BRYDGES, Gray (1579-1621), of Sudeley, Glos.

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.1579, 1st s. of William Brydges, 4th Baron Chandos, by Mary, da. of Sir Owen Hopton. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1592. m. 28 Feb. 1608, Anne, 1st da. and coh. of Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby, by Alice, da. of Sir John Spencer, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. as 5th Baron Chandos 18 Nov. 1602. KB 5 Jan. 1605.1

Offices Held

J.p. Glos., Wilts. 1603; jt. ld. lt. Glos. 1603, sole 1613, custos rot. 1614; member, council in the marches of Wales 1617.2


One of three Lords Chandos who sat in the Commons for Cricklade before succeeding to the peerage, Brydges was only 18 at the time of his return. He was accompanied to Westminster by his uncle, Sir George Gifford. He is not known to have contributed to the business of the House. With other young bloods he was implicated in the Essex rebellion, being one of those ‘in Essex House at the imprisonment of the councillors’, but who then ‘submitted themselves or were apprehended or left the company before the repulse at Ludgate’. He was imprisoned in the Fleet 14 Feb. 1601, released to his father’s custody 31 Mar., and brought before the Privy Council on 28 and 29 Apr. He was lucky to escape with a fine of 1,000 marks, being ‘forborne from being arraigned’ for treason. In 1602 he was involved in a dispute over estates with his cousin ‘the fair Mistress Brydges’ to whom the Earl of Essex had shown attention, but a proposal to settle the matter by a marriage between them was abandoned when Brydges succeeded to the title.3

Chandos inherited considerable estates in Gloucestershire and, in August 1603, he became joint lord lieutenant of the county with Lord Berkeley. Previously the lieutenancy had been held by his father alone, but in the summer of 1603 Chandos had been falsely suspected of complicity in the Bye Plot, and Lord Berkeley had taken advantage of the opportunity to persuade the King to designate him sole lord lieutenant. This was ‘contrary to the expectation of ... Lord Chandos and ... of anyone else that knoweth the work of either’, according to Alice Countess of Derby, Chandos’s future mother-in-law, who wrote in support of his case to Robert Cecil. It was finally decided that the two should hold the office jointly, a decision which Chandos ‘very thankfully accepted’.4

In August 1604 Chandos was admitted to honorary membership of the Middle Temple, and a year later received the degree of MA on the King’s visit to Oxford. He spent much time at court, where he distinguished himself at tilting, and maintained a company of players. On one occasion at least he took part in a masque at court, when Ben Jonson’s Challenge at a Tilt was performed on Twelfth Night, 1614. He became keeper of Ditton park in 1609 and was visited there by Robert Cecil, then Lord Salisbury, in April 1612. Two years later, he was persuaded to sell the office to Secretary Winwood for £1,100. According to Chamberlain, the place yielded £150 per annum, as well as ‘the house and commodities about it’.5

Though a courtier, Chandos kept house splendidly at Sudeley, being known as ‘King of the Cotswolds’. It was his habit to take the waters abroad, and on 10 Aug. 1621 he died suddenly, ‘returning from the Spa’. He was succeeded by his son George, who was a year and a day old at his father’s death.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: R.C.G.


  • 1. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. vii. 303.
  • 2. PRO, Index 4208, pp. 234, 295; HMC Hatfield, xv. 230-1.
  • 3. APC, xxxi. 159, 188, 261, 314, 353; Folger 2007.1, p. 5; HMC Hatfield, xi. 484, 488.
  • 4. Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 150, 166, 174; HMC Hatfield, xv. 230-1.
  • 5. Chamberlain Letters, i. 218, 340, 346, 440, 551; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 1, p. 161; E. K. Chambers, Eliz. Stage, iii. 246, 394.
  • 6. Rudder, Glos. 717-18; Chamberlain Letters, i. 372; ii. 397.