John Brome acquired the house in 1438. According to Henry Ferrers it was bequeathed to him by one Metley. Henry says, “Brome honours much the place”, and indeed there was much to be done as the estate had changed hands at least four times in the previous 50 years.
John Brome was an influential lawyer from Warwick who rose to become Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer in 1554-7. His bailiff’s accounts for 1442-58 still survive and a provide fascinating glimpse into the running of an estate at the time. “Thorns and undergrowth” were cleared to grow cereals, though most of the estate was devoted to pasture for the fattening of beef cattle. In the 1440s Brome became a supplier to the Royal Household. He dug three fish ponds (our “stewponds”) and stocked them with fish at a cost of £4 16s. They provided fresh fish for the household and the surplus was sold.
The tile works, built earlier in the century were restored. In 1468 a purchaser from Stratford-upon-Avon bought 20,000 tiles at a cost of £6. There was also a quarry at Badger’s Dell which provided high quality grey sandstone for building. This stone can be seen in the house where Brome’s gatehouse and the round-headed windows to its right still exist.
Brome was obviously building a house of status to befit his ambitions. He provided garderobes (toilets) and a sewer under the west wing which were of considerable sophistication for the time. Most of the best chambers at the time were in this range suggesting it was the family wing.
However, he still felt the need to protect his house with a moat, for these could be violent times. There is an extraordinary record called The Complaint of John Brome which stated that on Saturday 11 June 1450 “certain persons came riotously” and broke into his house in Warwick and stole “money, deedes and evidences”, then:
" That same night they went thence to Baddesley … where the wyffe of the same John Brome then lay ynne, and there laide the place about for to have broken inne at the opening of the durres … "
Brome supported the wrong side in the Wars of the Roses and was stripped of his Court appointments. He quarrelled with John Herthill, steward to the “Kingmaker” Earl of Warwick, over a mortgage, and on 9 November 1468 was murdered by him in the porch of the Whitefriars church in London.
He was succeeded by his son Nicholas. You can find out about his story by following the link at the bottom of this page.