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Sir Thomas Bromley

Sir Thomas Bromley died on 12th April 1587 and was buried in the chapel of St Paul in Westminster Abbey. He was born in 1530, the second son of George Bromley (died 1533) of Hodnet in the county of Shropshire and Jane, daughter of Sir Thomas Lacon. He was descended from an ancient family established since the reign of King John at Bromleghe in Staffordshire. He was educated at Oxford and entered the Inner Temple in London as a lawyer and he was also a Member of Parliament. In 1579 he became Lord Chancellor and presided at the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Adrian Fortescue, and she was buried at St Margaret's Church Westminster on 2nd June 1602 (she has no monument). Thomas' elder brother George (died 1589) was also an eminent lawyer and M.P. and married Joan Wannerton.

Thomas and Elizabeth had four sons and four daughters: Sir Henry (1556-1615) inherited Holt Castle near Worcester (his wives were Elizabeth Pelham, Elizabeth Verney, Anne Beswicke and Anne Appleby) and his eldest child was Sir Thomas (died 1641); Thomas (died 1617) married Mary Viner; Gerard (1568-1628) married Elizabeth Darell (they had two sons Thomas and Alexander); Edward was born in 1570; Anne (1558?-1624) married Richard Corbet; Muriel (1560-1630) married John Lytellton (Littleton); Joan (or Jane) (1562-1656) married Sir Edward Greville, and Elizabeth (1566-98) married Sir Oliver Cromwell (uncle of the more famous Oliver). 

His large monument in the chapel, incorporating his alabaster effigy dressed in an embroidered robe, shows carved figures of his eight children kneeling at the base of the structure. The Latin inscription can be translated:

Thomas Bromley, knight, remarkable for his wisdom, piety and knowledge of the Law, Privy Counsellor to Queen Elizabeth, and Lord Chancellor; when he had for eight years delivered equity with singular integrity and temper of mind, being snatched hastily away, to the grief of all good men, was here buried. He lived 57 years, and died the 12th of April, anno 1587. He left by his Lady Elizabeth, of the family of Fortescues, eight children, Henry his son has to the best of fathers erected this monument.

At the feet of his effigy is a cock pheasant, the family crest. His coat of arms appears at the top of the monument: "per fess indented gules and or" (ie. four quarters alternating in red and gold, either side of a horizontal serrated line).

Further reading for Sir Thomas and several other members of the Bromley family

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - Sir Thomas Bromley

History of Parliament online for Thomas, son Henry, and brother George

For various wills of the family search at The National Archives and order copies from them

Died

12th April 1587

Field

Politican

Location

Chapel of St Paul

Memorial Type

Statue

Material Type

Alabaster

Sir Thomas Bromley
Sir Thomas Bromley memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Sir Thomas Bromley
Bromley effigy

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

It’s very hard not to be enthusiastic working at the Abbey. If this place doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will.

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Valerie - Foundation Director

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