Charles Brandon


1st Duke of Suffolk

Charles Brandon was given Fawlty (now Vaulty) Manor by Henry VIII in the 1538 resulting from the Reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries and so became Lord of the Manor of Goldhanger and Lt. Totham for a short time. Beeleigh and Coggeshall  Abbeys were involved in the dissolution, and their manors, estates and farms in and around Goldhanger were gifted or sold by the King. Vaulty Manor which is half a mile west of the village was, and still is, within Goldhanger parish. In the 1800s Vaulty Manor was the home of author Henry Coe Coape, who used the pseudonym Mervyn Merriton for many of his literary works.   Today the house, together its ancient barn, is a wedding venue...

Vaulty manor.JPG


In Goldhanger - an Estuary Village, Maura Benham wrote...





Charles Brandon had family links with Maldon at the time he acquired Fawlty Manor...



Charles Brandon's mother Elizabeth was a granddaughter of Sir Maurice Bruyn (d. 8 November 1466), and by Elizabeth Darcy (died c.1471), daughter of Sir Robert Darcy of Maldon, Essex. Before her marriage to Sir William Brandon, Elizabeth (née Bruyn) had been the wife of Thomas Tyrrell (died c. 13 October 1473), esquire, son of Sir Thomas Tyrrell of Heron and Anne Marney.



Sir Robert D'Arcy who was MP for the Borough of Maldon in the reign of Henry VI. He was also a lay-brother of the Order of Friars at Colchester. The south aisle (of All Saints Church) is known as the D'Arcy Aisle. The D'Arcy Chapel was doubtless built by his generosity and is where members of his family were buried.



the Moot Hall in Maldon is the surviving fragment of a much larger dwelling known as the D’arcy Mansion or Master D’arcy’s Tower which has stood in some form on Maldon’s High Street since the early 15th Century. Believed to have been built in around 1420, the tower is part of a brick extension to an existing timber manor house and was commissioned by Sir Robert D’arcy (1448). ...D’arcy was the MP for Maldon six times, a lawyer by trade and had become a rich and powerful man as legal advisor to the king and local gentry and his family held part of the Manor of Little Maldon.


In 1539 the D’arcy family sold off most of their Maldon property in order to fund other interests and broke up the mansion. In 1550 they finally surrendered the brick tower to the King in part payment for the dissolved priory at St Osyth and severed their last links with Maldon.


There is also a link between Charles Brandon and the wealthy owners of Osea Island, which is perhaps not surprising with the complex marital relationships within the aristocracy of the time. Below is an extract from a booklet entitled The History of Osea, compiled by Frederick Charrinton’s friend Rupert Scott...

Henry Bouchier, first Earl of Essex, held the manor of Totham-Oveseye from King Edward VI. He died in 1483 and was followed by Anne Bouchier, Marchioness of Northampton, who brought the island to her husband under the title of 'Manor or Isle of Ovesey, with free fishery, free warren, and wrec of the sea.' She died in 1570, during Queen Elizabeth's reign. Her husband forfeited his estates for espousing the cause of Lady Jane Grey, but this Manor of Ovesey was returned to him by a letter patent from the Queen dated August 8, 1558, for his maintenance.


Lady Jane Grey was the eldest daughter of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, and his wife, Lady Frances Brandon. Lady Jane Grey was the “Nine Day Queen” who was executed in the Tower of London on 12th February, 1554 at the age of 17.



Henry Grey became the 3rd Marquess of Dorset in 1530 after his father died. In 1533, with the permission of King Henry VIII he married Lady Frances Brandon (1517–1559), the daughter of Henry VIII’s sister Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The couple had three children who survived infancy: Lady Jane Grey (1537–1554), Lady Catherine Grey (1540–1568), and Lady Mary Grey (1545–1578).


It would seem that Charles Brandon also had family links to the Heveningham family who were the Goldhanger and Lt. Totham Lords of the Manor and who lived at Lt. Totham Hall at around the same time (See Goldhanger - an Estuary Village pages 22-26). From: The Britannia, 2nd edition, by Camden William in 1722...

Below Brentwood, I saw South-Okindon, the seat of the Bruins (Bruyn), a family of very great repute in these parts. From which, by two co-heirs who were several times marry’d, Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, the Tirels, Berniers, Harlestons, Heveninghams, and others.


This final extract comes from:   Pleadings in Queen Elizabeth first’s reign [1548-1579]...

(“Faity” is one of the many past names of Vaulty Manor)

1500s - Pleadings in Queen Elizabeth 1's reign.jpg

Charles Brandon was an important, notorious and colourful character in Tudor times and in Henry VIII’s court, so his portrait was much painted at the time. The similar facial characteristics in these studies together with the one at the top of this page would indicate that they represent a reasonably true likeness...

Brandon merge.JPG

Charles was said to be Henry VIII’s closest friend. Brandon’s father was Henry VII’s standard-bearer at the Battle of Bosworth Field and died defending the future king. Henry VII repaid his loyalty by educating young Charles with his own children, and from the beginning Charles and the future Henry VIII were devoted friends. Brandon had three wives - two of them at the same time, and one of those was Henry VIII's sister Mary Tudor, dowager Queen of France. Here is a very short summary of his life...

1484 - Brandon born and brought up at the court of the first Tudor king, Henry VII

1503 - was Cavalry Captain to Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex

1509 – “attender” of Henry VII.'s Funeral as 'Squyer for the Bodie: Ch. Brandon'

1510 - Created Marshal of  King Henry VIII’s Bench

1513 - Created Master of the King’s Horse

1514 - created 1st Duke of Suffolk by the king Henry VIII

1515 - married Henry VIII's younger sister Mary Tudor, dowager Queen of France, and had four children

1520 - present at Field of the Cloth of Gold at Guines, near Calais

1525 - Brandon’s son Henry is created Earl of Lincoln by King Henry VIII at 2 years old.

1836 - Took part in the suppression of the monasteries organised by Henry VIII

1538 - given Fawlty Manor by Henry VIII together with many other abbey lands

1539 - sold Fawlty Manor to Robert Trapps, a London goldsmith

1542 - involved in the execution of Katherine Howard at the Tower of London

1545 - he died suddenly at the age of 61 and was buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor


for more details of Charles Brandon’s life see...,_Charles_%28DNB00%29


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