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.
- Roger, the heir (see below).
- Adam of Allexton, an attorney who died unmarried 25 January 1509. His will was proved 24 April 1510.
- John, ancestor of the earls of Meath (see below ).
- William of Eastwell, who continued farming there (see below).
- 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.
- 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,
- 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.
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.