Bray, Sir Reginald

(1440–1503)
   Sir Reginald Bray played a vital role in organizing BUCKINGHAM’S REBELLION against RICHARD III during the last phase of the civil wars (1483–1487) and later became one of the most active and trusted ministers of HENRY VII.
   Born into an ancient Hampshire family, Bray began his career as receiver-general for Sir Henry Stafford, second husband of Margaret BEAUFORT, mother of the future Henry VII. After Stafford’s death in 1471, Bray continued to serve Lady Margaret as steward. In 1483, Bray acted as go-between for Margaret and John MORTON, bishop of Ely, who was then engaged in drawing his jailer, Henry STAFFORD, duke of Buckingham, into the conspiracy being formed to dethrone Richard III in favor of Margaret’s son, Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond. Bray also raised much-needed funds for Richmond and won several key gentlemen to the earl’s cause, including Giles Daubeney and Richard Guildford.
   After the failure of Buckingham’s Rebellion in October 1483, Bray was pardoned by Richard III, but continued to support Richmond and may have gone into exile with the earl in FRANCE. Knighted after the Battle of BOSWORTH FIELD in 1485, Bray was quickly named chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and knight of the body. Appointed a member of the COUNCIL, Bray held various financial and administrative positions, sat in numerous PARLIAMENTS, and served on over 100 commissions. Bray’s record of loyal service to Margaret Beaufort made him a member of Henry VII’s inner circle of advisors, especially in matters of finance. Bray was responsible for the fi- nancial provisions that made possible construction of Henry VII’s chapel at Westminster and his renovations of St. George’s chapel at Windsor. Bray died in August 1503.
   Further Reading: Chrimes, S. B., Henry VII (New Haven, CT:Yale University Press, 1999); Gill, Louise, Richard III and Buckingham’s Rebellion (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1999); Guth, DeLloyd J.,“Climbing the Civil- Service Pole during the Civil War: Sir Reynald Bray,” in Sharon D. Michalove and A. Compton Reeves, eds., Estrangement, Enterprise and Education in Fifteenth-Century England (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1998), pp. 47–62.

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

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