BRYDGES (BRUGGES), John (by 1470-1530), of London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1470, 2nd s. of Thomas Brydges of Dymock, Glos. by Maud, da. and h. of Thomas Henborow of Dymock. m. Agnes, da. of Thomas Ayloffe of Hornchurch, Essex, 3s. 4da. Kntd. 20 Mar. 1521.2

Offices Held

Warden, Drapers’ Co. 1502-3, 1508-9, master 1514-15, 1521-2, 1527-8; auditor, London 1504-6, 1518-21, alderman 1510-d., sheriff 1513-14, mayor 1520-1; commr. subsidy 1512, 1514, 1523, 1524; j.p. Mdx. 1522-d.3


John Brydges was a younger son in a cadet branch of the Gloucestershire family which in the person of Sir John Brydges was raised to the barony of Chandos in 1554. He was admitted to the freedom of London in 1491 after serving his apprenticeship as a draper. In his younger days he went abroad ‘in far parts beyond the sea’, but later he relied on his factors, his brother Thomas and William Brampton in Spain and his elder son Giles and others in the Levant. He had his own quay on the river Thames, which he bought from Sir Henry Colet. His main export was cloth, but in 1508 he and five other Londoners bound themselves to lend the crown £1,000 and in return were licensed to export 50 sacks of wool to Italy each year; although this recognizance was cancelled on the accession of Henry VIII, when in 1513 Brydges sold the King his third share in the Great Nicholas he was granted a licence to ship 100 sacks of wool through the Strait of Gibraltar, increased in the following year to 300 sacks. In June 1513 he was paid over £200 for malmsey which he had supplied to the English expeditionary force in Spain; it was evidently also one of his chief imports, for in 1524 he and other London merchants freighted a ship owned by Nicholas Langmede of Dartmouth, with cloth and other goods to be exchanged in the Levant for malmsey. The success of his ventures is reflected in his assessment for subsidy in 1523 on goods valued at over £1,500 and in his acquisition of property in Essex and elsewhere.4

His Membership of Henry VIII’s first Parliament came early in Brydges’ civic career and was straightway followed by his election as alderman. In 1507 the court of aldermen had named him a collector of the third instalment of the 5,000 marks paid to Henry VII for the grant of London’s new charter, and two years later he was one of those appointed to consider improvements in it before its reissue by the new King. Although he did not return to the Commons Brydges was much involved in parliamentary matters. Before each of the next two Parliaments he was charged with preparing the City’s proposals and examining all bills before their introduction, and among particular measures which engaged his attention were a corporation bill submitted in 1514 and 1515, for which he was deputed to lobby at Westminster, and another in 1523 about appointments to office in London, which he and the recorder, William Shelley, were sent to discuss with Wolsey. He was also closely concerned with the taxation of the City; a subsidy commissioner from 1512, he was consulted about the proposed loan of £100,000 in 1522 and in the following year was one of a deputation to Wolsey to oppose the return of the loan assessments into the Exchequer ‘because there was never such precedent seen’. During his mayoral year, which brought him the knighthood ex officio first conferred in 1519, he headed the commission to hear the indictment of the 3rd Duke of Buckingham and afterwards presided over the court of aldermen called at the King’s request to consider the hostility provoked in London by the duke’s execution. In 1520 he was accused by the executors of William Calley, who had named him supervisor, of unlawfully ‘maintaining’ Calley’s son John in litigation over the will; John Calley was, or was to become, his nephew by marriage.5

In his testament of 14 Apr. 1530 Brydges asked to be buried in the church of St. Nicholas Acon, ‘in the place where my good wife, my three daughters and one son be buried’, and appointed his two surviving sons his executors. He had already, by a will of 8 Oct. 1529, left to the elder son Giles his ‘head house’ in St. Nicholas Lane, Eastcheap, tenements in St. Clement’s Lane bought from the Merchant Taylors, and a house in Sudbury, Suffolk, and to the second son Anthony his quay in Tower ward. His surviving daughter Winifred, who received a share of his goods, married successively Richard Sackville II and John Paulet, 2nd Marquess of Winchester. Brydges’ will was proved on 30 Oct. 1530.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. City of London RO, Guildhall, jnl. 11, f. 90.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. Vis. London (Harl. Soc. i), 79; Vis. Essex (ibid. xiii), 29, 141, 159; Vis. Glos. (ibid. xxi), 234; PCC 21 Jankyn; City of London RO, rep. 4, f. 70.
  • 3. A. H. Johnson, Company of Drapers, ii. 467-9; City of London RO, jnl. 10, ff. 323v, 344v; 11, ff. 180v, 359v; 12, ff. 15, 67; rep. 2, f. 87v; 4. f. 67; Statutes, iii. 83, 118; LP Hen. VIII, iii, iv.
  • 4. P. Boyd, Roll of Drapers’ Co. 26; E122/79/12, 80/2, 4, 5 ex inf. Prof. P. Ramsey; 179/251/15v; City of London RO, jnl. 10, f. 368v; 11, ff. 159-61; PCC 21 Jankyn; C1/472/78, 475/29, 565/39, 697/39; LP Hen. VIII, i; VCH Essex, iv. 26; NRA 5617, p. 106.
  • 5. City of London RO, rep. 2, ff. 27, 56v, 61, 67v, 87v, 127, 148, 172v, 205v; 5, f. 204; 6, ff. 32, 103(i)v; Beaven, Aldermen, i. 256; LP Hen. VIII, iii; C1/500/46.
  • 6. PCC 21 Jankyn; W. K. Jordan, Charities of London, 1480-1660, pp. 294, 414.