BRUYN, Henry (d.c.1408), of Belbroughton and Abbots Lench in Fladbury, Worcs.
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Family and Education
J.p. Worcs. 10 July 1368-Feb. 1379, 26 May 1380-Dec. 1381, 20 Dec. 1382-July 1389, 10 Nov. 1389-June 1390, 12 Nov. 1397-May 1404, 19 July 1404-Jan. 1406, 7 May 1406-c. Feb. 1407.
Escheator, Worcs. 11 Nov. 1371-12 Dec. 1372.
Commr. of array, Worcs. Aug. 1372, July 1377, Mar. 1380, Mar. 1392, Dec. 1399, Sept. 1403; to conscript archers for service in Ire., Salop, Herefs., Worcs. Nov. 1373; put down rebellion, Worcs. Mar., Dec. 1382; of inquiry, Glos. Mar. 1387 (felonies), Worcs. Nov. 1388 (property late of Sir John Beauchamp† of Holt), Worcs., Warws., Herefs. Dec. 1390 (concealed goods of the same), Worcs. June 1406 (concealments); gaol delivery, Worcester castle July 1394, May, July 1397; oyer and terminer, Worcs. Feb. 1404, Aug. 1405, July 1406; to raise royal loans Sept. 1405, June 1406.
Tax collector, Worcs. Mar. 1377; assessor May 1379; controller Dec. 1380, Mar. 1404.
Surveyor of repairs to lodges, Feckenham park, Worcs. 18 Nov. 1393-Feb. 1394.
Steward of the estates of Thomas, earl of Warwick, in Worcs. by Mich. 1395-July 1397.
Verderer, Feckenham and Lickey forests, Worcs. bef. d.
The Bruyn family had held the manors of ‘Brians Bell’ in Belbroughton and Abbots Lench since the late 13th century, and Henry Bruyn himself had a reversionary interest in Rous Lench from 1366, although that particular property never came into his possession.1
The number of Bruyn’s royal commissions, often of a judicial nature, coupled with his service on the Worcestershire bench for some 30 years (albeit with several interruptions), suggest that he was an able lawyer with a particular flair for administration. Early on in his career he may have been a retainer of Edmund, earl of March, for in 1373 he was commissioned to raise and equip 140 mounted archers for service under the earl in Ireland; although if so this was only a short-lived connexion. In April 1380 he took out letters patent formally exempting him from having to hold any royal office against his will, but this had no noticeable effect on his subsequent appointments to commissions. Bruyn’s legal advice was sought by several of the gentry of Worcestershire and by religious houses, such as Worcester priory, and he was active in the central courts on behalf of local litigants. Thus, in May 1381, in association with Sir John Beauchamp of Holt and (Sir) Laurence Sebrooke*, he was engaged in a suit brought before the chancellor and chief justices concerning the alleged free status of a bondman of the abbot of Evesham — one of many similar disputes which were to contribute to the Peasants’ Revolt, destined to erupt only a month later.2 Many of Bruyn’s clients came from outside Worcestershire: that same year he was acting as a feoffee of estates in Dorset, Staffordshire and Hampshire which had belonged to Sir Hugh Tyrell and were later to come into the possession of the influential Sir Bernard Brocas* when he married Tyrell’s widow. In 1392 Bruyn witnessed the final accord made between Bishop Wakefield of Worcester and the prior of Worcester cathedral following their dispute over the latter’s use of episcopal insignia.3
In the meantime, and before his second election to Parliament in 1383, Bruyn had been retained as a legal advisor to Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, his overlord at Abbots Lench. He is known to have been a member of the earl’s council in October 1383 (when John Catesby* came to do homage to Warwick for the manor of Ladbroke); and in that and later years he was often associated with others of Warwick’s affinity, sometimes standing surety on their behalf on the occasion of their elections to Parliament for Worcestershire. He acted in this way for Reynold Hambury† (in February 1383), for the earl’s most trusted councillor, Sir Nicholas Lilling (in September 1388 and January 1390), for a fellow lawyer, Alexander Besford (in September 1388 and 1395) and for one of the earl’s esquires, William Spernore (in 1394). In July 1389 he was party to various transactions relating to Warwick’s purchase from the Crown of the manor of Astley and a third part of that of Kidderminster, forfeited in the Merciless Parliament by Sir John Beauchamp of Holt; and in the following year he and other Warwick retainers made enfeoffments of the Kidderminster estates to the earl’s use. The same group of men were also involved, in February 1390, in the purchase by another Lord Appellant, Richard, earl of Arundel, of estates in Kent forfeited by Sir Nicholas Brembre†. In 1391 Bruyn was a co-feoffee with Sir Henry Green* and Sir William Bagot*, among others, in the lordship of Abergavenny in Wales and some 22 manors in 13 English counties, which had belonged to the late earl of Pembroke. They were evidently acting on behalf of the heir to these estates, Warwick’s brother Sir William Beauchamp (later Lord Beauchamp of Abergavenny), and they also showed a concern for the interests of Philippa, countess of Arundel, to whom, as Pembroke’s widow, they assigned dower. At least by Michaelmas 1395 Bruyn was employed by Earl Thomas of Warwick as steward of his estates in Worcestershire, for an annual fee of £3 6s.8d., and he continued to be involved in the earl’s affairs right up to the time of Warwick’s arrest in July 1397. Indeed, only shortly before that event he had made the earl a loan of 100 marks, for which he had received certain jewels as security of repayment. That Bruyn did not share in Warwick’s downfall may have been due to his association with certain of the King’s loyal supporters: he was then acting as co-feoffee with Guy Mone, the keeper of the privy seal, and Roger Walden, the treasurer and future archbishop, for the purchase of the manor of Tottenham (Middlesex) on behalf of the treasurer’s brother, John Walden*; and he was also on good terms with Sir John Russell* of Strensham, Richard II’s master of the horse and councillor. Such contacts may explain Bruyn’s reappointment to the Worcestershire bench in November 1397. He did, however, take the precaution of obtaining royal pardons in the following year.4
Bruyn weathered the political storm of 1399 and after Warwick’s release he resumed his role of legal advisor to him and his countess. The new government was ready to make full use of his experience of local administration, especially at the time of Glendower’s rebellion when, in September 1403, he was commissioned to array the men of Worcestershire, selecting the best for service in the King’s army about to march into Wales, and he was also instructed to organize the victualling of certain castles on the borders of Herefordshire. On the latter occasion he was called ‘sheriff of Worcestershire’, but there is no other evidence that he ever held this office, which, indeed, then pertained to the new earl of Warwick. Commissions of oyer and terminer to which Bruyn was appointed in 1404 and 1405 concerned trespasses on Beauchamp property in Worcestershire, and suggest that his interest in Beauchamp affairs was as strong as ever.5
Bruyn died at some unknown date before May 1408, when a new verderer of Feckenham forest was to be elected on account of his death. His heir was his kinswoman Joan, the wife of Nicholas Burdet (d.1440), son of Sir Thomas Burdet* (one of Earl Richard of Warwick’s retainers).6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. VCH Worcs. iii. 16, 355, 498.
- 2. CP40/480 rot. attorneys; CPR, 1370-4, p. 353; 1377-81, p. 458; Compotus Rolls Worcester Priory (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1910), 17, 25; CCR, 1377-81, p. 515.
- 3. CFR, ix. 274; CIPM, xv. 426; CPR, 1381-5, pp. 153, 385; CCR, 1381-5, p. 376; Reg. Wakefield (Worcs. Hist. Soc. n.s. vii), no. 683.
- 4. C219/8/8, 9/5, 7, 10, 11, 10/1; CPR, 1388-92, pp. 80, 222, 307, 514; Egerton Roll, 8769; CCR, 1396-9, p. 227; 1399-1402, pp. 227, 231, 237; SC6/1123/5; CIMisc. vi. 302; C67/30 mm. 24, 29; Med. Legal Recs. ed. Hunnisett and Post, 315.
- 5. T. Habington, Surv. Worcs. (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1896-9), ii. 250; Egerton Roll, 8770; CPR, 1401-5, pp. 286, 288, 296.
- 6. CCR, 1405-9, p. 321; W. Dugdale, Warws. 593.