Lady Margaret Bryan

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Margaret Bryan (Bourchier)

Nicknames: "Margaret Bourgchier"
Birthplace: Benningborough, Yorkshire, England
Death: Died in Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Sir Humphrey Bourchier and Elizabeth (Countess of Surrey) Bourchier
Wife of Sir Thomas Bryan, II, Kt. and David Zouche
Fiancée of John Sands
Mother of Sir Francis Bryan I "The Vicar of Hell", Lord Chief Justice of Ireland; Elizabeth Bryan, Lady Carew; John Bryan; Thomas Bryan and Margaret Guildford
Half sister of John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners; Anne Bourchier and Lord Edmund Howard

Occupation: Baroness Lady Bryan, Governess to Henry VIII children including young Elizabeth I after Anne Bolyn beheaded., Governess to Henry iii Children Princess Mary, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Edward.
Managed by: Bianca May Evelyn Brennan
Last Updated:

About Margaret Bryan (Bourchier)

Lady Margaret Bourchier married Sir Thomas Bryan III, son of Thomas Bryan II and Lady Margaret Bowsey, and Sir Francis Bryan and Lady Elizabeth Bryan were their children. . Warm-hearted Lady Margaret Bourchier was governess for Princess Mary, and after the death of Anne Boleyn , Lady Margaret Bourchier was made foster mother to Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth, I). When Prince Edward was born, Lady Margaret transferred to his household. Lady Margaret Bourchier died in 1551 or 1552.

Lady Margaret Bouchier, wife of Sir Thomas Bryan, was a cousin of Queen Ann Boleyn and was a great favorite at the glamorous court of Henry VIII, who had a predeliction for wives. She is said to have been very beautiful and most fascinating and her influence was so great and far-reaching that jealoous courtiers in their "whisperings" even suggested a "royal romance."


  • Margaret, Lady Bryan (c. 1468 - c. 1551/52) was Lady Governess to Henry VIII's children: Princess Mary, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Edward.[1] The position of Lady Governess in her day resembled less that of the popular modern idea of a governess, more that of a nanny.
  • She was born Margaret Bourchier in about 1468 in Beningbrough, Yorkshire, England. Her mother was Elizabeth Tilney and her father was Sir Humphrey Bourchier, who was killed at the Battle of Barnet on 14 April 1471 during the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses.[2] Humphrey Bourchier was heir to the title Baron Berners but having predeceased his father, Margaret's brother John instead succeeded to the title as second Baron Berners. Humphrey Bourchier and Elizabeth Tilney had one further daughter who survived to adulthood. Margaret's younger sister was Anne Bourchier (1470–1530) who married Thomas Fiennes, 8th Lord Dacre[3] in 1492. Their son, also Thomas, was the 9th Lord Dacre who was executed for murder in 1541.
  • Margaret Bourchier was married three times. Her first husband, with whom there may only have been a marriage agreement (a ‘pre-contract’), was Sir John Sandes (or Sandys). The marriage agreement was signed when Margaret was 10 or 11 years old on 11 November 1478.[4] Pre-contracts were not unusual among the Tudor period aristocracy and gentry, and it need not have resulted in a consummated marriage.[5]
  • She married Sir Thomas Bryan sometime before 1490. As Lady Bryan, she was a Lady-in-Waiting to Catherine of Aragon and was present at Catherine's wedding to Henry VIII in 1509.[6] Known as Lady Bryan initially because of her husband's knighthood, she claimed[2][7] to have been made Baroness Bryan suo jure on 18 February 1516, upon the birth of Princess Mary, when she was appointed as Mary's Lady Governess.
  • Sir Thomas Bryan died sometime before 1517,[8] and Margaret Bryan married her final husband, David Souche (or Zoche) in or before 1519. In July 1519, there is a record in the archives of Henry VIII's court that notes the payment of an annuity of 50 pounds to "MARGARET BRYAN, widow of Sir Thomas Bryan, and now wife of David Soche." The annuity paid "for services to the King and queen Katharine" included "one tun of Gascon wine yearly, out of the wine received for the King's use."[9] David Souche may have died in 1526[10] or in 1536.[7]
  • Margaret Bryan became the Lady Governess for Princess Mary in February 1516. More well known primary evidence exists to connect her with Princess Elizabeth and Prince Edward. From August 1536, there is a widely quoted letter from her to Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's chief minister, in which she complains of the economic difficulties of the household of "lady Elizabeth" since the change in her status (from legitimate to illegitimate) following the annulment of the King's marriage to her mother Anne Boleyn, and Anne's execution in May.
    • Now, as my lady Elizabeth is put from that degree she was in, and what degree she is at now I know not but by hearsay, I know not how to order her or myself, or her women or grooms. I beg you to be good lord to her and hers, and that she may have raiment, for she has neither gown nor kirtle nor petticoat, nor linen for smocks, nor kerchiefs, sleeves, rails, bodystychets, handkerchiefs, mufflers, nor "begens."[11]
    • (The more obscure items in this list are identified by the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edn) as: rails = nightdresses; bodystychets = corsets; begens = nightcaps.)
  • She also reports that: "My lady has great pain with her teeth, which come very slowly."[11] (Elizabeth was to have serious difficulties with her teeth on and off for much of her life.)
  • Margaret Bryan passed over responsibility for Elizabeth to Catherine Champernowne in October 1537 following the birth of Prince Edward, who became her new charge. A second letter to Cromwell, dated 11 March 1539, describes the Prince.
    • My lord Prince is in good health and merry. Would to God the King and your Lordship had seen him last night. The minstrels played, and his Grace danced and played so wantonly that he could not stand still ...[12]
  • A late mention of Margaret Bryan in the archives is a note referring to the payment of a 20 pound annuity to "Lady Margaret Bryane, the King's servant" in 1545.[13]
  • She died in Leyton, now a suburb of London but at the time a village in Essex.[14]
  • Margaret Bryan could boast royal Plantagenet bloodlines for herself through her paternal great-grandmother, Anne of Woodstock, Countess of Buckingham, who was herself the granddaughter of King Edward III. Closer in time, after the death of Sir Humphrey Bourchier, Margaret's mother, Elizabeth, married Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, becoming Duchess of Norfolk.[15] Elizabeth had a number of children in her second marriage, including Lady Elizabeth Howard, mother of Anne Boleyn; Henry VIII's second queen, and Lord Edmund Howard, the father of Katherine Howard; the fifth queen of King Henry VIII. This connection made Margaret an aunt to both Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard as well as a member of the wider circle of kin and dependents around the Howard family.[16]
  • From:


  • Margaret Bourchier1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
  • F, #90180, b. circa 1465
  • Father Sir Humphrey Bourchier1,2,9,4,5,6,10 b. c 1444, d. 14 Apr 1471
  • Mother Elizabeth Tilney1,9,10 b. c 1445, d. 4 Apr 1497
  • Margaret Bourchier was born circa 1465 at of Massingham Parva, Norfolk, England.3 A settlement for the marriage Margaret Bourchier and John Sandys was made on 11 November 1478; They had 1 child.3,7 Margaret Bourchier married Sir Thomas Bryan, son of Sir Thomas Bryan, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and Isabel, before 1495; They had 2 sons (Thomas; & Sir Francis, Chief Justice of Ireland) & 3 daughters (Margaret, wife of Sir Henry Guildford; Anne; & Elizabeth, wife of Sir Nicholas Carew).1,2,3,4,5,6,7 Margaret Bourchier married David Zouche, son of John Zouche, Esq. and Eleanor St. John, before 1523.3,7,8 Margaret Bourchier left a will on 20 August 1551 at Layton, Essex, England.3,7 Her estate was probated on 21 June 1552.3,7
  • Family 1 John Sandys b. c 1460, d. b 1495
  • Family 2 Sir Thomas Bryan b. c 1460
  • Children
    • Sir Francis Bryan, Marshal & Chief Justice of Ireland11,4,7 b. b 1492, d. 2 Feb 1550
    • Elizabeth Bryan+1,2,3,5,6,7 b. c 1495
  • Family 3 David Zouche b. c 1485, d. b 20 Aug 1551
  • Citations
  • 1.[S5] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 141-142.
  • 2.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 194.
  • 3.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 285-286.
  • 4.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 263-264.
  • 5.[S6] Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry: 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 228.
  • 6.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. I, p. 359.
  • 7.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. I, p. 485-486.
  • 8.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. II, p. 278.
  • 9.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 284-285.
  • 10.[S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. I, p. 484-485.
  • 11.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 286-287.
  • From:


  • Margaret Bourchier1
  • F, #179938, d. 1551/52
  • Last Edited=2 Feb 2011
  • Consanguinity Index=0.0%
  • Margaret Bourchier was the daughter of Sir Humphrey Bourchier and Elizabeth Tylney.1 She married, firstly, Sir Thomas Bryan.1 She married, secondly, David Soche.2 She died in 1551/52.1
  • Her married name became Soche.2 Her married name became Bryan.1 After 18 February 1515/16 she claimed to have been created a Baroness (Baroness Bryant) by King Henry VIII.1
  • Citations
  • 1.[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, page 363. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • 2.[S2] Peter W. Hammond, editor, The Complete Peerage or a History of the House of Lords and All its Members From the Earliest Times, Volume XIV: Addenda & Corrigenda (Stroud, Gloucestershire, U.K.: Sutton Publishing, 1998), page 118. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage, Volume XIV.
  • From:


  • Margaret BOURCHIER
  • Born: ABT 1468, Benningborough, Yorkshire, England
  • Died: 1551/2, England
  • Notes: See her Biography.
  • Father: Humphrey BOURCHIER (Sir Knight)
  • Mother: Elizabeth TILNEY (C. Surrey)
  • Married 1: John SANDS 11 Nov 1478, Benningborough, Yorkshire, England
  • Married 2: Thomas BRYAN (Sir Knight) ABT 1487, Benningborough, Yorkshire, England
  • Children:
    • 1. Margaret BRYAN
    • 2. Elizabeth BRYAN
    • 3. Francis BRYAN (Sir Knight Lord Chief Justice of Ireland)
    • 4. Mary BRYAN
  • Married 3: David ZOUCHE
  • From: BOURCHIER1


Lady Margaret Bourchier , (born ca. 1468 in Benningborough, Yorkshire, England ), was the daughter of Sir Humphrey Bourchier and Lady Elizabeth Tilney. She married first John Sandys, but they had no children. She married second Thomas Bryan III in 1487.

Lady Margaret Bourchier was very beautiful, a great favorite in the court of Henry VIII. There were even rumors – whisperings – of a royal romance. Lady Margaret Bourchier was governess of all of Henry VIII’s children, including Princess Mary Tudor, who became Queen Mary ("Bloody Mary",) and then to Princess Elizabeth Tudor, who became Queen Elizabeth I, and later to Prince Edward Tudor, who became King Edward VI. Lady Margaret Bourchier was made a baroness for her services, and she died in Berkshire, England, in 1551 or 1552.


Lady Bryan, goveness of the young princesses Elizabeth and Mary, daughters of King Henry VIII and both later Queens of England.

Following the unhappy death of Anne Boleyn, Lady margaret was made foster mother to the princess Elizabeth and in recognition of this service the king created the Barony of Bryan.


Dame Margaret Bryan, son after the birth of Mary (afterwards Queen Mary) in 1516, had care of her person as "Lady Mistress" and was, according to her own account, made Baroness by the King. She held the same office, and was subsequently "Governess" to Elizabeth (afterwards Queen Elizabeth). Her husband, Sir Thomas Bryan of Chedington, Bucks, died before 517. His will dated 1 Oct. 1508 was pr. January 30, 1517. She was sister of John, Lord Berners, daughter of Sir Humphrey Bourshier, by Elizabeth, who was daughter of Sir Frederick Tylney, afterwards Duchess of Norfolk. She died 1551-52, leaving issue, when her peerage, which, if ever conferred, was probably only for life, was no more heard of.




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Lady Margaret Bryan's Timeline

June 1, 1468
Benningborough, Yorkshire, England
Age 18
Yorkshire, England
June 1, 1490
Age 22
Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England
Age 26
Beddington, Surrey, , England
Age 32
Beningborough, Yorkshire, England
Age 39
Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England
Age 48
June 1, 1551
Age 83
Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England
July 7, 1992
Age 83
July 30, 1992
Age 83