Thomas of Brotherton
Thomas depicted on a medieval roll
|Born||1 June 1300|
Brotherton, Yorkshire, England
|Died||4 August 1338 (aged 38)|
Framlingham Castle, Suffolk, England
|Resting place||Bury St Edmunds Abbey, Suffolk|
|Title||1st Earl of Norfolk|
|Known for||Younger half-brother of |
King Edward II of England
|Wars and battles||Second War of Scottish Independence|
|Spouse(s)||Alice de Hales |
Mary de Brewes
|Issue||Edward of Norfolk|
Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk
Alice of Norfolk
|Parents||King Edward I of England|
Margaret of France
Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk (1 June 1300 – 4 August 1338), was the fifth son of King Edward I of England (1272–1307), 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.
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. According to Hilton, Margaret was staying at Pontefract Castle and was following a hunt when she went into labour. 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.
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.
Thomas's father died when he was 7 years old. Thomas's half-brother Edward, became king of England, as "King 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.
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, 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 about 20 September 1338, and was buried in the choir of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds. As he had no surviving sons, Thomas was succeeded by his daughter, Margaret, as Countess of Norfolk. She was later created Duchess of Norfolk for life in 1397.
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, by whom he had a son and two daughters:
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 (died before 7 February 1312) of Tetbury, Gloucestershire, by Agnes de Clifford (died before 1332), by whom he had no surviving issue.
|Ancestors of Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk|
| Lord Marshal
The Countess of Norfolk
|Peerage of England|
|New creation|| Earl of Norfolk