BRAY, Edmund (1678-1725), of Great Barrington, Glos.
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Family and Education
bap. 7 Sept. 1678, 4th but 1st surv. s. of Reginald Bray of Great Barrington by Jane, da. of William Rainton of Shilton, Berks. m. 16 Dec. 1697, Frances, da. and h. of Sir Edward Morgan, 3rd Bt.†, of Llantarnam, Mon., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1688.1
Freeman, Gloucester 1713.2
The fortunes of the Bray family had been founded in the late 15th century by Sir Reginald Bray, a favourite of Henry VII. One of Bray’s younger nephews established a branch of the family in Gloucestershire, acquiring Great Barrington in 1553. Edmund Bray, having in 1697 married a considerable fortune, was returned as a Whig for Tewkesbury in the January 1701 election and retained his seat until 1708. He was wholly inactive in the House, however, and was several times granted long leaves of absence, on two occasions (20 Dec. 1704 and 29 Nov. 1707) for reasons of health. In the election of 1702 he successfully repelled a challenge at Tewkesbury from Sir Richard Cocks, 2nd Bt.* In the division on the Tack on 28 Nov. 1704 he either voted against or was absent. He successfully brought in a complaint of breach of privilege in February 1705 against attempts to eject some of the tenants on his wife’s estates in Monmouthshire. Classed as ‘Low Church’ in a list of about June 1705, he voted for the Court candidate for Speaker on 25 Oct. His closeness to the Court is demonstrated in a letter to Secretary Robert Harley* of September 1706 in which he referred to ‘the many obligations I lie under [to] you’ and stressed his readiness to ‘receive and obey your commands (upon all occasions) with the greatest pleasure’. He was noted as a Whig in a list of early 1708. He declined to stand for re-election at Tewkesbury in 1708, and when he stood for Cirencester in 1713 achieved only a poor fourth place in the poll. He was finally to return to the Commons in a county by-election in June 1720, when he continued to support the Whigs.3
Bray owned the quarries which provided some of the stone used in building Blenheim Palace, petitioning the government in 1717 for the payment of debts owing to him. He died on 6 Sept. 1725 and was buried at Great Barrington.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Paula Watson
- 1. Glos. N. and Q. i. 241, 358–9; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. lvii. 170–5; Bigland’s Colls. (Glos. Rec. Ser. ii), 136.
- 2. Gloucester Freemen (Glos. Rec. Ser. iv), 73.
- 3. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. lv. 298; lvii. 172–3; Add. 70213, Bray to Harley, 23 Sept. 1706.
- 4. Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1714–19, p. 323; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. lvii. 173.