Brianianna
A Brief History of The Bryan Family

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Francis Bryan's Coat of Arms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRIANIANA

A BIOGRAPHICAL PEDIGREE BY EDWARD A. BRYAN

About the middle of the sixteenth century, Sir Francis Bryan, Knight, rendered his government a rather curious service. In 1548 James Butler, ninth Earl of Ormonde, an Irish noble, whose powerful influence was obnoxious to the government at Dublin, died in London of poison. Thereupon his widow, Joan, daughter and heiress of James Fitz-Gerald, tenth Earl of Desmond, sought to marry her relative, Gerald Fitz-Gerald, heir of the fifteenth Earl of Desmond. To prevent this marriage, which would have united the leading representatives of the two chief Irish noble houses, Sir Francis was induced to prefer a suit to the lady himself.

In 1548 he married the widowed countess, was shortly nominated Lord Marshal of Ireland, and arrived in Dublin with his wife in November 1548.

This marriage united the scions of two royal houses, the one English, the other, Irish.

Sir Francis Bryan was the son of Sir Thomas Bryan and Margaret, daughter of Sir Humphrey Bourchier, and sister of John Bourchier, Lord Berners. Sir Thomas Bryan was Knighted by Henry VII in 1497, was "knight of the body" at the opening of Henry VIII’s reign, and served repeatedly on the commission of the peace of Buckinghamshire, where the family property was settled.

Sir Francis’ grandfather, Sir Thomas Bryan, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas from 1471 until his death in 1500, is believed to have been a descendant of Sir Guy de Bryan on Walwyn’s Castle, County Pembroke, and Tor Brian, Devon. Sir Guy was summoned to Parliament in 1350 by Edward III, whereby he was held to have become Lord Bryan. On December 31, 1369, he was made a Knight of the Garter. He married, in 1349, Elizabeth, daughter of William Montagu, first Earl of Salisbury. He died in 1390, and was entombed at Tewkesbury.

Through his mother, Lady Margaret Bryan, Sir Francis was a descendant of the House of Plantagenet. The line is as follows:

Edward the Third: b. Windsor 1312, d. Richmond 1377.

m. Philippa of Hainault. His son was

Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, m. Lady Eleanor, daughter

of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, Essex and Northampton.

Sir William de Bohun, K. G., (d. 1360) grandfather of Lady Eleanor

was the son of Humphrey Bohun VIII and Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet,

daughter of Edward I. Thomas of Woodstock had a daughter:

Lady Anne Plantagenet, m. Sir William Bourchier, Earl of Ewe.

Their son:

Sir John Bourchier, K. G., (Lord Berners) m. Lady Margery, daughter

of Sir Richard Berners of West Horsley. His son:

Sir Humphrey Bourchier, m. Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Frederick

Tilney of Ashwell-Thorpe, and widow of Sir Thomas Howard. He was

slain at the battle of Barnet (1471) and buried at Westminster Abbey.

His daughter:

Margaret, married Sir Thomas Bryan. Elizabeth, wife of Sir Humphrey,

was afterwards Duchess of Norfolk, thus Sir Francis Bryan was cousin

to the Duke of Norfolk, and consequently to Queen Anne Boleyn.

Lady Margaret Bryan was made a Baroness by the King. As "Lady Mistress" she had the care of Mary, (afterwards Queen Mary) daughter of Henry VIII. After the death on Anne Boleyn, she was selected by King Henry as foster-mother to the princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth.

Her son, Sir Francis Bryan, owed his political prominence, in part, to the enduring affection which Henry VIII conceived for him in their youth.

Educated at Oxford, he received his first official appointment in 1513, as Captain of the Margaret Bonaventure, a ship in the retinue of Sir Thomas Howard. In the court entertainments at Richmond, Eltham and Greenwich he had a prominent part, and was conspicuous for the splendor of his apparel, gifts it was said, from his friend, the sovereign.

In 1516 he became the king’s cup-bearer, and in 1520 attended Henry at the field of the Cloth of Gold. He served in Brittany, where he was knighted for his bravery. Hall, a contemporary historian, thusly describes his knighting: "When the lorde Admiral had wonne the toune of Morles as you have heard, he called to him certaine squyers whome for their hardynes and noble courage he made knights, fyrst, Sir Fraunces Brian."

In 1528 he was sent by Henry to Rome to obtain the papal sanction for his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. In 1539 he was one of the king’s household deputed to meet Anne of Cleves near Calais, on her way to England. He was M. P. for Buckinghamshire in 1542 and 1544 and at the funeral of Henry VIII he was assigned to chief place, as "master of the henchmen".

He was a member of the Privy council until the close of Henry’s reign, and at the beginning of Edward VI’s reign he was given a large share of the lands which the dissolution of the monasteries had handed over to the crown.

Hall, the Chronicler, describes how on one occasion, he lost an eye in a tilting match: "This yere the kyng on Shrouetewesdaie, kept the solemne Iustes at his Manour of Grenewiche, he hymself and xi wer on the one part, and the Marques of Excester with xi wer on the other parte: At this Iustes was many a spere broken, and by chaunce of shiuerying of the spere, Sir Francis Brian lost one of his iyes."

Sir Francis was created a knight benneret on September 27, 1547, and it was about a year later that he was sent to Ireland as Lord Marshal. He died February 2, 1550, at Clommel, and was buried at Waterford. Like several other of Henry VIII’s courtiers, Sir Francis interested himself in literature, and in addition to writing poetry was also a student of foreign languages. Three of his mms. Letters are preserved in the British Museum.

His wife, Lady Joan, was of the family of the Geraldines, who were among the most distinguished of the adventurers who settled in Ireland in the time of Henry II. The family was founded by Maurice FitzGerald, and there were two main branches, one in Leinster, the other in Munster, whose heads were the Earls of Desmond.

James FitzGerald, tenth Earl of Desmond, married Amy, daughter of Turlogh of the O’Briens of Arra, thus, through her mother, Lady Joan was a lineal descendant of Brian Boroimbe, King of Ireland, and of the ancient Munster Kings.

This old and heroic line is known as the Dalcassians, from Cas Mac Tail (Son of the Adze), son of Conall of the Fleet Steeds, King of Munster in the year 366 A.D. The Pedigree, taken from the Books of Leinster, Ballymote, and other hoary volumes in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, is as follows:

Cas (b. 347) had a son Blad, who had a son Carthann Fionn Oge Mor, who had a son Aodh Caomh, who had a son Cathal, who had a son Turlogh, who had a son Maithan, who had a son Anlaun, who had a son Corc, who had a son Lachtna, who had a son Lorcan, who had a son Cineadh, who was the father of Brian Boroimbe (or Boru), 175th Monarch of Erin.

King Brian is one of the outstanding figures of Irish history. He rid Erin of the Norse, and it was during his reign that Ireland experienced her "Golden Age." He was slain at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, and it is through his son Teige that the line is continued.

Teige....m. Mor, daughter of Gilla-Brighis O’Mulloy, d. 1022

Turlogh Mor....m. Mor, daughter of O’Hyne of Hilmaedaugh, d. 1086

Dermod....m. Sadhbh, daughter of Teige MacCarthy Mor.

Turlogh....m. Narait, daughter of O’Fogarty, Lord of Eliogarty.

Donal Mar....m. Orlacan, daughter of Dermod na Gall Mac Morough, d. 1194

Donough-Cair

Breach O’Brien....m. Sabia, daughter of Donogh O’Kennedy , Lord of Muscry Tire. He was the first to assume the O’ Brien surname.

Connor-na-Siuddine....m. Mor, daughter of Mac Namara, Lord of Hy-Coileann

Brian Ruadh....First of that branch of the O’Briens known as the "O’Briens of Arra" d. 1277

Donal....m. Margaret, daughter of Turlogh Dubh Mac Mahan

Brian....m. the daughter of Henry de Burgo

Murrough-ra-Ranaighe....m. Mor, daughter of O’Kennedy of Ormonde.

Turlogh....m. Honoria, daughter of DeBarry Oge.

Teige.............

Donal Mor............

Mortogh Caoch....................

Turlogh....m. Mor, daughter of Donogh O’Carroll

Amy....m. James FitzMaurice FitzGerald, tenth Earl of Desmond.

Joan Fitzgerald....m. Sir Francis Bryan

Sir Francis Bryan was twice married, firstly, to Phillippa Montgomery, by whom he had Edmund Bryan, Esq., of Tor Bryan. By Lady Joan he had a son, Francis Bryan II. He was born in 1549, and held large estates in County Clare. He Married Ann, daughter of Sir William Smith.

His son, William Smith Bryan, was called "Prince William of Ireland" by his followers. During the Puritan rebellion he attempted to gain the throne of Ireland and was deported by Cromwell in 1650. Together with his family and a shipload of household goods, he was dropped off on Gloucester Beach, Virginia. He had eleven sons.

The eldest of these, Francis Bryan III, returned to Ireland and attempted to regain his hereditary estates under the Stuarts. Being persecuted by the English government, he sought refuge in Denmark, where he married Sarah Brinker, a cousin of the Prince of Orange. He was permitted to return to Ireland after the bloodless revolution of 1683 and died at Belfast in 1694. He had two sons, William and Morgan, both of whom migrated to America.

His son, William, was born in Ireland in 1685, and came to the colonies in 1718. This branch of the family is presently represented in America by the children and grand-children of the late Williams Jennings Bryan.

Morgan Bryan was born in Denmark in 1671, and came to America in 1695. In 1719 he married Martha Strode, a descendant of Sir William Strode, one of the signers of the death warrant of Charles I. He settled in Pennsylvania, but in 1730 obtained a grant of land on the Potomac, near the present site of Winchester, Virginia. His wife died in 1747, after which, in 1748 he moved to the forks of the Yadkin River in North Carolina, some eight miles from the present town of Wilkesboro.

Morgan Bryan was the great stem of the Bryan family or families of Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. His wife was a Hollander, whose parents had migrated from France to escape religious persecution. Martha Strode Bryan’s mother died at sea, leaving three children who were provided for by their shipmates until they came of age.

The children of Morgan and Martha Strode Bryan were: Joseph, Eleanor, Mary, Samuel, Morgan, John, William, James, Thomas, Sarah and Rebecca.

The brothers William, James and Morgan, joined Daniel Boone in one of his expeditions into what is now the State of Kentucky, where they built the stockade fort known as Bryan’s Station, and important in Kentucky history as the scene of the siege which preceded the battle of the Blue Licks.

From this point the various branches of the family may be traced in a number of historical and biographical works, among which may be mentioned: Armstrong: "Notable Southern Families", McKenzie: "Colonial Families of the USA", Cooper: "The Bryan Families of Fayette and adjoining Counties", Spraker: "The Boone Family".

The following line traces the descent of the author from Morgan and Martha Strode Bryan:

Morgan Bryan......................... m. Martha Strode

Morgan Bryan II..................... m. a daughter of George Forbis

Joseph Bryan......................... m. Esther Hampton

George Bryan......................... m. Elizabeth Prewett

Woodson Bryan...................... m. Sophia Maddox

William Woodson Bryan........ m. Sophia Ewing

Roger Bryan........................... m. Lucy Vaughan

Edward Bryan

The tables contained in Part II, together with the Dalcassian pedigree given on 5 illustrate the royal descents among the collateral lines of the pedigree.

Among the works consulted in the compilation of the mms. are:

Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VIII......................... London 1827

Browning: Americans of Royal Descent.................. Philadelphia 1894

O’Hart: Irish Pedigrees............................................ New York 1923

Dictionary of National Biography........................... London 1908

Bryan: Boone-Bryan History.................................... Frankfort 1904

Hall: Chronicle......................................................... London 1809

Complete Peerage.................................................... London 1912

Foster: Some Feudal Coats of Arms........................ London 1902

Americanna (Apr.)................................................... New York 1933

O’Curry: The Mms. Materials................................. Dublin 1878

Cooper: Bryan Family of Fayette............................ Lexington 1927

Cambrensis: Works of............................................. London 1881

Virkus: Abridged Compendium.............................. Chicago 1925

Ilume: English History............................................. New York 1890

Encyclopedia Britannica.......................................... Philadelphia 1878

Strickland: Queens of England................................ New York 1867

Part II

SAXON LINE

Cerdic, Ancestor of the Saxon line of English kings, founded the kingdom of Wessex, A.D. 519. From him was descended Egbert, the first king of England. Also, Ethelwulf, Alfred, Edward, Edmund, Edgar, Ethelred, Edmund, called "Ironside" and

61478. Edward: "The Exile" d. 1057, m. Agatha

61479. Margaret: d. 1093, m. Malcolm III of Scotland

61480. Matilda: m. Henry I, son of William the Conqueror.

61481. Matilda: m. (1127) Geoffrey Plantagenet

PLANTAGENET LINE

61482. Henry II: m. Eleanor, Countess of Aquitaine

61483. John: d. 1216, m. Isabella of Angouleme

61484. Henry III: d. 1272, m. Eleanor of Provence

61485. Edward I: d. 1307, m. Eleanor of Castle

61486. Edward II: d. 1327, m. Isabella of France

61487. Edward III: d. 1377, m. Phillippa of Hainault

61488. Thomas of Woodstock m. Eleanor de Bohun

61489. Anne Plantagenet: m. Sir William Bourchier

61490. John Bourchier: d. 1474, m. Margery Berners

61491. Humphrey Bourchier: m. Elizabeth Tilney

                                                  61492. Margaret Bourchier: m. Sir Thomas Bryan

61493. Sir Francis Bryan: d. 1550, m. Joan Fitzgerald

61494. Vide p. 5 et seq.

de BRIAN LINE

        Scions of Sir Guy deBrian, d. 1390, Bide p. 1

GERALDINE LINE

        Descendants of Rhys Ap Tudor, Prince of S. Wales

DALCASSIAN LINE

        Mac-I-Brien-Ara Line (from Brian Boru) Vide p. 5

NORMAN LINE

William the Conquerer: b. 1027, m. Matilda, daughter of Baldwin V, of Flanders

Henry I: m. Matilda, daughter of Malcolm III, Scotland

Matilda: m. Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou Vide No. d, Plantagenet Line

Handwritten note by Thelma May Perry Nelson:

William Smith Bryan - "Prince William of Ireland," son of

Francis Bryan II of County Clare Ireland; descendent of

James Fitz-Maurice Fitz-Gerald, 10th Earl of Desmond, attempted to gain control of the throne of Ireland during the Puritan Rebellion and was exiled to Virginia by Cromwell, 1650; landed at Gloucester Beach with his family; settled in Gloucester Co, Virginia.

Source; "Migrant Ancestors: Edited by Frederick Adams Virkus

 

Home

A special thanks to Rebecca Barnes-Reyes for typing the original document!