Sir Valentine Browne

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For other people named Valentine Browne, see Valentine Browne (disambiguation).

Sir Valentine Browne, of Croft, Lincolnshire, later of Ross Castle, Killarney, was an English pay official and politician.


Browne was the son of Sir Valentine Browne of Croft, Lincolnshire. He may have been educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, although the dates in the University record seem to apply to a younger man of the same name.[1] He was appointed Surveyor General of Ireland in 1559 by Queen Elizabeth I of England, later being appointed Auditor of the Exchequer. He was elected Member of Parliament for Berwick-on-Tweed in 1571, Thetford in 1572 and for Berwick again in 1586. He was also a member of the Privy Council during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

In July 1584, the English government commissioned a survey of the lands of Munster, following the Desmond Rebellions. Browne was appointed to this task, whose purpose was to facilitate the plantation of Munster. In a letter to Lord Burleigh dated 10 October 1584, he said that "the work was so difficult as to have extended over three years."[citation needed] He then wrote from Askeaton that he had "travailed hard in superintending the survey, passing through bogs and woods, scaling mountains, and crossing many bridgeless rivers and dangerous waters," waters in which he lost some of his horses, and was twice nearly lost himself; that his son had broken his arm, and that "the service was so severe that many of the men had fallen sick." He described the towns and villages as ruined, and that but one of thirty people was left alive. Desmond's lands, thus void of inhabitants, were, however, "replenished with wood, rivers, and fishings". Sir Valentine's companion, Henry Wallop, expressed more optimism for English prospects in the region.

Browne’s survey resulted in the rebel lands being divided into 35 lots; he himself was granted 6,500 acres (26 km2) of land in County Kerry alone, in addition to earlier grants in Hospital, County Limerick. He erected a castle nearby, called Kenmare Castle, and in 1585 was MP for County Sligo in the Irish Parliament.

He is the ancestor of the Earls of Kenmare. The sons of his second marriage (to Thomasine, daughter of Robert Bacon) became landed proprietors in Munster whilst the son of his first marriage (to Alice or Elizabeth, the daughter of Robert Alexander) became High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1593. He also married Ellice Fitzgerald, daughter of Gerald Fitzgerald, 15th Earl of Desmond.

His son Sir Nicholas married Sheila, a daughter of the O'Sullivan Beare, a clan with lands in West Cork. However, unlike most of the English settlers following the Reformation, the Brownes soon reverted to the Catholic faith. Although they can hardly be said to have become Gaelicised, they were at least sufficiently identified with the old Gaelic aristocracy to be coupled with the great Irish families in a 17th-century Irish poem eulogising the old order.[citation needed]

On 28 June 1588, he purchased the family's vast estates, including the Lakes of Killarney, from the estate of Donald Maccarty, 1st Earl of Clancare.

He died in 1589 and was buried in St Catherine’s Church, Dublin,[clarification needed] on 19 February 1589.[2]


  1. ^ "Browne, Valentine (BRWN570V)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ "BROWNE, Sir Valentine (d.1589), of Hoxton, Mdx., Croft, Lincs. and Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumb.". History of Parliament. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 


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  • Brydges, Egerton (1817). A Biographical Peerage of the Empire of Great Britain. London.
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