NICHOLAS BROME & the Three Murders: Part One

Back in 2019, I was doing some genealogical research, before a trip to Warwickshire and it led to the discovery of Nicholas BROME, my 13th great-grandpa. I was researching all the possible connections I had in the area which led from my grandmother Helen Mildred SHELDON to her 3rd great grandmother Sylvia SHERMAN and her grandmother Jedidiah HAWES, all the way back on the HAWES line to Elizabeth BROME, daughter of Nicholas BROME, who married Thomas HAWES. [See below MY CONNECTION] I am indebted to Anne Elliott’s book mentioned below, articles by the first tour guide at Baddesley Clinton, John Jarman, the lovely staff there, the Shakespeare Trust in Stratford Upon Avon, innumerable books and my newly acquainted cousin Mark Sutton.

So please let me introduce to you, my 13th great grandpa, Nicholas BROME. I promise you won’t be bored.


Nicholas BROME was born in the late medieval period about 1450 to parents John BROME and Beatrice SHIRLEY. They are believed to have married about 1431. His father, John BROME Esq., was a member of Parliament, representing Warwick, and was for a time the Under Treasurer of the Exchequer of England. He was a wealthy landowner and it seems, a successful entrepreneur. He raised cattle and sold hides to Henry VI at Kenilworth Castle, he had a rock quarry from which headstones were fashioned and owned a tile factory. He held manorial court at Baddesley Clinton and added to his land holdings, but it seems he made enemies in the process. The Manor of Baddesley Clinton is assumed to be where Nicholas was born. In the delightful, historical novel by Anne Elliott, My Husband: The Extraordinary History of Nicholas Brome, she recounts the possible circumstances of Nicholas’ birth. Although part fiction I highly recommend it. Nicholas’ mother Beatrice SHIRLEY was the daughter of Sir Ralph SHIRLEY Lord of the Manor at Ettington and grand daughter of Sir Hugh SHiRLEY who fell at the battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. The SHIRLEY family held this manor back to the time of the Norman conquest. This is a view of the 13th c. Tower of St. Nicholas at Ettington Park, now the grounds of a posh hotel.

The 13th c. Tower of St. Nicholas

A deed dated 2 June, 6 Edward IV, [1466 UK Archives E 40/4493] names the children of John BROME and his wife Beatrice: Thomas, Nicholas, and John, Isabella, Elizabeth, Agnes, and Jocosa [aka Joice or Joyce who becomes the prioress of nearby Wroxall Priory from 1501-1525]. On Saturday 11th of July 1450 Brome Place in Warwick is attacked by marauders. The next morning the Manor House at Baddesley Clinton while Beatrice and the terrified children were inside. It is said they escaped to the farm of one of their tenants. During this time Richard NEVILLE, known as the “Kingmaker”, is instigating the men of Warwickshire to rise up against King Henry VI. The same King with which John BROME is aligned. Trouble is definitely brewing. In 1453 King Henry VI takes ill but recovers by 1455 when the civil war known as the War of the Roses, begins. The factions fighting for the throne are the Houses of Lancaster and the House of York. The war spans the years 1455-1487.

So into this cauldron of strife our young Nicholas arrives. The second son after his brother Thomas. In 1454 his father is having additions made to Baddesley with a Southwest Wing and renovations made to Brome Place at Bridge End in Warwick. With his father’s many businesses and properties there is likely much to keep young Nicholas entertained. Not to mention that Brome Place lies across the river from Warwick Castle. Early 20th c. Postcard and woodcut from Historic Warwickshire 1893 Burgess.


As a nobleman’s son Nicholas likely had private tutors at home before receiving a more formal education, perhaps at the Collegiate of St Mary or within Warwick Castle proper or both. Please click on the photos below for expanded views.

Views around Warwick above and the postcard below would be the view of castle as approached from Bridge End.

The view of Warwick Castle from Bridge End side of the River c. 1891
Google aerial map annotated to show Proximity of Brome Place to Warwick Castle
1885 Map of Warwick annotated.

Interestingly, with the dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII the collegiate of St Mary Warwick was dissolved in 1546, and the church was granted by the crown to the burgesses of Warwick. This would have been antithetical to the Brome family who were loyal Catholics. In any event life, for Nicholas, would have been busy and perhaps more exciting in the bustling market town of Warwick rather than the manor at Baddesley Clinton. It is likely young Nicholas was back and forth between the two, frequently.


Whitefriars Church London 1563

Nicholas’ father was often in London. On one such occasion in 1468 he was attending Mass at Whitefriars church when John HERTHILL, steward to Richard NEVILLE, aka ‘The Kingmaker,’ summoned him outside. Called out to the porch and after some words exchanged between them, John HERTILL ran him through with a sword. The argument was ostensibly a dispute about lands, and the redemption of the manor of Woodloes which John HERTHILL had mortgaged to John BROME. I suspect that there was much more of a political undercurrent involved since John BROME and Richard NEVILLE were backing opposite sides. In John BROME’s will written between the time of his wound and his death shortly thereafter he used this Expression : ” that he forgave his son Thomas who smiled when he saw him run through by HERTHILL in the Whitefriars Church Porch.” It is said he is buried there. This was in 1468 which if estimates are correct Nicholas would have been about eighteen. According to Dugale John BROME’s epitaph read [roughly translated]

“Lo! Here lies as dust the body of John Brome, a noble and learned man, skilled in the law of the Realm, a child of genius, witness the County of Warwick, who fell by the sword in this church, slain at the time of the mass by the hands of wicked men. He was buried in the tomb November 5, 1468. Kindly father, it is better for him to have eternal rest.”

Very little of the monastery remained after the dissolution and today the area is covered in modern buildings. However an architectural firm preserved some of the old excavated crypt. I received permission to visit it and here are the photos I took. Click on each for larger image. It was quite dark so resolution not great.


We shan’t leave this chapter without a note on Nicholas’ inheritance. Where his older brother, Thomas is forgiven though smiling during the attack on his father at Whitefriars, as the eldest son Thomas inherits Woodloes, Brome Place in Warwick along with other Warwick properties. However the manor at Baddesley Clinton goes to his mother, Beatrice, for her life. At her death Baddesley Clinton Manor would pass to Nicholas. Things don’t work out well for Thomas, as he dies at Woodloes in 1473 without heirs we shall assume as all of the properties he inherited from his father John BROME pass to Nicholas. Beatrice, their mother, dies and was buried 10 July 1483, in the chancel of St. Michael’s church of Baddesley Clinton. The window shown below with panels of many family members was commissioned by Nicholas’ daughter Constance who married Edward FERRERS in 1507. The Window panel on the bottom 2nd from left is of Nicholas BROME. The Chancel was added after his death.

Chancel of St Michael’s Church Baddesley Clinton


  • Nicholas BROME 1450-151713th great-grandfather
  • Elizabeth BROME 1501-1566
  • William HAWES of Hillfield Hall Solihull 1531-1611
  • Edmund HAWES 1580-1655
  • Edward HAWES 1612-1693
  • John Capt HAWES 1636-1701
  • Benjamin HAWES 1682-1722
  • Jedidah HAWES 1709-1764
  • Benjamin SHERMAN 1734-1805
  • Sylvia SHERMAN 1765-1831
  • Justus SHELDON 1796-1871
  • Elmer SHELDON 1819-1898
  • Justus Warren SHELDON 1845-1923
  • Helen Mildred SHELDON 1889-1948 who was my grandmother

To be continued…

Kelly Wheaton ©2023 – All Rights Reserved

4 Comments on “NICHOLAS BROME & the Three Murders: Part One”

  1. Pingback: NICHOLAS BROME & the Three Murders: Part Two | Wheaton Wood

  2. Pingback: Friday’s Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

  3. Pingback: Nicholas BROME & the Three Murders: Part Five | Wheaton Wood

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: