first marriage to Mary Browne, Anthony and George: the former conformed to the Protestant Church, either for personal gain or political expediency, and lived at the family home in Creagh, Ballinasloe, and the latter remained steadfastly Catholic probably residing at Partry and Swinford-to-be. Anthony became the High Sheriff of Galway in 1721 - 1722 shortly before his demise in 1724, brought on by drink related illnesses. Basically, he was squandering the family fortune, so something had to be done to preserve the estates in another's keeping. A deal was struck between all parties which transferred the estates in his ownership to a family trust and thence to the children - George and Malby - of the second marriage of Captain William. This despite the fact that Anthony the High Sheriff apparently had a son William, according to family correspondence. In return for the transfer of property to his half-siblings, the family ensured the material wellbeing of Anthony's widow, Margaret Malone.
After the death of Margaret, the house at Creagh was demolished and the wooden pillars taken to Newpark to be utilised in the construction of the new Brabazon House,Swinford.

Sunday, September 15, 2013



I suppose the way any incredible story commences - and ours is an incredible story - is 'In the Beginning'. And in our beginning was Jacques le Brabanzon, the Great Warrior, said to be a general in the invasion army of King William the Conqueror, and to boot, his standard bearer. Like any story from the mists of time, how do we know what is true and what belongs to the realm of mythology?

Window at Killruddery depicting William's arrival in England and Jacques le Brabanzon as his standard bearer

In actual fact, we have no historical documents regarding the person or life of Jacques, with the exception of the reference to him being included in the Roll of Battle Abbey, which is purportedly the record of the Normans who fought at the Battle of Hastings. I located a copy of The Roll, as I thought, in the British Museum and obtained permission to personally examine it. What a shocker when I found no name on it even vaguely like that of our heroic ancestor. After frantically going up and down the list a dozen or so times, I asked the archivist what she thought - had the family been living a lie and, if so, why was Jacques' name on the Roll inscribed in the Cathedral at Caen? The reply was that although everyone spoke of The Roll, in fact there is a plurality of Rolls - some extant and some lost or destroyed - and the Museum had but one of them. Further, the list at Caen is a compilation of the Rolls plural. Fair enough. So although Our Roll is in the lost or destroyed category, it does appear to be accepted by all the official genealogical bodies.

Next question - are the Rolls veracious in themselves? The answer - not completely. Apparently, names of Norman wannabees or their fathers were added to the lists (by paying large amounts to the monks who prepared them): one might say the Johnnies-come-latelies, but does that include Jacques-come-lately? My gut feeling is no, that I believe the inclusion is original, and the reason is to do with Jacques' racial and cultural origin. Although we tend to reiterate the laid down story that our ancestor was a Norman, in fact as a mercenary - and his appellation (which I'll explore a little in a minute), le Brabanzon, means he was a mercenary chieftain - he would have hailed from the Lowlands, in what is now Belgium. In fact, the village of Barbencon in the province of Hainault is the most probable genesis point. Jacques was therefore Frankish rather than Norman. Although King William reinforced his governing elite after the Conquest with additional continental families, these were Norman. He had employed Frankish mercenaries - and Bretons - to supplement his Norman knights: the Franks provided extra cavalry and the Bretons the infantry. Jacques, then, as a mercenary, could only have been in the actual invasion and unlikely to have been a later arrival. Furthermore, his descendants appear in English records already established, Franks intermarrying with the Norman settlers, with no other bone fide ancestry than that of the Great Warrior.

Barbencon Castle and Lake

Indeed, for a mercenary to be included amongst the ranks of Norman nobility must have been an honour par excellence. And by turning the appellation, le Brabanzon, into a surname meant Jacques' descendants were displaying their past with pride. It is well known that the King paid his mercenaries very handsomely after the success of the Invasion and their leaders would have become, in a word, rich. So even if we accept that Jacques was at the Battle of Hastings, what is the truth, if any, that he was William's standard bearer?