GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-04 > 1019950137
From: Paul Davis <>
Subject: Complete Peerage Correction - Mary countess of Norfolk
Date: Sat, 27 Apr 2002 16:29:31 -0700
This is a proposed correction to Complete Peerage in regard
to Mary, second wife of Thomas of Brotherton.
This matter was first brought to the attention of
Gen-Medieval, to my knowledge, by Paul Mackenzie, on 1997 Jan
28, who expressed it as a matter of interest, and cited primary
sources, but did not take the step of calling it a correction to
CURRENT COMPLETE PEERAGE
"The Complete Peerage", volume IX (Moels to Nuneham), 1936,
under Norfolk, on page 598, says of Thomas of Brotherton: "He
m., 2ndly, Mary, widow of Sir Ralph de Cobham [Lord Cobham, d.
Feb. 1325/6], sister of Sir Thomas de Brewes (or Brewose) [Lord
Brewes], and da. of Sir Piers de Brewes, of Tetbury.(g)" and the
footnote reads: "(g) Cal. Inq. p. m., vol. viii, no 529 (p.
377); Cott. MS., Jul., C vii, fo. 174."
Volume XIV (Addenda & Corrigenda) makes no change to this.
For reference, volume III (Canonteign to Cutts), 1913, under
Cobham, on page 338, says of Sir Ralph de Cobham: "He m. Mary."
and "His widow m., as 2nd wife, Thomas (of Brotherton), Earl of
Norfolk and Marshal of England." but makes no reference to any
family of origin for her.
The Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, volume 8, item 529,
beginning on page 374, is for Oliver de Ingham. The relevant
paragraph, dated 9 March, 18 Edward III (1344/5), is on page 377
and reads, in part: "Endorsed that Thomas de Brewes, brother of
Mary countess of Norfolk, guardian of Mary daughter of John
Curzoun, kinswoman and one of the heirs of the said Oliver ..."
Mary's own IPM is in volume 11, item 397, beginning on page
305. It mostly deals with lands held in dower from Thomas of
Brotherton. One paragraph, dated Wednesday before St. Margaret,
36 Edward III (1362/3), on page 307, refers to her with a
surname, and reads, in part: "Thomas, being seised thereof,
married a certain Alice, by whom he had two daughters Margaret
and Alice, of whom Margaret was married to Walter de Maunny and
Alice to Edward de Monte Acuto. Edward and Alice had a daughter
Joan, who was married to William de Ufford. Alice wife of
Thomas died, and after her death Thomas married Mary de Brewes
as his second wife, and afterwards gave the castle and manor &c.
to the present king, who gave them to Thomas and Mary and the
heirs of the body of Thomas, with reversion in default of such
heirs to himself and his heirs. Thomas died without issue by
the said Mary."
The IPM of Oliver de Ingham, since it does not concern the
inheritance of Thomas de Brewes or Mary countess of Norfolk,
would be unlikely to suffer from a dishonest motive, but there
is also no reason to assume "brother" means full brother, as
opposed to half brother, step brother, or brother in law (to use
the modern terms). The Thomas de Brewes was evidently alive at
the time, as was the Thomas de Brewes, son of Sir Piers de
Brewes of Tetbury. I cannot presently eliminate the possibility
that the Thomas de Brewes related to Mary countess of Norfolk
was of some other branch of the family, however.
The reference to "Mary de Brewes" in her own IPM, I find
peculiar. I would have expected it to say "Mary, late the wife
of Ralph de Cobham", or "Mary, daughter of Sir Piers de
Brewes". I don't believe I have seen, in any other IPM, a
reference to a widow by her maiden name, though I have not done
any sort of extensive survey. I would hypothesize that the "de
Brewes" is a supposition by the scribe, based on knowledge of
the previous IPM. Since this is Mary's own IPM, she could not
be queried on her family of origin, and it might not have been
I believe the state of our knowledge would be best
represented by correcting the first quote to read something like
"He m., 2ndly Mary, widow of Sir Ralph de Cobham [...], sister
(in some sense of the word) or a Thomas de Brewes, who may have
been the Sir Thomas de Brewes (...) [...] who was son of Sir
Piers de Brewes, of Tetbury."
I find it surprising there is not more solid information on
the origin of a woman as important and highly placed as this
The most natural interpretation of the contemporary sources
would be that Mary, after Ralph de Cobham's death, married the
brother of a Thomas de Brewes, who died before she married
Thomas of Brotherton. I find no indication of any brother of
the Thomas de Brewes identified above who could have been this
Some older sources identify this Mary as Mary de Ros, widow
of William de Brewes father of the Sir Piers de Brewes
identified above. This is impossible. This latter Mary's IPM
is also known. Nevertheless, some contemporary databases give
the surname "de Ros" to a Mary listed as daughter of Piers de
Brewes and wife of Ralph de Cobham and/or Thomas of Brotherton!
I have seen reference to a branch of the de Braose (however
spelled) family, which was "of Norfolk". I have not searched
for further information on them, but they would be more natural
for the relatives of a countess of Norfolk than Sir Piers'
branch, whose lands were in Sussex, Gloucestershire, and the
marches of Wales.
I would welcome any further contemporary sources, any
assistance in better interpreting the contemporary sources, or
any improved analyses.
- PKD [Paul K Davis - ]
|Complete Peerage Correction - Mary countess of Norfolk by Paul Davis <>|