Select Brown Miscellany

 

Here are some Brown stories
and
accounts over the years:

 

Brownes in Stamford

 

In
the 13th century
Stamford in Lincolnshire had been one of the ten largest towns in
England.  However, the removal of the main
wool trade
to East Anglia in the 15th century forced the town into decline.  The trade that remained was concentrated in
the hands of rich merchants like the Brownes.
John
Browne the Elder was a Stamford wool merchant
whose wealth had been accumulated at this time as a member of the
influential
company of the Staple of Calais.  He and
his wife Margaret have an impressive mural brass at the end of the
north aisle
of All Saints, Stamford’s central church.
Around 1475 their two sons, John and William, also rich wool merchants,
contributed generously towards the enlargement and embellishment of the
church
where their parents had been laid to rest.  The
upper walls, windows, and the roof were
their work.  John the Younger
commissioned the tower with its beautiful spire. William
founded Browne’s Hospital (the almshouses
on Broad Street), an institution that is still operating today.  Both brothers have a sepulchral brass in the
church.

The Anglo-Norman Bruns/Brownes



The
early ancestry of these Bruns/Brownes was recounted
as follows:

  • Sir
    Hugh le Brun was one of
    the Lords of the Marches of Wales.  
  • his
    son was Sir Stephen and he married Eva, sister of Griffith the Prince
    of Wales,
    and had three sons named Hugh, Philip and William.
    Sir Stephen and his sons supported King Stephen against the
    Empress
    Maud in their conflict.   
  • Hugh,
    the eldest son, rendered
    important services to Henry II on his invasion of Wales and was
    permitted by
    the King to inherit his father’s large estates.   
  • Philip
    of Mulrankan came to Ireland with
    Strongbow and was appointed the Governor of Wexford in 1172.
  • while William, the youngest son, was also
    obliged to join in the invasion of Ireland at the time his brother was
    appointed the Governor of Wexford.  William
    went to Dublin, then in possession of the Danes, and settled near
    Clondalkin.  One of his descendants,
    Fromond le Brun, was
    Chancellor of Ireland in the mid-13th century
    .

 

The Brownes of Galway



While
the name Browne does not appear in the records
of Galway city until the year 1539 when Andrew Browne of Athenry was
admitted
as a freeman, the family was soon to reach an eminent position among
the
merchants. Andrew became a bailiff of the city in 1552 and in 1574 was
elected
Mayor.

Thereafter a number of members
of the family were to attain that office, perhaps the most notable
being Domenick
Browne in 1634 who was later knighted.
His eldest son Geoffrey was a member of the Supreme Council of
the
Confederation of Kilkenny.  In 1651 he
was sent by the Marquis of Clanricarde to negotiate at Brussels a
treaty with
the Duc de Lorraine in order to raise money for the Royalist army. The
city of
Galway was to be the security.

By the
mid-17th century the Browne family owned a number of very substantial
houses in
Galway city.

 

George Browne in
Russia

George
Browne was one of a
number of Brownes who, to their misfortune, favored the ill-fated
Stuart King,
James II.  Following his defeat at the
Boyne, the Brownes of Camus in Limerick saw no opportunity for their
young son
to follow the gentlemanly occupation of arms and they sent him abroad.

George joined the Russian imperial army and
began a life of high adventure. He was imprisoned three times after
various
battles. He was then sold as a slave to the Turks, but was eventually
released.
Having shown exceptional skill and
bravery, he was appointed Field Marshal to Czar Peter of Russia.  As Count George Browne, he became Governor of
Livonia. He became a great favorite with the powerful Empress Catherine
and she
would not consider letting him go.  So he
remained in Russia, dying there at the age of 94
.

The Browns of Fordell

The
first record of this family occurred in 1261
with Richard Brown who was an Elgin magistrate in Morayshire at that
time.  Their connections with the Fordell
lands in
Fifeshire occurred shortly afterwards.
Adam Brown held lands there in 1298, the year he was killed at
the
Battle of Falkirk.  The family, however,
remained extensive landowners along the east coast of Scotland for four
centuries.

They
had mixed fortunes in
the 14th century.  Support for the French
monarchy resulted in one of these Browns being hanged for treason.  Another Brown was Sheriff of Aberdeen but lost
half of his lands to the Earl of Douglas.
George Brown in the next century was appointed Bishop of Dunkeld
and in
1494 was head of the Scottish Commissioners which concluded a peace
treaty with
the English.

There
were financial
problems for these Browns by the 18th century.
But one line, the Browns of Golfhall in Edinburgh, prospered as
merchants.  David Brown
went
to Russia in the late 1700’s and grew rich as a merchant in St.
Petersburg
.

 

The Browns of
Rowan County, North Carolina

Tradition
traces the Brown genealogy back to a Scotsman by
the name of William Brown who
was allied in marriage with a
woman who was a native of
Portugal.  Brown had in fact come to New
England from Edinburgh in Scotland in the early 1700’s and settled in
Vermont.  Mrs. Brown turned
out to be an Algonquian Abenaki Native American, said
to be of Portuguese ancestry.

Their
son William Brown and his wife Margret
later migrated down through Pennsylvania and
into Rowan County,
North Carolina sometime in the 1760’s.  William signed his will there with his
mark, an “X,” in 1772, naming his wife Margret as
executrix and also his nine children.

The
most comprehensive treatment of the William and Margret
Brown family is to
be found in Erold C. Wiscombe’s 700 page book The Brown
Family: Descendants of Daniel Brown (1804-1875),
which
came out in 1986 and then was updated twenty years later.

 

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