BROWNE, Sir Valentine (c.1582-1626), of Croft, Lincs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1582, 1st s. of Sir Valentine Browne of Croft, and Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Monson of South Carlton, Lincs.1 educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1598; G. Inn 1598.2 m. 19 Feb. 1611,3 Amy (bur. 3 May 1632), da. of Richard Fulstow of High Toynton, Lincs. and coh. to her bro. Peregrine, s.p.4 kntd. 23 Apr. 1603;5 suc. fa. 1606.6 bur. 29 Apr. 1626.7
Commr. sewers, Fenland 1604, River Gleane, Lincs. and Notts. 1607-19, city of Lincoln, Lincs. 1608, Newark, Notts. 1610, preservation of ditches, Fenland 1605.8
Browne must be distinguished from a namesake, his Roman Catholic cousin who was granted an Irish baronetcy in 1622. Browne’s grandfather, Sir Valentine Browne†, was victualler of Berwick, which he represented in two Elizabethan Parliaments. The family had settled at Croft by 1560, when they received a grant of arms.9 Links with other notable Lincolnshire families, including the Dymokes and Monsons, raised Browne to a position of standing among the local gentry, although he never held any major office in the county.
Following the death in 1596 of his brother-in-law, Edward Tyrrell, warden of the Fleet prison, Browne tried to claim the wardenship for his nephew, Robert Tyrrell, a minor whose wardship had been purchased by Robert Bacon*.10 He challenged his sister’s second husband, Sir George Reynell*, in the Court of Wards, but Reynell countered by bringing Browne into Star Chamber in 1604 for forcibly taking possession of the prison, and appealed to the master of the Wards, Robert Cecil†, later 1st earl of Salisbury, who ordered Browne to withdraw.11 Although he ultimately succeeded in securing Tyrrell’s inheritance, Browne could ill afford the legal fees he incurred in this and other causes. Most notably, by 1602 he and his father had also been drawn into a long-standing feud between his maternal uncle, Sir Edward Dymoke†, and the 2nd earl of Lincoln (Sir Henry Clinton†), which resulted in a series of Star Chamber suits and divided the county.12
In June 1606, shortly after succeeding to a heavily encumbered estate, Browne obtained a special pardon, presumably through the influence at Court of his uncle Sir Thomas Monson*.13 His six younger brothers and five sisters accused him of ‘profuse expense’ and, in order to provide for them under his father’s will, Browne was obliged to sell off outlying parcels of land. He was also compelled to take out a mortgage of £11,350 from Salisbury’s niece, Lady Hatton, who leased Croft and an adjoining tract of salt marsh back to one of Browne’s brothers as the next in entail.14 Browne sought to restore his fortunes by enclosing and draining adjoining marshland, but a certain Samuel Bushey also laid claim to it, and brought him into Star Chamber again in July 1609, alleging forcible entry by Browne’s workmen.15 It was probably as a result of this case that Browne sought entry to Parliament, in the hope that he could avert, or at least delay an unfavourable verdict by securing parliamentary privilege.
With the help of his extended family an opening was created for Browne when one of the knights of the shire, Thomas, Lord Clinton* was summoned to the Upper House in February 1610. However, Browne’s entry into the Commons was delayed by Clinton’s refusal to leave. A by-election eventually took place in early April, but Clinton alleged that it was held without due notice and sparsely attended, casting the validity of Browne’s return into doubt. The case was referred to the privileges committee, who ruled that Browne could take his seat after Clinton’s departure on 2 June.16 Once in the Commons, Browne claimed privilege in order not to attend Star Chamber on 18 July 1610, but left no other trace on the parliamentary records.17 On Bushey’s death, leaving his heir a minor, Browne and Sir William Monson† prevailed on the escheator to omit the disputed land from the inquisition.18
Some time after the dissolution of Parliament, Browne seems to have been imprisoned, presumably for debt, since in January 1612 he was released on a writ of habeas corpus.19 Bushey’s widow managed to get the escheator’s verdict overthrown, and in 1614 she sued him in the Star Chamber for a battery of further offences including perjury, conspiring with Sir William Monson fraudulently to obtain £1,700 in alms, and kidnapping her son.20 Browne’s remaining years were dogged by litigation and debt.21 He died intestate, without heirs, and was buried at Croft on 29 Apr. 1626. His widow survived until 1632, although her instructions for the erection of a monument in Croft church to herself and her husband were ignored.22
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Paula Watson / Rosemary Sgroi
- 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 180.
- 2. Al. Cant.; GI Admiss.
- 3. C2/Jas.I/B13/37.
- 4. Lincs. N and Q, v. 30.
- 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 102.
- 6. C142/295/25.
- 7. Lincs. N and Q, v. 30.
- 8. C181/1, ff. 75, 117v; 181/2, ff. 48, 75, 119, 353.
- 9. PROB 11/73, f. 271; Lincs. N and Q, xv. 198; Grantees of Arms ed. W.H. Rylands (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 37.
- 10. WARD 9/159, f. 28v.
- 11. STAC 8/8/1; C78/292/1.
- 12. STAC 8/91/18; HMC Hatfield, xii. 344-5, 411; xiii. 556-7.
- 13. C66/1961.
- 14. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 422; Bodl. Tanner 285, f. 69; Lincs. AO, Drake Tyrwhitt mss 2/1/3, 6, 7, 17, 42.
- 15. STAC 8/52/12; Bodl. Tanner 283, f. 81; Tanner 285, f. 87.
- 16. CJ, i. 424b, 429a; Procs. 1610 ed. E.R. Foster, ii. 5-6.
- 17. CJ, i. 452a.
- 18. C142/323/6, 109; 142/330/12; 142/364/17; C2/Chas.I/B133/45.
- 19. HMC Rutland, i. 433.
- 20. STAC 8/77/16.
- 21. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 324.
- 22. Lincs. N and Q, v. 30.