BRYDGES, Sir John (1492-1557), of Coberley, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

Family and Education

b. 9 Mar. 1492, 1st s. of Sir Giles Brydges of Coberley by Isabel, da. of Thomas Baynham of Clearwell, Glos.; bro. of Thomas. m. by 1520, Elizabeth, da. of Edmund, 9th Lord Grey of Wilton, 7s. inc. Edmund 3da. suc. fa. 1 Dec. 1511. Kntd. ?13 Oct. 1513, cr. Baron Chandos of Sudeley 8 Apr. 1554.1

Offices Held

Commr. subsidy, Glos. 1515, 1524, musters 1522, Wilts. 1539, relief, Glos. Wilts. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities Glos. 1553; other commissions 1530-d.; j.p. Glos., Wilts. 1529-d.; knight of the body by 1533; jt. (with bro. Thomas) keeper, Cornbury and Langley parks, Oxon. 1536; sheriff, Wilts. 1537-8, Glos. 1549-50; constable, Sudeley castle, Glos. 1538-42, jt. (with s. Edmund) 1542-d.; groom, privy chamber 1539; jt. (with s. Edmund) steward, Winchcombe and hundreds of Greatstone, Holford and Kiftsgate, Glos. 1542-d.; lt. Boulogne Sept. 1544, dep. gov. and lt. 2 Sept. 1547; lt. Tower Aug. 1553-June 1554.2

Biography

The Brydges family, originally from Herefordshire, established itself in Gloucestershire in the 14th and 15th centuries. Its claim to the Chandos barony came through the marriage of Thomas Brydges into the family of Sir John Chandos (d.1428) of Fownhope in Herefordshire.3

John Brydges was doubtless placed at court by his father, a knight of the body to Henry VII. His father’s younger brother Henry Brydges also served in the Households of Henry VII and Henry VIII. The young Brydges inherited a substantial patrimony including the manor of Coberley and the three manors of Blunsdon in Wiltshire. In 1512 his wardship was granted to Sir Edward Darrell. He was awarded his knighthood after service in the retinue of Charles Brandon, Lord Lisle, at Terouenne and Tournai in 1513: he attended Henry VIII on all subsequent state occasions in England and France. His election in 1529 as junior knight of the shire for his native county was a tribute to his own standing both there and at court: it was also doubtless assisted by his influential connexions, through his mother with the Baynhams and through his wife with the noble house of Grey of Wilton. Of his part in the proceedings of the Commons nothing is known: evidently his religious conservatism was not sufficiently marked to earn him mention as an opponent of government policy. It is likely that he was returned again in 1536 in accordance with the King’s request on that occasion for the return of the previous Members; but unless he sat in 1542, when the names of the Gloucestershire knights are lost, or in that or another Parliament for a borough for which the Members are also unknown, his service in the Commons came to an early end.4

In 1536 Brydges was summoned to attend the King in person against the northern rebels with 200 out of his total muster of 400 men. At the end of the French war in 1544 he remained in Boulogne as lieutenant of the castle and in 1547 he was entrusted with the deputyship of the town and marches of Boulogne during the absence of his brother-in-law, William, 13th Lord Grey of Wilton. The crisis of July 1553 saw Brydges summoned with Sir Nicholas Poyntz to muster servants, tenants and friends on behalf of Lady Jane Grey, but as one ‘much addicted to the old religion’ he gave his support to Queen Mary, who responded by entrusting him with the keepership of the Tower. Lady Jane Grey, at her execution, made him a present of her English prayer book. Brydges took an active part in suppressing the rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt II, whom he treated harshly when guarding him in the Tower. By contrast, after Princess Elizabeth was delivered into Brydges’ custody in March 1554, she was removed from it two months later because he was considered too lenient towards her. He was created Lord Chandos of Sudeley in April 1554 and was summoned to the Parliament then in session, having a bill for the avoiding of counterfeit steel committed to him on 25 Apr. He was regular in his attendance during the succeeding Parliaments of November 1554 and 1555; in the first of these he voted against the bill establishing a russell makers company in Norwich and in the second against the bills for the keeping of cattle and for the relief of the poor.5

Brydges died at Sudeley on 12 Apr. 1557 and was buried, as he had asked to be, in the church there on 3 May. By his will, dated 2 Mar. 1556, he bequeathed to his heir Edmund all his goods at Coberley and Sudeley. To his wife he left, under certain conditions, his manor of Blunsdon with all cattle and 1,000 sheep. Edmund Brydges, (Sir) Richard Brydges, William Rede I, and Arthur Porter were appointed executors.