(B. Bray / B. Wharton)

Born: ABT 1524

Died: 3 Feb 1584/5

Buried: Healaugh, Yorkshire, England

Father: Francis TALBOT (5º E. Shrewsbury)

Mother: Mary DACRE (C. Shrewsbury)

Married 1: John BRAY (2º B. Bray) Jun 1542

Married 2: Thomas WHARTON (1º B. Wharton) 18 Nov 1561, Sheffield 

Anne Talbot was the daughter of Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, and Mary Dacre. In 1542, she married her father’s ward, John Bray, 2nd Baron Bray.

At the death of Edward VI, both Shrewsbury and his son George signed the device for the succession to the crown. His son-in-law, John, Lord Bray was one of twenty-six peers who signed letters patent handing the Crown to Lady Jane Grey.

Bray was first arrested on 15 Jul 1553, during Wyatt's Rebellion, on suspicion of being involved in that plot, but he was released later the same day. On 5 Jan 1556, in the parish of St. Andrew in the ward of Baynard’s Castle, he made the mistake of saying that if his neighbor of Hatfield might once reign, he would have his lands and debts given to him again, which he both wished for and trusted he would see. In other words, he hoped Queen Mary would die so that Elizabeth Tudor could ascend to the throne. This was sufficient cause to arrest him when rumors of the Dudley Conspiracy came to light and he was in custody by 5 May 1556.

As soon as Lady Bray heard of her husband’s arrest, she went at once to London, as did her mother-in-law, Jane Hallighwell. Neither woman managed to arrange a meeting with the Queen, but they sent tokens to influential courtiers, including Susan Clarenceaux, the Queen’s chief gentlewoman. Hearing of Lady Bray’s campaign to free her husband, Queen Mary is reported to have said that “God sent often times to good women evil husbands”. She may have been thinking of her own husband, for word had come to her on 16 Jun that King Felipe would not be returning to England as planned. Upon receiving that news, the Queen shut herself away, refusing to see any petitioners. Meanwhile, Lord Bray was confined first in the Fleet and later in the Tower and according to gossip was deprived of basic necessities while his wife was offered “no gentleness”. Throughout his imprisonment, Bray maintained that he was innocent of treason and the eventual charge against him was only “infraction of true obedience” for his “false and contemptuous words”. He remained in custody until the first week of Apr 1557 and was then released. He was pardoned on 13 May 1557. When Felipe II raised an army to fight the French, he joined up, as did many who had formerly been rebels, and he fought at Saint Quentin on 10 Aug where he was wounded. It was as a result of these wounds that he died on 18 Nov 1557 in his house in Blackfriars. His wife was not with him, although his mother was, and she was the one he named executrix of his will, which was proved on 20 Nov 1557. His mother arranged for his burial at Chelsea, where his father and grandfather rested.

It is difficult to tell if there was a rift between husband and wife at this time. Spouses did not customarily attend funerals. In this case, however, neither did any of Anne’s relatives, the Talbots. The chief mourner was George Brooke, Lord Cobham, Bray’s brother-in-law. Anne had no children by John Bray and the title went into abeyance after his death. She remarried four years later, on 18 Nov 1561, taking as her second husband Thomas, 1st baron Wharton. She did not have any children by her second husband, either.

Dorothy Dacre, widow of Thomas Windsor, in her will dated 1562, leaves a ring of gold to the Countess of Shrewsbury and her sister-in-law Anne Talbot:

"Item, I give & bequeath to my Lady of Shrewsbury and to my Lady Braye, either of them one ring of gold of 20s price apiece with these letters, D and W, engraven, and black enamelled".

Anne Talbot, Lady Wharton, made her will in 1582. Will dated (York) 12 Mar 1582/3 / 25 Jul 1585 [abstract H&G i 262-4].

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