Henry de Briwere
(Cir 1114-After 1165)

William de Briwere Lord
(Abt 1145-1226)


Family Links

Béatrix de Vaux

William de Briwere Lord

  • Born: Abt 1145, Stoke, Devonshire, England
  • Marriage: Béatrix de Vaux
  • Died: 1226, Devonshire, England about age 81 160
  • Buried: Abbey of Dunkeswell

bullet   Another name for William was William de Brewer.

bullet  General Notes:

~Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700, 8th Edition, 143:27, 177:7, 184A:7, 246B:28, Béatrix de Vaux, also known as Béatrix de Valle, married Sir William de Briwere, lord of Horsley, Derbyshire. Béatrix and Sir William were the parents of: Gracia first wife of Reynold de Braose; Isabella, wife of Baldwin Wake; Alice, wife of Reynold de Mohun. 160

~ Cokayne's Complete Peerage, 2nd Edition, Vol. I, (Abergavenny), p. 22, Reynold de Briouze married Grecia, daughter and in her issue, coheir of William Brieguerre or Briwere, by his wife Beatrice de Vaux. 141

bullet  Information about this person:

• Background Information.
William Briwere, baron and judge, the son of Henry Brewer [Dugdale, Baronage], was sheriff of Devon during the latter part of the reign of Henry II, and was a justice itinerant in 1187. He bought land at Ilesham in Devon, and received from the king the office of forester of the forest of Bere in Hampshire.

When King Richard left England, in December 1189, he appointed Briwere to be one of the four justices to whom he committed the charge of the kingdom. Briwere was at first a subordinate colleague of Hugh, bishop of Durham, the chief justiciar. Before long, however, the chancellor, William Longchamp, bishop of Ely, displaced Bishop Hugh. When the king heard of the insolence and unpopularity of the chancellor, he wrote to Briwere and his companions. The King told them that if he was unfaithful in his office, they were to act as they thought best as to the grants of escheats and castles, and wrote also to the chancellor, bidding him to act in conjunction with his colleagues.

At a great council held at St. Paul's, on 8 Oct. 1191, the Archbishop of Rouen produced a letter from the king appointing him justiciar in place of Longchamp, and naming Briwere and others as his assistants. Briwere evidently was prominent in the proceedings taken against the chancellor, for his name is on the list of the bishops and barons whom the displaced minister threatened with excommunication.

In 1193 William left England to assist the king, then in captivity, at his interview with the Emperor Henry VI. He arrived at Worms on 29 July, the day on which the terms of the king's release were finally arranged. After this matter was settled, Richard sent him, in company with the Bishop of Ely 'and other wise men,' to arrange a peace with Philip of France. The Treaty was signed on 9 July at Nantes. On the king's return to England, in the spring of 1194, Briwere and others, who had been concerned in the proceedings against the chancellor, were deprived of the sheriffdoms they then held. They were instead appointed to other counties, 'as if the king, although he could not dispense with their services, wished to show his dispense with their services, wished to show his disapproval of their conduct in the matter' [Stubbs, Const. Hist. i. 504].

A serious dispute having arisen between Geoffrey archbishop of York, and his chapter, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was at that time the justiciar, sent Briwere with other judges to York in July to settle the quarrel. They summoned the archbishop, and on his refusing to appear seized his manors, and caused the canons that he had displaced to be again installed.

Briwere also appears as one of the justices who were sent on the great visitation, or 'iter' in the following September. In 1196 he founded the abbey of Torr in Devon, as a house of Præmonstratensian canons [Dugdale, Mon. vi. 923]. During the reign of Richard he became lord of the manor of Sumburne, near Sothampton, and held the sheriffdoms of Devonshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Nottinghamshire, and Derbyshire [Dugdale, Bar].

Briwere married Beatrice de Valle. In 1201 Briwere founded the abbey of Motisfont as a house of Augustinian canons. This foundation has been ascribed to his son William [Ann. de Osen.], but the charters of the abbey prove that it was the work of the father [Mon. vi. 480]. On 15 Aug. of the same year he was present as founder at the foundation of the Cistercian abbey of Dunkeswell in Devonshire. He is said also to have founded the Bendedictine nunnery of Polslo in that county [Ann. de Margam; Mon. iv. 425, v. 678].

During the reign of John, Briwere held a prominent place among the king's counselors. His name appears among the witnesses of the disgraceful treaty made with Philip of Thouars in 1206. When an attempt was made to reconcile the king to Archbishop Langton in 1209, he joined Geoffrey Fitz Peter and others in guaranteeing the archbishop's safety out of the kingdom. During the period of the interdict, he strongly upheld the king, and is mentioned by Wendover [iii. 238] as one of John's "evil advisers, "who cared for nothing else save to please their master. The king's extortion from the clergy, the monks, and especially the Cistercians, were in obedience to Briwere's advice. In 1210, he caused the king to forbid the Cistercian monks to attend the annual chapter of their order-a sin, which, according to Paris, brought him and others, concerned to a sorrowful end.

Briwere signed the treaty made by John with the Count of Boulogne, May 1212. On 15 May 1213, he signed the charter by which John surrendered the crown and kingdom of England to Innocent III, and on 21 Nov. 1214, the charter granting freedom of election to sees and abbeys, by which the king hoped to win the English church to his side. When the barons made a confederation against the king at Brackley, 1215, and drew up the list of their demands, Briwere refused to join them. After their entry into London, however, he and other ministers of the king were compelled to act with the baronial party, and his name appears among the signatures subscribed to the great charter. His heart, however, was by no means in the work, and when war broke out he became one of the leaders of the army left by John to watch the baronial forces, cut off their supplies, and ravage their lands.

Upon the death of John, he assisted at the coronation of Henry at Gloucester on 28 Oct. 1216. He warmly espoused the cause of the young king against the French, and joined with other barons in pledging himself to ransom all prisoners belonging to the king's party. He was one of those who guaranteed the observance of the treaty of Lambeth on 11 Sep. 1217, though he did not approve of the moderate terms granted to Louis [Ann. Wav.] The next year he was present with the king and court at the dedication of the cathedral church of Worcester, to which he afterwards presented a chalice of gold of four marks weight, 'not to be removed from the church save for fire, hunger, or necessary ransom' [Ang. Wig.]

With the restlessness and plots of the foreign party Briwere had no sympathy, and, indeed, seems to have acted in full accord with the justiciar Hubert de Burgh. In 1221, he sat as one of the barons of the exchequer [Foss, Biog. Jurid.] He was one of the favorite counselors of Henry III, and his influence with the king was not for good. For example, when in January 1223, Archbishop Langton and the lords demanded that Henry, who was then holding his Christmas festival at Oxford, should confirm the great charter, Briwere answered for the king, and said: 'the liberties you ask for ought not to be observed; for they were extorted by force.' Indignant at his declaration, the archbishop rebuked him. 'William,' he said, 'if you loved the king you would not disturb the peace of the kingdom.' The king saw that the archbishop was angry, and at once yielded to his demand [Rog. Wend. iv. 84]. Later in the same year, Honorius III associated Briwere with the Bishop of Winchester and the justiciar in a letter declaring Henry to be of full age.

William Briwere died in 1226 having assumed, probably when actually dying, as was not infrequently done, the habit of a monk at Dunkeswell, and was buried there in the church he had founded. During the reigns of John and Henry III, he acquired great possessions. John made him guardian of Henry Percy and of many other rich wards. He received a large number of grants from the king, and among them the manor of Bridgwater, with an ample charter creating that place a free borough with a market [Dugdale, Bar.] In this town he founded the hospital of St. John Baptist, for the maintenance of thirteen sick poor, besides 'religious' and pilgrims [Mon. vi. 662]. In the same reign, he also acquired half the fee of the house of Brito. This acquisition probably was made unjustly ['per potestatem domini Willielmi Bruyere veterioris,' Inq. p. m. 49 Hen. III; Somerset Archæl. Soc. Proc. xxi. ii. 33]. It included the honor of Odcomb, with other places in Somersetshire and Devonshire. The memory of this grant is preserved in the name of Ile Brewers, a village near Langport, which passed to him along with Odcomb. One of Brewer's sons, Richard, died before him. He left one son, William and five daughters, who all married man of wealth and importance.

[Sources cited by the author: Roger of Hoveden; Roger of Wendover, Eng. Hist. Soc.; Matthew Paris, Chron. Maj. Rolls Ser.; R. de Diceto, Twysden; Benedictus Abbas, Rolls Ser.; Walter of Coventry, Rolls Ser.; Royal Letters, Henry III, Rolls Ser.; Annales de Margam, Waverliea, Oseneia, Wigornia, in Annales Monastici, Rolls Ser.; Dugdale's Baronage; Dugdales's Monasticon; Constitutional History.]

~ William Hunt, Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. II, pp. 1205-1207

William married Béatrix de Vaux, daughter of Hubert de Vallibus and Grecia. (Béatrix de Vaux was born about 1149 in Stoke, Devonshire, England and died on 24 Mar 1216-1217.)

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