Bray, Sir Reginald

, was second son of sir Richard Bray, one of the privy council to king Henry VI. who lies buried in the north aile of Worcester cathedral, in which county sir Reginald was born. One of this family (which were lords of Braie, or Bray, in Normandy) came with William the Conqueror into England, where they flourished in the counties of Northampton and Warwick; but Edmond, the father of sir Richard, is styled of Eton Bray, in the county of Bedford, which county they had represented in parliament in 18 Ed. I. and 6 Ed. II. In 1 Rich. III. this Reginald had a general pardon granted to him, probably on account of his having taken part with Henry VI. to whose cause he had a personal as well as hereditary attachment being receiver- general to sir Henry Stafford, who married Margaret, countess of Richmond, mother to the earl of Richmond, afterward king Henry VII. and continued in her service after the death of sir Henry, and was put in trust for her dowry, on her marriage to Thomas, earl of Derby. When the duke of Buckingham had concerted with Morton, bishop of Ely (then his prisoner at Brecknock in Wales), the marriage of the earl of Richmond with the princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward I V. and the earl’s advancement to the throne, the bishop recommended sir Reginald for the transaction of the affair with the countess, telling the duke he had an old friend with her, a man sober, secret, and well-witted, called Reginald Bray, whose prudent policy he had known to have compassed matters of great importance; and accordingly wrote to him in Lancashire, where he then was with the countess, to come to Brecknock with all speed. He readily obeyed the summons, entered heartily into the design, and was very active in carrying it on; and soon engaged sir Giles Daubeney (afterwards lord Daubeney), sir John Ciieney, Richard GuiUbrd, esq. and many other gentlemen of note, to take part with Henry. After the success at Bosworth, he gradually rose into great favour with the king, who eminently distinguished and liberally | rewarded his services. His attachment to that prince was sincere and uriremitted; and such were his ptudence and abilities, that he never forfeited the confidence he had acquired, during an attendance of seventeen years on the most suspicious monarch of his time. He was made a knight banneret, probably at the battle of Bosworth; a knight of the bath at the king’s coronation, and afterwards a kni“ht of the garter. In the first year of the kind’s reign he had a grant of the constableship of the castle of Oakham in Rutlandshire, and was appointed joint chie‘ justice, with the lord Fitzwalter, of all the forests south of Trent, and chosen of the privy council. After this he was appointed high-treasurer, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, and nigh steward of the university of Oxford. At the queen’s coronation, the ducliess of Norfolk, &c. sat at one side-table at the other, lady Ferrars, v>f Chartley, lady Bray, &c. At the christening of prince Arthur, sir Reginald bore a rich salt of gold which was given by the earl of Derby. He was amongst the knights bannerets when Henry, the king’s second son, was created duke of York in 1494. In the 7th year of the king, he by indenture covenanted to serve him in his wars beyond sea a whole year, with twelve men, himself accompted, each having his custrell and page, twenty-four demy lances, seventy-seven archers on horseback, two hundred and thirty-one archers, and bil’.es on foot twenty-four. In the 10th year he had a grant for life of the Isle of Wight, castle of Carisbrook, and the manors of Swainston, Brixton, Thorley, and Welow, in that isle, at th^ rent of 308l. 6s. 8rf. Camden mentions the grant of the Isle of Wight at the rent of 300 marks. In June 1497 he was at the battle of Blackheath, when the lord Audley, having joined the Cornish rebels, was taken prisoner; on whose execution and attainder, his manor of Shire Vachery and Crap ley in Surry, with a large estate there, was given to sir Reginald. He received many other marks of the king’s bounty and favour, and died 5th August 1503, possessed of a very great estate; notwithstanding which, and his activity as a minister, under a monarch whose love of, money was the cause of great and just complaints amongst the people, historians call him the father of his country, a sage and grave person, a fervent lover of jusuce, and one who would often admonish the king when he did any thing contrary to justice or equity. That he should do this, and | the king still continue his favour, is an ample proof of the sense which his sovereign entertained of his services and abilities. He appears to have taken great delight in architecture, and to have had no small skill in it, as he had a principal concern and direction in building Henry Vllth’s chapel in Westminster-abbey, and in the finishing and bringing to perfection the chapel of St. George at Windsor, to which he was a liberal benefactor in his life-time, and for the completion of which he made farther provision by his will. His arms, crest, and device (R. B.) are exhibited on the cieling of the chapel at Windsor in many places; and in the middle of the south aile is a spacious chapel erected by him, and still called by his name, in which also, by his own particular direction, he was interred, though his executors neglected to erect a tomb for him, as he desired. Perhaps they thought his merit would be the most lasting monument. It is supposed that he is buried under the stone which covers Dr. Waterland; for, on opening the vault for that gentleman, who died in 1740, a leaden coffin, of ancient form and make, was found, which by other appearances also was judged to be that of sir Reginald, and was, by order of the dean, immediately arcned over with great decency. He was of great devotion, according to the piety of the times, and a bountiful friend, in his life-time, to many churches. In one of the letters of the dean and chapter of Westminster, John, abbot of Newminster in Northumberland, addresses him as founder of the monastery of Pipwell (in Northamptonshire); but this must be on account of some donations, as that house was founded by William Boutevileyr in 1143. In 1494, being then high steward of Oxford, he gave 40 marks to repair the church of St. Mary’s, in a window of which were the figures of him and his wife kneeling, their coats of arms on their backs, remaining in 1584. The dean and chapter of Lincoln, in recompence for his services to them, receive him and my lady his wife to be brother and sister of their chapter, and to be partakers of all suffrages, prayers, masses, fastings, almsdeeds, and other good deeds, whatever they be, done in the said church, both in their lives and after their deceases. The prior of the cathedral church of Durham receives him in like manner. In a south window of the priory church of Great Malvern in Worcestershire, were the portraits of Henry VII. Elizabeth his queen, prince | Arthur, sir Reginald Bray, John Savage, and Thomas LoveJ), esquires, with their coats of arms on their armour, and the following words underneath:” Orate pro bono statu nobilissimi et excellentissimi Regis Henrici Septimi et Elizabeths Reginse, ac Domini Arthuri Principis filii eorundem, nee not) praedilectissimae consortis suoe, ac suorum trium militum." The portraits of the king and sir Reginald remained in 1774, and are engraved in Mr. Strutt’s View of the Arms and Habits of the English, vol. II, plate 60. The others have been broken and destroyed. He had no issue, and his elder brother John having only one daughter, married to sir William Sandes, afterwards lord Sandes of the Vine, he left the bulk of his fortune to Edmund, eldest son of his younger brother John (for he had two brothers of that name). This Edmund was summoned to parliament in 1530, as baron of Eaton Bray; but his son John lord Bray dying without issue in 1557, the estate was divided amongst six daughters of Edmund. Sir Reginald left very considerable estates to Edward and Reginald, younger brothers of Edmund. From Edward the manor of Shire Vachery and Cranley, above mentioned, has descended to the rev. George Bray, who was owner in 1778. Reginald settled at Barrington in Gloucestershire, where the male line of that branch became extinct about sixty years ago. 1

1 Biog. Brit, an article drawn up by William Bray, esq. F. S. A. See also Churton'6 Lives of the Founders of Brazen-nose college, p. 203.