John BRYDGES

(1st B. Chandos of Sudeley)

Born: 9 Mar 1491/2, Coberley, Gloucestershire, England

Christened: 9 Mar 1491/2, Coberley, Gloucestershire, England

Acceded: 8 Apr 1554

Died: 13 Apr 1557, Sudeley Castle, Sudeley Manor, Gloucestershire, England

Buried: 3 May 1557, Sudeley Manor, Gloucestershire, England

Father: Giles BRUGGE (Sheriff of Gloucester)

Mother: Isabel BAYNHAM

Married: Elizabeth GREY (B. Chandos of Sudeley) ABT 1512, Wilton On Wye, Herefordshire, England

Children:

1. Edmund BRYDGES (2 B. Chandos of Sudeley)

2. Charles BRYDGES

3. Elizabeth BRYDGES

4. Mary BRYDGES

5. Catherine BRYDGES (B. Sutton of Dudley)

6. Anthony BRYDGES

7. Henry BRYDGES

8. Frances BRYDGES

9. Giles BRYDGES (b. 1524 - d. 1532)

10. Stephen BRYDGES

11. Richard BRYDGES


Sir John Brydges, 1st Baron Chandos (1490?-1556), eldest son of Sir Giles Brydges or Brugge (d. 1511) of Coberley, Gloucestershire, by Isabel, daughter of Thomas Baynham of Clearwell, Glos.; is stated to have been born about 1490, but the date was probably earlier.

The Brydges family, originally from Herefordshire, established itself in Gloucestershire in the 14th and 15th centuries. Its claim to the Chandos Barony came through the marriage of Thomas Brydges, or his son Giles, into the family of Sir John Chandos of Fownhopw (d. 1428) in Herefordshire. Giles Brydges who married Alice, the daughter and coheiress of Sir John Chandos (d. 1430), the last male representative in the direct line of the ancient Chandos family.

He was knighted in France, 13 Oct 1513; accompanied Henry VIII to Calais in Oct 1532, when Henry visited Francois I; was with Henry VIII at Boulogne in 1533; was appointed constable of Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, in 1538; attended Henry VIII as a groom of the privy chamber when the King received Anne of Cleves in 1539; was at Boulogne in 1544, when he was appointed deputy-governor of the city; and in 1549 was fighting there against the French.

John Brydges was doubtless placed at court by his father, a knight of the body to Henry VII. His father's younger brother Henry Brydges also served in the Households of Henry VII and Henry VIII. The young Brydges inherited a substantial patrimony including the manor of Coberley and the three manors of Blunsdon in Wiltshire. In 1512 his wardship was granted to Sir Edward Darrell. He was awarded his knighthood after service in the retinue of Charles Brandon, Lord Lisle, at Terouenne and Tournai in 1513: he attended Henry VIII on all subsequent state occasions in England and France. His election in 1529 as junior knight of the shire for his native county was a tribute to his own standing both there and at court: it was also doubtless assisted by his influential connections, through his mother with the Baynhams and through his wife with the noble house of Grey of Wilton. Of his part in the proceedings of the Commons nothing is known: evidently his religious conservatism was not sufficiently marked to earn him mention as an opponent of government policy. It is likely that he was returned again in 1536 in accordance with the King's request on that occasion for the return of the previous Members; but unless he sat in 1542, when the names of the Gloucestershire knights are lost, or in that or another Parliament for a borough for which the Members are also unknown, his service in the Commons came to an early end.

In 1536 Brydges was summoned to attend the King in person against the northern rebels during the called 'Pilgrimage of Grace' with 200 out of the total muster of 400 men. In 1537 he was High Sheriff of Wiltshire. At the end of the French war in 1544 he remained in Boulogne as lieutenant of the castle and in 1547 he was entrusted with the deputyship of the town and marches of Boulogne during the absence of his brother-in-law, William, 13th Lord Grey of Wilton.

The crisis of Jul 1553 saw Brydges summoned with Sir Nicholas Poyntz to muster servants, tenants and friends on behalf of Lady Jane Grey, but as one 'much addicted to the old religion' he gave his support to Queen Mary, who responded by entrusting him with the keepership of the Tower.

Through the first half of Mary's reign he took an active part in public affairs. In Feb 1553-4 he was engaged in repressing Wyatt's rebellion, and, after vainly attempting to obtain an order from the Queen to fire the Tower guns on the insurgents who had gathered on the Southwark side of the river, himself directed the gunners to begin the attack. It was thus that Wyatt was induced to leave his position and march on London by way of Kingston. On 8 Feb Wyatt was placed in the custody of Brydges, who handled him somewhat roughly. Brydges attended his prisoner Jane Grey to the scaffold on 12 Feb, and was so charmed by her gentleness as to beg her to give him some memorial of her in writing. She granted the request by inscribing a very pathetic farewell to him in an English prayer-book, which is now in the British Museum (Harl. MS. 2342). On 18 Mar the Princess Elizabeth was placed in his keeping, but she was removed on 19 May in consequence of the lenience which he displayed towards her (Burnet, Reformation, ed. Pocock, ii. 580). On 8 Apr 1554 Brydges was created Lord Chandos of Sudeley and was summoned to the Parliament then in session, having a bill for the avoiding of counterfeit steel committed to him on 25 Apr. He was regular in his attendance during the succeeding Parliaments of Nov 1554 and 1555; in the first of these he voted against the bill establishing a russell makers company in Norwich and in the second against the bills for the keeping of cattle and for the relief of the poor. Ten days after his elevation to the peerage, he made arrangements for the execution of Wyatt, and in the following Jun resigned the lieutenancy of the Tower to his brother Sir Thomas, whom Bishop Ridley and other prisoners of the time mention as frequenting Sir John's table and aiding him in his duties during the previous months of the year. In Feb 1554-5 Mary addressed an autograph order to Chandos to superintend the execution of Bishop Hooper at Gloucester (Wood, Letters of Illustrious Ladies, iii. 282-5), and on 21 Mar. 1555-6 he is stated by Foxe to have been present at Oxford at the death of Cranmer, but the evidence of an eyewitness of the execution makes it clear that Chandos's brother Sir Thomas took his place there.

Chandos died at Sudeley Castle 12 Apr 1556, and was buried, as he had asked to be, with Heraldic ceremony on 3 May in Sudeley Church (Machyn, Diary, Camd. Soc. pp. 133, 356). By his will, dated 2 Mar 1556, he bequeathed to his heir Edmund all his goods at Coberley and Sudeley. To his wife he left, under certain conditions, his manor of Blunsdon with all cattle and 1,000 sheep. Edmund Brydges, Sir Richard Brydges, William Reade, and Arthur Porter were appointed executors. He was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Edmund, Lord Grey of Wilton, who died 29 Dec 1559, and was buried (3 Jan 1559/60) in Jesus Chapel, afterwards St. Faith's, in St. Paul's Cathedral. An epitaph in English verse, printed by Stow, was engraved on her tomb (Stow, Survey, ed. Strype, iii. 145). The will of Lady Elizabeth Chandos, 5 Sep 1559, mentions 'my niece Fitz, Elinor Sydenham, my cousin John Fitz'.
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