Sir John Burley, K.G.

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Sir John Burley, K.G.

Birthplace: Birley, Woebley, Herefordshire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: between June 1383 and October 1383
Castle Broncroft, , Shropshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of John Burley, of Birley and N.N. Burley
Husband of Amice Pembridge, Heiress of Fordingbridge
Father of Sir Richard Burley, K.G.; Isabel Hopton, heiress of Fordingbridge; Sir Roger Burley and William de Burley
Brother of Sir Simon de Burley, K.G., Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports; Richard Burley and Maud Burley

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About Sir John Burley, K.G.


“Memorials of the Order of the Garter: From Its Foundation to the Present ...” By George Frederick Beltz. Page 243 - 259. GoogleBooks


The family of Burle, or Burley, enjoyed, for a short space, so large a share of the favour of Richard II, or rather of his uncle John of Gant, that three of its members—John, Simon, and Richard —were, at the same period, Knights of the Garter.

The ancestors of these honoured individuals appear to have been settled, soon after the Norman conquest, upon an estate in Herefordshire from which they derived their surname, and to have been also considerable tenants, as well as benefactors, of the monks of Bordesley abbey in Worcestershire."

Sir John Burley, the subject of this notice, is supposed, by Stowe,” Glover,” and Vincent,” who probably drew their information from a common unauthentic source, to have been the father of sir Simon Burley, and of a sir John who by Amicia Pembrugge left issue sir Richard Burley: upon a careful review, however, of the scattered evidences, which fail to prove who was the father of John and Simon, we have adopted the conclusion that the person now in question was the brother, and not the parent, of sir Simon Burley.

Our earliest trace of sir John Burley is, that in 1370, when he was already a knight, his conduct became an object of inquiry in order to ascertain how far he and sir Thomas de Barre (the husband of his wife's sister) had not prejudiced the king by contracting a marriage between William, the son of Thomas Lucy, and Elizabeth the daughter of Barre." In the same year there is a record of a pension of 40l. which had been granted to him by Edward III. in reward of his services.” He was appointed, 30th October 1373, captain of Calais, and, jointly with John Geaux sire de Gomeneys, captain and chief commander of all armed men within that town and the places adjacent.” More ample powers were granted to Burley in the year following;' and, 8th January 1374–5, he was united with John de Harleston, captain of Guisnes, and John de Shepeye, doctor of laws, in a commission to treat with the papal ambassadors for a peace with “our adversary of France”—Charles V. A truce was agreed upon; and the commissioners were appointed conservators thereof.” On the succession of Richard II. to the Sovereignty, the duke of Lancaster was translated to the Prince's stall in St. George's chapel thereby vacant; and sir John Burley, knight of the king's chamber, was elected, in his room, to the seventh stall on the same side." He had also, in 1377, a grant of the office of keeper of Sherwood forest." For these high rewards he was doubtless indebted to the then all-prevailing influence of Lancaster, whose well known hostility towards Alice Perrers, the late king's mistress, occasioned probably the production of Burley as an evidence against her at her trial.” In 1378 he is mentioned by Froissart as being in Cherbourg with sir John de Harleston, who had the command of that fortress.9 On 10th March 1378-9 he was sent as ambassador, together with the chancellor Michael de la Pole and the above John de Shepeye, then dean of Lincoln, to negotiate a marriage between the king and Katherine the daughter of Barnabas lord of Milan; which mission did not accomplish its object. It appears that, whilst on this embassy, or on their return towards England, the ambassadors were made prisoners; for, on 20th January following (1879– 80), John Gavison and others were despatched, with instructions to embark at Dover or Sandwich, having under their charge certain monies for the ransom of Michael de la Pole the chancellor, John de Burle, and Gerard de l'Isle.* In 1381 Burley returned from Britanny, where he had served under Thomas of Woodstock;" and is mentioned, as present in October 1382, when deputies from Ghent and other towns in Flanders were admitted to an audience of the king at Westminster.” The last act, which we find recorded of sir John Burley, is a receipt into his own hands, on 22nd June 1383, of 200l., the residue of 500 marks, which the king had ordered to be issued to him, in aid of his ransom, when a prisoner in Germany on the occasion beforementioned.”

The precise date and the place of the death of this knight have not been ascertained; but that event must have happened between the months of June and October 1383; for, at the latter date, the king's embroiderer had instructions to prepare a garter and robes for the earl of Nottingham, the successor to Burley's stall, to be used at the then ensuing feast of St. George." His remains were interred in the church of the Black Friars at Hereford.”

By Amicia, his wife, the elder of the two sisters of sir Richard Pembrugge, knight of the Order, he had three sons and one daughter, viz.

  • 1. Sir Richard Burley, also knight of the Order;
  • 2. William Burley, who was heir to sir Richard, and died without issue in 1388;
  • 3. Roger Burley, who obtained, in 1398, restitution of the lands of his uncle sir Simon, as his heir.
  • The only daughter, Isabella, married sir John Hopton.

Family Notes

Simon Burley had no children (that survived). His father was a John Burley of Birley, Hereford, and Simon was the younger brother of another Sir John Burley who, along with his son Richard, had also served under the Black Prince and were also both Knights of the Garter.!topic/soc.genealogy.medieval/3LapNz_UuRY

Amice (Amy) Pembridge, dead by 1375, married Sir John Burley KG, had issue at least Sir Richard Burley KG, and William; (?) also Elizabeth who married Sir John Hopton, a quo Corbet of Moreton C.?). The Burleys inherited Fordingbridge etc.

Hawise's sister Amice married Sir John Burley KG (d.c.1383), the elder brother of Sir Simon Burley who was b.1336? (ODNB) and ex.1388. John and Amice had Sir Richard KG (d.1387 in Spain, sp ), William (dsp 1388), Roger (issue failed 1445) and Isabel who m. Sir John Hopton, with issue (descendant Thomas H. s. to Burley properties in 1445),

It is unlikely that he [John Burley d 1415] was the John, 4th or 5th s. of Sir John Burley KG, of Burley, Herefs., bro. of Sir Richard Burley KG (d.1387), and nephew of the famous Sir Simon Burley KG, who was executed by the Lords Appellant in 1388

Served under the Black Prince.

The following is from "Lives of the Speakers of the House of Commons", p. 89:

Sir Simon's brother, John, was also a Knight of the Garter, and besides his eldest son, William, who was seated at Burley, had two other sons, Richard, an eminent man in his day, Knight of the Garter, Marshall of the Field, and Privy Counsellor to John of Gaunt, whom he accompanied into Spain, and died there the same year his uncle was beheaded, and Sir Roger, father of John Burley, of Bromcroft Castle, Sheriff of Salop in 1409, whose daughter, Joyce, became the wife of John de Gatacre, of Gatacre, a family of stupendous antiquity, having acquired the estate of Gatacre (now the principal seat of their lineal descendants), by grant from Edward the Confessor.

Amice de Burele was noted in the Inquisition Post Mortem of her nephew Henry Pembrugge, son of Richard, in 1375. Henry's heirs were Richard de Burele, knight, son of Amice de Burele, sister of Richard de Pembrugg, and Thomas Barre, knight, son of Hawise, second sister of the same Richard. The heirs were both of full age.[1][2]

With Henry de Penbrugge’s death, his two aunts, the sisters of his father, Sir Richard de Penbrugge, became his heirs. As is mentioned above, Anne [Amice] was the wife of Sir John de Burley. The other aunt, Hawise, was married to Thomas de Barre. The two ladies amiably divided their inheritance up between them and continued to keep good relations between their families. This is evidenced by the fact that, not having a suitable daughter of his own to marry off, Sir John de Burley, possessing both marriage and property wardship rights over a rich minor in his care, William Lucy, gave this young man in marriage to his wife’s sister’s daughter, Elizabeth de Barre.

Sir John’s most famous act historically was a fairly minor one in his career. He took Geoffrey Chaucer along with him as part of his retinue once on the king’s secret business to the continent. The connection with Chaucer must have been multi-faceted, though, as the early 15th century Chaucerian manuscript now known as the British Library’s Lansdowne belonged at one time to Sir John’s grandson (another Sir John de Burley, but a different century). The Corpus Christi manuscript copy of Chaucer’s works is also said to have been once in Burley hands, too. I have yet not had enough time to check the history of the manuscript transmission of these two manuscripts, but it should be interesting to do so in the near future.

Sir John’s life is fairly well covered in various published works, but the various family affiliations listed are not normally to be trusted. He died in the mid-1380s before the collapse of his immediate family’s fortunes.

Sir John and Sir Simon can be proven to be brothers and can be proven to have a sister Maude married to a man from an established Herefordshire gentry family by the name of Henry le Frene.


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Sir John Burley, K.G.'s Timeline

Weobly, Herefordshire, England
Birely, Herefordshire, England
June 1383
Castle Broncroft, , Shropshire, England
Herefordshire, England
Woebley, Herefordshire, England
Broomscroft, Shropshire, England