BRANDLING, Sir Robert (c.1490-1568), of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. c.1490, 1st s. of John Brandling, mayor of Newcastle, by Margaret, da. of Robert Heley of Yorks. m. Anne, da. of John Place of Halnaby, Yorks., wid. of John Ifield, 1da. suc. fa. 1522. Kntd. 1 Oct. 1547.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Newcastle 1524-5, mayor 1531-2 or 3, 1536-7, 1543-4, 1547-8, 1564-5; gov. Newcastle merchants co. 1536, 1547, 1564.2

J.p. Northumb. from c.1559.


Of conservative religious views, Brandling was not happy with the protestantism of Edward VI’s last years; John Knox wrote critically of his lack of enthusiasm for reform, and, despite his appointment to the commission of the peace the Elizabethan authorities distrusted him. By this time, however, his career was almost over. Old and in bad health, he was returned to Parliament for the last time in 1563, and chosen mayor for the last time in the following year. It is probable that instead of attending the 1566 session of this Parliament, he stayed in Newcastle to avoid an elderly widow he had promised to marry.3

During proceedings before the Durham consistory court after his death, his brother Henry deposed that on Trinity Sunday 1568 he had told Brandling ‘if you had not so many bastards you would have made your will ere now’. Brandling admitted that he could not ‘tell where to begin’ but rejected the explanation. A draft will, made in January 1563, was discovered, and, though its validity was at first successfully challenged by some of Brandling’s kinsmen, and letters of administration were granted on 20 Sept. 1568 to his three sisters, it was eventually admitted to probate in May 1569. In this will Brandling made numerous bequests of money, goods and jewellery to relatives and friends, and a number of charitable bequests. Much of his plate and furnishings were left as heirlooms to descend with his Newcastle house. The priest’s vestments of cloth of gold that he possessed, together with suits and other clothes, he left to St. Nicholas’, Newcastle, ‘if that the service there be allowed according to the Catholic fashion of late used’. The residue he bequeathed to his brothers Thomas and Henry: if Thomas were to predecease him (as he did), his son William was to be joint residuary legatee and executor. Brandling died in June 1568, when William came into his considerable landed property in Northumberland.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Vis. of the North, i. (Surtees Soc. cxxii), 160-2; Vis. Northumb. ed. Foster, 20; Northumb. Co. Hist. xiii. 349; M. A. Richardson, Armorial Bearings etc. in the Church of St. Nicholas, Newcastle on Tyne (Newcastle 1820), i. 5.
  • 2. Mackenzie, Newcastle, 614; Arch. Ael. (ser. 4), xviii. 30-3, 35, 40; J. Brand, Hist. Newcastle, 240; R. Welford, Newcastle and Gateshead, ii. 128.
  • 3. R. Welford, Men of Mark ’twixt Tyne and Tweed, i. 372; Lansd. 1218, f. 91; Cam. Misc. ix(3), p. 66; C 33/25, f. 700a; C24/98.
  • 4. Depositions from the Courts of Durham (Surtees Soc. xxi), 121; R. M. Glencross, Administrations in the PCC, 1559-71, p. 89; PCC 11 Sheffelde; C142/152/116.