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

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

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Francis Bryan, I

Also Known As: "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
Place of Burial: Clonmel, South Tipperary, Tipperary, Ireland
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Thomas Bryan, II, Kt. and Margaret Bryan, Lady Bryan
Husband of Phillipa Bryan and Lady Joan Fitzgerald, Duchess of Ormond
Father of Edward John Bryan; Sir Francis Bryan, II, Justicar of Ireland and Elizabeth Bryan
Brother of Elizabeth Bryan, Lady Carew; John Bryan; Thomas Bryan and Margaret Guildford

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

Sir Francis Bryan born about 1490, died 2 February 1550.

Sir Francis Bryan was an English courtier and diplomat during the reign of Henry VIII. He was Chief Gentleman of the Privy chamber and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bryan always retained Henry's favour, achieving this by altering his opinions to conform to the king's. His lack of principle at the time of his cousin Anne Boleyn's downfall led to his earning the nickname "the Vicar of Hell"

Family and Education

b. by 1492, 1st surv. s. of Sir Thomas Bryan of Ashridge, Herts. by Margaret, da. of Sir Humphrey Bourchier (d.1471), s. and h. of John, 1st Lord Berners. educ. ?Oxf. m. (1) by Mar. 1522, Philippa, da. and h. of Humphrey Spice of Black Notley, Essex, wid. of John Fortescue of Ponsbourne, Herts.; (2) by 29 Aug. 1548, Joan, da. of James Fitzmaurice (Fitzgerald), 10th Earl of Desmond, wid. of James Butler (d.1546), 9th Earl of Ormond; at least 1s. illegit. suc. fa. by 31 Jan. 1518. Kntd. 2 July 1522, banneret Sept. 1547. On 2 Feb. 1550 he died suddenly at Clonmel from an unknown cause.


Documentary evidence has confirmed Sir Francis Bryan had one unnamed son who was an adult at the time of Sir Francis's marriage to Joan, Countess of Ormond. (See translated document at the bottom of page two of this discussion.)

The three children currently listed here for Sir Francis Bryan are unconfirmed or fabricated.



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

June 1, 1490
Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England
June 1, 1549
Age 59
County Clare, Munster, Ireland
February 2, 1550
Age 59
Clonmel, Tiperary, Munster, Ireland
Age 59
April 3, 1952
Age 59
April 18, 1952
Age 59