William Brandon (Standard Bearer)

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Sir William Brandon († August 22, 1485 ) was an English knight . He fell as the standard bearer of Heinrich Tudor in the Battle of Bosworth , where he was killed by Richard III. personally killed. He was the father of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk .



William Brandon was the eldest son of an eponymous Sir William Brandon († 1491), lord of Soham in Cambridgeshire , and Elizabeth Wingfield († 1497). He had six sisters and two brothers, including Sir Thomas Brandon, who was later Rittmeister under King Henry VII . The family had risen socially within the last generation. If their direct ancestors were minor traders on the Norfolk coast, the elder Sir William had won a seat in Parliament by serving as a clerk in the household of the Mowbray- Dukes of Norfolk and was even in the service of Kings Henry VI. and Edward IV .

Marriage and rape allegation

Before November 4, 1475, William Brandon married Elizabeth Bruyn, the daughter and co-heiress of Sir Henry Bruyns of South Ockendon, a 30-year-old widow and two sons from her first marriage to Thomas Tyrell. The couple had three other children.

In 1478 Sir John Paston wrote in a letter to his brother: "The younger William Brandon is in custody and arrested for allegedly violating an old lady." It was thought likely that he would be hanged for this, but it appears that he escaped the sentence.

Fall of Richard III.

After the death of Edward IV, William and his brother Thomas relied on the overthrow of King Richard III. and in 1483 joined the Duke of Buckingham rebellion , which failed. William was expropriated for his involvement in it. Together with Thomas Brandon and John Rosley, he then fled from East Mersea to French exile in November 1484 to join Heinrich, Earl of Richmond, another rival of Richard III. for the English throne. William returned to England with his army and was made a Knight Bachelor on August 7, 1485 upon arrival in Milford Haven . He fought and fell at the Battle of Bosworth as Henry's standard-bearer, as described in stanzas 155 and 156 of the Bosworth Field ballad :

amongst all other K nigh ts, remember
w hi ch were hardy, & therto wight;
S i r william Brandon was one of those,
K ing Heneryes Standard he kept on height,

& vanted itt w i th manhood & might
vntill w i th dints hee was dr (i) uen downe,
& dyed like an ancyent K nigh t ,
wi th HENERY of England tha t ware the crowne.

Among the knights, so courageous and bold
Sir William Brandon, thinks of him too,
Henry the King's banner he held.

And carried it forward with man's strength
until he was stabbed to the ground with force
and died like the old knights
with Heinrich, who wore the crown.

According to contemporary reports, he was by Richard III. personally killed when he undertook a direct attack on Heinrich Tudor and broke through the wall of his closest defenders. William Brandon was one of the few dead on Heinrich Tudor's side. After his death, his widow married William Mallery for the third time. When she died on March 7, 1494, the three minor children from her marriage to Brandon were orphans. His heroic death at Bosworth paved the way for his son Charles to be a favorite at court.


With his wife Elizabeth Bruyn (order of birth unknown):

  • Anne Brandon, ⚭ (1) Sir John Shilston, ⚭ (2) Gawain Carew
  • William Brandon, († before 1500, last mentioned in a document in 1497)
  • Charles Brandon (* around 1484; † August 24, 1545), who was raised to Duke of Suffolk under King Henry VIII

He also had two illegitimate daughters:

  • Elizabeth Brandon, ⚭ Nicholas Arrowsmith
  • Katherine Brandon, ⚭ Roger Wolrich

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Steven J. Gunn: Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, C. 1484-1545 Blackwell Publishing, Williston 1988, p. 2
  2. ^ Letter from John Paston In: James Gairdner: The Paston Letters, AD 1422-1509 , Volume 6, London, Chatto $ Wundis, 1904 "yonge William Brandon is in warde and arestyd ffor thatt he scholde have fforce ravysshyd and swyvyd an olde jentylwoman. .. "
  3. HCG Matthew, Brian Harrison: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, from the earliest times to the year 2000 , Oxford University Press 2004, Volume 7, entry on Thomas Brandon
  4. ^ William Arthur Shaw: The Knights of England. Volume 2, Sherratt and Hughes, London 1906, p. 22.
  5. Thomas Percy: Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript. Ballads and Romances , ed. JW Hales and FJ Furnivall, Vol. 3, London, 1868, p. 258
  6. George Edward Cokayne : The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant , new ed., 13 volumes in 14, Volume 2, pp. 357-358
  7. 'The Brandons' In: Gunn, Steven J .: Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, c. 1484-1545 Blackwell Publishing, Williston 1988, pp. 46f