BROMLEY, Henry (c.1560-1615), of Holt Castle, Worcs. and Shrawardine Castle, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. c.1560, 1st s. of Thomas Bromley by Elizabeth, da. of Sir Adrian Fortescue of Shirburn, Oxon. educ. Hart Hall, Oxf. 1576; I. Temple 1579. m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Pelham, master of the ordnance; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Hugh Verney of Som.; (3) Anne, da. of William Beswick of Cheshire, alderman of London; (4) Anne (d.1628), wid. of William Appleby, merchant of the staple; at least 3s. suc. fa. 1587. Kntd. 1592.1
Sheriff, Worcs. 1591-2, j.p. from c.1591-1601; j.p. Salop from c.1598-1601; gent. privy chamber 1603.2
A member of the senior branch of a Shropshire family, Bromley was nephew of John Fortescue I and George Bromley and cousin to Francis and Edward Bromley. His relatives included the Lytteltons, and his four marriages brought connexions with other families, in trade as well as in county circles. He inherited an extensive estate in Worcestershire, including the manor and advowson of Holt, and some lands in Shropshire. As early as 1586 he had bought the manor of Great Malvern from Lord Lumley and in 1593 he bought the manor of Upton, Worcestershire, from Sir Anthony Bourne and Herbert Croft. Active in local affairs, he was collector for the loan in 1598. In that year he searched the house of one suspected of harbouring Father Gerard and in 1599 served with his brother-in-law Edward Greville on a commission to discover recusants’ lands and goods. He joined with Sir John Pakington in negotiations with the bailiffs and burgesses of Droitwich who were being recalcitrant over taxation contributions. In 1600 he was assessed, as of Shropshire, to furnish one horse for service in Ireland. His standing in both counties was sufficient to obtain him a turn as knight of the shire and he is one of a small number of MPs in this or any other period to have sat for two counties. His return for Plymouth no doubt came about through the influence of his father, a friend of the and Earl of Bedford. In the Commons he was named to the committee, appointed on 11 Nov. 1586, which attended the Queen about Mary Queen of Scots. In 1593 he and his fellow knight of the shire, William Walsh, were recruited by Richard Stephens in support of Peter Wentworth’s scheme to bring the succession question before the House of Commons. Bromley, Stephens and Walsh spent most of the session in the Fleet, being released in late April shortly after the end of Parliament. During the session of 1597 Bromley was named to committees concerning armour and weapons (8 Mar.) and monopolies (10 Mar.), and he was entitled to attend the following committees by virtue of his position as knight for Shropshire: enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5 Nov., 22 Nov.), the penal laws (8 Nov.) and the subsidy (15 Nov.). Soon after his release from the Fleet he attached himself to the Earl of Essex, and although before the rising he and his brother-in-law, Sir John Scott, sent Essex an assurance of their willingness ‘to do him service’, Bromley was wise enough in the event not to take a part in it. He was, however, sent to the Tower (21 Feb. 1601), examined (5 May), fined and removed from the commission of the peace. He was not released until May 1602.3
On the death of Elizabeth, Bromley was one of the first to go north to greet James, and was restored to favour. He died 15 May 1615, having made his will four days earlier. He was mourned as a ‘lover and favourer of learning, religious in the course of his life, sweet in his conversations, with all sorts bountiful in hospitality, charitable and pitiful to the poor’.4