Anne BRANDON

(B. Grey of Powis)

Born: ABT 1507

Died: Jan 1557/8

Father: Charles BRANDON (1 D. Suffolk)

Mother: Anne BROWNE

Married 1: Edward GREY (3 B. Grey of Powis) 1531, Suffolk, England

Married 2: Randle HANSWORTH


Lady Anne was born in about 1507, the eldest daughter of Charles Brandon, her mother was Anne Browne, her father's second wife. Before 1507, her father deserted Anne Browne, to whom he was betrothed and who was pregnant with Anne, in order to marry her maternal aunt Margaret Neville, a wealthy widow. When that marriage was declared null and void, he returned to Anne and married her as his second wife. The marriage also produced a younger daughter, Mary Brandon.

In 1514, Brandon secured a place for Anne, aged about seven, at the court of Margaret of Savoy, Governor of the Netherlands. She remained there for nearly two years. While she was abroad, her father married Mary Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister. Anne returned to England at her stepmother's insistence, although her father had intended her to stay at the court of Archduchess Margaret, saying to the latter "the Queen [Mary Tudor] has so urged and prayed me to have her that I cannot contradict her". Two gentlemen escorted Anne from the Netherlands to Westhorpe Hall, where she and her younger sister, Mary, made their home with their father, stepmother and three remaining half-siblings: Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln, Frances Brandon, and Eleanor Brandon.

To ensure the legitimacy of Brandon’s children by Mary Tudor, a papal bull was secured from Pope Clement VII to confirm that the divorce from Margaret Neville was valid. This also settled the question of Anne's legitimacy.

In Jun 1533, after the death of Mary Tudor, Anne and her sister Mary pushed themselves to the head of the funeral cortege just before the coffin was lowered into the crypt of the Abbey of St Edmundsbury, much to the consternation of their half-siblings.Anne's father married his young ward Catherine Willoughby later that year.

Anne had married Edward Grey, baron Grey of Powis (b. 1503 d. 1551) between 1525 and 1531. It was not a happy marriage and by 1537 Anne had left her husband for a lover, Randle Haworth or Hansworth, and Grey had taken a mistress, Jane Orwell, by whom he had a total of four illegitimate children, and upon whom he would later entail the greater part of his estates comprising the barony of Powys. In that year, Suffolk attempted to force Lord Powis to support Anne. With Lord Cromwell’s help, he succeeded in obtaining an annuity of 100 for her. He also asked Cromwell to help discipline Anne so that she would "live after such an honest sort as shall be to her honor and mine".

In 1540, Powis petitioned the Privy Council to punish Anne for adultery and also claimed that she was conspiring with Hansworth to murder him. No official action seems to have been taken against her, and she remained with her lover, which may be why she was left out of her father’s will, which contained generous bequests to her two half-sisters, Frances and Eleanor.

At some point between 1545 and 1551, Anne entered into a "corrupt understanding" with John Beaumont of Thringston, a judge in Chancery, whereby she obtained lands with forged documents (supposedly generated by her late father) and then sold those lands to Beaumont. This defrauded her half sister Frances's husband, Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset. The scheme came to light in 1552 and Beaumont was arrested, but Anne does not seem to have been punished. By then, Lord Powis was dead and she had married Hansworth. She had also written her will, dated 29 Oct 1551, although she was not to die until early 1558, aged about 51 years. She was buried on 13 Jan of that year, either in Westminster Abbey or in the adjoining St. Margaret's Church.

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