Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study      by Bill Jehan
   Introduction      Connections      Howard, Duke of Norfolk
Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Surrey & Earl of Arundel
arms of Thomas Howard
2nd Duke of Norfolk
Arundel Castle, home of the Duke of Norfolk
The Duke of Norfolk (third creation, 1483) is premier Duke in the Peerage of England.
As Earl of Surrey (created1483) and Earl of Arundel (created 1580), he is also premier Earl in the Peerage of England.
The Dukes of Norfolk resisted the reformation in England, remaining staunchly Roman Catholic, as did some other prominent English families. This was known in in England as Recusancy and for the Dukes of Norfolk caused the curious situation (at that time) of the premier Peer of the Realm in protestant England being Roman Catholic.

JOHN HOWARD 1st Duke of Norfolk (3rd Creation, 1483)
Strong supporter of the House of York and of his friend King Richard III.
d.22-Aug-1485 aged over 60 years, killed with Richard at the battle of Bosworth, final battle of the Wars  of the Roses.
For supporting Richard he was attainted in 1485 and his title forfeit, restored to his son in 1514.

THOMAS HOWARD 2nd Duke of Norfolk & 1st Earl of Surrey
b.1443, 1st Earl of Surrey, son of 1st Duke of Norfolk, fought with his father at Bosworth for Richard III.
In 1513 he was "Warden General of the Northern Marches", responsible for the security of England while Henry VIII was in France. He commanded an English army at the battle of Flodden, 9-Sep-1513, defeating invading Scots led by King James IV of Scotland. As reward for his decisive victory Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey, was on 1-Feb-1513/14 restored to his father's title as 2nd Duke of Norfolk, with precedency maintained to 1483 as if his father had never been attainted. 
d.21-May-1524 at Framlingham Castle, Suffolk. Buried at Thetford Priory, Norfolk. It is believed that following dissolution of the monasteries his body, with that of his father the 1st Duke, may have been moved to Framlingham Church and reinterred there, two of four unidentified interments known to be in the tomb of his son Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke.
Will dated 31-May-1520, proved 16-Jul-1524 [PCC]
Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Knight was named with the Duchess of Norfolk as joint executor but in the event he declined to act as such.
At Arundel Castle Archives, Arundel, Co.Sussex is:
an earlier "pre-will agreement" of 29 pages dated 31-Aug-1516 [ARUNDEL T1], between William Warham Archbishop of Canterbury, the 2nd Duke of Norfolk, and his son Thomas, Earl of Surrey.
At the end of the document "...the agreement is turned into an effective will by the Archbishop declaring his assent to the Duke's wishes and corroborating the declared value of the lands..." (Re: Heather Warne, archivist, Arundel Castle).

THOMAS HOWARD 3rd Duke of Norfolk & 2nd Earl of Surrey
b.1473, son of the 2nd Duke. One of the most powerful figures of the reign of Henry VIII.
Two of his nieces became wives of the King (Anne Boleyn 1533 and Catherine Howard 1540) but both executed.
His title forfeit in 1547, restored in 1553.
He escaped execution only because King Henry died before the warrant could be carried out.
d.25-Aug-1554 at Kenninghall, Norfolk; bur. Framlingham, Suffolk, Will proved 8-Nov-1554 PCC.
At Arundel Castle Archives are:
- copy will with some small differences to the PCC will [ARUNDEL GD42, but not listed in Arundel Archives catalogue]
- Probate of his will dated 8-Nov-1554 [ARUNDEL T3]

THOMAS HOWARD 4th Duke of Norfolk & 3rd Earl of Surrey
b.1536, grandson of the 3rd Duke. Proposed marriage with Mary Queen of Scots. Involved in the Ridolfi plot.
Title forfeit 1572, attainted and executed (beheaded) for treason, d.2-Jun-1572.
No will proved at [PCC].
At Arundel Castle Archives are:
- original will dated 31-May-1571 [ARUNDEL T4]
- copy of his will [ARUNDEL T5]
- Two volumes of accounts 1571-1573 kept by John Blennerhassett, as Treasurer to 4th Duke [ARUNDEL A1055 & A1056]
 The Blennerhassett family serving the
Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Surrey, or Earl of Arundel
Samuel Blennerhassett was a Freeman of Framlingham Castle, Co.Suffolk 10 Henry VII (1494/5).
Warning I have no idea who Samuel is or where he fits in the family tree
Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Knight, of Frenze, Norfolk (b.c1461 d.27-Jun-1531) was Minister (Seneschal, Steward, Principal Household Officer) for the 2nd Duke and 3rd Duke from some date unknown before 11-Jan-1513/14 (when his daughter Elizabeth died and was interred in Wonersh Church, Co.Surrey) until his own death d.27-Jun-1531 (23 Henry VIII).
He married 1st before 1492, as his first wife, to either:
Jane Sutton, as is recorded in the "Visitation of Norfolk" <date?> states and subsequent sources repeat (perhaps Sutton, Barons Dudley - arms "a lion rampant"?) .
NOTE: The arms "a lion rampant" are found on the monument to Jane's grand-daughter Mary Blennerhassett Culpeper Bacon at Frenze (1587)
Jane Le Strange of the family of Le Strange of Hunstanton (Hunston) Hall, Co.Norfolk (arms "two lions passant").
NOTE: The arms "two lions passant" are reported by [COTMAN.......] on a brass shield of arms on the ledger slab of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett at Frenze and also for his son George Blennerhassett at Kenninghall; both shields of arms are now lost.
In 1492 Thomas' wife Jane is described as cousin-german to Lady Surrey [SRO HD 1538/297/21 24-Jan-1492].  The term cousin-german derives from cousin-germain, of which the modern definition is 1st or 2nd cousin but in the 15th century meant simply "closely akin".
NOTE: Lady Surrey at that date was Elizabeth Tilney (d.4-Apr-1497) who married 2ndly to Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey (from 1483) and 2nd Duke of Norfolk (from 1514), the employer of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett.  Elizabeth was daughter of Sir Frederick Tylney & Elizabeth Cheney, granddaughter of Sir Philip Tilney (b.bef.1437 d.c1453) & Elizabeth Thorp (d.10-Nov-1435, dau. of Edmund Thorp).
Who is Jane Le Strange? - does she fit into the Le Strange of Hunstanton Hall family tree?
is either Jane Sutton or Jane Le Strange related to Elizabeth Howard, nee Tilney, Duchess of Norfolk?
Thomas Blennerhassett married 2ndly to Margaret Braham (daughter of John Braham of Wetheringsett, Co.Suffolk).
At his daughter Elizabeth's burial in Wonersh church soon after 11-Jan-1513/14 he was not yet named "Sir Thomas". It is not known if Thomas Blennerhassett was present at Bosworth (22-Aug-1485) or at Flodden (9-Sep-1513), but he appears to have been knighted shortly after the 2nd Duke regained his title (on 1-Feb-1513/14) and certainly before 31-May-1520 when the 2nd Duke made his final will.  In this will "Sir Thomas Blennerhassett Knt" is named joint executor with the Duchess of Norfolk, although subsequently, at the Duke's death in 1524, Sir Thomas refused to act as the executor and (by his own will) absolved his own executors from any responsibility for the Duke's will.
Until his own death in 1531 Sir Thomas Blennerhassett continued to serve as Minister to Thomas Howard, the 3rd Duke (d.1554), being auditor of accounts for the Duke's home at Framlingham Castle, Co.Suffolk 1530/31 (22 Henry VIII).  His son John Blennerhassett of Barsham Hall succeeded him as Minister to the third and fourth Dukes of Norfolk.
George Blennerhassett of Kenninghall, Co.Norfolk (b.c1501, d.14-Feb-1543/4, eldest son of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Knight above) and his 1st wife Jane (Sutton? Le Strange?) inherited his father's estates including Loudham, Frenze & Kelvedon. He was likely employed in the Duke's home at Kenninghall, but no evidence found. 

NOTE: The ledger slab on his grave formerly carried a brass shield of arms displaying the arms of Le Strange ("two lions passant").

NOTE: The ledger slab on the grave of his daughter Mary Blennerhassett Culpeper Bacon (d.1587) at Frenze displays a brass shield of arms with "a lion rampant" - this may perhaps be the arms of Sutton, Barons Dudley.

Rev. Thomas Blennerhassett (b.c1509 d.shortly bef.5-Feb-1544/5, second son of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Knight), was:

- appointed Commendator of Hardingham, Co.Norfolk 11-May-1520 (at the age of 11 years, by a bull of dispensation from Pope Leo X) presented by Thomas, Earl of Arundel

- instituted as Rector of St.Alphege, Solihull, Co.Warwickshire 1-May-1527 (at the age of 18 years, commencing during a brief period 1524-28 when the 2nd Duke was Lord of the Manor of Solihull) to 1544/5, serving as priest at Solihull until 1539.

- Chaplain to the 3rd Duke of Norfolk by 1538, perhaps until Rev. Thomas' death 1544/5.

- Precentor of Lichfield Cathedral, Co.Staffordshire & Prebendary of Bishops Itchington 30-Jan-1537/8 to 1544/5.

- Rector of Bressingham, Co.Norfolk (3 miles from the Blennerhassett family seat at Frenze) 23-Nov-1539 to 1544/5. 

John Blennerhassett (b.c1515 d.Jul-1573), MP for Co.Suffolk, was the third son of Sir Thomas Blennerhassett, Knt of Frenze, Co.Norfolk. He gained the manor of Barsham and Barsham Old Hall through his wife Mary Echingham, daughter and co-heir of Sir Edward Echingham, Knt of Barsham (d.1527) and his wife Ann Wingfield.

Of Roman Catholic sympathies, John Blennerhassett was a Minister (Treasurer and Legal Adviser, one of the principal household officers) to the Dukes of Norfolk, as his father Sir Thomas had been before him.
John served firstly Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (b.1473 d.1544), then Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk (b.<???> d.1572). Personally uninvolved in the plots of 1569-71, he was permitted to continue attending the 4th Duke after he had been attainted and imprisoned in the Tower of London, and until the Duke was executed (beheaded) in 1572. 
Edward Blennerhassett (b.bef.1552, will proved 19-Sep-1580, son of John Blennerhassett above), was "Servant to the Right Hon. Earl of Arundel". 
Frances Blennerhassett (b.bef.1561; bur. 23-Jun-1600) daughter of John Blennerhassett above, was "my Lady of Arundel's woman", i.e. personal attendant to Anne Dacre (b.21-Mar-1557 Carlisle, d.19-Apr-1630 Shifnall, Shropshire, bur. Arundel, Sussex), Countess of Arundel from her marriage in 1680. 



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