The Ancient Brinsmeads


Luton Bedfordshire

Records exist for a meeting of the Society of Friends in 1701 in Luton, Bedfordshire, listing as a signatory a Thomas Brinsmade.   There is presently a Brinsmade Road in the Ampthill area of Luton.

Two Wives?

In the State Papers of Charles II for 1664, there is a rather cryptic entry in the memoranda in the signet books for February reading only "Grant to _____ Brinsmead of pardon for having two wives"  The offender's first name is apparently illegible in the original records.  Descendants are advised that the rights conferred by this pardon cannot be inherited.

Alexander Brinsmead - circa 1595

An Alexander Brinsmead is recorded as a builder or perhaps architect in 1595. His name is inscribed on the stone at Borwick Hall in Lancashire, once owned by the Byndloss family. While the hall is abandoned, the estate is still used as a public facility. The website for the facility gives a brief history.

Baronial Hall

The Whittington family built the North and East Wings in about 1550, but Borwick Hall as we now know it reached its full glory in the Bindloss era. The Baronial or Great Hall was built about 1595, following the Unification of England and Scotland. The mullioned and transomed windows, the porch, and above all the Baronial Hall, are beautiful examples of Elizabethan skill in design and execution.

Dissolution of the Monasteries

Following the dissolution of the monasteries that took place between 1536 and 1541 many of the displaced clergy were given pensions.  Many as well took up positions in local parishes.  The rank of the clergyman can be guessed at from the level of their pension.  A five pound pension indicates that the individual may have been a Canon.  Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries Vol. 18, 1934 records that "Dom. William Brymsmede, having a pension of five pounds paid out of the house of Tawnton, died at Teigngrace, 26 March, in the first year of our Queen, viz. of your Majesty aforesaid (1558/9)".  Tawnton is Taunton, situated right next to Bishop's Hull. Teingrace is a small parish in Devon on the Southern edge of Dartmoor just North of Newton Abbot.

Ellinor Brinsmead of Holborn

On September 19, 1609, the Bishop of London issued a marriage liscence.  The allegations tell us something about one of the Bishops Hull family.

Robert Thomlinson, Gent., of St. Andrew's, Holborn, Bach, 33, & Ellinor Brinsmeade, of same, Maiden, 22 or 23, dau.... of Simon Brimsmeade, of Taunton, Somerset, Draper, who consents, she dwelling with Mr. Richard Brownlowe, Esq., of Inner Temple, for 7 or 8 years, he being her uncle & consenting also; at Edgeware, Middlesex.

Gregory Brinsmead the Builder

We have found two seventeenth century references to a Gregorie Brinsmead, mason and builder.

Both are in the Lismore Papers; the notes and remembrances of Sir Richard Boyle, the first Earl of Cork. He records that on the 18th of December, 1638.

"... dyninge this date with the Earl of Bristol at Sherborn, did, in the presence of Mr. John Walcott, agree with Gregory Brimsmead, his Lordship's free mason, to pave the way from my owt-moste gate to my hall door at Stalbridg, and the Tarras before my howse, with Rangeerpavies of ffree stone, owt of the same vayne of hard ffree stone [as] that [of] thearles Court going into his house at Sherborn, and in the same manner that the same court is paved.  Hee is to dig, and lay those stones even, neatly even and workmanlyke in all respects, saving the carriadge of the stones from the quarry, which I am to do; for which worck I am to give him three pence halfe peney the foot; and did this day give him three pounds in earnest, and part of payment."

An entry a few months later shows that His Lordship also paid Gregorie Brimsmead, Mason, "for making a staire case owt of my little Court in Stalbridge".

Sir Richard Boyle was significant for his role in Cromwellian dealings, particularly in Ireland. His son, who became Lord of the Manor after him was the scientist, Robert Boyle, of Boyle's Law fame. The house was the fifth largest house in Dorset, located to the North of the County near the Somerset border. It fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1822.

Brinsmead the Cuttler

The London Apprenticeship for 1678 show a William Brimsmead, son of William, Taunton Deane, Somerset, apprenticed to William Meriden as of 18 Sep 1678. From the records of the Worshipful Company of Cuttlers. Bishops Hull is in the Tanton Deane area and William is no doubt from the Bishop's Hull family, several of whom went to London.