William DE BRIWERE, Lord of Sumburne & Torre


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Beatrice DE VAUX

William DE BRIWERE, Lord of Sumburne & Torre

  • Born: Torre Brewer Manor, Tormoham, Devon, England
  • Married: Abt 1174, Trierman Castle, Cumberland, England
  • Died: 24 Nov 1226, Horsley, Belper, Derbyshire, England

   Orthographic variations: DE BRIWER, DE BREWER, DE BRIEVARE

  Research Notes:

King John confirmed the grant of "foresta nostra de la Bera", granted by King Henry I to "Willelmus Briwerr avus eius", to "Willelmo Briwere" by charter dated 21 Mar 1200. The Red Book of the Exchequer records "Willelmus Bruere" holding (unspecified) knights’ fees "Burbeche" in Wiltshire, and land "Stokes et Siteleshangre quæ fuerunt Gerardi de Mauqu[eney]" in Northamptonshire, in [1210/12]. Matthew Paris names “...Willelmus Briwere...” among the "consiliarios iniquissimos” of King John.

A charter which records the foundation of Motisfont Priory, Hampshire states that “dominus Willielmus Briwer, fundator ecclesiæ de Mottesfount” died "VIII Kal Dec", lists his donations including the donation of land "in Muchelmares" and revenue from land "in villa de Burbache" for the soul of "Beatricis uxoris suæ qui obiit IX Kal Apr". 1


Sir William DE BRIWERRE. Lord of Horsley (DRB) Born circa 1145. Married Beatrice DE VAUX / DE VALLE. Sheriff of Devon for 10 years, until his death in 1227 in the reign of Henry III. After 1189 Itinerant Justice for King Richard. Seat: Bridgwater, Somersetshire. Circa 1192 "Richard employed his exceptional talents by making him an Itinerant Justice and an ambassador to the French court where he was instrumental in drawing up the terms for Richard's release from captivity, and on that king's second absence abroad Brewer was one of the 4 Justiciars appointed to guard the realm.". Held the honour of Plympton as a Redvers tenant. Died in 1226 (Burke's Landed Gentry) (Weis, AR.). Died in 1227. 2

baron and judge, and a justice itinerant, 1187; bought land at Ileshal, Devon; was one of the four justices to whom Richard I, on leaving England, entrusted the charge of the kingdom; went to Worms to assist Richard I, then in captivity, at his interview with the Emperor, Henry VI, 1193; founded the Abbeys of Torr and Dunkeswell, and the Nunnery of Polslo, in Devon, and the Abbey on Mottisfont in Southants; became lord of Somborne near Southampton, and Sheriff of Devon, co. Oxford, co. Buchingham, Berks., Northants, and co. Derby; supported John against the Barons; assisted at the coronation of Henry III 1216; was one of the Barons of the Exchequer 1221; received a grant of the manor of Bridgewater, where he founded the Hospital of St. John Baptist...

In 1190 the Manor of King's Somborne was granted to William Briwere, a loyal servant of the Plantaganet kings, who made him one of the most powerful men in the realm, and rewarded him handsomely. Among other offices he was at various times sheriff of Hampshire and of other counties, (including Nottingham while Richard Coeur-de Lion was on a Crusade: this makes him Robin Hood's notorious adversary). He also signed Magna Carta. Though much disliked and an extortioner, his family married well: one of his descendants married Henry of Lancaster: their daughter, Blanche, who inherited the Manor in 1362, married John of Gaunt; the Manor then passed to their son, Henry Bolingbroke, who in 1399 became King Henry IV. The Manor remained a royal possession till the time of Charles I.

In 1200 William Brewer received from King John a licence to fortify a castle at Ashley: Ashley church had stood for over half a century already, so William's bailey was built around it. Subsequently the King stayed there to hunt in the Forest of Bere. In 1201 Brewer (sic) founded a Priory of Augustinian Canons at Mottisfont; his son gave them the church of King's Somborne: from 1207 till the dissolution of the Monastery the Priory appointed the vicars of King's Somborne, and no doubt the priests to serve at the altars and chantry. His brother John presented Little Somborne to the Priory, and there is unreliable evidence that a third brother, Peter de Rivaulx, was a monk there of some sanctity, known as 'the Monk in the Wall'. 3


19 Sep 1219, New Temple, London

Order to the sheriff of Nottinghamshire to place in respite, until the king orders otherwise, the demand he makes from William Brewer for the amercements made before the justices last in eyre in Nottinghamshire for his wapentake of Scarsdale, Sneinton and Chesterfield. Witness H. de Burgh.

Calendar of Fine Rolls, 3 Hen. III, 395


29 Apr 1221, Devon

William Brewer has made fine with the king by 30 m. for having custody of the lands and heirs of Phillip Chaucebuef, and the marriage of the same. Order to the sheriff of Devon to cause William to have full seisin without delay of the aforesaid heirs and all land formerly of Phillip in his bailiwick.

4 Jun 1221, Warham, Devon

The king has committed the hundred of Braunton to his beloved and faithful William Brewer to keep for as long as it pleases the king, so that he answers the king at the Exchequer for the due farm by his hand or by the hand of the sheriff. Order to cause William to have full seisin of the aforesaid hundred, as aforesaid.

Calendar of Fine Rolls, 5 Hen. III, 140, 182


31 Aug 1226, Bridgnorth

Order to place in respite, until upon his next account at the Exchequer at Michaelmas in the tenth year, the demand he makes from W. Brewer senior for a fine that the knights of his county made with the king for having a sheriff from amongst themselves , to which fine the same W. did not offer his assent, as he says. Meanwhile, he is to cause his livestock and chattels taken for the aforesaid reason to be delivered to him.

Calendar of Fine Rolls, 10 Hen. III, 260


1 Jul 1234, Westminster

Presentation of Adam Russel, king's clerk, to the church of Trente, in the diocese of Bath, in the king's gift by reason of his custody of a part of the land late of William Briwer.

Calendar of Patent Rolls, Hen. III, vol. 3, p. 58

  Marriage Information:

William married Beatrice DE VAUX, daughter of Sir Hubert DE VAUX and Grace, about 1174 in Trierman Castle, Cumberland, England. (Beatrice DE VAUX was born about 1160 in Gilsland, Irthington, Cumberland, England and died on 24 Mar 1216/7 in Stoke, Devon, England.)


1 Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, Medlands: William de Briwere.

2 Irene Gladwin, The Sheriff: The Man and his Office. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1974, cited by Pat Patterson in a message to soc.genealogy.medieval 23 Feb 2001.


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