Monday, August 02, 2010

Question from Stefanie - Charles Brandon's mother

I have a question regarding Charles Brandon's mother, Elizabeth Bruyn. claims she died in childbirth /year not known), but that site is so riddled with mistakes that I don't trust it as a source (it's also falsely claiming Charles Brandon had two younger brothers named Thomas and Robert for example)

Does anyone here have any information on her death that can confirm or refute her dying in childbirth?


Kathy said...

It's frequently been assumed that Elizabeth Bruyn Brandon died in or shortly after childbirth, but I don't know of any good evidence of the fact.

Steven Gunn probably knows as much about the Brandons as anybody. He says Elizabeth Bruyn was first married to Thomas Tyrrell, son of Sir Thomas Tyrrell of Herron and had a son, William Tyrrell.

On Thomas' death, she married Sir william Brandon, son of Sir William Brandon and Elizabeth Wingfield, and had three children: William, who died sometime in the late 1490's, apparently childless; Anne, who married (1) Sir John Shilson and (2) Gawain Carew, but about whom little else is known, and (3) Charles, who went on to become the Duke of Suffolk and marry Henry VIII's sister, Mary.

There is no evidence that I can find of any younger children of Sir William Brandon at all. (Gunn does list two illegitimate daughters, Elizabeth and Katherine, but does not provide any dates for them.)

And as Charles turns up at his grandfather's manor in Southwark and then at court very early in his life, it does not seem likely at all that there were any younger legitimate children in the family.

If you can find a copy of Steven Gunn's book on Charles Brandon (try your local library or more likely, your nearest academic library), check the charts on pages 46-47 and you will see that Charles did have uncles named Thomas and Robert. There is probably some confusion over these two people at

I would love to know more about Elizabeth Bruyn Brandon, but there just doesn't seem to be any information out there, other than she died when her youngest son, Charles, was very young. So it could have been in childbirth or not.

A bit of further information -- Gunn lists some of the Brandon ancestry, some distinguished merchants in what is modern-day Kings Lynn, Norfolk, but what was called Bishop's Lynn back at that time. That is likely where Charles Brandon was born and where Elizabeth Bruyn died.

Stefanie said...

Hello Kathy! Thank you for the info, I do have a copy of Gunn's book and know the family tree. That is why I did not trust the info on tudorplace because they obviously confused Charles's uncles for his brothers.

Since Gunn barely gives any info on Elizabeth I was wondering if there were any other sources out there that confirm the death in childbirth. (I always thought Gunn thinks Charles was the eldest son btw though I'm sceptical about that myself)

It looks like Elizabeth will stay a bit of a mystery then and we will never know whether she died in childbirth or of something else a bit later. :-(

About Charles staying with his grandfather, is there any contemporary source for that, because that would be really interesting! I guess after he became an orphan he was not interesting enough as far as money goes to have his wardship sold and it just went to his grandfather. I wonder if William Brandon senior lived at Southwark permanently and not somehwere on his estates in East Anglia, if so it must have been full of childhood memories for Charles.

I didn't realize Bishop's Lynn might have been sort of a family seat. :-)

Thanks again for the info!