John Norreys (Usher of the Chamber)

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For other people with the same name, see John Norris (disambiguation).

Sir John Norreys (c. 1481 – 21 October 1564) was an important member of the English court during the reign of the House of Tudor.


Probably born at Yattendon Castle, John was the eldest son of Sir Edward Norreys (d. 1487) and Lady Frideswide Lovell, sister and heiress of Lord Lovell. He was named after his great grandfather Sir John Norreys, who had established this branch of the Norreys family as extensive landowners in the county of Berkshire. The Norreys family members often held positions of importantance at the English court.

John's father Edward, the eldest son and heir of Sir William Norreys, had taken part in the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487, dying shortly afterwards. John was then his grandfather's heir, and succeeded to the Norreys family estates upon the old man's death in 1507. The estates included major residences such as Yattendon Castle and Ockwells and minor lands like Norreys Manor in Wokingham.


In 1517, John murdered one John Enhold of Nettlebed in unknown circumstances. He was fined 1,000 marks and had to surrender Ockwells. In return by his brother, Henry, obtained a pardon for him. His uncle, Sir Thomas Fettiplace, took possession of Ockwells.


John married Elizabeth Braye (born c. 1490), daughter of John Braye of Eaton Bray, whose family was as important in England as the Norreys family. Elizabeth's brother, Edmund Braye (d. 1539), was the 1st Baron Braye, a title created for him in 1529. Her brother, Edward Braye (d. 1558), was a Member of Parliament. The couple was childless.

Royal associations[edit]

John rose in favour at Court, perhaps with the help of his mother, and became the Esquire of the body of King Henry VII, and later the usher of the outer chamber to both King Henry VIII and King Edward VI. Described as "a rank papist", he was later promoted to be chief usher of the privy chamber to Queen Mary Tudor. He retired to Ashampstead upon the accession of Queen Elizabeth.

In 1520, John entertained King Henry VIII and his Queen Catherine of Aragon at Yattendon Castle.

Later life[edit]

When John's younger brother, Sir Henry Norreys, was beheaded in 1536 for his supposed adultery with the queen, Anne Boleyn, John and his wife, Elizabeth, took over the care of Henry's orphaned children Henry and Mary. Having no children of his own, John was licensed to settle his estates in reversion on his nephew in December 1542.


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