BRUDENELL, Edmund (d.1425/6), of Amersham, Bucks. and Aynho, Northants.
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Family and Education
2nd s. of William Brudenell of Aynho by Agnes, da. and h. of Thomas atte Grove of Raans in Amersham. m. bef. 1404, Alice, ?1da.
Clerk of the Crown in Chancery bef. Oct. 1377-aft. Feb. 1385.
Commr. of oyer and terminer, Bucks. Sept. 1383, Bucks., Herts. July 1403; gaol delivery, Wallingford Sept. 1385, Aylesbury Aug. 1391, Berkhampstead castle May 1394, July 1395, Aylesbury Oct. 1397; inquiry, Bucks. Feb. 1387 (restitution of sums levied to pay archers), Surr. Oct. 1390 (robbery of goods of Geoffrey Chaucer*), Bucks. May 1395 (estates late of John, Lord Devereux), Herts. Feb. 1403 (poaching in King’s Langley park), Bucks. Feb. 1404 (extortions, oppressions, conspiracies), Beds., Bucks. June 1404 (concealments); weirs, Bucks. June 1398; array Dec. 1399, Oct. 1403; to collect an aid for the marriage of Princess Blanche Dec. 1401; suppress sedition May 1402; raise royal loans, Beds., Bucks. June 1406.
Surveyor of portage, Aylesbury 16 Feb. 1384-7, 15 May 1388-9.
J.p. Bucks. 18 Sept. 1385-July 1389, June 1394-Nov. 1399, May 1401-d.
King’s coroner and attorney in KB 21 Sept. 1385-27 Nov. 1398.1
Steward of King’s Langley 30 Jan. 1395-aft. Dec. 1399.
Parl. cttee. to oversee the engrossment of the Parliament roll 22 Dec. 1406.2
Escheator, Beds. and Bucks. 9 Feb.-30 Nov. 1407.
Although the family of Brudenell had originated in Oxfordshire, by the late 14th century its principal residence was at Aynho in Northamptonshire. Since, on occasion, Edmund Brudenell was described as ‘of Aynho’, he may have inherited some property there, but he and his younger brother Henry lived mainly in Buckinghamshire: Edmund at Raans in Amersham, a manor he had inherited from his mother, and Henry in nearby Shardeloes.3
It was Edmund who, despite being a younger son, first brought distinction to the name of Brudenell, an achievement he owed to his employment as a lawyer by the Crown. The service he was performing when first mentioned in April 1377 — that of mainpernor in a lawsuit — was one he was to provide on many more occasions in the following 40 years. The precise date of his appointment as one of two clerks of the Crown in Chancery is not recorded, but he was certainly holding office when Richard II’s first Parliament assembled at Westminster in October 1377, for it was in this capacity that he handed over the Parliament roll to the clerk of the Parliaments. From 30 July 1380 he was in receipt of an annuity for life of ten marks which, charged on the hanaper of the Chancery, was increased to £10 in April 1384. It was about this time that Brudenell took possession of the manor of Wormsley in Lewknor, Oxfordshire (now in Stoken-church, Buckinghamshire), only for the property to be raided by force of arms, probably at the instigation of Robert Lewknor*, whose title to Wormsley he had challenged. The dispute between him and Lewknor was put to arbitration subject to the award of the future chief justice, Sir Robert Tresilian †, and although the arbiters’ decision was that the manor should be divided equally between the contestants, Lewknor was required to pay his adversary £6. In February 1385 Brudenell was appointed by James Butler, earl of Ormond, to act as his attorney for a year during his absence in Ireland. That same month, in recognition of his good service in his Chancery office, he was granted custody of certain forfeited lands in Aylesbury, paying a rent of 24s.4d. a year, but enjoying security of tenure against others who might be willing to proffer a larger sum. Then, in September, he was moved from the Chancery to take up the combined posts of King’s attorney and coroner in the King’s bench. His position there was to be rendered precarious in November 1387 when Chief Justice Tresilian was appealed of treason and went into hiding: in January following, Brudenell and the keeper of the rolls of the King’s bench were ordered, on pain of forfeiture, to leave all else and go to Reading abbey, there to receive from the abbot, in the presence of certain esquires retained by the Lords Appellant, a pipe and ‘clothsake’ containing rolls, books, records and other memoranda of the court, which they were to bring to the King’s Council at Westminster without breaking the seals. Tresilian was executed by judgement of the Merciless Parliament only a few weeks later, but, save for the loss of his Exchequer farm at Aylesbury, Brudenell escaped the political crisis unscathed.4
As might be expected, Brudenell’s office in the King’s bench led to his engagement on private legal work for clients of some note. He witnessed a deed for the courtier, Sir Philip de la Vache*, in 1390, and from August 1394 until 1397 he acted as an attorney for Roger Mortimer, earl of March, having been retained as such to look after the earl’s affairs in England during his prolonged stay as Richard II’s lieutenant in Ireland. Rewards from the Crown for his service included appointment as steward of King’s Langley, during royal pleasure, and custody of some forfeited land at Amersham (1395). Then, in December 1396, he was granted the wardship of ‘Isnamstede’ Latimer in Chesham, during the minority of John Neville, Lord Latimer, at an annual farm of £20, which payment was remitted altogether less than a year later, thus in effect providing him with an additional annuity (which he presumably continued to enjoy until Latimer came of age in 1403). Brudenell was succeeded as attorney in the King’s bench by Thomas Cowley* in November 1398, but continued to serve as steward of King’s Langley and also, until the end of the reign, as a j.p.5
Three months after his accession, Henry IV confirmed Brudenell in his stewardship of King’s Langley, but Brudenell’s previous royal annuity of £10 was never renewed. He continued in private legal practice, acting, for example, as surety for Sir Gerard Braybrooke II* and Richard, 6th Lord Grey of Wilton (when, in 1402, they were granted custody at the Exchequer of part of Grey’s inheritance), and for a former colleague, John Wykes, the marshal of the marshalsea of the King’s bench. While at Westminster for the final session of the Parliament of 1406 (the second to which he had been elected for Buckinghamshire), he managed to obtain official exoneration from certain royal commissions to which he had been appointed three years earlier. At the close of this Parliament he was one of 12 knights of the shire chosen to oversee, on the Commons’ behalf, the engrossment of the Parliament roll. Although he continued to serve on commissions of the peace until his death, his recorded appearances, even as a surety, became increasingly rare. He did, however, attend the Buckinghamshire elections to the Parliament of 1420.6
Brudenell made a number of additions to his landed estate in the course of his career. In 1402, he acquired from John Windsor the manor of ‘Newbury’ in Stoke Mandeville by a complicated transaction which involved him in recognizances in 200 marks made payable to Windsor and Sir William Bagot*, who reciprocated with bonds for twice that amount. Having first purchased the reversion of the manor of Thorne in Chesham, he bought the manor outright in 1405; and, together with his wife, he secured a reversionary interest in Batchworth in Rickmansworth (Hertfordshire). Although, in 1418, he made a quitclaim, to Peter Fettiplace* and his wife Juliana, of lands in Stokenchurch sometime belonging to Juliana’s former husband, Robert Morley, he continued to accumulate property elsewhere. For example, five years later, he joined his nephew and namesake, Edmund Brudenell, junior (son of his elder brother William), in acquiring lands in Denham and Chalfont St. Peter.7
According to family tradition, Brudenell had a daughter who entered a nunnery. However, she was not mentioned in the will, dated 21 June 1425, in which he bequeathed to this same nephew, Edmund, his armour, all his books, the sum of ten marks, and, most important, his manor of Raans. He was to be buried in Amersham church, near the tomb, engraved with the heraldic arms of Brudenell and Raans, in which his parents were interred. There, a chaplain, whose salary was to be paid for 30 years from the issues of ‘Newbury’, was to pray for his soul and that of his wife. Each of the canons of Missenden abbey was to receive £2; to Great Missenden church was to go his silk banner embroidered with a star; and St. John’s hospital at Aynho was to have his missal and chalice. Legacies to his wife included a piece of silver plate engraved with his arms. Brudenell, aged at least 70, died before March 1426, by which date his nephew had taken possession of Raans.8
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Sel. Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxii), pp. lxxxvii-viii.
- 2. RP, iii. 585.
- 3. J. Wake, Brudenells of Deane, 1-8, 478, 484; VCH Bucks. iii. 149; CCR, 1377-81, p. 346.
- 4. CCR, 1374-7, p. 525; 1381-5, pp. 566, 591; 1385-9, p. 387; RP, iii. 14; CPR, 1377-81, p. 537; 1381-5, pp. 388, 495, 534.
- 5. CCR, 1389-92, p. 171; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 500, 530, 638; 1396-9, pp. 34, 323; CFR, xi. 149, 197.
- 6. CPR, 1399-1401, p. 120; CFR, xii. 151; CCR, 1402-5, p. 416; 1405-9, pp. 229, 236; C219/12/4.
- 7. VCH Bucks. ii. 362; iii. 212; CCR, 1399-1402, pp. 570, 576; 1413-19, p. 508; CP25(1)21/110/23, 113/13, 22/119/8, 91/108/19; VCH Herts. ii. 381.
- 8. Wake, 1-8; G. Lipscomb, Bucks. ii. 446-7; A. Collins, Peerage ed. Brydges, iii. 488; CCR, 1422-9, pp. 330-1.