Brudenell, Robert 1461-1531, judge, was descended from William Brudenell, who was settled at Dodington and Adderbury in Oxfordshire, and Aynhoe, Northamptonshire, in the reign of Henry III, and from an Edmund Brudenell who was attorney-general to Richard II. Robert, born in 1461, was the second son of Edmund Brudenell of Agmondesham, Buckinghamshire, by his second wife, Philippa, daughter of Philip Englefield of Englefield and Finchingfield in Essex, who brought him considerable property in Buckinghamshire. Robert was educated at Cambridge and bred to the law, and, though his name occurs in the year-books as arguing at the bar no earlier than Hilary term 1490, he was in the commission of oyer and terminer for Buckingham in 1489. He sat in parliament in 1503, and was one of the commissioners for Leicestershire for raising the subsidy granted by parliament in that year. In Michaelmas term 1504 (not 1505, as Dugdale has it in the Chronica Series) he, with nine others, was raised to the rank of serjeant-at-law, and the new serjeants held their inaugural feast at Lambeth Palace. On 25 Oct. of the year following he was appointed king's serjeant, and on the death of Sir Robert Read he, on 28 April 1507, was made a justice of the king's bench. On the accession of King Henry VIII Brudenell was transferred to the court of common pleas, in which court he sat as a puisne judge for twelve years. In 1515 he was a commissioner of sewers for Norfolk, Cambridge, and Leicestershire. On 13 April 1521 he was appointed chief justice of the common pleas, and held this office till he died. On being appointed to the chief justiceship he revisited Cambridge, and the university, with which he seems to have maintained his connection, made him a present. On another occasion it presented him and his wife with a pair of gloves. In 1529 he was appointed a commissioner to survey the castles, forests, and other possessions in Leicestershire belonging to the duchy of Lancaster, and to inquire into encroachments. He died 30 Jan. 1531, and was buried in the south aisle of the church of Dene in Northamptonshire, in an alabaster tomb between his two wives. There is a full-length effigy of him in his judge's robes with the inscription: Of your charity pray for the souls of Sir Robert Brudenell, knight, late chief justice of the king's common bench, at Westminster, and of Margaret and Philippa his wives. He was of a literary turn, contributing among other pieces a description of Stanton to Leland (Itin. i. 13, 15, 18, 84, 85, 89, viii. 110). In the course of his life he acquired very considerable estates, chiefly in Leicestershire, with which he was connected as early as 1503, and founded a chantry at Billisden in 1511, and also elsewhere. His land in Leicestershire was situated at Stanton Wyville, and was acquired through his first wife, Margaret, widow of William Wyville of Stanton, and sister and coheiress of Thomas Entwysell, high sheriff of Lancaster and Warwick in 1483, who, with his wife, Katherine (the heiress of the Wyville family), being childless, aliened the manor to Brudenell. He also, at the end of Henry VII's reign, purchased the lordship of Cranoe in the same county from John Cockain. His second wife was Philippa Powre of Bechampton. By his first wife he had issue four sons, Thomas, Anthony, Robert, and Edmund, and a daughter, Lucia; by his second wife none. Of his children only the two eldest had issue, the former founding the family of the Brudenells of Deene, the latter that of the Brudenells of Stanton Wyville or Brudenell. That he had other lands besides those in Leicestershire is plain from the fact that he settled the manor of Deene on his eldest son, upon his marriage in 1520 with Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir William Fitzwilliam, and that to his son Anthony he gave the lordship of Glapthorpe in Northamptonshire. His great-grandson was one of the first baronets created, and was made a baron in 1628, and earl of Cardigan in 1661. Among his descendants were George, fourth earl, who was created Duke of Montagu in 1776, a title which expired on his death in 1790 [see Montagu, George Brudenell]; and James Thomas, seventh earl [qv.]. The Brudenells of Deene became extinct in 1780. The arms of Brudenell were a chevron gules between three morions azure.
Foss's Lives of the Judges
Dugdale's Origines, 113
Nichols's Leicestershire, ii. 554, 808
Vincent's Visitation of Northamptonshire
Wright's Rutland (Leland), iv. pt. 2, 192
Parl. Rolls, vi. 539
Letters Hen. VIII, Brewer, vol. ii. No. 495
Cooper's Athenę Cantab. i. 43, 528
Baker's MS. xxiv. 67
Brydges's Northamptonshire, ii. 301
Churton's Lives of Smyth and Sutton, 229, 305, 441
Campbell's Reign of Henry VII, ii. 479.
Contributor: J. A. H. [John Andrew Hamilton]