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Giles Brent (1600-1672)

Giles Brent does not seem to receive as much attention as his more famous sister, Margaret, but he played a significant role in the early development of Maryland.

Giles Brent was the youngest son of Sir Richard Brent, Lord of Lark Stoke and Admington in Gloucestershire, England. We do not know much about his early life until he arrived in Maryland in 1638 with his brother and two sisters.

His family became close to Governor Leonard Calvert, and soon Giles was one of the colony's political and economic leaders. He settled on Kent Island, where he developed a large plantation.

Giles Brent held many roles in Maryland, including Councilor, Treasurer, Commander of Kent Island, judge, and burgess. For a brief period in 1643-44 when Leonard Calvert returned to England, Giles served as Deputy Governor of the colony. Despite this apparent success, he was eventually charged with disloyalty and forced to emigrate to Virginia.

Giles Brent's problems began when he refused to lead the settlers of Kent Island against the local Indians who had been attacking Maryland settlements. He further angered the proprietors (the Calverts, who owned Maryland) when he married Mary Kittamaquund, daughter of the tayak, or emperor, of the Piscataway Indians.

The Calverts believed that Giles had married the Indian princess in hopes of gaining control of more of the Indians' land and that he was a threat to the proprietors' authority. When Giles Brent began to speak out in the Assembly against the Calverts, he was no longer welcome in Maryland.

He and his sister Margaret moved to Virginia in 1649, and Giles died in 1672.

  • Maloney, Eric John, Papists and Puritans in Early Maryland: Religion in the Forging of Provincial Society, 1632-1665. PhD. Dissertation, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1996.

  • Papenfuse, Edward C., Alan F. Day, David W. Jordan and Gregory A. Stiverson. A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789, vol. 1: A-H. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979.

  • Riordan, Timothy B., The Plundering Time: Maryland in the English Civil War, 1642-1650. Unpublished draft manuscript, 1997.

  • Notes on Margaret Brent, © Dr. Lois Green Carr, Historic St. Mary's City Commission.
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