Available from Boydell and Brewer
No names known for 1510-23
|1542||SIR JOHN CLERE|
|1545||SIR JOHN CLERE|
|1547||(SIR) WILLIAM SHARINGTON|
|by 23 Jan. 1552||CHIDIOCK PAULET 1|
|RICHARD BUNNY 2|
|1553 (Mar.)||GEORGE RITHE|
|1553 (Oct.)||(SIR) JOHN BAKER I|
|1554 (Apr.)||SIR HENRY PALMER|
|1554 (Nov.)||THOMAS ELRINGTON|
|JOHN BAKER II 3|
|1555||SIR THOMAS KNYVET|
|JOHN BAKER II or THOMAS BAKER|
|1558||HENRY MYNN 4|
|NICHOLAS MYNN 5|
The township of Bramber was overshadowed by the adjoining borough of Steyning, but its position on the most southerly road running the length of Sussex, at the crossing of the river Adur, gave it a measure of independence from its neighbour. The castle, manor and borough formed part of the barony of Bramber belonging to the dukes of Norfolk. On the execution of Catherine Howard the 3rd Duke surrendered his interest in the barony to Henry VIII, and on the death of his stepmother in 1545 Bramber passed to the crown. In 1547 Edward VI granted the barony to Sir Thomas Seymour II, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, upon whose fall two years later it reverted to the crown. In May 1553 Edward Lewknor bought the ‘site of the late castle’ from the King. At her accession Mary restored the barony to the 3rd Duke, and on his death a year later it passed to his grandson and heir, the 4th Duke.6
The borough was administered by a constable assisted by burgesses: the constable was elected annually at the court leet of the manor. No borough records are extant for the period. Indentures survive for all the Parliaments between 1542 and 1555, except for that of April 1554. The first two are written in Latin, the rest in English. The contracting parties are the sheriff of Surrey and Sussex and the burgesses, named and varying in number between three and 15. In February and October 1553 the electors are said to include ‘others’ or to comprise ‘the said burgesses and freeholders and other the inhabitants’. The constable is mentioned only in the indenture for 1545 where the list of electors also includes ‘the bailiff of the town’. The names of both the Members for 1547 are added in a different hand from the rest of the document.7
Although the 3rd Duke did not include Bramber in the list of Sussex boroughs which he controlled, the omission was almost certainly an oversight. All the Members, apart from those returned during the reign of Edward VI, were nominees of the Howards or their followers. The John Fylde returned in 1547 has not been identified, but his fellow-Member Sir William Sharington doubtless owed his place in the House to Admiral Seymour. Their replacements in the Parliament of 1547, Richard Bunny and Chidiock Paulet, seem to have had Council backing. The election of Lawrence Awen and George Rithe in 1553 was presumably the work of the sheriff, Sir Anthony Browne.8
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. Hatfield 207.
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. C219/23/131 gives christian name only; full name supplied from Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
- 4. C193/32/2. Their surnames are misprinted Wynne in OR.
- 5. Ibid.
- 6. This survey rests on R. J. W. Swales, ‘Local pol. and partly. rep. of Suss. 1529-58’ (Bristol Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1964) and ‘The Howard interest in Suss. Arch. Colls.’ cxiv. 49-60. D. G. C. Elwes and C. J. Robinson. The Castles, Mansions and Manors of W. Suss. 45-46, 48; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 25-33; 1553, p. 102; Archaeological Jnl. cxxxiv. 20-21.
- 7. C219/18B/95, 18C/119, 19/107, 20/132, 21/152, 23/131, 24/160.
- 8. LP Hen. VIII, x. 816 citing Cott. Calig. B6, f. 319.