BROUNS, William (d.c.1401), of Sutton Courtenay, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

s. and h. of John Brouns of Sutton Courtenay. m. bef. Sept. 1377, Beatrice, 2s.

Offices Held

Steward of the honour of Wallingford by June 1385, of Steventon, Berks. for Sir Hugh Calveley by Jan. 1387.1

Commr. of gaol delivery, Wallingford Sept. 1385, New Windsor May 1391, Reading Nov. 1393, Oxford and Wallingford castles July 1399; weirs, Berks. June 1398.

J.p. Berks. 10 Nov. 1389-d.

Escheator, Oxon. and Berks. 30 Jan.-12 Dec. 1390.


eIn May 1377, soon after coming into his inheritance of the family property, Brouns enfeoffed John Manning, clerk, and John Motte of his lands in Sutton and Didcot. At the same time his kinsman (perhaps uncle), John James† of Wallingford, put Manning and Motte into possession of other properties pertaining to this inheritance, which James held by lease. All these were to be formally settled four months later on Brouns and his wife Beatrice.2 The last conveyance was witnessed by William’s kinsman, Richard Brouns*, in whose land at Harwell (including the acre granted to Richard by William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester) he enjoyed a residual interest under the terms of entails made in the 1370s. At the parliamentary elections held in Berkshire in the autumn of 1385, Brouns stood surety for Richard Brouns and his companion-elect, Laurence Drew*. Throughout his life Brouns enjoyed friendly relations with John James and his son, Robert*. Indeed, it may well have been through the recommendation of the former that he had come to hold office as steward of the honour of Wallingford, for John James was personally acquainted with Joan, princess of Wales, to whom the honour pertained (and, in fact, had witnessed the will she made in August 1385, two months after Brouns is recorded as steward). In 1390 Brouns was made a feoffee of the substantial inheritance of Robert James’s wife, Katherine (nee de la Pole), and in the years that followed he was party to a number of transactions on their behalf. On two occasions, in January 1397 and in 1399, he provided securities for Robert James at the parliamentary elections for Berkshire.3

Brouns served for about 11 years on the bench in his home county and his appointment to several royal commissions of gaol delivery, taken together with his stewardships of Wallingford and Steventon, suggests that he had some training in the law. Not reappointed as a j.p. in March 1401, he was dead by June that year. He was buried in St. Mary’s chapel in the church at Sutton Courtenay. His lands were inherited by his elder son, Richard, who with his brother Thomas replaced their father as trustees of Robert James’s estates (in which, under the terms of an entail made in 1427 they were both to have a reversionary interest). Thomas Brouns (d.1445) was destined to outshine the other members of the family with an impressive career in the Church, culminating in his appointments as bishop of Rochester (1435-7) and Norwich (1437-d.).4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Boarstall Cart. (Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxxxviii), 222; Westminster Abbey mun. 7261.
  • 2. VCH Berks. iv. 373; CCR, 1377-81, pp. 76, 97; CIPM, xiv. 325.
  • 3. CPR, 1377-81, pp. 369-70; 1388-92, p. 334; CCR, 1377-81, pp. 327-8; 1396-9, pp. 125-6; 1419-22, p. 20; Magdalen Coll. Oxf., Harwell deed 55; Boarstall Cart. 121, 222, 260-1; C219/8/12, 9/12, 10/1.
  • 4. Eyston (East Hendred) deeds, 2 June 1401; Reg. Hallum (Canterbury and York Soc. lxxii), 728; Boarstall Cart. 49, 122, 264, 266, 285; Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. ed. Emden, i. 281-2; Lambeth Pal. Lib., Reg. Stafford, ff. 131d-133.