Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk

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Thomas of Brotherton
1st Earl of Norfolk
Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk.png
Thomas depicted on a medieval roll
PredecessorNew creation
Successor Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk
Known forYounger half-brother of
King Edward II of England
Born1 June 1300
Brotherton, Yorkshire, England
Died4 August 1338 (aged 38)
Framlingham Castle, Suffolk, England
Buried Bury St Edmunds Abbey, Suffolk
52°14′38.76″N0°43′9.12″E / 52.2441000°N 0.7192000°E / 52.2441000; 0.7192000
Nationality English
Residence Framlingham Castle
Wars and battles Second War of Scottish Independence
Offices Earl Marshal
Spouse(s)Alice de Hales
Mary de Brewes
Issue Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk
Edward of Norfolk
Alice of Norfolk
Parents Edward I of England
Margaret of France
Arms of Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk: Royal arms of King Edward I, a label of three points argent for difference Arms of Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk.svg
Arms of Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk: Royal arms of King Edward I, a label of three points argent for difference

Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk (1 June 1300 4 August 1338), was the fifth son of King Edward I of England (1239–1307), and the eldest child by his second wife, Margaret of France, the daughter of King Philip III of France. He was, therefore, a younger half-brother of King Edward II (1307–1327) and a full brother of Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent. He occupied the office of Earl Marshal of England.


Early life

Thomas of Brotherton was born 1 June 1300 at the manor house at Brotherton, Yorkshire, while his mother was on her way to Cawood, where her confinement was scheduled to take place. [1] According to Hilton, Margaret was staying at Pontefract Castle and was following a hunt when she went into labour. [2] The chronicler William Rishanger records that during the difficult delivery his mother prayed, as was the custom at the time, to Thomas Becket, and Thomas of Brotherton was thus named after the saint and his place of birth. [3]

King Edward I hastened to the queen and the newborn baby and had Thomas presented with two cradles. His brother Edmund of Woodstock was born in the year after that. They were overseen by wet nurses until they were six years old. Like their parents, they learned to play chess and to ride horses. They were visited by nobles and their half-sister Mary of Woodstock, who was a nun. Their mother often accompanied their father on his campaigns to Scotland, but kept herself well-informed on their well-being. [2]

Thomas's father died when he was 7 years old. Thomas's half-brother Edward, became king of England (Edward II) and Thomas was heir presumptive until his nephew, the future King Edward III, was born in 1312. The Earldom of Cornwall had been intended for Thomas, but his brother the King instead bestowed it upon his favourite, Piers Gaveston, in 1306. When Thomas was 10 years old, King Edward II assigned to him and his brother Edmund, the estates of Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk, who had died without heirs in 1306.


Ruins of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds where Thomas of Brotherton was buried Abbey Ruins WM.jpg
Ruins of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds where Thomas of Brotherton was buried

In 1312, Thomas was titled Earl of Norfolk by Edward II, and on 10 February 1316 he was created Earl Marshal. While his brother was away fighting in Scotland, he was left Keeper of England. He was known for his hot and violent temper. He was one of the many victims of the unchecked greed of the king's new favourite, Hugh Despenser the Younger and his father Hugh Despenser the Elder, who stole some of the young earl's lands.

He allied himself with Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer when they invaded England in 1326, and stood as one of the judges in the trials against both Despensers. When his nephew Edward III reached his majority and took the government into his own hands Thomas, who had helped with the deposition, [4] became one of his principal advisors. It was in the capacity of Lord Marshal that he commanded the right wing of the English army at the Battle of Halidon Hill on 19 July 1333.

Thomas died on 4 August 1338, and was buried in the choir of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds. [3] [5] [6] As he had no surviving sons, Thomas was succeeded by his daughter, Margaret, as Countess of Norfolk. [3] She was later created Duchess of Norfolk for life in 1397. [6]

As a son of Edward I of England, Thomas was entitled to bear the coat of arms of the Kingdom of England, differenced by a label argent of three points. [7]

Marriages and issue

Thomas married firstly, before 8 January 1326, Alice de Hales (d. before 12 October 1330), daughter of Sir Roger de Hales of Hales Hall in Loddon in Roughton, Norfolk, a coroner, by his wife, Alice Skogan, by whom he had a son and two daughters: [8] [3]

Thomas's wife Alice died by October 1330, when a chantry was founded for her soul in Bosham, Sussex. [11]

Thomas married secondly, before 4 April 1336, Mary de Brewes (died 11 June 1362), widow of Sir Ralph de Cobham, (died 5 February 1326), and daughter of Sir Peter de Brewes [3] (died before 7 February 1312) of Tetbury, Gloucestershire, by Agnes de Clifford (died before 1332), by whom he had no surviving issue. [12] [13]



Family tree

Mowbray & Howard family tree of the Earls of Norfolk and Dukes of Norfolk
King Edward I
EARL OF NORFOLK (third creation, 1312)
Thomas of Brotherton
1st Earl of Norfolk
2nd Countess of Norfolk
Duchess of Norfolk"for life"
John Segrave
4th Baron Segrave
Elizabeth de Segrave
5th Baroness Segrave
John de Mowbray
4th Baron Mowbray
Earl of Nottingham DUKE OF NORFOLK (first creation, 1397)
John de Mowbray
1st Earl of Nottingham
Thomas de Mowbray
3rd Earl of Norfolk
1st Duke of Norfolk
Dukedom forfeit, 1399
DUKE OF NORFOLK (first creation, 1397) (restored, 1425)
Sir Richard Howard
Lady Margaret de Mowbray
Thomas de Mowbray
4th Earl of Norfolk
John de Mowbray
5th Earl of Norfolk
2nd Duke of Norfolk
John Howard
1st Duke of Norfolk
John de Mowbray
6th Earl of Norfolk
3rd Duke of Norfolk
Titles forfeit, 1485
DUKE OF NORFOLK, 1483 (restored, 1514)
Thomas Howard
2nd Duke of Norfolk
King Edward IV
John de Mowbray
7th Earl of Norfolk
4th Duke of Norfolk
Dukedom extinct, 1476
Thomas Howard
3rd Duke of Norfolk
Anne of York
Richard of Shrewsbury
Duke of York
Duke of Norfolk
Anne de Mowbray
8th Countess of Norfolk
Attainted, 1547
Restored, 1553
Dukedom extinct, 1483
Viscount Howard of Bindon
Henry Howard
Earl of Surrey
Thomas Howard
1st Viscount Howard of Bindon
Mary FitzRoy
Duchess of Richmond and Somerset
Henry FitzRoy
Duke of Richmond and Somerset
Earl of Northampton
Thomas Howard
4th Duke of Norfolk
Henry Howard
1st Earl of Northampton
Titles forfeit, 1572
Earl of Suffolk
St. Philip Howard
Earl of Arundel
Attainted 1589
Thomas Howard
1st Earl of Suffolk
Lord William Howard
EARL OF NORFOLK (fifth creation, 1644) Earl of Berkshire Baron Howard of Escrick Earl of Carlisle
Thomas Howard
Earl of Arundel
1st Earl of Norfolk
Viscount Stafford
Henry Frederick Howard
Earl of Arundel
2nd Earl of Norfolk
William Howard
1st Viscount Stafford
Earl of Stafford
DUKE OF NORFOLK, 1483 (restored, 1660) Earl of Norwich
Thomas Howard
5th Duke of Norfolk
Henry Howard
Earl of Norwich
6th Duke of Norfolk
Hon. Charles Howard
Col. Bernard Howard
Henry Howard
Earl of Norwich
7th Duke of Norfolk
Lord Thomas Howard
Henry Charles Howard
(d. 1720)
Bernard Howard
Thomas Howard
Earl of Norwich
8th Duke of Norfolk
Edward Howard
Earl of Norwich
9th Duke of Norfolk
Charles Howard
10th Duke of Norfolk
Henry Howard
Earldom of Norwich extinct, 1777
Charles Howard
11th Duke of Norfolk
Bernard Howard
12th Duke of Norfolk
Henry Howard
13th Duke of Norfolk
Baron Howard of Glossop
Henry Fitzalan-Howard
14th Duke of Norfolk
Edward Fitzalan-Howard
1st Baron Howard of Glossop
Henry Fitzalan-Howard
15th Duke of Norfolk
Francis Fitzalan-Howard
2nd Baron Howard of Glossop
Bernard Fitzalan-Howard
16th Duke of Norfolk
Bernard Fitzalan-Howard
3rd Baron Howard of Glossop
Miles Fitzalan-Howard
17th Duke of Norfolk
Edward Fitzalan-Howard
18th Duke of Norfolk
(b. 1956)
Henry Fitzalan-Howard
Earl of Arundel
Earl of Surrey
(b. 1987)


  1. He was born in the main house, later demolished in the 1930s due to disrepair, although the new 17th century wing still exists. Waugh, 2004.
  2. 1 2 Hilton 2008, p. 240.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Waugh 2004.
  4. "Norfolk, Earls and Dukes of"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 19 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 742.
  5. Richardson IV 2011, p. 182.
  6. 1 2 Thomas F. Tout, (1886) "Thomas of Brotherton" in Dictionary of National Biography
  7. Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family
  8. Richardson II 2011, p. 631.
  9. Richardson II 2011, p. 634.
  10. Richardson II 2011, pp. 634–5.
  11. Cokayne 1936, pp. 596–9.
  12. Richardson II 2011, p. 632.
  13. Richardson IV 2011, p. 180.
  14. Allström, Carl. M. Dictionary of Royal Lineage. Almberg. Chicago. 1902. pp. 135-138, 178-180, 221, 280-281, .

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Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by Lord Marshal
Succeeded by
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Norfolk
3rd creation
Succeeded by