Sir Valentine BROWNE of Totteridge

Born: ABT 1515

Died: 1589

Father: Valentine BROWNE of Croft (Sir)

Mother: ?

Married 1: Alice ALEXANDER

Children:

1. Valentine BROWNE

Married 2: Thomasine BACON

Children:

2.

3. Thomas BROWNE (Sir)

4. Elizabeth BROWNE

5. Anne BROWNE

6. Valentine BROWNE


Eldest son of Sir Valentine Browne, knight, of Croft, who died in 1568. His father's family had been established in Totteridge, Hertfordshire, and in Hoxton, Middlesex, before moving to Lincolnshire. From 1550 to 1553 Browne was auditor at Berwick Castle. From 1553 to 1560 he was Auditor-General of Ireland. He was appointed Surveyor General of Ireland in 1559 by Queen Elizabeth I of England, later being appointed Auditor of the Exchequer. A Valentine Brown of Lincolnshire was knighted by King James I at Belvoir Castle on 23 Apr 1603, but whether it was his eldest son or the homonym grandson is not sure.

Browne was appointed by Queen Elizabeth in the 1560s to several positions at Berwick-upon-Tweed, an important garrison of the English army on the Scottish border. As victualler and treasurer he paid the troops and bought food for them.

He was also involved in financial aspects of the diplomacy and negotiations during the Scottish Reformation and the Marian civil war in which the English supported the King's party led by the Regent Moray who ruled Scotland for the young James VI of Scotland against the Queen's party, which supported Mary, Queen of Scots.

In 1568 Robert Melville discussed loans for the King's party secured on Mary's jewels. Regent Moray arranged credit with Browne for his diplomatic envoy John Wood in Mar 1569.

In 1569 Thomas Percy, 7 Earl of Northumberland and Charles Neville, 6 Earl of Westmorland rose against Queen Elizabeth supporting the Catholic religion and the claim of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots to the English throne. The rebels occupied Durham on 14 Nov 1569 where mass was celebrated in the cathedral. Lord Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex, who had been appointed Lord President of the North by Elizabeth in 1568, assembled an army in York and then marched against the rebels on 13 Dec. Browne had stayed loyal to Elizabeth and led some troops on this march as we know from a letter he wrote on 16 Dec 1569 to Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, while approaching Durham. The rebels avoided to engage Sussex's superior forces and fled into Scotland. Lesser landlords implied in the rebellion were pardoned upon paying a fine that was collected by Thomas Gargrave, High Sheriff of Yorkshire, who handed the accounts and the money to Browne, treasurer, in Jul 1570. Browne was knighted by Sussex in 1570 becoming Sir Valentine of Totteridge (Hertfordshire), Croft (Lincolnshire), and Hoggsden (Middlesex).

In 1571 Sir Valentine was elected MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed for the English Parliament of 1571. In 1572 he was elected MP for Thetford for the English Parliament of 1572.

The records of Cambridge University state that a Valentine Browne matriculated at Trinity College during the easter term of 1570. Although the source suggests that he was the person elected MP for Thetford in 1572, that matriculation date seems too late for the studies of the subject of this article.

Sir Valentine was Governor of Berwick in May 1573, during the "Lang Siege" of Edinburgh Castle during the Marian civil war (15681573). After the siege acquired some of the jewels of Mary, Queen of Scots, that Sir William Drury brought from Scotland. His page Gilbert Edward stole jewels from him including a diamond and ruby studded gold mermaid with a diamond shield or mirror, and a gold chain marked with Sir Valentine's initials "v. b." at the clasp. The costume of the runaway page was described, with yellow doublet, peach coloured hose, blue stockings, and a grey hat. Sir Valentine's management of finance at Berwick was criticised several times.

When Francis Walsingham travelled to Scotland in Aug 1583, Sir Valentine wrote to him from Hoxton bemoaning the ruinous state of several castles of the north, including Bamborough, Dunstanburgh, Norham, and Etal.

In 1584 Sir Valentine became involved in the Plantation of Munster. The Irish province of Munster had been devastated since 1569 by the Desmond Rebellions which ended on 11 Nov 1583 when Gerald FitzGerald, 14th Earl of Desmond, the rebel earl, was killed. The earl's extensive lands were forfeit and the government planned to grant them to English undertakers and repopulate them with English settlers. In Jul 1584, the government commissioned a survey of these lands. Sir Valentine and Henry Wallop were appointed to manage this task. Arthur Robyns was one of the surveyors. In a letter to William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, Elizabeth's chief adviser, dated 10 Oct 1584, Sir Valentine wrote that "the work was so difficult as to have extended over three years". He further wrote from Askeaton that he had "travailed hard in superintending the survey, passing through bogs and woods, scaling mountains, and crossing many bridgeless rivers and dangerous waters", waters in which he lost some of his horses, and was twice nearly lost himself; that his son had broken his arm, and that "the service was so severe that many of the men had fallen sick". He described the towns and villages as ruined, and wrote that "not one of thirty persons" was left alive after the famine caused by crop destructions, and "those for the most part starvelings". Desmond's lands, thus nearly void of inhabitants, were, however, "replenished with wood, rivers, and fishings". Sir Valentine's survey divided the escheated lands into 35 seignories.

While living at Ross Castle near Killarney, Sir Valentine was in Apr 1585 elected MP for Sligo County in the Irish parliament of 1585/1586.

In 1586 He was elected MP of Berwick-upon-Tweed for the English Parliament of 1586, which submitted a petition demanding the execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.

In 1587 Sir Valentine returned to Ireland and applied for one of the seignories. He was granted Currans (in Kerry) in the early 1587 allotment, but this seignory was finally given to Charles Herbert and he was provisionally given the neighbouring seignory of Molahiffe instead. Molahiffe consisted of the territories of Onaght and Coshmaine, which had belonged to two vassals of Donald McCarthy, 1st Earl of Clancare who had sided with the rebels and died in the war. Clancare successfully claimed the lands for himself and then at a meeting with Sir Valentine in London on 28 Jun 1588 mortgaged them to him for about 600. Sir Valentine ended up owning 6,500 acres (26 km2) of land in County Kerry alone, in addition to earlier grants including the village of Hospital, County Limerick. He built a castle near this village, called Kenmare Castle. In 1588 when the Spanish Armada was menacing the coasts, he commanded a company for Ireland's defence.

Sir Valentine died on 8 Feb 1589 in Dublin and was buried in St Catherine's Church, Dublin (Church of Ireland), on 19 Feb 1589.

He was succeeded in England by his eldest son Valentine Browne of Croft and in Ireland by his second son Nicholas and his son Thomas. Nicholas was knighted and thus became Sir Nicholas. He married Sheila (or Julia), a daughter of Eoin the O'Sullivan Beare and probably converted to Catholicism to do so. O'Sullivan had lost his chieftainship to his nephew Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare who had claimed a right to it by primogeniture.

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