BROWNE, John II (by 1513-70), of London and Horton Kirby, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. by 1513, 2nd s. of William Browne of Flambards Hall, Essex and London by Alice, da. of Henry Keble of London. m. (1) Anne, da. and coh. of Sir John Montgomery of Cubley, Derbys., ch. d.v.p.; (2) by 1541, Alice, da. of Sir Thomas Baldry of London, 2s. 1da.; (3) by 1546, Christian, da. of William Carkett (Carkeke) of London, 2s. prob. 3da.1
Warden of the mint 1536-44, surveyor, Tower I mint 25 Mar. 1544-25 Mar. 1552; commr. for issue of Irish coins 1540, relief, Kent 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553, sewers 1554, 1555, 1568.2
Aldborough, a duchy of Lancaster borough, first returned to Parliament in 1558. John Gascoigne, the senior of its first two Members, was a Yorkshireman whereas John Browne was almost certainly, like so many of the Marian Members for duchy boroughs, from Essex or of Essex origin. There were John Brownes in Yorkshire, as in every other part of the country, but nothing has been found to link any of them with the seat at Aldborough. From Essex, however, there had sprung a John Browne of sufficient standing and appropriate connexion.3
John Browne of Horton Kirby had started life in Essex as a younger son of William Browne, mercer and lord mayor of London, who died in 1514. His mother, the daughter of another lord mayor, had married again, by 15 Feb. 1515, William Blount, 4th Lord Mountjoy, and the Browne-Blount connexion was to be strengthened by the marriage of William Browne’s daughter Anne to John Tyrrell, grandson of John, 3rd Lord Mountjoy. After Tyrrell’s death his widow married (Sir) William Petre: this marriage had taken place by March 1542, and probably coincided with the licence obtained by Petre in the previous November to alienate the Essex manors of Ingatestone and Handley, together with the advowson of Ingatestone, to John Browne and Browne’s nephew, Vincent Mundy. It is also reflected in the appointment of Petre, ‘my brother John Browne’ and Richard Blount of Mapledurham, Oxfordshire, as executors of the will of Charles, 5th Lord Mountjoy, in 1544, a duty which however they renounced.4
It may have been to Petre that Browne owed his return in 1558 but he was also distantly related to the Marian chancellors of the duchy, Sir Robert Rochester and his nephew Sir Edward Waldegrave: the chancellorship was vacant at the time of the election, Waldegrave being appointed on 22 Jan. 1558. Moreover, Browne’s first marriage may have brought him into touch with Francis, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, then president of the council in the north, which seems later to have shared the parliamentary patronage of Aldborough with the duchy: Browne’s son William was to correspond with the 6th and 7th Earls from Snelston, part of the Montgomery inheritance. Lady Petre was a Catholic but no indication has been found of her brother’s beliefs unless he was the Master John Browne of St. Alban’s parish, London, who was in trouble in 1541 ‘for bearing with Barnes’. Although St. Albans was the Member’s parish, this Protestant parishioner could have been (Sir) Thomas Cawarden’s servant of that name and the husband of the Alice Browne who besought Cecil to expedite the pardon and return of her spouse in 1549. At least one Browne is later to be found as a recusant at Ingatestone.5
Browne had been appointed warden of the mint in 1536, pensioned off in 1544 and then appointed surveyor. His salary was increased to £53 in April 1545 and after surrendering the office he was granted an annuity of £40 on 26 May 1552. Besides being the stepson of Lord Mountjoy, master of the mint from 1509 to 1533, Browne was related to Sir John Shaw, an earlier master, and probably also to Sir Thomas Chamberlain†, under treasurer of the mint at Bristol from 1548 to 1550. He was elected sheriff of London in August 1552 and appeared before the court of aldermen on 17 Aug., ‘declaring before them that he was not a man of substance nor able to perform the room ... and that he never had occupied ... trade of merchandise, but living as a gentleman on his lands and his office as ... paymaster in one of the King’s mints of the Tower’. He was given two days to think over his position and in the meantime was summoned before the Mercers’ Company, to which he had been admitted in 1536, and told ‘what worship it should be to him to take the said office on him if he knew himself able for it’. Still refusing, he contracted to pay a £200 fine, as two others previously elected that year had also done. His recalcitrance makes it unlikely that he was the John Browne who was under sheriff of Middlesex in July 1556.6
Browne had acquired Horton Kirby by 1559 when he appeared on the pardon roll as of there and London. He purchased a Lancashire manor, Layton or Layton Magna, from Sir Thomas Butler (father of the Member of the same name) and sold it to Thomas Fleetwood. In 1566 James, 6th Lord Mountjoy, alienated a number of Yorkshire properties to Browne and in the following year two thirds of the Dorset manor of Canford to him and Charles Browne, doubtless one of his younger sons. Browne disposed of some of the Yorkshire properties almost immediately. When he died, he left property in London, Derbyshire, Kent, Leicestershire, Middlesex and Staffordshire: in Essex he had only a rent-charge.7
Browne made his will on 7 Sept. 1570, describing himself as of London although he was then living at Horton Kirby. His moveable goods were to be divided into two equal parts, according to the custom of London, one part to be distributed among his children. Three of his daughters (the only ones to be mentioned in the will, although a fourth, Christian, appears in his inquisition) were already married. Richard Baker, Sir Maurice Berkeley, Lady Chamberlain, William Damsell and John Petre† were each to receive a gold ring. Two of Browne’s sons, William and Charles, were the executors and the overseers were Sir William and Lady Petre, Browne’s three sons-in-law and his brother-in-law Ralph Carkett. Browne died in the same month, and his son and heir William, then over 30, had licence to enter on 22 June 1571.8
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. Date of birth estimated from father’s death and birth of younger brother. Vis. London (Harl. Soc. cix, cx), 50-51 followed in preference to Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 164 and Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxiv), 35; J. C. Cox, Derbys. Churches, iii. 91-92; C142/157/120.
- 2. LP Hen. VIII, iii, iv, xi, xv, xix; CPR, 1553, pp. 355, 414; 1553-4, p. 36; 1554-5, p. 110; 1569-72, p. 220; Brit. Numismatic Jnl. xlv. 57.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xix; CPR, 1554-5, p.324; 1555-7, pp. 393-5; Vis. Essex, 166.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, i, ii, xvi, xix; Vis. Essex, 113; PCC 13 Fetiplace; Beaven, Aldermen of London, ii. 166.
- 5. HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot, ii. 151, 185, 224, 236, 243, 257; Foxe, Acts and Mons. v. 443; CPR, 1557-8, p. 335; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 22; Essex Recusant, ii. 120, 126.
- 6. LP Hen. VIII, xix, xx; CPR, 1550-3, p. 297; 1553-4, p. 398; 1555-7, p. 516; C. E. Challis, Tudor Coinage, 32, 84-87; Wriothesley’s Chron. ii. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xx), 71-75; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 23-24; list of mercers (T/S Mercers’ Hall), 41.
- 7. CPR, 1553-4, p. 227; 1558-60, p. 190; 1563-6, p. 400; 1566-9, pp. 42-43, 111.
- 8. PCC 30 Lyon; C142/157/120; CPR, 1569-72, p. 286.