Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Question from Jill - The two Henry Brandons

First Lara, I want to thank you for this forum. I find the Tudors endlessly fascinating and it's nice to see that I'm far from alone!

My question regards Henry Brandon, the son of Mary Tudor Brandon. I just finished reading Maria Perry's biography of the Tudor sisters, and was surprised to see that she listed 2 sons with this name belonging to Mary. Unfortunately Ms. Perry did not elaborate on this, which would have been helpful as every other biography I've seen on Mary Rose lists only one Henry (1516-1534), the earl of Lincoln. I'm surprised that there could be confusion on this issue, since Tudor males were in such short supply and I would think that it would be well documented! What are some other people's thoughts on this?

[Note from Lara - You're welcome!!]


feuerrabe said...

There was one son born in 1516 and one around 1523. It seems they commonly get mistaken for the same person as they have the same name and both died very young.

The younger one was made Earl of Lincoln in 1525 and Hall mentions in his chronicle that he was only two years old, so small that he had to be carried during the ceremony. The older boy must have died some time prior to 1523 I assume and they named the younger one after him, which was a common practice I believe.

In 1533 when Charles Brandon married Katherine Willoughby and started a bit of a scandal by that, Chapuys mentions in a letter to the emperor that she had initially been betrothed to his son, but the boy was only 10 years old and therefore could not marry her. He died a year later.

I found all this information just by browsing through Letters and State Papers on and reading Hall's Chronicle. I'm a little puzzled that so many historians have not noticed that there were two boys and not just one.

But then again I guess it is an easy mistake since the older one born in 1516 would have been still very young in 1534 when his younger brother died.

Lara said...

This is a great question! I currently have them as one person on my genealogical tree for Mary since whatever the source was I used had just one - Henry, Earl of Lincoln 1516-1534. I'm going have to fix that!

PhD Historian said...

Sadly, Feuerrabe, too many historians have a tendency to miss the fine details. In their defense, searching the archives ... even the printed L&P ... was considerably more difficult in the pre-electronic era. We sometimes missed things if they were not thoroughly indexed. Electronic database searches using keywords is far more reliable than a printed index search.

Jill, christenings, marriages and funerals were not consistently recorded in England in the pre-Reformation era. It was up to each local priest to decide whether or not he kept the registers up to date. Many did not. An injunction was finally issued in the 1530s requiring that all christenings, marriages, and funerals be duly registered and that the registers be preserved. Still, many christenings escaped registration even after that, especially if they occurred in a private chapel rather than a parish church. And the Brandons had several private chapels. When the houses containing those private chapels (and thus the private registers) changed ownership, the records belonging to the previous owner were sometimes lost or destroyed. Since the government did not register births, marriages, and deaths then as it does today, there were no back-up records.

Jill said...

Thanks everyone! Of course there was also the THIRD Henry Brandon, son of Katherine Willoughby to muddy the picture some more. Kind of makes you wish those Tudors got a little more creative with their first names!

feuerrabe said...

@Jill: They really weren't very creative with names, were they? :-) But I'm under the impression that often the parents weren't the ones giving the names, the godparents were. At least in the birth announcement of the oldest Henry Brandon it is clearly stated that "The King gave the name Henry".

Uncle King Henry, who stood godfather named his nephew after himself! lol (Though maybe his motives weren't as narcisstic as that sounds)

Kathy said...

I've been neglecting the two Henry's -- probably because they both died very young and historically weren't very important. I know Hall covers the story of the investiture of the second Henry as Earl of Lincoln, but I couldn't find anything about him being carried at the ceremony, though I certainly don't doubt. What is the original source on that story?

feuerrabe said...

Kathy: I read it in a secondary source, a book on Henry VIII and Elizabeth Blount.

"Henry FitzRoy was not the youngest peer created on this occasion with an elaborate
ceremonial. The King's nephew, Henry (son and heir of the Duke of Suffolk), who was created
Earl of Lincoln, was so young that Sir John Vere was appointed to carry him in his arms into the King's presence, but none of the ceremonies of the creation were dispensed with in his case." (p. 138)

The book is here:

I'm not sure which primary source the author may have used, he doesn't cite anything.

Kathy said...

feuerrabe, the last part of the address you posted was cut off. Could you possibly post it in two parts so I can see it all? Thanks. I would appreciate it.

Lara said...

Here's a clickable version of the link:

Unfortunately in the "post a comment" view, blogger's page coding cuts stuff sometimes. It looks okay in this view though:
(which will probably also get cut off!)

I'm glad to see that book show up on one of these sites! I looked at the copy in my university's library and it was in very fragile condition so I decided not to check it out and scan my own copy.