Nicholas Brome

Nicholas Brome grave slab

Nicholas, Brome’s second son, avenged his father’s murder by himself killing Herthill in a duel in 1471. He inherited Baddesley on his mother’s death in 1483, though they had lived there together since John’s death.


Taking a life would not normally have seen such a lenient punishment as Brome received. He was simply made to pay for a priest to say daily prayers for the souls of both his father and John Herthill. Additionally, he had to pay Herthill's widow, Elizabeth, 33 shillings and fourpence recompense.


Along with the property, Nicholas inherited an "advowson" – the right to appoint the parish priest. In 1478 he appointed one William Foster to the position. Seven years later he returned home unexpectedly and finding his wife in the parlour in a rather compromising position with a man, flew into a rage, drew his sword and:
 

" slew ye minister of Baddesley Church finding him in his plor [parlour] chockinge [stroking] his wife under ye chinne, and to expiatt these bloody offences and crimes he built ye steeple [at the church] … I have seene ye King’s pdon for itt, and ye Pope’s pdon and his penuance there injoined him … "
- Henry Ferrers, The Antiquary, 1549-1633


It is not clear where the parlour was at the time. There is a blood-stain on the floor of the library, which was thought to mark the place of the murder, but it is now thought that the library hadn’t been built at the time, so it remains a mystery. 


As penance, Nicholas raised the height of the church, allowing for the installation of the clerestory windows and built the tower. An inscription on the wall in the church reads: Nicholas Brome Esquire Lord of Baddesly did new build this steeple in the raigne of Kinge Henry the seaventh. He died in October 1517. He also built the tower of Packwood church and the two towers are often known as the “Towers of Atonement”. 

Baddesley's Parish Church
St Michael's, Baddesley Clinton
Baddesley's Parish Church

In 1496 he received a pardon from King Henry VII which covered not only the murder of the priest but also that of Herthill 25 years before. It is possible that he was helped in this through the influence of Sir Edward Ferrers, who was to marry Nicholas’ daughter, Constance, the following year. 


However, fearing for his immortal soul, having murdered a priest, he belonged to no fewer than eight religious fraternities by the time of his death. This ensured that the priests of those fraternities would pray for his soul. 


Nicholas died “extremely humble and penitent” in 1517. In his will he asked that he be buried “Within the Church door as the people may tread upon mee as they come into the church”. His tomb is marked by a small tablet bearing just his name and the date 1517. Originally there was a marble plaque "whereon was a portraiture in brass of a man in armour” which was probably removed during restoration work in 1870. The tomb was opened and remains were found in an upright position.