Margaret Bryan, Lady Bryan

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Margaret Bryan (Bourchier), Lady Bryan

Also Known As: "Margaret", "Lady Bryan", "Margaret Bourgchier"
Birthplace: Benningborough, Yorkshire, England
Death: Died in Leyton, Essex, England
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Humphrey Bourchier, Sir and Elizabeth Tilney, Countess of Surrey
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
Sister of John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners and Anne Bourchier
Half sister of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk; Edmund Howard; Henry Howard, the Younger; Elizabeth Boleyn, Countess of Wiltshire; John Howard, Sir and 5 others

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: Private User
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About Margaret Bryan, Lady Bryan

Margaret, Lady Bryan born 1468, died c. 1551/52)

Margaret, Lady Bryan was Lady Governess to Henry VIII's children: Princess Mary, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Edward. 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. 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 in 1492. Their son, also Thomas, was the 9th Lord Dacre who was executed for murder in 1541.


Margaret Bourchier was married three times.

  1. 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]
  2. She married Sir Thomas Bryan sometime before 1490. Margaret Bryan was a Lady-in-Waiting to Catherine of Aragon and was present at Catherine's wedding to Henry VIII in 1509.[6] Margaret Bryan 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.
  3. 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]

The only children Margaret Bryan had were from her marriage to Sir Thomas Bryan.

Three of their surviving children were:

  • Margaret Bryan, who married Sir Henry Guildford,
  • Elizabeth Bryan, who became the wife of Sir Nicholas Carew, and
  • Sir Francis Bryan, who became Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.

Through her daughter, Elizabeth, she was the great-grandmother of Elizabeth Throckmorton, Lady Raleigh, wife to Walter Raleigh and chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I.

Abstract of the will of Dame Margaret Brianne, Widow

Will dated the 20th of Aug. 1551, and proved Jun. 21, 1552: "I Dame Margaret Brianne, Widow, in the Parish of Leyton, in the County of Essex, &c. make constitute and ordain this my last Will and Testament, in Manner, &c." And after divers Bequests to her Servants, Elizab. Hall, Will. Watson, Tho. Lamplaye, Jo. Watson, Tho. Smyth, Evans, Avys Dyal, Mary Festalf, Eliz. Gray, and others, &c. "And I do most humbly beseech the King's Majesty to be good and gracious to my Servant Eliz. Dudley, &c. And that it may likewise please his most excellent Majesty, towards the Payment of my Debts, and Reward of my Servants, to give unto me, or unto my Executrice, [who was the abovesaid Eliz. Dudley] the Sum of 35l. due unto me at Michaelmas next ensuing, for the Half Years of mine Annuity, graunted unto me by the Virtue of his gracious Letters Patents, for my poor Service, done as well unto his Majesty in his tender Age, as also unto his dearly beloved Sisters, the Lady Mary's Grace, and the Lady Elizabeth's Grace. And in Consideration of my said Service, it may finally please his Majesty, to graunt unto me, or my Executrice, a sufficient Discharge, or Quietus est, for all such Things I had in my Charge or Custody, of his Majesty's, during the Time of my daily Attendance upon his Highness: Having deliver'd the same, and every Part thereof, to the Hands of Sir Geo. Cotton, and Sir Jasper Horsye, Knts. as appears by the several Bills under their Hands and Seals, ready to be shewed."

Source: John Strype's Survey of London Online - HRI Online


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Margaret Bryan, Lady Bryan's Timeline

June 1, 1468
Benningborough, Yorkshire, England
June 1, 1490
Age 22
Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England
Age 26
Beddington, Surrey, , England
Age 39
Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England
June 21, 1552
Age 84
Leyton, Essex, England
July 7, 1992
Age 84
July 30, 1992
Age 84