BRAUGHING (BRENNYNG, BRANGHAM), John (by 1485-1551), of Worcester.
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Family and Education
b. by 1485. m. by Nov. 1515, Elizabeth ?Morton.2
Bailiff, Worcester 1532-3, 1534-5, auditor 1548-9; commr. relief 1550.3
The partial obscurity which shrouds the life of John Braughing is not made easier to penetrate by the variant forms of his name. His parentage and place of origin are alike unknown. After serving an apprenticeship, he was admitted to the freedom of the Mercers’ Company of London in 1506 and then spent ten years in the service of Simon Rice, who was to become one of the Company’s wardens in 1522. The years with Rice were to leave a legacy of discord: in 1542 or 1543, long after Rice’s death, Braughing was still claiming £145 due to him for wages, and shortly after his own death his widow Elizabeth brought a suit against the Rice family for dispossessing her of a manor called Blake’s in Hertfordshire. As this manor had been the subject of a settlement in November 1515 in favour of John and Elizabeth Braughing, the couple may have been married at about that time.4
It is not known what caused Braughing to settle in Worcester—if he did not hail from there—but a connexion between him and the priory is early apparent. In 1524 he and his wife leased a shop from the prior, and in 1532 and 1533 Prior William More made payments of 20d. and 5s. to Braughing on the occasion of his departure to attend sessions of Parliament. Whether More, a well-befriended man of the world, had any share in Braughing’s election in 1529 we cannot say: his fellow-Member Hugh Dee, an officer in the royal household with local connexions, was also a tenant of the prior’s, but he could probably have counted on government support, which so far as is known Braughing did not command. Perhaps one of Braughing’s merits as a Member, and one of the attractions to him of sitting in Parliament, was his familiarity with the London cloth trade, to which under his guidance the products of the Worcester area could make their contribution.5
Braughing’s Membership of this Parliament is illustrated—or in one case distorted—by a number of documents. In the first of these he is found associated, at the outset of the Parliament, with four well-known fellow-Members, Cromwell, Edward Hall I, Henry See and Paul Withypoll, in the promotion of a bill to prevent debtors from defaulting under cover of the King’s protection. Three-and-a-half years and four sessions later his name appears on a list of Members compiled by Cromwell in the spring of 1533: those listed are thought to have been opposed to the bill in restraint of appeals, some of them out of religious conservatism but others, and among them Braughing, because they feared that the measure would provoke economic reprisals against the cloth trade. Braughing’s own estimate of the cost of his, presumably regular, attendance in the Commons throughout the first six sessions appears in his refusal, made shortly before 8 Mar. 1534, to settle a debt of £7 because he was £40 out of pocket ‘by reason he had been a burgess of the Parliament so long’: he must have based this figure on the standard wage and travel allowance, which for the period concerned would have amounted to a trifle less than his total, and he had evidently still not received anything from the borough.6
To this evidence of a diligent and not inactive Membership extending over at least the first six sessions of the Parliament must be added the one reference which, if it were to be trusted, would throw everything into confusion. This is the note ‘mortuus’ appended to Braughing’s name on the list of Members in its revised version dating from the spring of 1532. If the John Braughing elected in the autumn of 1529 had indeed died within the next two-and-a-half years, the Member who was noted by Cromwell early in 1533 and who a year later was to point to his long Membership must have been a namesake, and one moreover who remains completely unknown. This is much harder to believe than that the description of Braughing as dead by mid 1532 was incorrect. How the mistake arose is indeed clear enough: Braughing’s fellow-Member Hugh Dee, whose name precedes his on the list in question, was already dead and is correctly marked ‘mortuus’, and it would have been easy for the annotator or copyist to have repeated the adjective, perhaps because he was not certain to which of the Members for Worcester it applied.
Of Braughing’s further parliamentary career we know only that he was returned for Worcester in 1542 and 1547: it is likely enough, however, that he also sat in the Parliaments of 1536 and 1539, for both of which the names of the Members for Worcester are lost, and the more so in the first case because of the King’s request on that occasion for the re-election of the previous Members. Throughout these years he remained prominent in the life of the city. According to his wife’s testimony in his suit against the Rice family, Braughing died about Whitsuntide 1551: he had made no will, and administration of his goods was granted on the following 27 May. His widow survived him by a few years, and in her will, made on 13 Dec. 1555 and proved on 11 Aug. 1556, she asked to be buried near him in the churchyard of Worcester cathedral. She left equipment in her shop and silver to a kinsman, Richard Holbarowe, and goods, furnishings or clothes to other members of the Holbarowe family and to Alice Morton, her brother’s daughter. One of the overseers of her will was William Adyes, to whom she left a gown and a little spruce chest. Braughing’s place in Parliament was taken for the last session, that of 1552, by Thomas Wild.7
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Authors: L. M. Kirk / M. K. Dale
- 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from admission to Mercers’ Co. Worcs. RO, 008. 7. BA. 3590/2.
- 3. Nash, Worcs. ii. App. cxii; Worcester Guildhall, audit of accts. 1540-1600; CPR , 1550-3, p. 362.
- 4. List of mercers, T/S Mercers’ Hall, 36; C1/956/33-38, 1200/56.
- 5. Orig. Chs. rel. to Worcester (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1909), 78, 79; Jnl. Prior Wm. More (Worcs. Hist. Soc. 1914), 347, 363.
- 6. LP Hen. VIII, vii, ix. 1077 citing SP1/99, p. 234; add.
- 7. Ibid. xiii; A. D. Dyer, Worcester in 16th Cent. 189-90; Worcester Wills (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxxi), 23; Hatfield 207; Worcs. RO, 008. 7. BA. 3590/2.