Guillaume De Brai


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Guillaume De Brai

  • Born: 1040 914
  • Marriage (1): Adelaide

  Noted events in his life were:

fact. History of De Brai (De Bray) Family
Posted 01 Sep 2013 by morken_mary
Sir Reginald BRAY, noted councillor to King Henry VII, was said to be directly descended from Sir William de BRAY, a knight who fought with the army of William the Conqueror from Normandy when he conquered England in 1066.

Guillaume de BRAI
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According to THE ROLL OF THE BATTLE ABBEY (1848) by John B. Burke, "The name of the Sieur de BRAY occurs on the Battle Abbey Roll; and although the authenticity of this celebrated record has in many instances been questioned, in this (case), the statement is confirmed by the fact of William de BRAY being one of the subscribing witnesses to the Charter of the year 1088, conferred by the Normans on the Abbey. No grant of lands appears, however, in the Domesday Books to the Brays; but that the family supplied Sheriffs to Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, and Bucks, between 1202 and 1273 is fully established."

Some sources mistakenly say that Sir Robert de BRAY, Ranger of Saucy Forest in Northamptonshire, was the son and heir of Sir William de BRAY who came over with the Conqueror, but this is incorrect because Sir Robert de BRAY was born about 1254, two centuries after the conquest. Sir Robert's father was apparently a William de BRAY, but not the same William de BRAY who was a companion of the conqueror. The intervening generations are unknown.

During the time of William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy who became King of England, one of the most influential men of the English Court was the Right Honorable Sir Gore Ouseley. On the Ouseley Coat of Arms, eight other family coats of arms are also included. These were the important families to whom the the government of the various castles and estates of England were entrusted. Among these families was the family of Bray. The Coats of Arms of all these families have been grouped together and is known as the Ouseley group.

The Ouseley Group includes the following families:
A description of the "Ouseley Group" can be found in the Newberry Library in Chicago with references to each and every one of these families. At that time they were supposed to be the most noted families of Great Britain.

After the English Reformation began in 1534, there was considerable trouble between France and England. The DeBrays dropped the first part of their name, "de," as did most British Norman families, and from that time on were known as the family of BRAY. This was probably done for religious and political reasons, as it was very unpopular to be known as a Frenchman during these times.

Several branches of the Knight William de BRAY's descendants became prominent landholders, lords, and nobles throughout England for centuries afterwards. BRAY (BRAI) is the name of several locations in France, one of which these Norman BRAYs (de BRAYs) had come from. The Normans were, of course, actually Norsemen who had only been in Normandy since the late 800's. Recent Bray DNA studies have shown that descendants of Henry BRAY who d. 1790 in Chatham Co., NC are of the haplogroup I1, modal haplotype "Anglo Saxon", which is exactly what would be expected with Norman ancestry. This modal haplotype "has its peak gradient in the Germanic lowland countries: north Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, as well as the British Isles and old Norman regions of France." (see

Although never numerous, the de BRAYs and later BRAYs (at least some of their branches) were among the eminent families of Britain throughout the 11th-18th centuries. Some members of the family were granted lands and estates throughout the empire. Historical documents show that some de BRAYs were granted lands and estates in Ireland (probably in the mid- to late 1100's) for aiding the king in battle, so at least one branch of BRAYs moved to Ireland and became established there, but the BRAYs were not native Irish.

William de BRAYE was one of the subscribing witnesses to the charter of Battle Abbey in 1088; but does not appear in [the] Domesday [book]. His name was derived from Bray, near Evreux. "Milo de BRAI, father of Hugh TRUSSEL, married, c. 1070, Litheuil, Viscountess of Troyes, and c. 1064, founded Longport Abbey, Normandy (Ordaric Vitalis). Milo de BRAI, his son, was a crusader 1096 (Idem). In 1148 Richard de BRAIO held lands at Winchester from the Bishop (Winton Domesday). The De BRAIS possessed estates in Cambridge and Bedford 1165 (Liber Niger). A branch was seated in Devon in the thriteenth century." -- (The Norman People). In Bedfordshire we find Eaton Bray, in the hundred of Manshead, a village about four miles from Dunstaple. "The family of BRAY were of consequence in the county," says Lysons, "at an early period. Thomas de BRAY was knight of the shire in 1289, and Roger de BRAY in 1312. When they settled at Eaton-Bray, to which they gave their name, does not appear; but it was long before they were possessed of the manor.
Edmund BRAY, grandfather of Sir Reginald [BRAY], the faithful minister of King Henry VII, was described as of this place, and it appears on record, that the parish was called Eaton-Bray in the reign of Edward III. It is probable that the BRAYs held the manor under the Barons Cantilupe and Zouche. Sir Edmund BRAY, nephew of Sir Reginald, was summoned to parliament in 1530 as baron of Eaton-Bray. The title bcame extinct by the death of his son John Lord BRAY without issue in 1537. The manor of Eaton-Bray passed to the posterity of William Lord Sandys, who married the only child of John BRAY, uncle of the first Lord BRAY. In the chancel of the parish church is the monument of Jane, wife of Edmund Lord BRAY, who died in 1538. In the South aisle is a fragment of stone-work, richly carved and ornamented with the Royal arms, and the arms and device of Sir Reginald BRAY." This was the same Sir Reginald, who, on the battle-field of Bosworth, found the Royal crown in a hawthorn bush, "where, apparently, after falling from Richard's head, it had been secreted during the engagement."* Like Henry V at Agincourt, he had come to battle wearing his crown upon his helmet, and he wore it to the last. When the tardy interference of the temporizing STANLEYs had decided the fortunes of the day, and one of his knights came to tell him that all was lost, adding, "I holde it tyme for you to flye": he replied by calling for his battle-axe. Then he took a solemn oath --"By Him that shope both se and lande, Kynge of Englande this day will I dye; one foote away will I not fle whil brethe wyll byde my brest within." He kept his word right royally. Making way with his sword, "high in blood and anger," he slew Richmond's standard-bearer, Sir Charles BRANDON, with his own hand, thinking his next stroke should reach the Earl himself; and when Sir John CHENEY interposed to raise the fallen banner, hurled him from his saddle with a single blow. But his foemen closed in on all sides, and over-powered and out-numbered, he fell, pierced with many wounds, ere he could cross swords with his rival. "They hewed the crowne of golde from his head with dowtful dents": and while his mangled and dishonoured corpse, flung across a horse's back, was being conveyed to Leicester, Sir Reginald BRAY brought his trophy to Sir William STANLEY, who, amidst the shouts and acclaims of the soldiers, crowned the new Lancastrian King on the field of battle......
Sir Reginald [BRAY] was amply rewarded. He was a Knight Banneret, a Knight of the Garter, and Lord Treasurer of England. "He was noted," says Lord BACON, "to have had the greatest Freedome of any Councillor, but it was but a Freedome, the better to set off Flatterie. Yet he bare more than his just part of Envie, for the Exactions." He left no posterity.
The first Lord BRAYE had two younger brothers, who are still represented:
1. Sir Edward [BRAY], Sheriff or Surrey and Sussex, 30 Henry VIII, ancestor of the BRAYs of Shere in that county; and
2. Reginald [BRAY], seated at Barrington in Gloucestershire. His son, the second and last Lord, had no less than seven married sisters, among whom the barony fell into abeyance in 1537; and thus, hopelessly merged in a crowd of claimaints, it continued [in abeyance] till 1839, when it was adjudged to Mrs. Otway CAVE, as the descendant of the second sister, Elizabeth VERNEY. None of her four sons lived to succeed to it, and none of them left children; and once more it was fated to lapse among co-heiresses. But of her four daughters, the three eldest also died childless; the last of them in 1879, and Mrs. Wyatt EDGELL, the youngest, became Baroness BRAYE. She had two sons; the eldest of whom was killed in 1879 in the war at the Cape; and the second succeeded to the barony on her own death soon afterwards. Finally, in 1880, after the lapse of nearly three hundred and fifty years, a Lord BRAYE again took his seat in the House of Lords."
*"In memory of this event, [King] Henry [VII] adopted this device of a crown on a hawthorn bush, which is seen in the great window of his chapel at Westminster."
(see,M1 -- go to page 133 )

Guillaume married Adelaide. (Adelaide was born circa 1050.)


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