Biography of Robert Brackenbury -1485

1483 Robert Brackenbury appointed Constable of the Tower of London

1483 Disappearance of the Princes in the Tower

1485 Battle of Bosworth

Robert Brackenbury was born to Thomas Brackenbury.

Robert Brackenbury appointed Constable of the Tower of London

On 17 Jul 1483 Robert Brackenbury was appointed Constable of the Tower of London for life. As Constable he was in direct care of The Princes in the Tower: King Edward V of England (age 12) and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury 1st Duke York (age 9).

Disappearance of the Princes in the Tower

Around Aug 1483 King Edward V of England (age 12) and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury 1st Duke York (age 9) disappeared, presumably killed, from the Tower of London [Map]. Thomas More (age 5)writes, around 1515, that King Richard III of England (age 30) requested Robert Brackenbury undertake the murder of the children. Upon Brackenbury's refusal King Richard III of England (age 30) instructed Robert Brackenbury give the keys to the Tower to James Tyrrell (age 28) who would then undertake the task. Duke Norfolk, Duke York, Earl March, Earl Nottingham, Earl Norfolk and Earl Pembroke extinct.

The History of King Richard the Third by Thomas More. Whereupon he sent one John Green, whom he specially trusted, unto Sir Robert Brakenbery, Constable of the Tower, with a letter and credentials also, that the same Sir Robert should in any way put the two children to death. This John Green did his errand unto Brakenbery, kneeling before a statue of Our Lady in the Tower, who plainly answered that he would never put them to death, even if he had to die, with which answer John Green, returning, recounted the same to King Richard at Warwick, still on his way.

The History of King Richard the Third by Thomas More. The Prince, as soon as the Protector had left that name and took himself as King, had it showed unto him he should not reign, but his uncle should have the crown. At which word the Prince, sore abashed, began to sigh and said: "Alas, I would my uncle would let me have my life yet, though I lose my kingdom." Then he that told him the tale, spoke to him with good words and put him in the best comfort he could. But forthwith were the Prince and his brother both shut up, and all others removed from them, only one, called Black Will or William Slaughter, set to serve them and see them safe. After which time the Prince never tied his laces, nor took care of himself, but with that young babe, his brother, lingered in thought and heaviness till this traitorous death delivered them of that wretchedness.

For Sir James Tyrell devised that they should be murdered in their beds. To the execution whereof, he appointed Miles Forest, one of the four that kept them, a fellow hardened in murder before that time. To him he joined one John Dighton, his own housekeeper, a big, broad, square strong knave. Then all the others being removed from them, this Miles Forest and John Dighton about midnight (the innocent children lying in their beds) came into the chamber, and suddenly lapped them up among the bedclothes-so bewrapped them and entangled them, keeping down by force the featherbed and pillows hard unto their mouths, that within a while, smothered and stifled, their breath failing, they gave up to God their innocent souls into the joys of heaven, leaving to the tormentors their bodies dead in the bed.

Which after that the wretches perceived, first by the struggling with the pains of death, and after long lying still, to be thoroughly dead, they laid their bodies naked out upon the bed, and fetched Sir James to see them. Who, upon the sight of them, caused those murderers to bury them at the stair-foot, suitably deep in the ground, under a great heap of stones.

Then rode Sir James in great haste to King Richard and showed him all the manner of the murder, who gave him great thanks and, as some say, there made him knight. But he allowed not, as I have heard, the burying in so vile a corner, saying that he would have them buried in a better place because they were a king's sons. Lo, the honorable nature of a king! Whereupon they say that a priest of Sir Robert Brakenbury took up the bodies again and secretly buried them in a place that only he knew and that, by the occasion of his death, could never since come to light.

The History of King Richard the Third by Thomas More. Wherewith he took such displeasure and thought, that the same night, he said unto a secret page of his: "Ah, whom shall a man trust? Those that I have brought up myself, those that I had thought would most surely serve me, even those fail me and at my commandment will do nothing for me."

"Sir," said his page, "there lies one outside in your bedchambers who, I dare well say, to do your Grace pleasure, the thing were right hard that he would refuse," meaning by this Sir James Tyrell, who was a man of right goodly personage and for nature's gifts, worthy to have served a much better prince, if he had well served God and by grace obtained as much truth and good will as he had strength and wit.

The man had a high heart and sore longed upward, not rising yet so fast as he had hoped, being hindered and kept under by the means of Sir Richard Radcliff and Sir William Catesby, who, longing for no more partners of the Prince's favor, and namely, none for him, whose pride they knew would bear no peer, kept him by secret plans out of all secret trust. Which thing this page well had marked and known. Because this occasion offered very special friendship with the King, the page took this time to put him forward and, by such a way, do him such good that all the enemies he had, except the devil, could never have done him so much harm.

For upon this page's words King Richard arose (for this communication had he sitting on the stool, an appropriate court for such a council) and came out into the bedchambers, where he found in bed Sir James and Sir Thomas Tyrell, of person alike and brethren of blood, but nothing of kin in qualities. Then said the King merrily to them: "What, sirs, be you in bed so soon?" and calling up Sir James, revealed to him secretly his mind in this mischievous matter, in which he found him nothing unfriendly.

Wherefore on the morrow, he sent him to Brakenbury with a letter, by which he was commanded to deliver Sir James all the keys of the Tower for one night, to the end he might there accomplish the King's pleasure in such thing as he had given him commandment. After which letter was delivered and the keys received, Sir James appointed the next night to destroy them, devising before and preparing the means.

In 1484 Robert Brackenbury was appointed High Sheriff of Kent.

Calendars. On 09 Mar 1484 King Richard III of England (age 31). Westminster Palace [Map]. Grant for life to the king's servant Robert Brackenbury of the office of Constable of the Tower of London and £100 yearly for his wages from the issues of the manors or lordships of Wrottell, Haveryng, Boyton, Hadlegh, Raylegh and Rocheford, co Essex, and Tunbrich, Penshurste, Middleton and Merdon and the hundred of Middleton, co Kent, with arrears from 17 July last, in lieu of a grant to him by letters patent of that date surrendered. By p.s.

Battle of Bosworth

On 22 Aug 1485 King Richard III of England (age 32) was killed during the Battle of Bosworth. His second cousin once removed Henry Tudor  (age 28) succeeded VII King England. Earl Richmond forfeit.

Those supporting Henry Tudor included:

John Blount 3rd Baron Mountjoy (age 35).

John Cheney 1st Baron Cheyne (age 43).

Richard Guildford (age 35).

Walter Hungerford (age 21).

Thomas Stanley 1st Earl of Derby (age 50).

John Wingfield.

Edward Woodville Lord Scales (age 29).

Edward Courtenay 1st Earl Devon (age 26).

Rhys ap Thomas Deheubarth (age 36).

Jasper Tudor 1st Duke Bedford (age 53).

William Beaumont 2nd Viscount Beaumont (age 47).

Giles Daubeney 1st Baron Daubeney (age 34).

William Stanley (age 50).

Roger Kynaston of Myddle and Hordley (age 52).

Henry Marney 1st Baron Marney (age 38).

William Brandon (age 29) was killed.

James Harrington (age 55) was killed.

John Howard 1st Duke of Norfolk (age 60) was killed and attainted. He was buried firstly at Thetford Priory, Norfolk [Map] and therafter at Church of St Michael the Archangel, Framlingham [Map]. Duke Norfolk, Baron Mowbray, Baron Segrave forfeit.

John Sacheverell (age 85) was killed.

Philibert Chandee 1st Earl Bath

William Norreys (age 44), Gilbert Talbot (age 33), John de Vere 13th Earl of Oxford (age 42) and John Savage (age 41) commanded,.

Robert Poyntz (age 35) was knighted.

Those who fought for Richard III included:

John Bourchier 6th Baron Ferrers of Groby (age 47).

John Conyers Sheriff of Yorkshire (age 74).

Thomas Dacre 2nd Baron Dacre Gilsland (age 17).

William Berkeley 1st Marquess Berkeley (age 59).

Richard Fitzhugh 6th Baron Fitzhugh (age 28).

John Scrope 5th Baron Scrope of Bolton (age 48).

Thomas Scrope 6th Baron Scrope Masham (age 26).

Henry Grey 4th or 7th Baron Grey of Codnor (age 50).

Edmund Grey 1st Earl Kent (age 68).

Ralph Neville 3rd Earl of Westmoreland (age 29).

John de la Pole 1st Earl Lincoln (age 23).

Humphrey Stafford (age 59).

George Talbot 4th Earl of Shrewsbury (age 17).

Thomas Howard 2nd Duke of Norfolk (age 42) was wounded, captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London [Map] for three years. He was attainted; Earl Surrey forfeit.

Francis Lovell 1st Viscount Lovell (age 29) fought and escaped.

John Zouche 7th Baron Zouche Harringworth (age 26) was captured.

John Babington (age 62), William Alington (age 65), Robert Mortimer (age 43), Robert Brackenbury, Richard Ratclyffe (age 55) and Richard Bagot (age 73) were killed

Walter Devereux Baron Ferrers of Chartley (age 53) was killed.

William Catesby (age 35) was executed at Leicester, Leicestershire [Map] after the battle.

George Stanley 9th Baron Strange Knockin 5th Baron Mohun Dunster (age 25) held as a hostage by Richard III before the Battle of Bosworth.

Henry Percy 4th Earl of Northumberland (age 36) betrayed King Richard III of England (age 32) by not committing his forces at the Battle of Bosworth.

John Iwardby (age 35) was killed.