BRASSHEY, Richard (by 1515-57), of Cambridge.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1515. m. by 1536, Elizabeth, 5s. 5da.1

Offices Held

Treasurer, Cambridge 1539, common councilman 1546, mayor 1555-6.2


Thomas Brashay, a physician of Cambridge, died in 1528 or 1529, leaving his brother Richard a furred gown. Richard Brasshey was almost certainly an innkeeper, for his will mentions two inns which he owned, the Greyhound and the Angel; he and his wife transferred the Angel to their son Thomas in February 1557, not many months before Brasshey died.3

After holding lesser offices in Cambridge, Brasshey became mayor in September 1555; his election was the occasion of disputes similar to those at the time of Thomas Brakyn’s in 1529, but in Brasshey’s case the Privy Council intervened to imprison Richard Brakyn ‘and others worthy punishment’ until they ceased opposing Brasshey’s election. Shortly after this Brasshey and other Cambridge councilmen were defendants in an action by Roger Slegge for false imprisonment and obstructing the course of justice; apparently they had prevented the Slegges from serving process on a party to one of the many Star Chamber cases in which the Slegges and Richard Brakyn were opposed by most of the leading Cambridge councilmen. It was felt that domestic disputes should be kept in the town and not brought before the royal courts, but the Slegges were not satisfied with Cambridge justice.4

Whether Brasshey’s election to the third Marian Parliament was influenced by such internecine wrangling we do not know. A possible clue to his attitude towards public issues is that he was one of the Members informed against in the King’s bench during Easter term 1555 for being absent when the House was called earlier in the year, but after the initial summons to appear no further proceedings were taken against him. Equally slight as an indication of his religious views is his behaviour when as mayor he officiated at the burning of John Hullier: he allowed the martyr such freedom to declare his beliefs to the spectators that a university proctor threatened to report him to the Privy Council.5

There is nothing Protestant about the will which Brasshey made on 15 Oct. 1556 and ratified almost exactly a year later. His soul he left to God and, after charitable gifts and legacies of £20 or £10 to his daughters, his land, houses and chattels he divided between his sons and the residue of his estate he bequeathed to his wife. He directed that his body should be buried in Trinity church, Cambridge. He must have died shortly after the ratification, for the will was proved on 24 Nov. 1557.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Camb. Univ. Arch. Ely consist. ct. wills K, f. 282.
  • 2. C. H. Cooper, Cambridge Annals, i. 394; ii. 98-99.
  • 3. PCC 2 Jankyn; Cambridge Guildhall reg. bk. 1539-82, f. 104.
  • 4. Cambridge Guildhall reg. bk. 1539-82, ff. 86v, 88, 88v; Cooper, ii. 98; J. M. Gray, Notes on Cambridge Mayors, 26; St.Ch.4/2/56.
  • 5. Cooper, ii. 103-4; KB27/1176 rex roll 16.
  • 6. Camb. Univ. Arch. Ely consist. ct. wills K, f. 282.