Sir William, 1st Viscount Brouncker of Lyons (1585 - 1645) was the son of Sir Henry Brouncker and Ann Parker. Sir Henry was Lord President of Munster 1603-1607.
William attended St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University, taking a degree in 1606.
William was invested as a Knight in December 1615, and held the office of Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to King Charles, and Vice-Chamberlain to Charles, Prince of Wales.
Sir William married Winifred Leigh before 1620 and with her had two sons, the mathematician also named William (OUR LORD BROUNCKER), and Henry Brouncker MP.
This was a difficult time for Brouncker as the political situation in England was in turmoil. He fought against the Scots in 1639 when King Charles, running low on funds with which to continue the fight, summoned Parliament in 1640 to try to raise money.
The first English Civil War broke out in 1642, the Scots joined the Parliament forces and King Charles suffered a series of defeats.
Sir William Brouncker Sr. was created 1st Baron Brouncker of Newcastle in the Province of Munster, Ireland, and the same day created 1st Viscount Brouncker of Lyons in the Province of Leinster [Ireland] on 12 September, 1645.
Sir William Brouncker Sr. bought himself into the Irish peerage and according to Samuel Pepys: "... he gave 1,200 pounds to be made an Irish lord, and swore the same day that he had not 12 pence left to pay for his dinner."
Sir William, 1st Viscount Brouncker of Castle Lyons did not live long to enjoy the peerage he bought, because he died two months later at about age 60 and was buried on November 20, 1645 at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. In May, 1649 Lady Winifred Leigh Brouncker of Castle Lyon also died. Their memorial is telling – the Brounckers sit at either end of the bed, looking away from each other, with a skull between them.
The Brounckers Sr. and Jr. were Royalists and definitely on the losing side.
Our Sir William Brouncker, the mathematician son, succeeded as the 2nd Viscount Brouncker of Castle Lyons in the Province of Leinster.
Six months later King Charles surrendered. It was a time for Royalists to keep their heads down if they wanted to survive, and that is exactly what our Lord Brouncker did.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.