Wednesday, March 1, 2000

William Brereton 1346-1426

Brereton Hall, Cheshire, England
William VII de Brereton
Birth 14 Feb 1346/47 of Egerton, Cheshire, Eng
William VI de Brereton 1325 –
Ellen Egerton
Sir William, Lord of Brereton Born: 14 Feb 1348-1349, Egerton, Cheshire, England
Baptized: 1348-1349, Malpas, Chesire, England 713
Marriage: Angella "Anyll" de Venables of Kinderton 1386 in Audley, Staffordshire, England 696,713
Died: Bef 31 Aug 1426, Egerton, Cheshire, England 713
Noted events in his life were:
Death. 696,713
Died of "honourable" wounds
Background Information. 696
In 1386, Sir William Brereton, son of William and Ellena, married Anylla, daughter of Sir William Venables, a descendant of Gilberts de Venables, first baron of Cheshire, and grantee of the first Brereton estate, three hundred years before.
By a second marriage, to Elena, daughter of Sir William Massey of Tatton Hall, in 1426, the Brereton holdings were among the greatest estates of England, including the manors of Malpas and Picton, with lands in Woodhull, Cronton, Charlton and Norwich.
~Brereton, a Family History, pg. 14-15
• Background Information. 713
Sir William de Brerton, lord of Brerton, born at Eggerton in the Feast of St. Valtine, 23 Edward 3, and baptized at Malpas. He was a knight in 1385, and his Orbit per Inquisition took place in 4 Henry VI. He married twice, first to Anyll, daughter of Hugh Venables, baron of Kinderdon. They were married at Audley, 1386. His second wife was Elena, daughter of Sir William Mascy of Taton, knight, remarried to Sir Gilbert de Halsall, Knight.
Children of Sir William and his second wife, Elena Mascy, as given by Ormerod:
• Thomas de Brerton, rector of Brereton, 1433, heir of his mother.
Children of Sir William and Anyll Venables, as given by Ormerod:
• William de Brerton, living 11 Henry IV, died before his father at Harfeur, married to Alice, sister and heiress of Richard Corbet of Heghton in the barony of Caus, remarried to John Stretely, 37 Henry VI.
• Nicholas de Brerton, living 2 Henry V
• Hugh de Brerton, living 2 Henry V
• Matthew de Brerton, living 2 Henry V
• John de Brerton, living 2 Henry V
Henry de Brerton, who with his son, Roger, is recorded 15 Edward IV
Elizabeth de Brerton, married to Sir John Savage, son of John Savage and Matilda Synnerton
• Margery de Brerton, married to Richard Patten, alias Wanflete
~Ormerod's History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, Vol. III, p.88, "Brereton and Holt of Brereton"
William, married Anyill de Venables of Kinderton, daughter of Sir Hugh de Venables 8th Baron of Kinderton and Agatha de Vernon of Shipbrook, in 1386 in Audley, Staffordshire, England 696,713 (Anyill de Venables of Kinderton was born about 1366 in Kinderton, Chester, England.)
Online at:


The Bear's Head Millennium Sign St. Oswald's, Brereton Butressed tower The East End South Aisle and six clerestory windows The panelled ceiling of the nave Seven hundred year anniversary banner Memorial to William and Frances Smethwick Base of Brereton Monument in the Sanctuary Font dated 1660 A bell made in 1591

Shield on Brereton Monument, Brereton, Cheshire, England

Brereton, formerly known as Brereton-cum-Smethwick

Brereton Hall, Cheshire 
The village is characterised by its hall, church and inn. Brereton Hall, a fine Elizabethan house, was built in 1586 but is not accessible to photography by the general public. A Bear's head was the symbol of the Brereton family, hence the name of the inn, which dates from 1615. Until the recent modifications, a stuffed bear's head was displayed under a small canopy above the front door. The head is now preserved in the church in connection with the Brereton monument.

St Oswald's Church, Brereton, Cheshire, England 
Raymond Richards relates that there was a chapel at Brereton from the reign of Richard I (1189-99). Canon Sladden in Beside the Bright Stream relates that Sir William Brereton built a church at Brereton about 1200 to fulfill a promise he made while on the third crusade and dedicated it to St. Oswald of Northumberland.

Brereton was originally in the parish of Astbury and became a parish in its own right in the reign of Henry VIII (1509-47). The original chapel was probably made of wood as some is still visible at the junction of the nave and chancel. The church was rebuilt in the 15th century in the late Perpendicular style. Like many other churches in the area, St. Oswald's was restored in the 19th century by Gilbert Scott. Raymond Richards in his book Old Cheshire Churches, is very critical of Scott's work. In particular he disliked the removal of old oak and its replacement by pitch pine and imported wood, which he thought alien to a mediaeval church. Among the many features of interest inside the church are the 17th century altar rails and 16th century Flemish choir stalls. The font bears the date of 1660. Many decorated mediaeval fonts in Cheshire were destroyed by Puritans in the Civil War period. There is also a parish chest with three locks. On display near the south door is a bell of 1591. The church registers begin in 1538. The list of ministers goes back to Gilbert de Brereton in 1297.

Plaque in St. Oswald's church Depicting Sir William Brereton before the Mayor's Court

In the north side of the sanctuary is a Brereton memorial, the lower part of which is shown in my photograph. High on the wall above is displayed some armour which may have belonged to the Sir William Brereton who fought at the seige of Maynooth in Ireland in 1534. An information card nearby explains that the monument was installed in 1618 by Sir William Brereton, the 1st Lord Brereton (1550-1631) when the remains of his ancestors were brought from Astbury and reburied in the chancel at St. Oswald's. Immediately above, but not shown in the photograph, are the arms of the Breretons with the motto 'Opitulante Deo' - 'God be my helper'. The inscription on the monument in Latin is translated on the card and shown below. A donative chapel was a one presented by a patron without reference to the bishop.

Sir William Brereton Plaque in St. Oswald's Church, Cheshire
"In ancient times when this Church of Brereton was a donative chapel within the parish of Astbury, the ancestors of William Brereton, knight, Baron of Malpas, (who erected this monument in 1618 AD) had been buried in the churchyard of Asbury, where ancient monuments of some of them still remain to this date, marked in English with the words 'Knightes burialls'. But after the said chapel was made a parochial Church, the ancestors of the said William Brereton, knight, patron of this Chapel of Brereton were buried in the chancel, except those who died in kingdoms and counties abroad"

In the east corner of the south aisle is the monument of William Smethwick who died in 1643 and his wife of 58 years, Frances, daughter of Anthony Coleclough who was born in 1557 in the castle of Kildare in Ireland and died 1 May 1632. (The photograph was taken from below but perspective correction has been employed in Adobe Photoshop to give a fuller view of the figures.)

Brereton Bear's Head Window
The photographs of the interior were taken at the beginning of the Brereton Bear Festival, in July in 2005. A large number of teddy bears of all sizes are displayed around the village with amusing captions. The church had a large display of bears in the north aisle. In the south aisle, a few can be seen on the window ledge behind the font and around the bell. The church now has its own site.

Old Cheshire Churches, with a supplementary survey of the lesser old chapels of Cheshire, completely revised and enlarged by Raymond Richards, published by E. J. Morten, Didsbury, 1973, first published in 1947.
Beside the Bright Stream, The Background and History of St. Oswald's Church, Lower Peover, by the Rev. Canon J. C. Sladden, MA BD (Oxon), 1st edition 1968, 4th edition taking into account an architectural report by Mr. K. Moth, 1994, price £1.
Information displayed in the church

The Breretons of Shocklach, Malpas
The Breretons came from Brereton near Holmes Chapel. In the Domesday Book the manor of Bretune (Brereton) was shown as being granted to William Venables, Baron of Kinderton near Middlewich, who held his barony under Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester. It is possible that the Breretons came from France as part of the invasion but the first documentary evidence for the family comes in 1100 when Ralph de Brereton witnessed a deed of Gilbert Venables. The earliest person connected to the family tree of the later Breretons is William de Brereton, living in the late 12th century. In the reign of Edward III, (1327-77), Sir William Brereton married Ellen, an heiress and the sister of David Egerton, who became Baron of Malpas. As a consequence, a branch of the Brereton family became established at Malpas. Sir William and Ellen had a son, born at Egerton and baptised at Malpas in 1350. He married Anylla, daughter of Sir William Venables at Audlem. Ormerod states that the original moated Egerton Hall had disappeared by the early 19th century but the chapel remained, and was in use as a barn.
Baron of half of Malpas, lord of Egerton and Brereton Governor of Caen. Born 14th February 1348/9 at Egerton baptised at Malpas, Died of "honourable wounds" at Harfleur in 1402.
Married at Audley, 1386.
Sir William Brereton, of Brereton, married his cousin, Angella (Annilla or Anylla), daughter of Hugh Venables, Baron of Kinderton, who died 41st of Edward III, and his wife Agatha, daughter of Sir Ralph Vernon, Baron of Shipbrooke. This marriage was confirmed by dispensation, which indulgence states that it was granted in consequence of the services of his father in the crusade against Henry of Castile, under Edward, the Black Prince. This William served with great distincti the French Wars of Henry V. Chandler, in his Life of Bishop Wainfleet, speaks of Sir William Brereton, who through his daughter Margery was grandfather of the founder of Magdalen College. Chandler states Sir William to have afterwards been Governor of Caen, and to have routed a numerous army of French near Mont St. Michel, and to have returned home "with glory and increase of fortune." Sir William died in 4th of Henry VI, 1425, probably of honourable wounds received at the Batt Pontoisan.
By his first wife Anylla he had William, Hugh and Matthew and two daughters, Elizabeth, of whom further, and Margery, wife of Richard Patten alias Wainfleet. By his 2nd wife, Elena, daughter of William Massey, he had a son Thomas, rector of Brereton 1433. William succeeded not only to the Brereton estate, but also in right of his mother to a share of the Barony of Malpas, which Elena's sister Isabella Delves had succeeded in wresting from David Malpas, the Bastard. William's 1st wife was related to him in the 4th degree on each side, in consequence of their mutual descent from Sir Ralph Vernon. This marriage took place at Audlem in 1386. He held in demesne as of fee one-fourth and a moiety of a fourth of half the Manor of Malpas, a third of Pickton, and lands in Wordhull, Crouton, Charleton and Northwick.
51 - Brereton family pedigree: George Ormerod's Cheshire (1817, 1888)
51 - Brereton family pedigree: George Ormerod's Cheshire (1817, 1888)
51 - Brereton family pedigree: George Ormerod's Cheshire (1817, 1888)
Ormerod describes the Parish of Brereton as having only one township - Brereton-cum-Smethwick - bounded by the parishes of Sandbach, Middlewich and Astbury. At the time of the Norman Conquest, Brereton came under Gilbert de Venables, Baron of Kinderton. It was granted to a family which assumed the local name but from the arms subsequently adopted it is likely that they were related to the Venables family. The Brereton family tree goes back to Ralph de Brereton who is known from being a witness to a charter by Gilbert Venables in the time of William II or Henry I. The manor and advowson continued in the male line of the Brereton family until Francis, 5th Lord Brereton died unmarried in 1722. The connection with the Egertons of Malpas shown below led to the Breretons of Malpas and Shocklach. The first five Breretons were called William and following inheritance through a brother called Andrew. The next three were called William also. 1. Sir William Brereton, Kt., heir to his grandfather, had a grant of free warren and market in 1369. +1st Ellen, dau of Philip and the sister, and eventually, heiress of David de Egerton of Egerton, joint baron of Malpas. 2. Sir William de Brereton, born at Egerton on the feast of St. Valentine, 1350, baptised Malpas, a knight in 1385, died 1426. +1st wife Anyll or Anilla dau of Hugh Venables, Baron of Kinderton married at Audley in 1386. Children were William, Nicholas, Hugh, Matthew, John, Henry, Elizabeth and Margery. The family tree continued from Sir William Brereton. Sir William 1 was born in 1550 and his father died in 1559. As a boy he lived with the Savage family and saw Rock Savage being built. Subsequently he married Alice Savage and built Brereton Hall in the style of Rock Savage. This tree shows the end of the Brereton male line at Brereton and the succession through the Holte and Bracebridge families. The 2nd Lord Brereton was a leading Royalist in the Civil War and after the surrender at Nantwich was taken prisoner, with his wife and son at Biddulph Hall in Staffordshire. His distant cousin, Sir William Brereton of Handforth, was a General in the Parliamentary Army. The 3rd Lord Brereton was one of the founders of the Royal Society. In the Town Hall at Chester there is a tableau above one of the doors as shown below, entitled Sir W. Brereton before the Mayor's Court. Sir William Brereton of Brereton, Kt., son of Sir William was baptised at Brereton 6 Feb. 1550 built the hall in 1586. He was created 1st Lord Brereton of Leighlin in Ireland on 11 May 1624 and died in 1631. He erected the monument to his ancestor in the chancel at St. Oswald's. + Margaret, dau of Sir John Savage, Kt., and his wife Elizabeth, dau of the Earl of Rutland. She was born 1549 and died 7 April 1597, buried at Brereton.

1 comment:

  1. For anyone interested !
    Hi my name is Carl Brereton the reason im contacting you is because you and i could potentially be related as history dictates this i have started a group called the Brereton Family because our family is soooo big we need another planet, we have found out some really interesting things about the family and how we are all related i hope you can join us and hope you can share info with the rest us us many thanks and hope to see you soon ! Carl !
    link to group :
    The Brereton Family