BRERES, Edmund (1580-1625), of Brockholes and Preston, Lancs. and Gray's Inn, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

bap. 15 May 1580,1 ?4th s. of Alexander Breres of Chorley, Lancs., and Ellen, da. of Thomas Gellybrand of Chorley; cos. of Henry*.2 educ. G. Inn, 1602, called 1622.3 m. Eliza, da. of Sir Thomas Tyldesley of Wardley and Orford, Lancs., 5s. 2da.4 bur. 9 May 1625.5

Offices Held

Att. and sjt. in Lancs., duchy of Lancaster 1618-d.;6 freeman, Preston, Lancs. by 1622.7


The Breres family, described as being ‘anciently of the Friars, Preston’, had numerous branches among the minor Lancashire gentry.8 Breres’ brother, Henry, was recorder of Preston by 1617; another brother, John Breres of Marton, held the patent for the duchy’s greenwax fines until this privilege was suspended in 1628.9 Breres himself made his career in the law, in which he was assisted by his marriage to the daughter of his lawyer colleague Sir Thomas Tyldesley, a duchy official and member of the Council in the North.10

Breres was an active lawyer in the duchy court from around 1612, and by the 1620s his signature is frequently seen on surviving duchy pleadings. Though he often represented poor artificers and husbandmen, his clients also included neighbouring gentlemen such as Sir Richard Houghton*.11 He sometimes worked alongside Thomas Ireland*, Ralph Whitfield*, and Tyldesley, who occasionally acted as Breres’s own counsel. It was presumably through his father-in-law’s connections that Breres was appointed to office in the duchy of Lancaster in 1618, a post previously held by Tyldesley himself. Tyldesley was certainly instrumental in connecting Breres with his fellow Members for Newton, brothers Roger* and Thomas Charnock*, and the patron of the borough, Sir Richard Fleetwood of Penwortham. Between c.1616-23 each of these associates became bound in numerous debts on Tyldesley’s behalf, with Breres acting as surety. Tyldesley persuaded Breres and Roger Charnock, also a member of Gray’s Inn, to enter into bonds for various loans and mortgages amounting to at least £8,000, transactions in which Breres, as Charnock later alleged, ‘made many protestations that [he] should not be damnified by any of the said engagements for the said Sir Thomas’.12 However, Tyldesley’s failure to repay the sums he owed resulted in an escalation of further debts and bitter litigation.13

Breres resorted to several means of settling his financial problems, including bargaining for a marriage between his youngest daughter and the heir of Edward Tyldesley of Morleys, to wipe out a longstanding debt.14 Together with the Charnocks, he invested in several wardships of minors’ estates in Lancashire and Yorkshire.15 He also acted as a professional moneylender, though this compounded his troubles, as, in an attempt to raise money to finance his other loans, he bargained with one of Lancashire’s most notorious spendthrifts, Sir Cuthbert Halsall*, standing as surety for bonds totalling £3,500 to deliver the latter from the Fleet. Breres sued Halsall in 1620, though the case remained unresolved in 1623, when Halsall counter-sued.16

Impending bankruptcy was undoubtedly Breres’s reason for seeking election to Parliament in 1624, finding an easy seat available to him at Newton, a borough under the control of his associate Sir Richard Fleetwood. He made no mark on the parliamentary records, though he may have attended the committee for the York gaol patent bill, to which all Lancashire burgesses were appointed on 19 May.17 Breres died intestate, and was buried at Preston church in May 1625, leaving his debts largely unpaid. Administration of his estate was filed by a creditor, Edward Breres, probably the brother of Lawrence Breres of Walton, whose will had been executed by Breres in 1612.18 In the years after Breres’s death, his former partners applied for royal protections in relation to debts for which Breres had acted as surety. Sir Richard Fleetwood was granted a year’s protection against creditors demanding £2,000 in 1628.19 Roger Charnock, to whom the remainder of Breres’s lands had passed, obtained protection for six consecutive years before the Privy Council lost patience with his appeals.20 As late as 1634, one Robert Kenion applied for protection claiming he had been ruined by his transactions with Tyldesley and Breres.21 None of Breres’s sons sat in Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Chorley Par. Reg. (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. xxxviii), 21.
  • 2. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxii), 95.
  • 3. GI Admiss.; PBG Inn, i. 246.
  • 4. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxii), 93.
  • 5. Preston Par. Reg. (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. xlviii), 110.
  • 6. Duchy of Lancaster Office-Holders ed. R. Somerville, 100.
  • 7. Preston Guild Rolls ed. W.A. Abram (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 79.
  • 8. R. Thoresby, Ducatus Leodiensis, 71.
  • 9. B.W. Quintrell, Procs. of the Lancs. JPs at the Sheriff’s Table (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. cxxi), 46-7, 62.
  • 10. W. Prest, Rise of the Barristers, 396.
  • 11. DL1/253, 282, 295, 296.
  • 12. DL1/297.
  • 13. DL1/285, 290, 291, 297, 299, 300; C2/Chas.I/F35/12, 2/Chas.I/F50/81.
  • 14. Stanley Pprs. ed. F.R. Raines (Chetham Soc. lxvii), pp. cccxxxi-ii.
  • 15. WARD 9/162, ff. 341v, 344v.
  • 16. DL1/282, 295.
  • 17. CJ, i. 705a.
  • 18. PROB 6/11, f. 175; Lancs. IPMs ed. J.P. Rylands (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. iii), 231-3.
  • 19. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 380; CSP Dom. Addenda 1625-49, pp. 300-1.
  • 20. APC 1630-1, p. 29.
  • 21. CSP Dom. 1634-5, p. 222.