Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/45

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Browne
Browne
39


appointed him guardian to Prince Edward and to Princess Elizabeth, made him one of his executors, and left him a legacy of 300l. On the king's death Browne went to Hertford in order to tell the news to the young prince; and when Edward VI made his public entry into London, Browne, as master of the horse, rode next to him. But Browne survived Henry VIII only one year. On 6 May 1548 he died at a house which he had built at Byfleet in Surrey. He was buried with great pomp at Battle, under a splendid altar-tomb which he had himself prepared.

Browne was twice married. His first wife, whose effigy lies on the tomb at Battle beside his own, was Alys, daughter of Sir John Gage, K.G., constable of the Tower. By her he had seven sons and three daughters; the eldest son, Anthony, succeeded to his father's estates, and was created in 1554 Viscount Montague. Browne's second wife was Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, daughter of Gerald, ninth earl of Kildare, and better known as 'the fair Geraldine.' At the time of this marriage Browne was sixty, and the bride only fifteen years of age. Her two sons died in infancy. After the death of Browne his young widow married Sir Edward Clinton, first earl of Lincoln, and was buried with him in St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

[Collins's Peerage; Baronagium Genealogicum, 1732; Sussex Archeological Collections; Dallaway's History of Sussex.]

J. A. E. R.

BROWNE, ANTHONY (1510?–1567), judge, son of Sir Wistan Browne of Abbes-roding and Langenhoo in Essex, knight, and Elizabeth, daughter of William Mordaunt of Turvey in Bedfordshire, was born in Essex about 1510 and studied at Oxford, but left the university without taking any degree and entered at the Middle Temple, where he was appointed reader in the autumn of 1553, but did not read until Lent of the following year. In 1553 (28 June) he purchased of the Lady Anne of Cleves the reversion of the manor of Costedhall near Brentwood in Essex, which had formerly belonged to Thomas Cromwell. Being one of the magnates of Essex, he was commissioned with Lord Kich and others in 1554 to enforce the Statute of Heretics (2 & 3 Ph. & M. c. 6) against the puritans in that part of the country. He would seem to have been a person of no fixed religious opinions, at least if the evidence of Watts, a protestant, burned at Chelmsford in 1555, is to be credited. The story which is told both by Foxe and Strype is to the effect that Watts being asked by Browne whence he got his religious views, replied 'Even of you, sir ; you taught it me, and none more than you. For in King Edward's days in open sessions you spoke against this religion now used — no preacher more. You then said the mass was abominable and all their trumpery besides, wishing and earnestly exhorting that none should believe therein, and that our belief should be only in Christ ; and you then said that whosoever should bring in any strange nation to rule here it were treason and not to be suffered.' The same year Browne was active in bringing one William Hunter to the stake at Brentwood ; and in the following year he received the thanks of the privy council ' for his diligent proceedings against ' one George Eagles, alias Trudge-over-the-world, whom he had executed as a traitor, and was authorised 'to distribute his head and quarters according to his and his colleagues' former determination, and to proceed with his accomplices according to tne qualities of their offences.' This Eagles was a tailor and itinerant preacher, who was convicted of treason for holding religious meetings, and hanged, drawn, and quartered. The earliest mention of Browne in the reports is under date Michaelmas term 1554, when he argued an important case in the common pleas. In 1555 (16 Oct.) he took the degrees of serjeant-at-law and King and queen's Serjeant together. In 1558 (5 Oct.) he was appointed chief justice of the common bench, and at once had an opportunity of showing that he was capable of maintaining the prerogatives of that office with due tenacity. The office of exigenter of London and other counties having become vacant during the lifetime of Browne's predecessor, Sir K. Brooke, the queen, by letters patent of the same date as Browne's appointment, granted the office to a noininee of her own, one Coleshill. Browne refusing to admit Coleshill, and admitting his own nephew Scroggs, Elizabeth (who had acceded in the interim) in Michaelmas term 1559 directed the lord-keeper, Nicholas Bacon, to examine Coleshill's case. In the result the judges of the queen's bench were assembled, and unanimously decided that the action of Mary in granting the office was illegal, the right to do so being an integral part of the prerogative of the chief justice, and that, therefore, the title of Coleshill was null and void. Browne's patent had at first been renewed on Elizabeth's accession, but in consequence of his energetic conduct in enforcing the laws against heresy it was deemed advisable to degrade him, and accordingly (22 Jan.) Dyer was made chief justice and Browne reduced to the level of a puisne judge. In