Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Thomas Bryan

Male - 1500


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  • Name Thomas Bryan 
    Born St. Andrew's, Holborn, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 14 Aug 1500  [2
    Person ID I12354  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of AP
    Last Modified 9 Apr 2020 

    Family Isabel,   d. 1467 
    Children 
    +1. Thomas Bryan,   b. of St. John, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 1 Oct 1508 and 30 Jan 1518
    Last Modified 9 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F16483  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • From the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (citation details below):

      Bryan, Sir Thomas (d. 1500), judge, was born in obscure circumstances, though he assumed arms containing three piles in allusion to those of Sir Guy Bryan (d. 1390) whose barony became extinct in 1456. His early career suggests that he was the son of a Londoner, and the most probable lineage is that of John Bryan (d. 1395), citizen and fishmonger, whose son John (d. 1418) owned property in various parts of London, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, and Essex. Sir Thomas likewise had property in London and Buckinghamshire. […]

      On the accession of Edward IV in 1471 Bryan was appointed chief justice of the common pleas, and in 1475 was created a knight of the Bath. In 1472 he received a remarkable patent of reappointment 'during good behaviour', the usual form of judicial appointment being 'during the king's pleasure'. The plea roll for Hilary term 1477 contains a badly defaced drawing which shows Bryan, in robes, receiving an amended version of this patent from the king. His tenure of the chief justiceship, which lasted for a little over twenty-nine years until his death, was the longest ever, though his lasting influence was staid rather than innovative. He always maintained that the common law should be guided by equity and justice, and he was not unaware of social changes: for instance, he favoured the new-found protection of the copyholder against his lord by an action of trespass. Nevertheless, in a period when the king's bench, under Hussey and Fyneux, was developing new remedies and becoming a rival court for court of common pleas, Bryan's judicial conservatism set the court of common pleas on a course which by the end of the sixteenth century would seem distinctly reactionary.

      Bryan did not favour the current movement to find a means of barring entails. Although the doubts which he expressed in Taltarum's case (1472) failed to prevent the common recovery from becoming established in the early years of his presidency, he was scrupulous to protect the interests of leaseholders and remaindermen. Such considerations seem to have weighed less with his fellow judges, but the legacy of his cautious approach was the elaborate scheme of double and triple vouchers developed in the following century. In Hulcote's case (1493) he stopped counsel from disputing the 'common learning' that a landowner's freedom to dispose of the fee simple could not be restrained by condition, while in the same case approving a condition against barring an entail: this distinction encouraged a spate of 'perpetuity clauses', to counter the common recovery, which were not finally declared ineffective until 1613. Bryan was also opposed to the circumvention of wager of law by means of actions on the case, the issue later to provide the main source of contention between the two benches.

  • Sources 
    1. [S142] Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families by Douglas Richardson. Salt Lake City, 2013.

    2. [S76] The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004-ongoing.