Brantingham, Thomas de (DNB01)

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BRANTINGHAM, THOMAS de (d. 1394), lord treasurer and bishop of Exeter, probably came from Biantingham, near Barnard Castle, Durham, and was doubtless related to the Ralph de Brantingham, king's clerk in the reigns of Edward II and Edward III. He does not appear to have been educated at any university, and even when bishop is credited with no degrees. He early entered Edward Ill's service as a clerk in the treasury. Before 1361 he was granted the rectory of Ashby David in the diocese of Lincoln, and in December of that year the king requested the pope to give him in addition a canonry and prebend in St. Paul's. The request was granted, but Brantingham's name does not appear in Le Neve's list (Cal. Papal Petitions, 1342-1419, pp. 381, 415). From 1361 to 1368 Brantingham was treasurer of Calais and Guisnes; he was also receiver of the mint at Calais, and was employed in various negotiations with the Duke of Burgundy and other business connected with the defence of the English Pale (Rymer, Fœdera, Record edit. in. ii. 612 et passim). In 1363 he held a prebend in Hereford Cathedral, and in July 1367 he was treasurer of Bath and Wells Cathedral (Le Neve, ed. Hardy, i. 173); he also held the rectory of Morthoe in the diocese of Exeter.

Brantingham seems to have attached himself to William of Wykeham [q. v.] and on 27 June 1369, a year after Wykeham 's appointment as chancellor, Brantingham became lord treasurer. On 4 March 1370 he was appointed by papal provision to the bishopric of Exeter; he was consecrated on 12 May following, and received back the temporalities on the 16th. His political and official duties prevented him from visiting his diocese until July 1371, by which time he had been dismissed from the treasurership. The failures in France enabled the opponents of the clerical ministers to drive them from office. Wykeham lost the chancellorship on 14 March 1371, and on the 27th Scrope succeeded Brantingham as lord treasurer (Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 440; cf. Trevelyan, Age of Wycliffe, 2nd edit. p. 4).

For six years Brantingham took no part in politics; but the accession of Richard II, in June 1377, brought Wykeham and his friends once more into power, and on 19 July following Brantingham was again appointed lord treasurer (Cal. Patent Rolls, 1377-81, p. 7; Stubbs, ii. 461). In January 1380-1 Walsingham (Historia Anglicania, Rolls Ser. i. 449) makes Sir Robert Hales succeed Brantingham as treasurer; but, according to Bishop Stubbs, Sir Hugh Segrave [q. v.] became treasurer in the August of that year (Const. Hist. ii. 480). Brantingham, however, continued to take an active part in public affairs. He constantly served as trier of petitions in the parliaments from 1381 onwards (Rolls of Parl. iii. 99-229 passim). In November 1381 he was one of the peers appointed to confer with the commons, and he was similarly employed in 1382 and 1384 (ib. iii. 100, 134, 167). In November 1381 he was also on the commission appointed to reform the king's household; in 1385 he was made controller of the subsidy, and in the same year was one of those nominated to inquire into the king's debts.

These attempts to check abuses having proved ineffectual, the barons under Gloucester took control of the government in 1386, impeached the chancellor, Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk [q. v.], and appointed eleven lords, of whom Brantingham was one, to reform and regulate the realm and the king's household. He was not, however, one of the appellants who rose against Richard in 1387, and when the procedings of 1386 were annulled in 1397, Brantingham, who had been dead three years, was on the commons' petition declared by the king to have been innocent and loyal (ib. iii. 353). Moreover, when in May 1389 Richard declared himself of age, and changed his ministers, Brantingham returned for a few months to the treasury. But by this time he was too old for the work. In August he resigned the treasury, and on the 26th Richard, on account of Brantingham's age and services to his grandfather and himself, excused him from further attendance at parliament and the council (Rymer, Fœdera, orig. edit. vii. 649).

Brantingham retired to his diocese, and died at St. Mary le Clyst in October 1394 (Oliver, p. 92; Le Neve says 13 Dec.) He was buried in the nave of Exeter Cathedral. His tomb, which was opened on 3 Dec. 1832, was found to have been completely despoiled by the puritans in 1646 (Oliver, loc. cit.) Brantingham's episcopal register, which occupies two volumes, is still extant. His 'Issue Roll' as treasurer for the year 44 Edward III (1370-1) was translated and published by Frederick Devon in 1835 (London, 4to).

[Rolls of Parliament, vol. iii. passim; Rot. in Scaccario Abbreviatio, ii. 322; Cal. Rot. Pat. in Turri Londin. p. 180; Cal. Patent Rolls, 1377-81 and 1381-5, passim; Rymer's Fœdera, orig. edit. vols. vi. and vii., Record edit. vol. iii. pt. ii. passim; Nicolas's Ordinances of the Privy Council, vol. i.; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl., ed. Hardy, i. 173, 372; Walsingham's Hist. Angl., Chronicon Angliæ, and Trokelowe and Blaneforde (Rolls Ser.); Oliver's Lives of the Bishops of Exeter, pp. 89-94; Wallon's Richard II, ii. 15, 398; Stubbs's Const. Hist. ii. 440, 461, 497, 504; Preface to Devon's Issue Roll of Thomas de Brantingham.]

A. F. P.