Miles Braithwaite

Miles Braithwaite M.A. Rector of Sutton 17th July 1543 - 17th May 1554.

The name Miles Braithwaite is various given in records as Miles Braghwate, Miles Brathwet, Mylone Braythwate.

Miles Braithwaite is known to have studied at Oxford at Queen's College where he obtained his degree of Master of Arts.(1) He was admitted as Principal of St Edmund's Hall on 29th September 1528 although unusually he had not been been made a fellow of his own college. It seems that St Edmund's Hall had difficulty, owing to the uncertainty of the times, in finding a fellow who would undertake the responsibilities of the principalship.(1)

St Edmund Hall had begun life as one of Oxford's ancient Aularian houses, the mediaeval halls that laid the foundation of the University, preceding the creation of the first colleges.
In the course of Braithwaite's principalship the hall was brought for the first time into official relationship with Queen's college. About 1531 the college obtained a lease of the hall from Oseney Abbey, and, thereafter, as the Long Rolls of the college show, the college received the room-rents and became responsible for the repairs.

The Queen's college has had a long association with the north of England, in part because of its founder came from Eglesfield a village in Cumberland. Because of his name and because of his collegiate affiliation is likely that Braithwaite came from the north of England.

Braithwaite resigned as the principal of St Edmund's Hall on 24 September 1533(1). This was probably because he had accepted a living elsewhere which conflicted with the regulations that governed his office of Principal..
1533 was also the year that King Henry's pursuit of the annulment of his marriage with Katherine of Aragon culminated with the break from Rome, the actual forced annulment of his marriage, his marriage to Anne Boleyn and the Kings excommunication by the Pope.

There is nice symetry that as Braithwaite was moving on from his time in Oxford the man destined to suceed him as future rector, Edmund Marvyn, was just beginning his studies.

There is unfortunately a gap from 1533 to 1536 when we loose sight of Braithwaite, but he reappears when he is appointed as rector of Carshalton from 1536(2).

In 1534 The Act of Supremacy declared that the King was "the only Supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England" and the Treasons Act 1534 made it high treason, punishable by death, to refuse to acknowledge the King as such.

1536 the 10 Articles of Religion shifted the doctrine of the Church of England in a more reforming direction. And the dissolution of the religious houses was proceeding rapidly. The same year also saw the execution of Anne Boleyn and the rebellion called the Pilgrimage of Grace. Following the crushing of the revolt there was a further shift back towards traditional belief was signalled in the Bishop's Book of 1537 when four of the seven sacraments that were omitted from the Ten Articles were restored.
This marked the end of the drift of official doctrine towards Protestantism under Henry VIII. The Bishop's Book was followed by the even more Catholic Six Articles of 1539.

Braithwaite came to Carshalton in the year that Parliament passed the Act against the Pope's Authority which removed the last part of papal authority still legal; this was Rome's power in England to decide disputes concerning Scripture.

The same year of 1536 Miles Braithwaite is also listed as vicar of Banstead when Sir Thomas Cheney was patron.
"Sir Thomas Cheinie unus Constabulator Regis Miles Braithwaite, M.A. 21 Mar 1536"

The manor of Banstead had been part of Katherine of Aragon's dowery. She had leased it in 1532 to Sir Nicholas Carew of Beddington. Katherine had died in the January of 1536 and although the manor would eventually be given to Sir Nicholas Carew it was Sir Thomas Cheney who acted on behalf of the King.

Sir Thomas Cheney was a favourite of Henry VIII's fiancée, Anne Boleyn, and she fought Cardinal Wolsey for his promotion in 1528 and 1529. However, it was not until 1535-40 that Cheney consolidated his authority as one of the most powerful men in the south-east of England.

More noticeable, and objectionable to many, were the Injunctions, first of 1536 and then 1538. The programme began with the abolition of many feastdays, 'the occasion of vice and idleness' which, particularly at harvest time, had an immediate effect on village life.The offerings to images were discouraged, as were pilgrimages - these injunctions took place while monasteries were being dissolved. In some places images were burned on the grounds that they were objects of superstitious devotion, candles lit before images were prohibited, Bibles in both English and Latin were to be bought. Thus did the Reformation begin to affect the towns and villages of England and, in many places, they did not like it.

On 6th July 1537, Chertsey Abbey was surrendered by John Cordrey, the abbot, William the prior, and thirteen of the brethren to the King's commissioners. (6)

In November of 1537 the King granted the manor of Sutton to Sir Nicholas Carew in tail-male along with other former lands of Chertsey Abbey such as the manors of Coulsdon, Epsom and Horley.

In 1538 the nearby manor of Cuddington was sold in 1538 by Richard Codington and Elizabeth his wife to Henry VIII, who annexed it in 1539 to the honour of Hampton Court. Work started on 22 April 1538 to demolish the church and village of Cuddington to clear the site for a great new palace that would be called Nonsuch. It was the first day of Henry's thirtieth regnal year, and six months after the birth of his son, later Edward VI.

Parish Records were started in 1538 - a law was passed that ordered each clergyman to record baptisms, marriages and burials in the prescence of a Churchwarden.

In 1539 Hampton Court was created an 'Honour' by Act of Parliament. It was among the 'statutory' as opposed to 'feudal' honours created by Henry VIII. The lands annexed to Hampton Court were partly confiscated monastic property, but some of them were obtained by purchase or attaint.

In Surrey the manors of Walton on Thames, Walton Leghe, Oatlands (with lands in Weybridge, Walton, and Chertsey); the manors of Byfleet and Weybridge (with lands and tenements in Walton); East Molesey, West Molesey, Sandown, Weston, Imworth (or Imber Court), and Esher ; lands at Heywood and the fee-farm of the borough of Kingston-on-Thames. In Middlesex the manors of Hanworth and Kempton, Feltham, and Teddington, with the parks of Hanworth and Kempton, and lands in Hampton, Kempton, Feltham, and Teddington.

In 1539 Sir Nicholas was convicted of high treason and attainted, and his estates were forfeited. In 1540 the manor Sutton along with all of the Carew properties in Surrey was annexed to the honour of Hampton Court.

These Surrey manors are some of those attached attached to the honour, Nonsuch, Ewell, East and West Cheam with lands in Coddington, Ewell, and Maldon ; the manors of Banstead, Walton on the Hill, Sutton, Epsom, Beddington and Coulsdon, Wimbledon with its members, Dunsford, Balham, Wandsworth, and Battersea, and other lands in Hampton, Sunbury, Walton, Hanworth, Shepperton, Feltham, Kingston on Thames, Brentford, Hounslow, and Hanworth.

The structure of Nonsuch was substantially completed by 1541 but would take another five years to complete. As the Royal Household took possession of vast tracts of surrounding acreage, several major roads were re-routed or by-passed to circumvent what became Nonsuch Great Park.

In 1541 Braithwaite is named as Milones Braythwate, vicar of Carshalton (3) and as Mylone Braythwayte, vicar of Banstead (4) in diocesan records.

Johanes Godsalve was appointed 'Priest' of Carshalton in 1541(3). His stipend was paid by Milones Braythwate, vicar of Carshalton and in the same year 1541, Ricardus Robynson was appointed curate of Bansted with his stipend paid by Mylone Braythwayte (3), vicar of Banstead so it appears that Braithwaite may have been an absentee.

Braithwaite held the living of Carshalton until 1543(2). On 9th May 1543 at the court in Westminister, Brathwet(sic) was presented with the rectory of Sutton.(8) His institution took place on 17th July 1543 (4). The religious conservative Stephen Gardiner was Bishop of Winchester at this time. The king Henry VIII was patron of Sutton.

Sutton like Carshalton were good livings. Not just from the value of their tithes but also from their location. Sutton was 12 miles from the Palace of Winchester at London Bridge, 12 miles from the Archbishop's Palace, 12 miles from Westminister Palace and the court, 9 miles from both Esher Palace and Hampton Court, 6 miles from Croydon Palace and 2 miles from Nonsuch Palace.

It would have been perfectly possible to ride from Sutton in the morning, conduct business at any of the above locations and then ride back in the evening.

When Henry died in 1547, his nine year old son, Edward VI, inherited the throne. Edward had been brought up as a Protestant, and his government proceeded at first hesitantly with the continuation of the reformation. The 1547 Injunctions against images were a more tightly drawn version of those of 1538 but they were much more fiercely enforced, at first informally, and then, by instruction. All images in churches were to be dismantled; stained glass, shrines, statues were defaced or destroyed; roods and often their lofts and screens were cut down, bells were taken down; vestments were prohibited and either burned or sold; church plate was to be melted down or sold and the requirement of the clergy to be celibate was lifted; processions were banned; ashes and palms were prohibited. Chantries, means by which the saying of masses for the dead were endowed, were abolished completely. How well this was received is disputed:

In 1549 Cranmer introduced a Book of Common Prayer in English. In 1550, stone altars were exchanged for wooden communion tables, a very public break with the past, as it changed the look and focus of church interiors.

Less visible, but still influential, was the new ordinal which provided for Protestant pastors rather than Catholic priests, an admittedly conservative adaptation of Bucer's draft;[61] its Preface explicitly mentions the historic succession but, it has been described as 'another case of Cranmer's opportunist adoption of mediaeval forms for new purposes'.[62] In 1551, the episcopate was remodelled by the appointment of Protestants to the bench. This removed the obstacle to change which was the refusal of some bishops to enforce the regulations.

In 1551 Stephen Gardiner was deprived of his bishopric of Winchester and it was given in John Ponet, a chaplain of Cranmer's who was previously Bishop of Rochester.

Henceforth, the Reformation proceeded apace. In 1552 the original prayer book of 1549, which the conservative Bishop Stephen Gardiner had approved from his prison cell as being "patient of a Catholic interpretation", was replaced by a second much more radical prayer book which altered the shape of the service, so as to remove any sense of sacrifice. Edward's Parliament also repealed his father's Six Articles.

Mary the daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon came to the throne on 19th July 1553 following the failed attempt to have Lady Jane Grey established as Queen.

The year 1554 was momentous. Lady Jane Grey was executed, Elizabeth, Mary’s half sister, was imprisoned and Mary I of England and Philip II of Spain were married. The following year was also one that will be etched on the annals of history with blood. The royal marriage between Mary and the Spanish Philip was deeply unpopular with such a close association with Spanish Catholicism.

On 17th May 1554 Miles Braghwate (sic) was deprived of the living of Banstead(5) and at the same time he lost Sutton.

The living of Sutton was descibed a "de jure vacante" when Edmund Marvyn was instituted as rector in 1554(7). It is traditionally interpreted that the Miles Braithwaite was deprived for marriage. But early 1554 had seen Wyatt's rebellion. The rebellion had been serious in Kent and Wyatt's army reached the outskirts of London before the rebellion was broken up. All the rebel leaders were committed Protestants, and it is possible that Miles Braithwaite had been deprived not for marriage but for sympathy with the rebellion. More circumstantial evidence is provided by the fact that Thomas Cheyney, Braithwaite's former patron when he had been vicar of Banstead. Sir Thomas Cheney may have opposed the plan to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne. and although he pledged his support for Mary I nevertheless some in her court privately distrusted his loyalty during the outbreak of a rebellion represented for Kent by his 'friend and neighbour' Sir Thomas Wyatt in the attack on London in 1554.


(1) A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3: The University of Oxford (1954), pp. 319-335
(2) All Saints Parsh Church Carshalton, An Illustrated Short History of the Church by HV Molesworth Roberts, 1966
(3) The Clergy of the Church of England Database (CCEd): BL, Additional MS 34137 (Miscellaneous): 1541, Gardiner, Stephen/Winchester 1553-1555
(4) The Clergy of the Church of England Database (CCEd): HRO, 21M65 A1/23 (Episcopal Register), Gardiner, Stephen/Winchester 1553-1555
(5) The Clergy of the Church of England Database (CCEd): HRO, 21M65 A1/24 (Episcopal Register), Gardiner, Stephen/Winchester 1553-1555
(6) House of Benedictine monks: Abbey of Chertsey, A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 2 (1967), pp. 55-64
(7) Malden, Henry Elliot. Rectors and vicars of Surrey parishes (supplementing and correcting the lists in "Manning & Bray's History of Surrey"). Surrey Archaeological Collections, 27 (1914).
(8) Henry VIII: May 1543, 26-31', Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII: January-July 1543, Volume 18 Part 1 (1901), pp. 346-368.