Brassey was the son of the railway contractor Thomas Brassey and his wife Maria (née Harrison). Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey, was his elder brother and Albert Brassey his younger brother. He was educated at Oxford University and in 1868 he was elected to the House of Commons for Sandwich as a Liberal, a seat he held until 1885. Brassey also served as Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, as High Sheriff of Kent in 1890 and as a Justice of the Peace for the county. His London house was at Bath House, Piccadilly, and his country house was Preston Hall near Aylesford in Kent.
Brassey married Anna Harriet, daughter of George Robert Stephenson, in 1866. They had five sons and seven daughters. Their second but eldest surviving son Henry became a Conservative politician and was created Baron Brassey of Apethorpe in 1938. One of his daughters, Hilda Brassey, married the 8th Duke of Richmond. Brassey died in May 1891, aged 50. His wife Anna Harriet survived him by eight years and died in 1898.
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages [self-published source][better source needed]
- Lundy, Darryl. "FAQ". The Peerage.[unreliable source?]
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Henry Brassey
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Sandwich
With: Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen 1868–1880
Charles Henry Compton Roberts 1880–1885