Brassey was the second son of the railway contractor Thomas Brassey and his wife Maria, daughter of Thomas Harrison, of Liverpool. Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey, was his elder brother and Albert Brassey his younger brother. He was educated at Oxford, and in 1868 was elected to the House of Commons for Sandwich as a Liberal, a seat he held until 1885. Brassey also served as Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, as High Sheriff of Kent in 1890 and as a Justice of the Peace for the county. He lived at Bath House, Piccadilly, and Preston Hall, Aylesford, Kent.
Brassey married Anna Harriet, daughter of Major George Robert Stevenson of Tongswood, Hawkhurst, Kent, in 1866. They had five sons and seven daughters. Their second but eldest surviving son Henry became a Conservative politician and was created Baron Brassey of Apethorpe in 1938. Another son was the soldier and polo champion Harold Brassey; a daughter, Hilda, married the 8th Duke of Richmond. Brassey died in May 1891, aged 50. His wife Anna Harriet survived him by eight years and died in 1898.
- Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage 2003, vol. 1, p. 488
- Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage 2003, vol. 1, pp. 488-489
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Henry Brassey
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Sandwich
With: Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen 1868–1880
Charles Henry Compton Roberts 1880–1885