Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk

Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk

Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk (June 1, 1300 – August 4, 1338) was the son of Edward I of England and Marguerite of France. Thomas was born at the Manor House in Brotherton. His mother was staying at Pontefract Castle and was following a hunt when she went into labour. He was born in the main house, later demolished due to disrepair in the 1930s, although the new (17th Century) wing still exists. He was named in honour of St. Thomas.

His father died when he was 7 years old. Thomas' half-brother, Edward, now became king of England. The Earldom of Cornwall had been intended for Thomas, but Edward instead bestowed it upon his favourite, Piers Gaveston, in 1306. When he was 10 years old, his brother Edward II of England assigned him and another brother, Edmund, the estates of Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk who had died without heir in 1306.

In 1312 he was titled, "Earl of Norfolk" and on February 10, 1316 he was created Marshal of England. When his brother went to Scotland in the war, he was left Keeper of England. Thomas was known for having a hot and violent temper. He was one of the many victims of the unchecked greed of Hugh the younger Despenser, who stole some of the young earl's lands. He allied himself with Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March when they invaded England in 1326, and stood as one of the judges in the trials against both Despensers.

He married first, probably in 1319, Alice Hayles, daughter of Sir Roger Hayles and Alice Skogan. She was supposed to have been a great beauty. Her father was the coroner of Norfolk, a title that held a different meaning in the 14th century than it does today; his post demanded that he collect and protect revenues for the king. Thomas and Alice had three children:

1) Edward of Norfolk (c. 1320 - 1334)

2) Margaret, Duchess of Norfolk (c. 1320 - 1399)

3. Alice of Norfolk (1324 - 1352)

Alice Hayles died in 1330, when a chantry was founded for her soul in Bosham, Sussex. Thomas was married before March 28 1335 to Mary Brewes, widow of Ralph de Cobham, Lord Cobham. He died in September 1338, and was buried in the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds. Thomas' descent passed to the Mowbay family and ultimately the Howard Dukes of Norfolk, from whom descended two of the wives of Henry VIII of England, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.

Titles, styles, honours and arms


As Earl of Norfolk, Thomas had use of the coat of arms of the kingdom, differenced by a "label argent of three points". [ [ Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family] ]


Mortimer, Ian. "The Greatest Traitor", 2003.

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