Friday, March 20, 2009

Question from Kathy - Burial place of Henry Brandon (d. 1534)

Does anybody happen to know where Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln, is buried. He was the son of Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's sister) and died, apparently at Suffolk Place in Southwark in March, 1534.

My guess would be that he might have been buried either at Westminster Abbey (he was Henry VIII's nephew and a possible heir to the throne) or at the Abbey at Bury St. Edmunds with his mother who died only about 9 months before he did.

In any case, I'm going to England in June and would love to find his grave if it is possible.


  1. I have searched every resource that I can think of, from the ODNB and JSTOR to Wikipedia and "Find a Grave".com, without finding mention of where he was buried. And the Westminster Abbey website, which once had a fairly extensive list of people buried or memorialized there, has been re-designed recently so that it now limits the list to only a handful.

    His mother was buried in the Abbey Church at Bury St Edmunds and later moved to St Mary's Church when the abbey was dissolved. The church's own website does not mention her son being buried there also. Perhaps he is buried in her vault? You might email the church warden through their website and ask. He/she would know if he is buried there.

  2. I checked my Abbey guide with no luck. The book is pretty comprehensive, but my copy is a little old, so I don't know if there have been additions or corrections to the burial and monument info.

  3. I think his half brothers, children of Charles Brandon and Catherine Willoughby, were buried at Bishop’s Palace, Buckden, Huntingdon in 1551

    Perhaps that church warden might know something? Although a great deal had changed in the intervening years so perhaps this would not be that useful a starting point.

  4. I've been to St. Mary's Church in Bury St. Edmunds and seen Mary's grave. There is absolutely no mention of her son there though, nor could I find anything about him in records of the Abbey there.

    kb, those children died after Charles did. Charles didn't have any connection to Huntington at the time of the Earl of Lincoln's death, so I can't imagine him being buried there.

    The only other place I could think of as logical would be Southwark Cathedral since it actually bordered on Suffolk Place at the time.

    I just find it odd that there wasn't much comment at the time since this was the King's nephew. But, the King, of course, was consumed with Anne Boleyn then.

    Thanks for trying, everybody.

  5. I have a guide to Westminster Abbey that lists every person buried or memorialized there. Henry Brandon is not listed. Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk and her daughter, Margaret, Countess of Derby, are buried in the Abbey, however, in the Chapel of St. Edmund.

  6. Elizabeth M.: Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Derby, was the mother of Henry VII which would have made her Frances Brandon's great-grandmother, not her daughter. And, yes, she and Frances are both buried in Westminster Abbey. I've seen both graves.

    Thanks for looking in the Westminster Abbey guide though.

  7. PhD Historian, I should have mentioned this earlier, but somebody I knew who was researching the Dissolution of the Monasteries told me that when it came to the Abbey at Bury St. Edmunds, there was a special clause written in the orders for its destruction specifying that Mary Tudor Brandon's body would be moved before the destruction. There were apparently nothing about anybody else though. And as Charles Brandon was still alive at this time, I think he would have seen that his son's body was moved too. That more than anything makes me doubt Henry Brandon was buried there.

    I still just find it unusual that there is no record of a funeral for somebody who was so closely related to the king.

  8. Kathy--the Margaret, Countess of Stanley buried near Frances Brandon is her niece. Sorry, I said her daughter, but it is her niece, Margaret Clifford, Countess of Derby, only daughter of Frances Brandon's sister Eleanor Brandon. Margaret Beaufort is buried in the Henry VII chapel.

  9. Thanks for that info, Kathy. I agree that it makes it very doubtful that Henry Lincoln was
    buried there with his mother.

  10. Elizabeth M, thanks for the clarification. I'll be in Westminster Abbey on June 24 this year and will certainly check that out. (BTW, Eleanor Clifford, Frances's sister is buried at a church near Skipton Castle in Yorkshire. I hope to eventually visit that too)

    PhD Historian,

    I forgot to mention, but Mary Tudor Brandon is not buried in a vault, but directly under the floor near the altar at St. Mary's Church in Bury St. Edmunds, so there really isn't room for anybody else there.

    There is a wonderful site out on the internet detailing Suffolk and Norfolk churches. Here is the page for St. Mary's

  11. A fascinating mystery. Just like I am fascinated at why there is no record of where Mary Boleyn is buried. You think there would be records somewhere. Sadly, after over 450 years.

  12. Kathy, I think you will find that they tended to stack people, even in burials beneath the floor near the altar. And there was often more space under the floor than you would expect. Remember, Henry VIII is similarly buried beneath the floor near the main altar at St George's Chapel, Windsor, along with his third wife, Jane Seymour, yet in later years they were able to add Charles I to the same space.

  13. PhD Historian, I've always heard that Henry was buried in a vault at St. George's, considerably deeper than just under the floor, and that when they rediscovered it (19th century? I've forgotten the date), Charles was between Henry and Jane, not on top of them ...mmm... so to speak. I suppose it all comes down to what the definition of a "vault" actually is.

    Regarding Mary Tudor Brandon's grave at St. Mary's, Walter C. Richardson in Mary Tudor, The White Queen (1970) discusses in an appendix the fact that Mary's lead coffin has been exhumed three times since the original burial there, once to move it to its present location and two times because of church repairs. I'll spare you the details of the examination of her body, but he concludes by saying that "The resealed coffin was moved to the northeast corner of the church, where it lies just below the level of the chancel floor. In 1904 Edward VII authorized the original altar slab covering the grave to be enclosed by a marble curb." In all of this, there is no mention of finding any other bodies, which I think there surely would have been if Henry Brandon's coffin had been there.

    By the way, very slightly off topic, but Richardson says that "The condition of the corpse in 1784 is quite well documented, with several extant descriptions of its appearance at the time." But he maddeningly fails to list a source for this. Would you have any idea where I could start to look for one of these extant descriptions? I have to add that I don't have a morbid interest in corpses. My main interest is to see if anybody gave a measurement or estimation of her height because descriptions during her lifeime varied widely.


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