Wednesday, 11 December 2013

John de Breos, Lord of Bramber and Gower


Windsor Castle (Wikimedia)
Windsor Castle (Wikimedia)
This is the sad story of John de Breos (or de Braose), who was only 12 when his grandfather William was hounded out of the country by King John, and his grandmother and uncle were locked up in Windsor Castle and left to starve to death. 

This story is told in my book Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John. John was nicknamed "Tadody" by the Welsh who hid him in Gower, and he was later in the custody of Engelard de Cigogny (castellan of Windsor) along with his brother Giles.

Cigogny was ordered to give the two boys up to William de Harcourt in 1214. But John was not freed. Peter de Maulay, constable of Corfe castle was ordered to free John into the care of the bishop of Winchester and Hubert de Burgh in 1216. Peter was again ordered to release John and Giles in 1218. This time the order seems to have been carried out.

John disputed his uncle Reginald's claim to the Braose lands, sometimes resorting to arms. Llywelyn the Great helped him to secure Gower in 1219. In return he married Llywelyn's daughter Margaret. In 1221, with the advice and permission of Llewelyn, he repaired his castle of Abertawy (Swansea) or Seinhenydd. He purchased the Rape of Bramber, the original Braose family seat, from Reginald and his son, William, in 1226.

In that year John confirmed the family gifts to Sele Priory, near Bramber, and to the Abbey of St. Florent, Saumur, and added others. After the death of Reginald in 1228, John became Lord of Skenfrith, Grosmont and Whitecastle, the three Marcher castles, by charter from the king but he lost these in 1230 to Hugh de Burghat the same time as Gower became a subtenancy of de Burgh's Honour of Carmarthen and Cardigan.

He had four children: William, Richard, John & Llywelyn de Braose. William was the grandfather of Alina, the subject of my book Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth. John (the father) was killed by a fall from his horse at Bramber in 1232, and William inherited his estates.

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