BRACE, John (c.1578-1630), of Hill Court, Dodderhill, Worcs.
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Family and Education
c.1578, 1st s. of Philip Brace of Dodderhill, and Eleanor, da. and h. of one Newport.1 educ. Exeter Coll., Oxf., 1594, aged 16.2 m. by 1614,3 Cecily, da. of Sir Samuel Sandys* of Ombersley, Worcs., 2s., 1da.4 suc. fa. 1598;5 uncle Francis Brace† 1599.6 d. 12 Aug. 1630.7
Brace needs to be distinguished from a namesake, probably a relative, who was bailiff of Ombersley manor for the Sandys family in 1593.8 The Braces were an old Worcestershire family which had frequently represented the county in the Middle Ages, but which by the sixteenth century had declined in significance.9 Brace was descended from a branch that settled in Doverdale, three miles north-west of Droitwich, in the late fourteenth century. The main part of the family estate passed to Brace’s uncle Francis, who represented Droitwich under Elizabeth and was three times bailiff of the borough. Francis sold off a significant portion of the estate and died without male heir. As a result of a settlement of his estate in 1588, what was left of the family lands, which consisted principally of half the manor of Doverdale and another property, passed to Brace.10 The family owned several salt bullaries in Droitwich, the prerequisite of the burgess-ship in the borough.11 Brace’s father, though a younger son, inherited some of them, and also £120, and purchased Hill Court in Dodderhill, two miles north-east of Droitwich, where he settled. Brace himself probably inherited these salt works, and was consequently almost certainly a burgess of Droitwich.12
Brace undoutedly owed his election in 1604 to his family’s continued influence in the borough. His only mention in the parliamentary records was on 26 Mar. 1610, when he was appointed to a small sub-committee to consider the complaints from Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire and Herefordshire, against the Council in the Marches.13 Brace opposed the jurisdiction of the Council in Worcestershire, and in 1614 was one of the Worcestershire gentry who lobbied James I’s favourite the earl of Somerset to support the exclusion of the English counties from the Council’s authority.14
The date of Brace’s marriage to Cecily Sandys is unknown, but he was on friendly terms with her father, Sir Samuel Sandys by 15 Aug. 1608, when he visited Sandys’s house. There he was involved in an affray with one of Sandys’s tenants, which led him to be entangled in a Star Chamber suit.15 He subsequently acted as a trustee for Sir Samuel and other members of the Sandys family. Brace’s support may have helped Edwin Sandys’s election for Droitwich in 1614.16
Brace made his will on 3 Aug. 1630, in which he asked to be ‘decently buried befitting my rank’, and died nine days later. He was interred at St. Augustine’s, Dodderhill and £41 10s. 8d. was spent on his funeral. A probate inventory, taken on 13 Sept., suggests he was relatively prosperous. It totalled £824 2s. 8d., including £100 in plate and jewels and £312 in bonds. Brace himself owed only £27 10s. at the time of his death. None of his descendants sat in Parliament.17
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Glyn Redworth
- 1. Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xc), 14-15; C2/Eliz./D8/57.
- 2. Al. Ox.
- 3. Eldest son aged 17 when he matriculated in 1631, Al. Ox. (Brace, Philip).
- 4. Vis. Worcs. ed. Metcalfe, 23.
- 5. Worcs. Wills and Admins. ed. E.A. Fry (Brit. Rec. Soc. and Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1904), i. 400.
- 6. C142/325/186.
- 7. MIs, St. Augustine’s Church, Dodderhill, Worcs. comp. P. Harris (Birmingham and Midland Soc. of Genealogy and Heraldry), 1.
- 8. Worcs. RO, BA/3910/7.
- 9. MIs comp. P. Harris, 1; Survey of Worcs. by Thomas Habington ed. J. Amphlett (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1899), i. 329; OR.
- 10. HP Commons, 1558-1603 sub Brace, Francis; C142/325/186.
- 11. HP Commons, 1386-1421 sub Brace, John; VCH Worcs. iii. 69.
- 12. PROB 11/33, f. 117v; Habington, ii. 307, 310.
- 13. CJ, i. 414b.
- 14. SP14/78/75.
- 15. STAC 8/189/27.
- 16. Worcs. RO, BA/39107; BA/705/96.
- 17. Worcs. RO, Will 1630, #10; MIs comp. P. Harris, 1; Inventories of Worcs. Landed Gentry ed. M. Wanklyn (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1998), pp. 158-9.