Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study      by Bill Jehan
   Introduction      INSCRIPTIONS at Wonersh, Co.Surrey
Monumental Brass and Inscription at
the Church of St. John the Baptist, Wonersh, Co.Surrey
Church of England - Diocese of Guildford
Elizabeth Blennerhassett, died young 11-Jan-1513/14. Her monumental brass, within the chancel rail on the north side of the church, is reset into a new marble floor installed at the restoration of the church in 1901.
Elizabeth was daughter of Thomas Blennerhassett of Frenze, Co.Norfolk and his first wife Jane Sutton, of the family of Sutton, Baron Dudley. Thomas Blennerhassett was Minister (Seneschal, Steward, Principal Household Officer) to Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey & son of the 1st Duke of Norfolk.
The date on this brass is four months after an English army, led by the Earl of Surrey in his capacity as "Warden General of the Northern Marches", defeated an invading army led by King James IV of Scotland, at the Battle of Flodden on 9-Sep-1513.
As reward for his decisive victory Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey was restored to his father's title as 2nd Duke of Norfolk on 1-Feb-1513/14, the title having previously been forfeit for the 1st Duke's support of Richard III at Bosworth Field in 1485.
It is not known if Thomas Blennerhassett was present at Flodden, but he appears to have been knighted shortly after the 2nd Duke regained his title (1-Feb-1513/14) and before 31-May-1520 when the 2nd Duke made his final will. In this will "Sir Thomas Blennerhassett Knt" is named joint executor with the Duchess of Norfolk, although subsequently, at the Duke's death in 1524, Sir Thomas refused to act as the executor and (by his own will) absolved his own executors from any responsibility for administering the Duke's estate.
Until his own death in 1531 Sir Thomas Blennerhassett continued to serve as Minister to Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke (d.1554), being auditor of accounts for the Duke's home at Framlingham Castle, Co.Suffolk, in 1530/1. His son John Blennerhassett of Barsham Hall succeeded him as Minister to the third and fourth Dukes.
click on image to enlarge
 hic iacet Elizabeth una filiar
Thome Blenrhayset Senescalli
hospicii serenissimi ducis Norff
que obijt xj die Januarij Ao d'ni
mo vxiijo cuius aie ppicietur des
 hic jacet Elizabeth[ae] una filiar
Thom[a]e Blen[e]rhayset Senesc[h]alli
hospicii serenissimi ducis Norff[olk]
que obiit xi die Januarii A[nn]o d[omi]ni
m[illm]o  vT[esimo]  xiiio cuius a[n]i[m]e ppicietur de[u]s
here lies Elizabeth, daughter of
Thomas Blenerhayset, Steward
of the household of his serene highness
the Duke of Norfolk,
who died 11th day of January 1513,

on whose soul may God have mercy
latin inscription 
latin expanded
english translation  
1. At the date of Elizabeth's burial (soon after 11-Jan-1513/14) the Earl of Surrey was not yet Duke of Norfolk.
    His father's title was restored to him on 1-Feb-1513/14, but the brass will have been made after that date, when he was Duke.
2. A rubbing from this brass signed F.G. and dated 1923 is at [Ashmolean Museum, Oxford ref: Surrey 5/3]
3. "A Catalogue of the Earl Marshall's Papers at Arundel Castle" by F.W. Steer, archivist, pub. Harleian Society, 1964, vols 115-116, lists
"Letter from Cowley Lambert and W.A.Lindsey about a brass to Eliz. Blenerhayset ob. 11 Jan. 1513 in Wonersh Church, 3 docs, 1906."

Where did they live?
In which house Thomas Blennerhassett and his family resided at Wonersh, and for how long, is not known.
The ancient manor of Tangley or Great Tangley at Wonersh was originally a parcel of Bramley. The manor house is 13th century and moated. Also at Wonersh were the smaller manors Little Tangley, Halldish, Losterford & Rowleys. By the start of the 17th century Great Tangley had fallen into a state of dilapidation, to be replaced as the big house at Wonersh by "Wonersh Hall", built c1677 on the site of an old farmhouse adjacent to the church. However, Great Tangley survives, "...the house has twice been enlarged, having been rescued by its late owner, Mr. Wickham Flower, from the somewhat neglected state into which it had sunk as a mere farm-house... [Victoria County History: "A History of the County of Surrey" vol.3 1911, Edit. H.E.Malden, pp.121-127]
Wonersh Hall was demolished in 1929, the site now Wonersh Church Green, an open space adjoining the churchyard, preserved for the use and enjoyment of people of Wonersh. All that remains of the house is a redbrick gatehouse and the stable block, converted housing. A path of flagstones, rescued from the kitchen floor when the Wonersh Hall was demolished, until recently led from the gatehouse to the churchyard, but sadly these have been stolen, a sign of our times, to replaced by a path of concrete. A panoramic painting of Wonersh Hall and Church c1710 may be seen in the church.
The Blennerhassett family may have resided at Wonersh or in the neighbouring manor of Bramley. Bramley was then owned by the Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, who at that date (11-Jan-1513/14) was about to be reinstated with his father's title as Duke of Norfolk. At Arundel Castle Archives is a "pre-will agreement" dated 31-Aug-1516, between Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk; his son Thomas, Earl of Surrey; and William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury [ARUNDEL T1, 29 pages]. This document on pp.7-8 mentions Bramley as being the Duke's property, part of the jointure lands; a marginal note specifies the premises as "...Bramley manor, also lands and tenements in Bramley, Wonersh, Shalford and Guildford...".
The stone built "Bramley Manor" is 17th century. This replaced as manor house an earlier building (c1560), a fine half timbered manor and farm house of great character, still standing across the road almost opposite. This was known as the "Manor of East Bramley" or "Bramley East", and is now named "East Manor" . It appears possible the origins of "East Manor" are earlier than c1560, but I have seen no evidence for this.
"A brief history of Bramley and the Dukes of Norfolk" ["History of the County of Surrey" v.3 1911, Edited by H.E.Malden, pp.80-86]
tells us:
"Sir John Greville, Knt, lord of the manor of Bramley, d.1480, leaving a son Thomas who assumed the name of Cokesey.
At his death there was a partition of the family estates, the Surrey part, including Bramley, passing to the Earl of Surrey.
The manor of Bramley is mentioned as a possession of his son Thomas Duke of Norfolk, in 1545 [Chancery i.p.m. series 2, lxxii, 26]
His widow, Agnes, Duchess of Norfolk, held it for life with reversion to the king by reason of her husband's attainder [Chancery i.p.m. series 2, lxix, 189].
Her grandson and heir, being restored to the dukedom, sold Bramley to Richard Carrill (or Caryl) in 1559 [Feet of Fines Surrey Trinity, 1 Elizabeth]."

Bill Jehan is on LinkedIn 

copyright © 2008-2020 Bill Jehan