Francis Bryan, I (1490 - 1550) MP

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Nicknames: "Francis Bryan"
Birthplace: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England
Death: Died in Clonmel, Tiperary, Munster, Ireland
Cause of death: Suspected to have been poisoned by second wife, Lady Joan Fitzgerald
Occupation: Sir Knight Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Lord Marchall of Ireland, "The Vicar of Hell"l Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland
Managed by: Ann Margrethe Nilsen
Last Updated:

About Francis Bryan, I

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Bryan

• Knight Banneret • Motto: Je Tiens Grace (I hope for Salvation) • Captain, Margaret Bonaventure • Cupbearer • Cipherer • Gentleman of the Privy Chamber • Esquire of the Body • Chief Cupbearer • Master of the Henchman • Ambassador to France, Rome, Holy Roman Empire • Dubbed “Vicar of Hell” by Cromwell • Chief Gentleman of the Privy Chamber • Member, Parliament (House of Commons) • Vice Admiral • Lord Marshal, Ireland • Chief Lord Justice, Ireland • Believed to have been poisoned by second wife, Lady Joan Fitzgerald, so she could marry here intended husband of Irish nobility

About 1490, Francis Bryan was born in Cheddington, England.[1] He was the son of Sir Thomas Bryan and Margaret Bourchier, and came to court at a young age.[2] There he became, along with his brother-in-law Nicholas Carew, one of "the King's minions", a group of young gentlemen of the Privy chamber who held much sway with Henry and were known for their intemperate behaviour.[4] In 1519, Bryan and Sir Edward Neville disgraced themselves in the eyes of the minions' detractors when, during a diplomatic mission to Paris, they threw eggs and stones at the common people.[5]

Under the influence of Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Francis was removed from the Privy chamber in 1519,[5] and again in 1526 as part of the Eltham ordinances.[6] Shortly after this he lost an eye in a tournament at Greenwich, and had to wear an eye-patch from then on.[7] Then in 1528, when Sir William Carey's death left a vacancy in the Privy chamber, Bryan returned to fill his place, possibly through the good offices of his cousin Anne Boleyn. From then on he was highly influential, becoming one of the king's most favoured companions,[8] and a leading member of the faction who wished to break Wolsey's grip on power.[9]

Bryan was a second cousin of both Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour. He remained a friend of the King, even ending his pursuit of a lady when he heard that Bryan was seriously interested in her. 'The Vicar of Hell', as Francis was known, was also a close ally of Nicholas Carew, the husband of Francis' sister, Elizabeth Carew. There are rumours that Elizabeth became Henry's mistress in 1514, when she would have been only around thirteen.

However, by 1536 Bryan was working with Thomas Cromwell to bring about his cousin's downfall as queen.[10] It was at this time that Cromwell coined Sir Francis' unfortunate sobriquet in a letter to the Bishop of Winchester, referring to his abandonment of Anne.[3] After Boleyn's death, Bryan became chief Gentleman of the Privy chamber,[11] but was removed from this post in 1539 when Cromwell turned against his former allies.[12] Sir Francis returned to favour following Cromwell's demise, becoming vice-admiral of the fleet, and then Lord Chief Justice of Ireland during the reign of Edward VI. He died suddenly at Clonmel, Ireland in 1550.[1] He is buried in Waterford, Ireland.

Personality type

An infamous rake and libertine. Bryan had a reputation as a poet of almost the same calibre as his friends. He was also a man who, according to the abbot of Woburn, dared to speak his mind to the King; on foreign missions he could on occasion be equally outspoken, if not arrogant. Roger Ascham, who presumably knew him well, described his youthful personality as being maintained even when ‘spent by years’.

Signature look

Eye patch, lost an eye in a joust in 1526. There are no paintings of him because of this. He was noted for his rich apparel and a chain of great worth and strange fashion.

Endearing trait(s): distinguished diplomat, soldier, sailor, writer & poet.

Annoying trait(s): morally flexible to whatever the King wishes, which is why he survives to die from natural causes, decided to turn on his second cousin Anne Boleyn and help Thomas Cromwell dispose of her

'Vicar of Hell'

...In the broadest sense, a vicar (pronounced /ˈvɪkər/; from the Latin vicarius) is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior (compare "vicarious" in the sense of "at second hand"). In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant, literally the "place-holder".[1]...

N. Sander, Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism ( 1877), p. 24, records that Sir Francis Bryan 'was once asked by the king to tell him what sort of sin it was to ruin the mother and then the child'. Bryan replied 'that it was a sin like that of eating a hen first and its chicken afterwards'. The king burst forth into loud laughter and said to Bryan, 'Well, you certainly are my vicar of hell'.

Also Cromwell, in a friendly letter to Bryan, calls him 'the vicar of hell' possibly due to his duplicity in regard to his cousin Anne Boleyn's Fall.

But Bryan was a hard-working diplomat, to whom Thomas Wyatt addressed one of his satires, and one suspects that his nickname should not be taken too seriously.

"Bryan ... who knows how great a grace In writing is to counsel man the right. To thee ... that trots still up and down And never rests, but running day and night From realm to realm, from city, street and town, Why dost thou wear thy body to the bones?" (Sir Thomas Wyatt)

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Resolve...

Birth Date //1500 c. //1490

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Bryan

SIR FRANCIS BRYAN* (d. 1550), poet, translator, soldier, and diplomatist, was the son of Sir Thomas Bryan, and grandson of Sir Thomas Bryan, chief justice of the common pleas from 1471 till his death in 1500. His father was knighted by Henry VII in 1497, was 'knight of the body' at the opening of Henry VIII's reign, and repeatedly served on the commission of the peace for Buckinghamshire, where the family property was settled. Francis Bryan's mother was Margaret, daughter of Humphry Bourchier, and sister of John Bourchier, Lord Berners. Lady Bryan was for a time governess to the princesses Mary and Elizabeth, and to Prince Edward. She died in 1551-2.

Bryan's prominence in politics was mainly due to the lasting affection which Henry VIII conceived for him in early youth. Bryan is believed to have been educated at Oxford. In April 1513, he received his first official appointment, that of Captain of the Margaret Bonaventure, a ship in the retinue of Sir Thomas Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk, the newly appointed Admiral. In the court entertainments held at Richmond (19 April 1515), at Eltham (Christmas 1516), and at Greenwich (7 July 1517), Bryan took a prominent part, and received very rich apparel from the King on each occasion. He became the King's cupbearer in 1516. In December 1518 he was acting as 'master of the Toyles,' and storing Greenwich Park with 'quick deer.' In 1520, he attended Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and took part in the jousts there under the captaincy of the Earl of Devonshire; and on 29 Sept. he received a pension from the King of 33l. 6s. 8d. as a servant and 'a cipherer' [i.e., one proficient in cryptography and able to encrypt and decrypt coded messages].

He served in Brittany under the Earl of Surrey in July 1522, and was knighted by his commander for his hardiness and courage. He was one of the Sheriffs of Essex and Hertfordshire in 1523, and accompanied Wolsey on his visit to Calais (9 July 1527), where he remained some days. A year later he escorted the papal envoy Campeggio, on his way to England from Orleans, to Calais. In November 1528 Bryan was sent to Rome by Henry to obtain the papal sanction for his divorce from Catherine. Bryan was especially instructed to induce the Pope [Clement VII] to withdraw from his friendship with the Emperor, and to discover the instructions originally given to Campeggio. Much to his disappointment, Bryan failed in his mission. Soon after leaving England he had written to his cousin, Anne Boleyn, encouraging her to look forward to the immediate removal of all obstacles between her and the title of Queen; but he subsequently (5 May 1529) had to confess to the King that nothing would serve to gain the Pope's consent to Catherine's divorce.

On 10 May 1533, Bryan, with Sir Thomas Gage and Lord Vaux, presented to Queen Catherine at Ampthill the summons bidding her appear before Archbishop Cranmer's court at Dunstable, to show cause why the divorce should not proceed; but the queen, who felt the presence of Bryan, a relative of Anne Boleyn, a new insult, informed the messengers that she did not acknowledge the court's competency. In 1531 Bryan was sent as ambassador to France, whither he was soon followed by Sir Nicholas Carew, his sister's husband, and at the time as zealous a champion of Anne Boleyn as himself. Between May and August 1533, Bryan was travelling with the Duke of Norfolk in France seeking to prevent an alliance or even a meeting between the Pope [Clement VII] and the King of France, and he was engaged in similar negotiations, together with Bishop Gardiner and Sir John Wallop, in December 1535.

Bryan during all these years remained the King's permanent favourite. Throughout the reign almost all Henry's amusements were shared in by him, and he acquired on that account an unrivalled reputation for dissoluteness. Undoubtedly Bryan retained his place in the King's affection by very questionable means. When the influence of the Boleyn family was declining, Bryan entered upon a convenient quarrel with Queen Anne's brother George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, which enabled the king to break with his brother-in-law by openly declaring himself on his favourite's side. In May 1536, Anne Boleyn was charged with the offences for which she suffered on the scaffold, and Cromwell — no doubt without the knowledge of Henry VIII — at first suspected Bryan of being one of the Queen's accomplices. When the charges were being formulated, Cromwell, who had no liking for Bryan, hastily sent for him from the country; but no further steps were taken against him, and there is no ground for believing the suspicion to have been well founded.

It is clear that Bryan was very anxious to secure the Queen's conviction (Froude's History, ii. 385, quotes from Cotton MS. E. ix. the deposition of the Abbot of Woburn relating to an important conversation with Bryan on this subject. And he had the baseness to undertake the office of conveying to Jane Seymour, Anne's successor, the news of Anne Boleyn's condemnation (15 May 1536). A pension vacated by one of Anne's accomplices was promptly bestowed on Bryan by the King. Cromwell, in writing of this circumstance to Gardiner and Wallop, calls Bryan 'the vicar of hell' — a popular nickname which his cruel indifference to the fate of his cousin Anne Boleyn proves that he well deserved. Bryan conspicuously aided the government in repressing the rebellion known as the Pilgrimage of Grace in October of the same year. On 15 Oct. 1537, he played a prominent part at the christening of Prince Edward. In December 1539 he was one of the King's household deputed to meet Anne of Cleves near Calais on her way to England, and Hall, the chronicler, notes the splendour of his dress on the occasion. At the funeral of Henry VIII, on 14 Feb. 1546-7, Bryan was assigned a chief place as 'master of the henchmen.'

As a member of the Privy Council, Bryan took part in public affairs until the close of Henry VIII's reign, and at the beginning of Edward VI's reign he was given a large share of the lands which the dissolution of the monasteries had handed over to the crown. He fought, as a captain of light horse, under the Duke of Somerset at Musselburgh 27 Sept. 1547, when he was created a knight banneret.

Soon afterwards, Bryan rendered the government a very curious service. In 1548, James Butler, ninth Earl of Ormonde, an Irish noble, whose powerful influence was obnoxious to the government at Dublin, although there were no valid grounds for suspecting his loyalty, died in London of poison under very suspicious circumstances. Thereupon his widow, Joan, daughter and heiress of James FitzJohn Fitzgerald, eleventh Earl of Desmond, sought to marry her relative, Gerald Fitzgerald, the heir of the fifteenth Earl of Desmond. To prevent this marriage, which would have united the leading representatives of the two chief Irish noble houses, Bryan was induced to prefer a suit to the lady himself. He had previously married (after 1517) Philippa, a rich heiress and widow of Sir John Fortescue; but Bryan's first wife died some time after 1534, and in 1548 he married the widowed countess. He was immediately nominated Lord Marshal of Ireland, and arrived in Dublin with his wife in November 1548. Sir Edward Bellingham, the haughty lord-deputy, resented his appointment, but Bryan's marriage gave him the command of the Butler influence, and Bellingham was unable to injure him. On Bellingham's departure from Ireland on 16 Dec. 1549 the Irish council recognised Bryan's powerful position by electing him Lord Chief Justice, pending the arrival of a new deputy.

But on 2 Feb. 1550, Bryan died suddenly at Clonmel. A postmortem examination was ordered to determine the cause of death, but the doctors came to no more satisfactory conclusion than that he died of grief, a conclusion unsupported by external evidence. Sir John Allen, the Irish Chancellor, who was present at Bryan's death and at the autopsy, states that ' he departed very godly.' Roger Ascham, in the ' Scholemaster,' 1568, writes: 'Some men being never so old and spent by yeares will still be full of youthfull conditions, as was Syr F. Bryan, and evermore wold have bene.'

Bryan, like many other of Henry VIII's courtiers, interested himself deeply in literature. He is probably the 'Brian' to whom Erasmus frequently refers in his correspondence as one of his admirers in England, and he was the intimate friend of the poets Wyatt and Surrey. Like them he wrote poetry, but although Bryan had once a high reputation as a poet, his poetry is now unfortunately undiscoverable. He was an anonymous contributor to the 'Songes and Sonettes written by the ryght honorable Lorde Henry Howard, late Earl of Surrey, and others,' 1557, (usually known as 'Tottel's Miscellany); but it is impossible to distinguish his work there from that of the other anonymous writers. Of the high esteem in which his poetry was held in the sixteenth century there is abundant evidence. Wyatt dedicated a bitter satire to Bryan on the contemptible practices of court life; and while rallying him on his restless activity in politics, speaks of his fine literary taste. Drayton, in his 'Heroicall Epistle' of the Earl of Surrey to the Lady Geraldine (first published in 1629, but written much earlier), refers to sacred Bryan (whom the Muses kept, And in his cradle rockt him while he slept); the poet represents Bryan as honouring Surrey 'in sacred verses most divinely pen'd.' Similarly Drayton, in his 'Letter ... of Poets and Poesie,' is as enthusiastic in praise of Bryan as of Surrey and Wyatt, and distinctly states that he was a chief author "Of those small poems which the title beare Of songs and Bonnets— a reference to 'Tottel's Miscellany.' Francis Meres, in his 'Palladis Tamia,' 1598, describes Bryan with many other famous poets as 'the most passionate among us to bewail and bemoan the complexities of love.'

Bryan was also a student of foreign languages and literature. It is clear that his uncle, John Bourchier, Lord Berners, consulted him about much of his literary work. It was at Bryan's desire, that Lord Berners undertook his translation of Guevara's 'Marcus Aurelius' (1534). Guevara, the founder of Euphuism, was apparently Bryan's favourite author. Not content with suggesting and editing his uncle's translation of one of the famous Spanish writer's books, he himself translated another through the French. It first appeared anonymously in 1548 under the title of 'A Dispraise of the Life of a Courtier and a Commendacion of the Life of a Labouryng Man,' London (by Berthelet), August 1548. In this form the work is of excessive rarity. In 1575 'T. Tymme, minister,' reprinted the book as 'A Looking-glasse for the Courte, composed in the Castilion tongue by the Lorde Anthony of Guevarra, Bishop of Mondonent and Cronicler to the Emperor Charles, and out of Castilion drawne into Frenche by Anthony A laygre, and out of the Frenche tongue into Englishe by Sir Frauncis Briant, Knight, one of the priuye chamber in the raygn of K. Henry the eyght.' The editor added a poem in praise of the English translator. A great many of Bryan's letters are printed in Brewer and Gairdner's 'Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII.' Three interesting manuscript letters are in the British Museum (Cotton MS. Vitell. B. x. 73, 77 ; and Harl. MS. 296, f. 18).

(Sidney L. Lee)

Another discussion of Sir Francis Bryan:

Francis Bryan, first surviving son of Thomas Bryan III and Lady Margaret Bourchier, was born in 1490 in Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England. He was educated at Oxford and was a personal friend of King Henry VIII , for whom he performed important missions and personal services. He spoke to the king in “plain speech.” In April, 1513, he received his first official appointment – captain of the ship Margaret Bonavanture. Before March, 1522, he married first Phillippa Montgomery , and Sir Edward Bryan was their son.

The Vicar of Hell

Francis Bryan was something of a poet. He was also a “cipherer”, or code expert, and he also enjoyed jousting. He lost an eye in one of the matches, and wore an eye patch for the rest of his life. He was a supporter of Ann Boleyn, and was accused of complicity in her misdeeds. For this, and for his capacity for immorality, Francis Bryan was dubbed “The Vicar of Hell” by Thomas Cromwell in 1536, but Cromwell couldn’t prove any charges against Francis Bryan, so Francis Bryan was able to regain favor with Cromwell.

In January, 1546, there was a dispute between Francis’ servant, Harry Parker , and Thomas Sexton . Parker killed Sexton. Francis Bryan arranged a pardon for Parker, and later gave Parker land near the village of Habersham, Essex, as a reward for his service. Parker was an ancestor of Robert Leroy Parker, who became known to moviegoers as Butch Cassidy in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Francis Bryan married second Lady Joan Fitzgerald before August 28, 1548. This was a political marriage, probably arranged to prevent Lady Joan’s marriage to the heir of Desmond, Gerald Fitzgerald. (Such a marriage would have united the leading representatives of the two chief Irish noble houses.) Shortly after this marriage, he was named Lord Marshal (Governor General) of Ireland in 1548, and sent to Dublin. In 1549, he was made Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, and he held large estates in County Clare, which the crown had given him upon the dissolution of the monasteries.

Francis Bryan died February 2, 1550, in Clonmel, Ireland. After Francis Bryan’s death, Lady Joan Fitzgerald did marry (in 1551) Gerald FitzJames FitzGerald. Some think that Lady Joan Fitzgerald poisoned Francis Bryan.

Francis S. Bryan II was the son of Sir Francis Bryan by Lady Joan Fitzgerald.

http://www.carsonjohnson.com/chapter07-bryan.htm

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Buried in Waterford, Ireland.

Sir Francis had a prominant place at the court of King Henry VIII. Together with Sir Thomas Wyatt, George Boleyn and Nicolas Carew, he was one of the coteric, the member sof which were the companions of the sovereign.

He was educated at Oxford, was M.P. for Buckinghamshire from 1542-1544 and a member of the privy council until the close of Henry's reign.

He was born into a family well-endowed by the achievements of his grandfather, Sir Thomas Bryan, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, died in 1500 holding lands in Buckinghamshire and seven other counties stretching from Kent to Yorkshire. -------------------- The Vicar of Hell -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Bryan

• Knight Banneret • Motto: Je Tiens Grace (I hope for Salvation) • Captain, Margaret Bonaventure • Cupbearer • Cipherer • Gentleman of the Privy Chamber • Esquire of the Body • Chief Cupbearer • Master of the Henchman • Ambassador to France, Rome, Holy Roman Empire • Dubbed “Vicar of Hell” by Cromwell • Chief Gentleman of the Privy Chamber • Member, Parliament (House of Commons) • Vice Admiral • Lord Marshal, Ireland • Chief Lord Justice, Ireland • Believed to have been poisoned by second wife, Lady Joan Fitzgerald, so she could marry here intended husband of Irish nobility

About 1490, Francis Bryan was born in Cheddington, England.[1] He was the son of Sir Thomas Bryan and Margaret Bourchier, and came to court at a young age.[2] There he became, along with his brother-in-law Nicholas Carew, one of "the King's minions", a group of young gentlemen of the Privy chamber who held much sway with Henry and were known for their intemperate behaviour.[4] In 1519, Bryan and Sir Edward Neville disgraced themselves in the eyes of the minions' detractors when, during a diplomatic mission to Paris, they threw eggs and stones at the common people.[5]

Under the influence of Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Francis was removed from the Privy chamber in 1519,[5] and again in 1526 as part of the Eltham ordinances.[6] Shortly after this he lost an eye in a tournament at Greenwich, and had to wear an eye-patch from then on.[7] Then in 1528, when Sir William Carey's death left a vacancy in the Privy chamber, Bryan returned to fill his place, possibly through the good offices of his cousin Anne Boleyn. From then on he was highly influential, becoming one of the king's most favoured companions,[8] and a leading member of the faction who wished to break Wolsey's grip on power.[9]

Bryan was a second cousin of both Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour. He remained a friend of the King, even ending his pursuit of a lady when he heard that Bryan was seriously interested in her. 'The Vicar of Hell', as Francis was known, was also a close ally of Nicholas Carew, the husband of Francis' sister, Elizabeth Carew. There are rumours that Elizabeth became Henry's mistress in 1514, when she would have been only around thirteen.

However, by 1536 Bryan was working with Thomas Cromwell to bring about his cousin's downfall as queen.[10] It was at this time that Cromwell coined Sir Francis' unfortunate sobriquet in a letter to the Bishop of Winchester, referring to his abandonment of Anne.[3] After Boleyn's death, Bryan became chief Gentleman of the Privy chamber,[11] but was removed from this post in 1539 when Cromwell turned against his former allies.[12] Sir Francis returned to favour following Cromwell's demise, becoming vice-admiral of the fleet, and then Lord Chief Justice of Ireland during the reign of Edward VI. He died suddenly at Clonmel, Ireland in 1550.[1] He is buried in Waterford, Ireland.

Personality type

An infamous rake and libertine. Bryan had a reputation as a poet of almost the same calibre as his friends. He was also a man who, according to the abbot of Woburn, dared to speak his mind to the King; on foreign missions he could on occasion be equally outspoken, if not arrogant. Roger Ascham, who presumably knew him well, described his youthful personality as being maintained even when ‘spent by years’.

Signature look

Eye patch, lost an eye in a joust in 1526. There are no paintings of him because of this. He was noted for his rich apparel and a chain of great worth and strange fashion.

Endearing trait(s): distinguished diplomat, soldier, sailor, writer & poet.

Annoying trait(s): morally flexible to whatever the King wishes, which is why he survives to die from natural causes, decided to turn on his second cousin Anne Boleyn and help Thomas Cromwell dispose of her

'Vicar of Hell'

N. Sander, Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism ( 1877), p. 24, records that Sir Francis Bryan 'was once asked by the king to tell him what sort of sin it was to ruin the mother and then the child'. Bryan replied 'that it was a sin like that of eating a hen first and its chicken afterwards'. The king burst forth into loud laughter and said to Bryan, 'Well, you certainly are my vicar of hell'.

Also Cromwell, in a friendly letter to Bryan, calls him 'the vicar of hell' possibly due to his duplicity in regard to his cousin Anne Boleyn's Fall.

But Bryan was a hard-working diplomat, to whom Thomas Wyatt addressed one of his satires, and one suspects that his nickname should not be taken too seriously.

"Bryan ... who knows how great a grace In writing is to counsel man the right. To thee ... that trots still up and down And never rests, but running day and night From realm to realm, from city, street and town, Why dost thou wear thy body to the bones?" (Sir Thomas Wyatt)

--------------------

Resolve...

Birth Date //1500 c. //1490

--------------------

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Bryan

SIR FRANCIS BRYAN* (d. 1550), poet, translator, soldier, and diplomatist, was the son of Sir Thomas Bryan, and grandson of Sir Thomas Bryan, chief justice of the common pleas from 1471 till his death in 1500. His father was knighted by Henry VII in 1497, was 'knight of the body' at the opening of Henry VIII's reign, and repeatedly served on the commission of the peace for Buckinghamshire, where the family property was settled. Francis Bryan's mother was Margaret, daughter of Humphry Bourchier, and sister of John Bourchier, Lord Berners. Lady Bryan was for a time governess to the princesses Mary and Elizabeth, and to Prince Edward. She died in 1551-2.

Bryan's prominence in politics was mainly due to the lasting affection which Henry VIII conceived for him in early youth. Bryan is believed to have been educated at Oxford. In April 1513, he received his first official appointment, that of Captain of the Margaret Bonaventure, a ship in the retinue of Sir Thomas Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk, the newly appointed Admiral. In the court entertainments held at Richmond (19 April 1515), at Eltham (Christmas 1516), and at Greenwich (7 July 1517), Bryan took a prominent part, and received very rich apparel from the King on each occasion. He became the King's cupbearer in 1516. In December 1518 he was acting as 'master of the Toyles,' and storing Greenwich Park with 'quick deer.' In 1520, he attended Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and took part in the jousts there under the captaincy of the Earl of Devonshire; and on 29 Sept. he received a pension from the King of 33l. 6s. 8d. as a servant and 'a cipherer' [i.e., one proficient in cryptography and able to encrypt and decrypt coded messages].

He served in Brittany under the Earl of Surrey in July 1522, and was knighted by his commander for his hardiness and courage. He was one of the Sheriffs of Essex and Hertfordshire in 1523, and accompanied Wolsey on his visit to Calais (9 July 1527), where he remained some days. A year later he escorted the papal envoy Campeggio, on his way to England from Orleans, to Calais. In November 1528 Bryan was sent to Rome by Henry to obtain the papal sanction for his divorce from Catherine. Bryan was especially instructed to induce the Pope [Clement VII] to withdraw from his friendship with the Emperor, and to discover the instructions originally given to Campeggio. Much to his disappointment, Bryan failed in his mission. Soon after leaving England he had written to his cousin, Anne Boleyn, encouraging her to look forward to the immediate removal of all obstacles between her and the title of Queen; but he subsequently (5 May 1529) had to confess to the King that nothing would serve to gain the Pope's consent to Catherine's divorce.

On 10 May 1533, Bryan, with Sir Thomas Gage and Lord Vaux, presented to Queen Catherine at Ampthill the summons bidding her appear before Archbishop Cranmer's court at Dunstable, to show cause why the divorce should not proceed; but the queen, who felt the presence of Bryan, a relative of Anne Boleyn, a new insult, informed the messengers that she did not acknowledge the court's competency. In 1531 Bryan was sent as ambassador to France, whither he was soon followed by Sir Nicholas Carew, his sister's husband, and at the time as zealous a champion of Anne Boleyn as himself. Between May and August 1533, Bryan was travelling with the Duke of Norfolk in France seeking to prevent an alliance or even a meeting between the Pope [Clement VII] and the King of France, and he was engaged in similar negotiations, together with Bishop Gardiner and Sir John Wallop, in December 1535.

Bryan during all these years remained the King's permanent favourite. Throughout the reign almost all Henry's amusements were shared in by him, and he acquired on that account an unrivalled reputation for dissoluteness. Undoubtedly Bryan retained his place in the King's affection by very questionable means. When the influence of the Boleyn family was declining, Bryan entered upon a convenient quarrel with Queen Anne's brother George Boleyn, Lord Rochford, which enabled the king to break with his brother-in-law by openly declaring himself on his favourite's side. In May 1536, Anne Boleyn was charged with the offences for which she suffered on the scaffold, and Cromwell — no doubt without the knowledge of Henry VIII — at first suspected Bryan of being one of the Queen's accomplices. When the charges were being formulated, Cromwell, who had no liking for Bryan, hastily sent for him from the country; but no further steps were taken against him, and there is no ground for believing the suspicion to have been well founded.

It is clear that Bryan was very anxious to secure the Queen's conviction (Froude's History, ii. 385, quotes from Cotton MS. E. ix. the deposition of the Abbot of Woburn relating to an important conversation with Bryan on this subject. And he had the baseness to undertake the office of conveying to Jane Seymour, Anne's successor, the news of Anne Boleyn's condemnation (15 May 1536). A pension vacated by one of Anne's accomplices was promptly bestowed on Bryan by the King. Cromwell, in writing of this circumstance to Gardiner and Wallop, calls Bryan 'the vicar of hell' — a popular nickname which his cruel indifference to the fate of his cousin Anne Boleyn proves that he well deserved. Bryan conspicuously aided the government in repressing the rebellion known as the Pilgrimage of Grace in October of the same year. On 15 Oct. 1537, he played a prominent part at the christening of Prince Edward. In December 1539 he was one of the King's household deputed to meet Anne of Cleves near Calais on her way to England, and Hall, the chronicler, notes the splendour of his dress on the occasion. At the funeral of Henry VIII, on 14 Feb. 1546-7, Bryan was assigned a chief place as 'master of the henchmen.'

As a member of the Privy Council, Bryan took part in public affairs until the close of Henry VIII's reign, and at the beginning of Edward VI's reign he was given a large share of the lands which the dissolution of the monasteries had handed over to the crown. He fought, as a captain of light horse, under the Duke of Somerset at Musselburgh 27 Sept. 1547, when he was created a knight banneret.

Soon afterwards, Bryan rendered the government a very curious service. In 1548, James Butler, ninth Earl of Ormonde, an Irish noble, whose powerful influence was obnoxious to the government at Dublin, although there were no valid grounds for suspecting his loyalty, died in London of poison under very suspicious circumstances. Thereupon his widow, Joan, daughter and heiress of James FitzJohn Fitzgerald, eleventh Earl of Desmond, sought to marry her relative, Gerald Fitzgerald, the heir of the fifteenth Earl of Desmond. To prevent this marriage, which would have united the leading representatives of the two chief Irish noble houses, Bryan was induced to prefer a suit to the lady himself. He had previously married (after 1517) Philippa, a rich heiress and widow of Sir John Fortescue; but Bryan's first wife died some time after 1534, and in 1548 he married the widowed countess. He was immediately nominated Lord Marshal of Ireland, and arrived in Dublin with his wife in November 1548. Sir Edward Bellingham, the haughty lord-deputy, resented his appointment, but Bryan's marriage gave him the command of the Butler influence, and Bellingham was unable to injure him. On Bellingham's departure from Ireland on 16 Dec. 1549 the Irish council recognised Bryan's powerful position by electing him Lord Chief Justice, pending the arrival of a new deputy.

But on 2 Feb. 1550, Bryan died suddenly at Clonmel. A postmortem examination was ordered to determine the cause of death, but the doctors came to no more satisfactory conclusion than that he died of grief, a conclusion unsupported by external evidence. Sir John Allen, the Irish Chancellor, who was present at Bryan's death and at the autopsy, states that ' he departed very godly.' Roger Ascham, in the ' Scholemaster,' 1568, writes: 'Some men being never so old and spent by yeares will still be full of youthfull conditions, as was Syr F. Bryan, and evermore wold have bene.'

Bryan, like many other of Henry VIII's courtiers, interested himself deeply in literature. He is probably the 'Brian' to whom Erasmus frequently refers in his correspondence as one of his admirers in England, and he was the intimate friend of the poets Wyatt and Surrey. Like them he wrote poetry, but although Bryan had once a high reputation as a poet, his poetry is now unfortunately undiscoverable. He was an anonymous contributor to the 'Songes and Sonettes written by the ryght honorable Lorde Henry Howard, late Earl of Surrey, and others,' 1557, (usually known as 'Tottel's Miscellany); but it is impossible to distinguish his work there from that of the other anonymous writers. Of the high esteem in which his poetry was held in the sixteenth century there is abundant evidence. Wyatt dedicated a bitter satire to Bryan on the contemptible practices of court life; and while rallying him on his restless activity in politics, speaks of his fine literary taste. Drayton, in his 'Heroicall Epistle' of the Earl of Surrey to the Lady Geraldine (first published in 1629, but written much earlier), refers to sacred Bryan (whom the Muses kept, And in his cradle rockt him while he slept); the poet represents Bryan as honouring Surrey 'in sacred verses most divinely pen'd.' Similarly Drayton, in his 'Letter ... of Poets and Poesie,' is as enthusiastic in praise of Bryan as of Surrey and Wyatt, and distinctly states that he was a chief author "Of those small poems which the title beare Of songs and Bonnets— a reference to 'Tottel's Miscellany.' Francis Meres, in his 'Palladis Tamia,' 1598, describes Bryan with many other famous poets as 'the most passionate among us to bewail and bemoan the complexities of love.'

Bryan was also a student of foreign languages and literature. It is clear that his uncle, John Bourchier, Lord Berners, consulted him about much of his literary work. It was at Bryan's desire, that Lord Berners undertook his translation of Guevara's 'Marcus Aurelius' (1534). Guevara, the founder of Euphuism, was apparently Bryan's favourite author. Not content with suggesting and editing his uncle's translation of one of the famous Spanish writer's books, he himself translated another through the French. It first appeared anonymously in 1548 under the title of 'A Dispraise of the Life of a Courtier and a Commendacion of the Life of a Labouryng Man,' London (by Berthelet), August 1548. In this form the work is of excessive rarity. In 1575 'T. Tymme, minister,' reprinted the book as 'A Looking-glasse for the Courte, composed in the Castilion tongue by the Lorde Anthony of Guevarra, Bishop of Mondonent and Cronicler to the Emperor Charles, and out of Castilion drawne into Frenche by Anthony A laygre, and out of the Frenche tongue into Englishe by Sir Frauncis Briant, Knight, one of the priuye chamber in the raygn of K. Henry the eyght.' The editor added a poem in praise of the English translator. A great many of Bryan's letters are printed in Brewer and Gairdner's 'Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII.' Three interesting manuscript letters are in the British Museum (Cotton MS. Vitell. B. x. 73, 77 ; and Harl. MS. 296, f. 18).

(Sidney L. Lee)

Another discussion of Sir Francis Bryan:

Francis Bryan, first surviving son of Thomas Bryan III and Lady Margaret Bourchier, was born in 1490 in Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England. He was educated at Oxford and was a personal friend of King Henry VIII , for whom he performed important missions and personal services. He spoke to the king in “plain speech.” In April, 1513, he received his first official appointment – captain of the ship Margaret Bonavanture. Before March, 1522, he married first Phillippa Montgomery , and Sir Edward Bryan was their son.

The Vicar of Hell

Francis Bryan was something of a poet. He was also a “cipherer”, or code expert, and he also enjoyed jousting. He lost an eye in one of the matches, and wore an eye patch for the rest of his life. He was a supporter of Ann Boleyn, and was accused of complicity in her misdeeds. For this, and for his capacity for immorality, Francis Bryan was dubbed “The Vicar of Hell” by Thomas Cromwell in 1536, but Cromwell couldn’t prove any charges against Francis Bryan, so Francis Bryan was able to regain favor with Cromwell.

In January, 1546, there was a dispute between Francis’ servant, Harry Parker , and Thomas Sexton . Parker killed Sexton. Francis Bryan arranged a pardon for Parker, and later gave Parker land near the village of Habersham, Essex, as a reward for his service. Parker was an ancestor of Robert Leroy Parker, who became known to moviegoers as Butch Cassidy in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Francis Bryan married second Lady Joan Fitzgerald before August 28, 1548. This was a political marriage, probably arranged to prevent Lady Joan’s marriage to the heir of Desmond, Gerald Fitzgerald. (Such a marriage would have united the leading representatives of the two chief Irish noble houses.) Shortly after this marriage, he was named Lord Marshal (Governor General) of Ireland in 1548, and sent to Dublin. In 1549, he was made Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, and he held large estates in County Clare, which the crown had given him upon the dissolution of the monasteries.

Francis Bryan died February 2, 1550, in Clonmel, Ireland. After Francis Bryan’s death, Lady Joan Fitzgerald did marry (in 1551) Gerald FitzJames FitzGerald. Some think that Lady Joan Fitzgerald poisoned Francis Bryan.

Francis S. Bryan II was the son of Sir Francis Bryan by Lady Joan Fitzgerald.

http://www.carsonjohnson.com/chapter07-bryan.htm

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Buried in Waterford, Ireland.

Sir Francis had a prominant place at the court of King Henry VIII. Together with Sir Thomas Wyatt, George Boleyn and Nicolas Carew, he was one of the coteric, the member sof which were the companions of the sovereign.

He was educated at Oxford, was M.P. for Buckinghamshire from 1542-1544 and a member of the privy council until the close of Henry's reign.

He was born into a family well-endowed by the achievements of his grandfather, Sir Thomas Bryan, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, died in 1500 holding lands in Buckinghamshire and seven other counties stretching from Kent to Yorkshire. -------------------- The Vicar of Hell

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Sir Francis Bryan I "The Vicar of Hell", Lord Chief Justice of Ireland's Timeline

1490
June 1, 1490
Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England
1517
1517
Age 26
1520
1520
Age 29
Gloucestershire, , England
1548
August 28, 1548
Age 58
Chidington, Buckinghamshire, England
1549
June 1, 1549
Age 59
County Clare, Munster, Ireland
1550
February 2, 1550
Age 59
Clonmel, Tiperary, Munster, Ireland
1565
June 1, 1565
Age 59
Bitton,,Gloucestershire,England
1952
April 3, 1952
Age 59
April 18, 1952
Age 59
????