The death of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk died on the 22nd of August at 4’oclock in the afternoon at Guildford. Despite wishing to be buried in the college church of Tattershall in Lincoln without any pomp or display Brandon was buried at St George’s Chapel in Windsor near the south door of the choir at the King’s expense. Of his death Charles Wriothesley wrote:

 This moneth also died at Gilford the excelent Prince Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolke, and Lord Great Master of the Kinges Household, whose death all true Englishment maie greatlie lament, which had been so valiant a captaine in the Kinges warres, booth in Scotland, Fraunce, and Irelande, to the great damage and losse of the Kinges enemies, whose bodie was honorably buried at Windsor at the Kinges costes”[2]

In his Chronicle of the history of England Edward Hall wrote…

In thys moneth died Chalres, the noble and valiaunt duke of Suffolke a hardye gentleman, and yet not so hardy, as almoste of all estates and degrees of menne high and lowe, rych and poore, hartely beloued and hys death of theme muche lamented, he was buryed at Wyndsore”.

It is said that the King was struck with grief at the loss of his longest and most loyal friend and upon hearing the news of Brandon’s death the King declared that Brandon had been one of his best friends. He went on to say that Brandon had always been loyal and generous and that he had never taken unfair advantage of a friend or enemy and was truly fair towards all his political enemies.

Charles Brandon Older

Sources: 

Gunn, S 2015, Charles Brandon, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire, UK.

Hutchinson R 2006, The Last Days of Henry VIII, Phoenix, London.

Hall, E 1809, Hall’s chronicle : containing the history of England, during the reign of Henry the Fourth, and the succeeding monarchs, to the end of the reign of Henry the Eighth, in which are particularly described the manners and customs of those periods. Carefully collated with the editions of 1548 and 1550, J. Johnson, London.

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 1509-47, ed. J.S Brewer, James Gairdner and R.H Brodie, His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1862-1932.

Weir, A 2008, Henry VIII King & Court, Vintage Books, London.

Wriothesley, C 1875, A Chronicle of England During the Reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559, Camden Society.

 

 

 

Sir William Brandon

On the 22nd of August 1485 King Richard III met his death at the Battle of Bosworth field. With his death ended the rule of the Plantagenet Kings. Yet only a short time earlier in the battle another man had died by the very lance of Richard III. His name was Sir William Brandon and it would be his son, almost thirty years later that would become King Henry VIII’s most beloved and closest friend.

When Sir William Brandon died it is reported that he was close to Henry Tudor proudly holding Henry standard high. Richard III charged at Henry’s standard bearer with his lance, the lance piercing through Brandon and breaking in half. History records that William Brandon “hevyd on high” Henry Tudor’s standard, “and vamisyd it, tyll with deathe’s dent he was tryken downe”. William Brandon drew his last breath fighting for Henry Tudor to become King. Little would he know the great legacy that his death left for his one year old son Charles Brandon the future Duke of Suffolk.

There appear to be very few facts related to William Brandon. His father was Sir William Brandon of Wangford and Southwark (b. approx. 1425 d. 1491). William Brandon Snr rose from relative security under the service of John de Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. Before the Duke died in 1476 he granted Sir William a seat in the local Parliament and also the marriage to Elizabeth Wingfield (d. 28th April 1497). William had a long list of accomplishments including becoming Marshal of the King’s Bench, Burgess (M.P) for Shoreham, Knight for the Shire of Suffolk and Collector of Customs at Kings Lynn and Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. William Brandon was also present at the battle of Tewkesbury. The battle of Tewkesbury was one of the most decisive battles in English history where Prince Edward, Henry VI’s son, was killed and the Lancastrian forces, of which William was a part of, were decisively defeated. Despite their loss William Brandon was knighted for his efforts. William must have been able to come to terms with the Lancastrian loss as he was present at the coronation of Richard III, brother of Yorkist King Edward V.

Sir William and Elizabeth Wingfield had three sons, Robert Brandon, William and the youngest Thomas. It has also been proposed that the couple also had several daughters two of those being Anne and Elizabeth although there is contradictory evidence to support this claim. William Brandon Junior was born around 1456.

There appears to be some scandal surrounding William Brandon Junior. In 1478 Sir John Paston wrote that:

yonge William Brandon is in warde and arestyd ffor thatt he scholde have fforce ravysshyd and swyvyd an olde jentylwoman , and yitt was nott therwith easysd, butt swyvyd hyr oldest dowtr, and than wolde  have swyvyd the other sustr bothe; wherforr men sey ffowle off hym, and that he wolde ete the henne and alle hyr chekynnys; and som seye that the Kynge ententdyth to sitte upon hym, and men seye he is lyke  to be hangyd,  ffor he hathe weddyd a wedowe”.

John Paston’s letter suggests that sometime during or before 1478 William Brandon forced himself upon an older woman and also made an attempt to have some sort of relationship with the woman’s daughters. In addition to this great offence the letter claim’s that the King, Edward IV was not pleased by this news and that the punishment for such horrible crimes was to be hanged. It is interesting to note that despite the required punishment there does not seem to be any record of William Brandon serving time in prison or being punished accordingly. It could be that they were mere gossip or here say or that those that were alleging these crimes did not have enough power behind them to see Brandon fully punished. Whatever the case Brandon was not punished and he managed to return to King Edward IV’s good graces.

William had strong Yorkist ties and pledged his support to the new Yorkist King Edward IV, however upon his death his brother Richard III came to the throne and the Brandon’s loyalty quickly began to fade. William Brandon and his brother Thomas soon became dissatisfied with the new King and the shock deposition of the future Edward V and decided to joined The Duke of Buckingham’s rebellion in 1483. The rebellion was led by Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and aimed to have Richard III removed from the throne and replaced by his nephew Edward, oldest son of Edward IV. However rumours abound that Edward was dead and the plan was changed to replace Richard III with Henry Tudor. It was at this time that Henry made his first attempt to lay claim to the throne. He sailed with a small army from Brittany however due to poor weather Henry and his men had to return. Without Henry Tudor’s men Buckingham’s own army floundered and a bounty was put upon his head. He was eventually captured, convicted of treason and beheaded in Salisbury on the 2nd of November 1483.

Despite supporting the Duke of Buckingham and his failed rebellion both William and Thomas Brandon managed to remain in England, however by 1484 both became dissatisfied with Richard III once more and left England. The brothers headed to Brittany to join with Henry Tudor and support his claim to the throne. In the spring of 1484 King Richard II issued a general pardon to several men that had rebelled against him, one of those being William Brandon. It is unclear if this pardon was issued before or after William Brandon left to join forces with Henry Tudor. If it was indeed before William may have not trusted the King’s words after the failed rebellion and the execution of the Duke of Buckingham. If the pardon had been issued after William had left for Europe it may be that he had no knowledge of the pardon or if he had then he might have felt it simply too late as he had already hedged his lot with Henry Tudor. Whatever the reason for not accepting this pardon it was believed at this time William’s wife Elizabeth was pregnant with their son Charles.

Elizabeth Bruyn of South Ockendon was the daughter and co-heiress of Sir Henry Bruyn. Elizabeth was first married to Thomas Tyrell Esquire who had died in 1473. Sir Bruyn died in 1466 leaving Elizabeth a portion of her father’s wealth. Elizabeth and William Brandon married sometime between 1473 and 1476. Elizabeth survived the death of her husband William in 1485 and lived on until March 1493/4.

To William and Elizabeth Brandon Henry Tudor must have signified hope and a future. The Wars of the Roses had brought a great deal of upheaval to England and now leaving the country they placed all their hope in Henry Tudor and his campaign. Laying claim to the English throne was one thing but obtaining it was another. Throughout 1483/84 Henry and his ever growing group of supporters relied heavily upon Duke Francis of Brittany for support and received payments from the Duke to help pay for their day to day upkeep.  In September 1484 Henry Tudor threw himself upon the mercy of King Charles VII of France and begged him for support for his campaign. The King agreed and helped Henry and his supporters purchase resources and mercenaries for the campaign ahead.

The 1st of August 1485 was to be the day that Henry Tudor would finally leave France after fourteen years of exile in Brittany and France aiming to lay claim to the English throne. He set sail from Harfleur, France accompanied by approximately 2000 soldiers. The exact number of men is hard to estimate as different reports record different numbers. What is known is that this would be Henry’s greatest push to date and by his side would be William Brandon.

At the Battle of Bosworth on the 22nd of August, it is estimated that Henry Tudor had an army of approximately five to eight thousand soldiers to King Richard III’s twelve to twenty thousand men. Thomas and William Stanley had a combined force of approximately six thousand men however neither brother had made a definitive move as to which side of the battle they would join. Richard III held the higher ground upon Ambion Hill while Henry and his men were on the lower ground next to marshes.

Henry Tudor appointed the Earl of Oxford to command his troops and lead the Vanguard. Behind the vanguard was Henry, flanked by Gilbert Talbot and Sir John Savage and the rest of his men. Close to Henry was Sir William Brandon. Brandon had been chosen to be Henry’s standard bearer, a great honour for a man who continued to display his loyalty.

A standard bearer is “one who bears a standard or banner”. It was Brandon’s duty to carry the flag that represented Henry and his troops. The standard that Henry chose was white and green representing the Tudor colours. Upon this was the red cross of St George, patron saint of England and soldiers and the red Dragon of Wales. Henry Tudor had strong ties with Wales through his grandfather Owen Tudor as well as his uncle Jasper Tudor. This identification with Wales and its people helped Henry to recruit many Welsh men and soldiers along his campaign towards London.

Upon King Richard’s side he ordered the Duke of Norfolk and Sir Robert Brackenburry to lead his vanguard. The rear guard was commanded by Richard III and compromised of his personal bodyguard and other soldiers. Behind him was the Earl of Northumberland and his men.

When the battle cry was called arrows fired and then Oxford’s men clashed with the Duke of Norfolk’s. Both sides then paused, perhaps to regain their breath and positions. Oxford formed his men into a wedge and charged forward. At this second charge Henry’s French troops joined the battle and joined the attack on Norfolk’s men. Soon Norfolk’s men were in trouble and many were killed including the Duke himself, others fled while some defected to Henry Tudor’s side.

Northumberland and his men did not move into the fight and it is believed that at some point the Earl decided to leave the battle without employing any of his men into the fray. Amongst the chaos some of his loyal supporters begged Richard III to flee but the King would be no coward. Oxford’s men had pushed forward leaving a gap. Seeing his gap Richard III saw an opportunity to get to the man who caused such a great threat to his throne and he and his men charged forward aiming to strike Henry Tudor down.

It was here that William Brandon met his death at the end of Richard III’s lance. The Battle of Bosworth is remembered for the tragic death of King Richard III and the rise of the Tudors. Sir William Brandon, standard bearer seems almost insignificant amongst a battle that changed the course of English history yet one must not forget his story. While little is known about his life he was fiercely loyal to a man he believed was the true King. He gave his life for Henry Tudor and it was his son Charles Brandon that would continue the Brandon legacy.

William Brandon

Sir William Brandon being slain by King Richard III, by Graham’s Turner.

Sources:

Bayani, Debra 2014, Jasper Tudor Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty, Self-Published, USA.

Breverton, Terry 2014, Jasper Tudor Dynasty Maker, Amberley Publishing, Gloucestershire.

Doran, Susan 2008, The Tudor Chronicles, Quercus Publishing, London.

Hutton, William 1813, The Battle of Bosworth Field, Between Richard the Third and Henry Earl of Richmond, August 22, 1485, Nichols, Son, and Bentley, Fleet Street.

Merriam-Webster Incorporated 2015, Standard-bearer, An Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, viewed 11 January 2017, <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/standard-bearer&gt;.

Gairdner, James 1904, The Paston Letters 1422 – 1509, London, Chatto & Windus, viewed 6 June 2017, <http://www.archive.org/stream/pastonlettersad06gairuoft#page/230/mode/2up/search/Brandon&gt;.

Penn, Thomas 2011, Winter King The Dawn of Tudor England, Penguin Group, London.

Richardson, Douglas 2011, Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, CreateSpace, USA.

Skidmore, Chris 2013, The Rise of the Tudors The Family That Changed English History, St. Martin’s Press, New York.

The Road to Bosworth

The Battle of Bosworth has gone down in record as one of the most pivotal battles in English history. The aftermath of the battle changed the course of England and saw a new monarch and dynasty come to the throne.

The 1st of August 1485 was to be the day that Henry Tudor would finally leave France after fourteen years of exile in Brittany and France aiming to lay claim to the English throne. He set sail from Harfleur, France accompanied by approximately 400 Englishmen, 800 Scots and  approximately 1500 French troops. The exact number of French troops is hard to estimate as different reports record different numbers.

Landing on the 7th of August at Mill Bay six miles west of Milford Haven located along the Pembrokeshire coastline it is said that when he reached the coast Henry knelt down and kissed the sand reciting Psalm 23 “Judge me , Oh God, and distinguish my cause”. He then made the sign of the cross. At Mill Bay Henry was met by his half Uncle David Owen, illegitimate son of  Tudor Owen Henry’s grandfather. Gathering his men Henry headed off to lay claim to the English throne.

Their first stop was the village of Dale of which its castle surrendered easily. Henry and his men camped here and the future King made sure to remind his men not to get up to any trouble. The troops then moved on through Haverfordwest and Cardigan then northward to Llwyn Dafydd. After this they claimed the garrison at Aberystwyth Castle and then turned to march inland. On August 13th they reached Machynlleth and the next day they made a thirty mile trek across rough terrain to Dolarddun. Following this the growing army headed to Long Mountain where Henry met with Rhys ap Thomas, an important man who carried a great deal of sway with the Welsh people. Rhys pledged his loyalty to Henry and brought approximately 1800 – 2000 troops to Henry’s cause.

With his growing number of troops Henry then headed to Shrewsbury. However the portcullises were closed and Henry and his men were not given permission to pass. The next day Henry sent a messenger to negotiate with those in charge at Shrewsbury and Henry and his men were allowed to pass through and a number of men from the town joined Henry’s forces.

From Shrewsbury Henry travelled through Shropshire and Staffordshire. It was here at Staffordshire that Sit Gilbert Talbot and a troop of about 500 men joined with Henry. The men marched to Stafford where Henry would meet Sir William Stanley, younger brother of Henry’s father in law. Throughout this time the Stanley’s had been sitting on the fence, not making their allegiances clear to either Henry or King Richard III. Although it is interesting to note that Thomas Stanley, Henry’s father in law, had been following Henry and his men under the pretence of keeping an eye on them for the King.  In addition to this it was William Stanley that sent a message to the mayor of Shrewsbury to convince him to open the gates to Henry and his men. Had the Stanley brother’s allegiance already been decided?

From Stafford Henry and his men marched through Lichfield arriving at Tamworth on the 20th of August. The next day his men marched over the River Anker to Atherstone where Henry is reported to have had a secret meeting with his father in law. It was at this meeting that allegedly Thomas Stanley pledged his formal support for his step son.

However the next day, on the 22nd of August Henry sent a message to his step father asking him to send his men to join Henry’s troops. To this Stanley replied that he needed to prepare his men and for now it would appear he was keeping his distance.

There is great debate as to exactly where the Battle of Bosworth took place. There is also a great deal of debate as to how the battle played out and where Henry Tudor and Richard III’s armies were placed and deployed. It is estimated that Henry had an army of approximately five to eight thousand soldiers to King Richard III’s twelve or more thousand men. Thomas and William Stanley had a combined force of approximately six thousand men however neither brother had made a definitive move as to which side of the battle they would join. Richard III held the higher ground upon Ambion Hill while Henry and his men were on the lower ground next to marshes.

Henry Tudor, lacking experience in military action appointed the Earl of Oxford to command his troops and lead the Vanguard. Next to the vanguard was Henry, flanked by Gilbert Talbot and Sir John Savage and the rest of his men. Close to Henry was his friend William Brandon who had been chosen to be Henry’s standard bearer. The standard that Henry chose was white and green representing the Tudor colours. Upon this was the red cross of St George, patron saint of England and soldiers and the red Dragon of Wales. Henry Tudor had strong ties with Wales through his grandfather Owen Tudor as well as his uncle Jasper Tudor. This identification with Wales and its people helped Henry to recruit many Welsh men and soldiers along his campaign towards London.

Upon King Richard’s side he ordered the Duke of Norfolk and Sir Robert Brackenburry to lead his vanguard. The rear guard was commanded by Richard III and compromised of his personal bodyguard and other soldiers. Behind him was the Earl of Northumberland and his men.

When the battle cry was called arrows fired and then Oxford’s men clashed with the Duke of Norfolk’s. The sound of clashing metal, war cries and screaming must have filled the air, mixed with the smell of sweat and battle overwhelming the senses. It was during this initial battle that the Duke of Norfolk was killed. Both sides then paused, perhaps to regain their breath and positions. Oxford formed his men into a wedge and charged forward. At this second charge Henry’s French troops joined the battle and joined the attack on Norfolk’s men. Soon Norfolk’s men were in trouble and many were killed, others fled and some defected to Henry Tudor’s side.

Northumberland and his men did not move into the fight and it is believed that at some point the Earl decided to leave the battle without employing any of his men into the fray. Amongst the chaos some of his loyal supporters begged Richard III to flee but the King would be no coward. Oxford’s men had pushed forward leaving a gap. Seeing his gap Richard III saw an opportunity to get to his opponent and he and his men charged forward aiming to strike down Henry.

Reports have it that Richard III charged at Henry’s standard bearer with his lance, the lance piercing through Brandon and breaking in half. Tragically Brandon fell and was killed. Richard III and his men continued forward, the battle was fierce and heated and Henry, with little support must have feared for his life. However it was now the Stanley brothers who had been watching the battle up to this point decided to act. William Stanley and his men charged down in support of Henry Tudor and the armies clashed. It was at some point during this battle that Richard III was killed. Despite history recording him as a hunchback and a coward Richard III fought bravely until his final breath.

After the battle and Henry was declared victorious he ordered that the dead and wounded be tended to. Many of those that died were buried at the nearby church of St James. After fourteen years in exile, having marched halfway across Wales and England in just two weeks and vastly then outnumbered Henry Tudor and his men went against insurmountable odds and won. Within just two short hours the man who had tenuous ties to the throne claimed had defeated a King and claimed the crown for himself.  From Bosworth Henry and his men marched to London where Henry Tudor was crowned King Henry VII on 30th October 1485 and the dynasty of the Tudors began.

Henry VII and Richard III, images from Wikipedia

Sources:

Bayani, D 2014, Jasper Tudor Godfather of the Tudor Dynasty, Self Published.

Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland 2015, The Holinshed Project, viewed 16th January 2017, <http://www.cems.ox.ac.uk/holinshed/index.shtml&gt;.

De Lisle, L 2013, Tudor The Family Story, Chatto & Windus, London.

Ingram, M 2015, ‘Bosworth The Day The Tudors Came’, Tudor Life, vol. 5, pp. 2-7.

Jokien A 2010, The Battle of Bosworth Field, Luminarium Encyclopaedia Project, viewed 16th January 2017, <http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/bosworth.htm&gt;.

Johnson, B 2015, The Red Dragon of Wales, Historic UK, viewed 16th January 1017, <http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofWales/The-Red-Dragon-of-Wales/&gt;.

Loades, D 2012, The Tudors History of a Dynasty, Continuum International Publishing Group, London.

Merriam-Webster Incorporated 2015, Standard-bearer, An Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, viewed 1th January 2017, <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/standard-bearer&gt;.

Penn, T 2011, Winter King The Dawn of Tudor England, Penguin Group, London.

The Battle of Bosworth 2014, History Learning Site, viewed 16th January 2017, <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/battle_of_bosworth.htm&gt;.

Thorton, M n. d., The Battle of Bosworth, viewed 16th January 2017, <http://battlefield-site.co.uk/bosworth.htm&gt;.

UK Battlefields Resource Centre 2015, Battle of Bosworth, The Battlefield Trust, viewed 16th January 2015, <http://www.battlefieldstrust.com/resource-centre/warsoftheroses/battleview.asp?BattleFieldId=8&gt;.

On the 13th August 1514 Mary Tudor was married to King Louis XII. The Duke of Longueville acted as proxy for the French king, accompanied by Johannes de Selve the President of the Supreme Court of Normandy and the French general Thomas Boyer. The wedding was held in the great hall at Greenwich, the hall was decorated with an arras of gold and laced with a frieze embroidered with the royal arms of England and France. King Henry VIII and Queen Katherine entered first followed by Mary and her ladies in waiting.  Mary wore a ‘petticoat of ash-coloured satin, and a gown of purple satin and cloth of gold in chequers; she wore a cap of cloth of gold, and chains and jewels like the Queen’.[66] Numerous ambassadors and members of the court attended the wedding. Noticeably the Spanish ambassadors were conspicuous by their absence.

The wedding was presided over by William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, first addressing the French representative in Latin. Johannes de Selve replied that Louis XII was ‘desirous’ to take Mary as his wife. After this the Bishop of Durham read the French authorization for the proxy wedding.

Next the,

‘Duke of Longueville, taking with his right the right hand of the Princess Mary, read the French King’s words of espousal (recited) in French. Then the Princess, taking the right hand of the Duke of Longueville, read her part of the contract (recited) in the same tongue. Then the Duke of Longueville signed the schedule and delivered it for signature to the Princess Mary, who signed Marye; after which the Duke delivered the Princess a gold ring, which the Princess placed on the fourth finger of her right hand.’ (Letters & Papers Vol. 1 3146).

A portrait thought to be Mary Tudor (but may be Isabella of Castile) and King Louis XII. (Images from Wikipedia)

Sources:

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1871).

Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 1509-47, ed. J.S Brewer, James Gairdner and R.H Brodie, (His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1862-1932).

Richardson, Walter C., Mary Tudor The White Queen (Great Britain: University of Washington Press, 1970).

 

 

Grimsthorpe Castle

Grimsthorpe Castle is located in Lincolnshire and was first thought to be built in the 13th century by Gilbert de Grant. However de Grant died in 1156 therefore the origins of the castle are much older and most likely date to around 1140. While called Grimsthorpe Castle the building is actually more of a large manor house than an actual castle. De Grant’s original building consisted of a square shape building built around a large courtyard with four varying size towers located on each corner of the building. The south east tower of the Castle is known as ‘King John’s Tower’ and this name may have led to the confusion that the castle was built during the reign of King John rather than a century earlier.

Upon Gilbert de Grant’s death much of his lands and estates went to Henry, 1st Lord Beaumont. Beaumont served Kings Edward I and II. Henry, 5th Lord Beaumont married Elizabeth Willoughby, daughter of William, 5th Bardon Willoughby de Eresby. Their grandson was William Willoughby, the 11th Baron Willoughby de Eresby who on the 5th of June 1516 married Maria de Salinas, maid of honour to Queen Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife. William was granted Grimsthorpe Castle by Henry VIII to celebrate the marriage.

William Willoughby died in October 1526 with only one living child, a daughter named Katherine. Katherine not only inherited her father’s title but also his vast estates and lands in Lincolnshire including Grimsthorpe Castle.

In March 1528 Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk bought the wardship of Katherine Willoughby from the King for a staggering £2,266 13s 4d. Brandon then married Katherine on 7th September 1533. With the marriage Brandon came into possession of Grimsthorpe Castle.

With the major rebellion in 1536 known as the Pilgrimage of Grace Henry VIII wanted to ensure that there was no further uprising in Lincolnshire. Sometime before May 26th the King ordered that Brandon permanently position himself within Lincolnshire to make the King’s presence known and to oversee the happenings in the county.

 Brandon used Grimsthorpe and set it up as his main residence in Lincolnshire. The Castle was built on a rise which affords a magnificent view of the surrounding area. Brandon began extensive work upon the Castle over the next few years creating a magnificent quadrangle building with a centre courtyard. The castle is made of warm grey stone and slate roofing. Also located by the castle was a large park perfect for hunting, one of Brandon’s favourite pass times. In 1541 Henry VIII honoured Brandon with a royal visit at Grimsthorpe Castle and the Duke spent the previous eighteen months frantically upgrading and extending the Castle using much of the materials of the dissolved Vaudey Abbey which was located nearby.

After Charles Brandon’s death on the 22nd of August 1545 Katherine married Richard Bertie, her gentleman usher. They had two children, a daughter name Susan and a son named Peregine. After Katherine’s death the Willoughby title and the castle of Grinsthorpe passed to her son. Grimsthorpe Castle has been in the hands of the Baron/Baronesses Willoughby de Ersey ever since.

By 1707 the north front of Grimsthorpe has been rebuilt in the classic style however in 1715 Robert Bertie, 16th Baron Willoughby de Eresby employed Sir John Vanbrugh to rebuilt the front of Grimsthorpe in the baroque style to celebrate Bertie’s elevation to the title of Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven. The front of Grimsthorpe was subsequently redesigned and there were plans to complete the other three facings of the castle in the same style however these were never carried out.

The south façade of the castle remains similar to that which Charles Brandon extended during his time at Grimsthorpe and which he would have been familiar with. The south west tower of Grimsthorpe Castle is known as the ‘Brandon Tower’.

Grimsthorpe Castle

Sources:

Chilvers, A 2010, The Berties of Grimsthorpe Castle, Author House, Bloomington Indiana.

The Grimsthorpe & Drummond Castle Trust 2015, Grimsthorpe Castle, viewed 26th July 2015, <http://www.grimsthorpe.co.uk/&gt;.