17th C Bedfordshire Brokets
If you study the various 17th C records of Bedfordshire Brokets it won’t take you long to realise that they belonged to 3 distinct kin groups:
- The small Luton Gentleman family
- The larger Dunton Yeoman clan
- The Sandy/Blunham/Kempston Craftsman/Labourer family and clan
Only the last group lived on in Bedfordshire into the 18th C and later; indeed it subsequently grew into England’s largest Broket Grouping, with more currently living members than any other.
How can we be sure of all this? Read more
Synthesising all these and setting the Broket entries within the wider framework of other 16-18th C Brokets, the pieces of the 17th C Bedfordshire Broket jigsaw fall into place without being forced, leaving only a few small pieces outstanding. These few pieces, or persons, are small in the sense that their descendants—if they had any—all died out in the male line by the following generation, and so don’t significantly affect the overall 17th C Bedfordshire Broket picture.
Specifically, the Brokets of 17th C Bedfordshire comprised:
- The Luton family on the SE tip of the County—8 baptisms 1602-16; all children of Rev Edmund Brokett, raised in Hertfordshire and Vicar of Luton 1593-1617. Most of this family has been traced, many moving to London.
- The Dunton clan on the eastern edge of Bedfordshire—39 baptisms 1614-73. The founder was a Yeoman from Hitchin in Hertfordshire in the 1580s and the descendants dispersed before the end of the 17th C, one line becoming the neighbouring Guilden Morden clan of Cambridgeshire and another becoming the small St Neots clan in Huntindonshire—11 baptisms 1674-1741. As with the Luton Gentleman family, the Dunton clan had a Yeoman identity—albeit beginning to disappear by the 1660s—and surviving lines have been identified. No Bedfordshire Broket Will has been found before the first Dunton one in 1598. Three more were written over the next 63 years, all in Dunton.
- The Sandy/Blunham/Kempston family—and later clan and Grouping—which slowly emerged in the early decades of the 17th C from Brothwood origins, some of whom were Millers. They grew into a clan in the latter part of the 17th C, with surviving lines settling mainly in the W and NW rural hinterland of Bedford town. From there over the course of the 18th C its members lived and worked as Labourers in a dozen or so parishes near each other and not more than 10 miles W or NW of Bedford, and then proliferated through the 19th C into the large Bedfordshire Grouping. Where records aren’t specific about the inter-relationships among individuals within the early clan and the later Grouping DNA testing has confirmed them.3 DNA has also shown no relationship between them and the pre 17th C Bedfordshire Broket offshoots of the Hertfordshire Grouping, despite being in adjacent counties.
- A few other isolated individuals were recorded, mainly brides marrying and mostly connectable to the Sandy/Blunham/Kempston family. An exception was the record of a John Brokett as a witness to a 1623 conveyance of a farmhouse in Blunham.4 John signed with the same flowery signature found on a 1617 deed, showing him to be John of Mackary End Esq, later of Caswell. The Brocketts baptised in Blunham in 1656 and 59 were not descendants.
This page covers:
- The Dunton clan
- Parnell, wife of Edward Brockett I of Dunton, married by 1586, d 1641
- Edward II of Dunton Yeoman 1589-1660
- John of Dunton Yeoman 1593-
- Robert of Millow Yeoman 1596-1652
- Edward of Millo in Dunton 1614-1661
- Samuel and Geoffrey of Little Barford 1653-5
- Robert and Rose of Potton 1663-96
- Joan of Sutton 1674
- Mary of St Neots, Hunts 1684
- The Sandy / Blunham / Kempston family and others
- Elizabeth – Shillington 1610
- Alice, Jane and Lettice – Tempsford 1612-23
- Richard I, of Henlow, Sandy and Blunham 1636-9
- Elizabeth – Dunstable 1641
- Ralph – Streatley 1641
- Susan – Potton 1649
- Widow Broket – Shillington 1649
- Martha – Old Warden 1659
- Andrew I 1631-79 – Blunham 1655-66
- Richard II 1659-1713 mainly of Kempston
- John and Mary – Shillington 1696-1710
This kin group or clan spanned 4 generations and 100 years in Dunton from c 1596 to 1694. Neither before nor after these dates has any record of Brokets in Dunton been found. For details about the records searched: Read more
2. Wills. 4 Wills of Brokets and 3 of other associated individuals exist from Dunton, see transcriptions on this separate page. A notable exception is one for John, son of Edward and Parnell, who appears to have moved to Baldock. As of Aug 2018 the Bedfordshire Wills are not. As of Oct 2017 work was in progress to add Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service’s will indexes to the online catalogue, but it was the very early stages. Search done for:
1. Campton wills proved between 1580 and 1600.
2. Dunton wills proved between 1593 and 1700.
3. Wills of people surnamed Brothwood (and variants like Brathwood, Braithwood, Brookwood etc) in Bedfordshire up to 1740.
4. Wills of people surnamed Bricket (and variants) and Bracket (and variants) in Bedfordshire.
3. Manorial records. are not plentiful.
4. Subsidy Rolls.
5. Other records. As mentioned above the online Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service is a treasure trove of information, and their searchable online Bedfordshire Archives Service Catalogue has abstracts of a good number of relevant records.8 I searched all variants of BROKET, BRAKET and BRIKET. 134 instances of BROKET (mainly from the 19 and 20 C). No instances of BRAKET (except 2 Brackets from 1970). 16 instances of BRICKET/T (None obviously Brocket) dating from 1667-1827. No instances of BRIKET, BRYKET or BRYCKET). Searched BROTHWOOD, BROATHWOOD, BRAITHWOOD, BRATHWOOD, BRATHWITE, BRAITHWAIT/E/H, BRAITHWAITH, BROCKWOOD, BRACKWOOD and BROOKWOOD. 1 instance of BROTHWOOD, 1 of BRATHWOOD, 1 of BROATHWOOD was found. 88 1 instances of BRATHWAIT/E/H (nearly all obviously irrelevant)
Two other researchers worked independently on this Dunton clan in the 1990s: Andrew Pye of Steeple Morden and Henry Gray of Hatfield. Both produced fine pedigrees, and although they differed in a few interpretations, and although new facts have come to light in the meantime, they provide useful bird’s eye views of the clan: Pye’s of c 1993 can be seen here, and Gray’s of 1998 here. Some introductory comments and structural observations about the clan are discussed here referring to these two charts, and further proof statements to support the details can be found under the individuals in the sections below:Read more
1. Gray’s single page chart provides a handy single-page overview of the whole clan. His similar charts for the Brocketts of Hitchin and Southwark do the same. The message from Gray’s Dunton chart is that most of the large G3 disappeared. And indeed they did—from Dunton. But they didn’t all disappear from elsewhere as well, as records from other parishes strongly suggest. Apart from 4 marriages from the parish records of Barton, Baldock, Bedford, and Northill—all of which could securely be included in the chart—Gray’s sources were the Dunton parish register and 5 Dunton Wills. In his view, these 2 sources supplied no information about the 4 G3 individuals with G4 families at the bottom of the chart which could definitively link them to G2 parents, thus Gray left them unattached to G3. His lack of speculation which G3 Isaac, Robert, John, or Edward these unattached individuals might have been was admirable. It inspires confidence in his work. He reproduced what he found in his sources without forcing any unsupported interpretation on them. In the case of G3 Edward he could have deduced who his father was from his sources, as Pye did, and as explained below, however erring on the side of caution is a good fault in genealogy.
To take Robert as an example, 6 G4 children were recorded 1657-73 as “son/daughter of Robert and Mary Brocket/t”, the first record adding “of Millo”. But all 3 G2 brothers had a son Robert baptised in Dunton, so which one married Mary? For no G3 Robert did the Dunton register record anything other than their baptism, this family of the 1650s to 70s and a burial in 1694. The Robert, son of the G2 Robert and Frances, was baptised in 1643, so even though his father had been recorded as “of Millow” in 1652, to be married with a son of his own by 1657 was obviously not possible. That left the other 2 G3 Roberts as possible fathers of the 6 G4 children: the sons of G2 Edward and John, baptised 1619 and 1620 respectively. In his Will G2 Edward styled himself “of Dunton … Yeoman”. Similarly, Gray also recorded G2 John on his chart as “of Dunton, Yeoman”. It isn’t clear what Gray’s source for that was—the parish register entries didn’t style him as such, and no Will has been found. Nevertheless, the father of G4 Hannah born 1654—“John Broket of Millo”—could equally have been the G3 son of G2 John or Edward; neither was recorded as “of Millo”. If G3 John “of Millo” was the son of G2 John, then Robert “of Millow” husband of Mary, could have been too. But there was nothing in the sources Gray used to determine whether G2 Edward or G2 John was the father of either G3 John of Millo or G3 Robert who married Mary, so Gray correctly left both unattached.
Which Robert the final Broket record in the Dunton register—the burial of “Robert Brockett” in 1694— can further illustrate Gray’s cautious approach. There was no further detail in the record to suggest which of the 3 G3 Roberts he was—the register simply stated “Robert Brockett” against the burial date. The Robert who had 6 children recorded in Dunton in the 1650s, 60s and 70s obviously lived in the village for an extended period, if not all his life, and the “Mary wife of Robert Brockett” buried in 1675 was most likely his wife. But the 1660 Will of G2 Edward recorded his son Robert there then at least as well. Furthermore, there is no evidence in Gray’s sources to gainsay the possibility that the Robert who died in 1694 wasn’t the 3rd G3 Robert, son of G2 Robert. So the 1694 burial could equally have been of any of the 3 G3 Roberts. That it was of the Robert who had married Mary looks most likely, but Gray still correctly attached a question mark to it.
More to follow.
Parnell was the wife of Edward Brocket II of Hitchin, of Campton, and of Dunton I, for about 14 years and of William RUSH for nearly 27 years. She married William 26 Jun 1598, 24 days after her first husband Edward’s burial. Her children were then aged about 13, 9, 5 and 2. She and William had no recorded or surviving children. William was recorded as ‘High Constable’ in his burial record 5 Apr 1625. He wasn’t born in Dunton. He was recorded as a gentleman there in the Subsidy Roll of 1624.9 The residue of his estate—which may well have included land in Dunton—he bequeathed to Parnell’s youngest son Robert Brockett “my sonne whom I appoint the only Executor…”, see the full Will below.10 Robert’s elder brother Edward Brockett was a witness. Parnell herself was buried in Dunton 2 Nov 1639; Will written 18 Oct 1639 pr 21 Oct 1641.11 In 1598 William and Parnell were guardians of Edward Brockett I of Walsworth during his minority and of his property in Walsworth in Hitchin,12 proving the relationship of the Dunton Brokets to the Hitchin Brokets.
- Edward II bap 1589 and Ann: 9 children c 1615-35
- John bap 1593 and Joan: 11 children c 1618-35
- Robert bap 1596 and Joan and Frances: 7 children c 1632-50.
Parnell or Pernell was the daughter of Ellyn and John TANNER, Yeoman of Wilshamstead. John’s Will of 1584 left his messuage in Wilshamsted and close of pasture with pightell13 down near London first to Ellyn and then to Parnell:14 Read more
“Also I geve & bequeth to Parnell my daughter one great brasse pott one great bright brasse pan and one great brasse kettle and my will is that after her decease the same pott, pan & kettle shall remaine vnto her children15
20 years later in her Will of 1604 Ellyn TANNER, Widow, left nothing to her 3 daughters—perhaps because they were all married—and everything to her grandchildren, the Brockets being favoured. She called herself of Wilshamsted, but only mentioned property in Kampton (Campton) which she bequeathed first to her grandson John Kempe and then to her eldest Brocket grandson, Edward, aged 15 at the time:16 Read more
The £20 of a bond she had she bequeathed to:
She also bequeathed a number of household items to her Brocket grandsons, aged about 15, 11 and 8 at the time, and a featherbed to granddaughter Elizabeth, already married:
Ellyn’s executor was her son-in-law, Parnell’s husband William RUSH:
These witnesses Edward Brockett Christofer Haighe minister .
Probate Dunstable 17 die Maij Anno domini 1625. Episcopi Lincoln
Observations on William’s Will:
2. A search through the online IGI suggested the following Rushe relatives:22 A baptism of William son of John wasn’t found, but the following were:
Children of John Rushe in Bletsoe: Oliver 2 Mar 1609.
Children of John and Grace Rushe in Henlow: Elizabeth Aug 1611; Grace 9 Jan 1614.
4. The residue of his estate he bequeathed to Parnell’s youngest son Robert Brockett, his sole executor. Judging by William’s holdings in the Dunton manorial records, the residue may well have included land in Dunton.
5. Robert’s elder brother Edward Brockett was a witness.
First son of Edward I of Dunton and Parnell. Baptised in Campton 1589; lived to c 71 years of age. Married 19 Jul 1613 Dunton Ann NEGOOSE,23 daughter of Robert NEGOOSE of Millo or Milno in Dunton, Husbandman, as shown by his Will, written 18 Jan 1626,24 which mentioned “my doughter An Broket wife to Edward Broket”, and “my doughter Joane Broket wife to John Broket”. According to the Dunton parish register, Ann bore Edward 9 children over 20 years, 6 sons 3 daughters. It recorded her baptism on 20 Mar 1593/4 (daughter of Robert Negoose)25 and burial in 1660 “Anna, wife of Edward Brocket senior”.26
Will written 25 Apr 1660 pr 28 Jun 1661;27 Churchwarden 1618-1622;28 ‘senr’ in wife’s burial record in 1660, and his own. With his son Edward the younger he was a witness to brother Robert’s Will 1652. Dunton was a small settlement: the Lay Subsidy Roll of 1628/9 listed only 8 payers for Dunton cum Milloe. Edward II paid 8s on 40s in lands.29 Neither of his 2 brothers paid, suggesting that Edward held the land. In a 1641 Certificate of Residence he was assessed—as a gentleman—for tax of 8s on 20s in lands:30 Read more
A terrier of the lands ‘of Edward Brockett in Dunton and attached to his mansion house at Millow‘ showed that he owned upward of 40 acres in many parcels there and in Millo, Dunton and Newton, some of which were in the tenure of brother Robert.31 It seems that as the eldest son he inherited most of the land owned by his father.
- Edward bap 19 Feb 1614/5, bur 21 Sep 1660 Dunton.
- John bap 1617. The only one of 9 children not mentioned in his father’s Will, when he would have been 43 and the others between 45 and 25. Had he died before his father? Or being one of many younger sons in a small village had he perhaps moved to London and married in 1641, aged c 24, and lost contact with his parents? No further record has been found of the couple. Gray suggested that he died before his father and the burial record for ‘Brocket, farmer’ in Dunton 28 Apr 1644 might have been this John. It was equally or perhaps more likely to have been another of John’s 1st cousins, William or Robert, sons of John and Joan Negus. In the 1660s an unrelated John Brickett was a Constable for Dunstable and paid for 3 hearths in 2 houses in the 1671 Hearth Tax. Dunstable is c 18 miles SW of Dunton. Until DNA tests revealed that descendants of John of New Haven were of entirely different stock from descendants of this Dunton clan, it had been thought that this could perhaps have been the John who emigrated in 1637—not mentioned in his father’s Will for that reason.
- Robert bap 1619. There were 2 Robert baptisms in Dunton within a year of each other—1619/20, but only one subsequent Robert burial there—1694 (the last Brockett entry in the Dunton Parish Register). Because this Robert was mentioned in his father’s Will in 1660 it has been assumed that he was the Robert buried in 1694, and tenant of pieces of land in 1656 in Downhill Field, Dunton, belonging to the Lord of the Manor, Lady Spencer.32 A Robert and Mary ABBIS married 1656 in Northill—5 m W of Dunton—and had 6 children baptised in Dunton between 1656 and 1673; again it has been assumed that it was this Robert:
- John b 4 Feb 1656/7 (?married Annis and d 1700-1)
- Robert bap 1658 Dunton. Lacking evidence to the contrary it has been assumed that this Robert was the father of the only recorded Brockett family in the Bassingbourn Parish Register, Cambs. His children’s names are similar to his own siblings and relatives. Like other males in this Yeoman family he married late. He was buried 8 Apr 1708, Bassingbourn. He married Jane …, bur 12 Apr 1743 Bassingbourn. Children—all born/baptised Bassingbourn:
- Anna b 8 May 1697
- Hannah bap 20 Jun 1700
- John b 13 Dec 1702 bap in his 26th year 10 Sep 1727
- Mary bur 30 Jul 1715
- Martha b c 1707 bap 14 Jul 1723 in the 16th year of her age.
- Elizabeth bap 1660
- Mary bap 1664
- Ann bap 23 Aug 1666
- Hannah bap 1673.
In the hearth tax for 1671 Robert paid on one hearth in Dunton cum Millo.33
- Ann bap 1622 m … CHURCHAINE
- William bap 1624. Probably Rev William of Little Cornard, Suffolk.
- Samuel bap 1626/7. He most probably settled 8m NW of Dunton in Little Barford and was the father of the St Neots line. An earlier—probably incorrect—idea had been that he emigrated to North America.
- Elizabeth bap 1629 m George NEGUS.
- Isaac bap 1632. Because he was mentioned in his father’s Will in 1660 it has been assumed that it was this Isaac who married Ellen … and had a son Isaac. It is less likely that this husband of Ellen was his namesake cousin, son of John and Joan Negus, because that family had apparently moved to Baldock by 1641. Child: Isaac. Whichever Isaac was his father, at the beginning of the 18th C this son Isaac apparently worked as an Estate manager for Lady Emma Child at Middleton Hall, Warwickshire, c 4 m S of Tamworth, 10 m NE of Birmingham, and c 70 m NW of Dunton.
- Susannah bap 1635 m William REED.
Second son of Edward I of Dunton and Parnell. Baptised 30 September 1593 Campton. Married 1617/8 Dunton Joan daughter of Robert NEGOOSE of Dunton, sister of Ann who married John’s brother Edward, as above. John’s name was spelt Burkett in the marriage record,34 and Brocked in daughter Elizabeth’s baptism record. It recorded her baptism on 28 Aug 1598 (daughter of Robert Negoose)35
Records of John’s children appear to be sparse, only one or two of them having much certainty. The first of two records from Baldock from 1641 and 1670-3 of “John and Jane Brockett of Dunton” is fairly definitely that of this John. The only alternative would have been John, bap 1617, 2nd son of Edward and Ann NEGUS. The second record from Baldock was from 1670-3 and could again have been either of these two, as well as John and Joan NEGUS’ own son John, bap 1622.
John and Jane (as her name was spelt in this record) and their younger children had probably moved to Baldock by 1641, when they purchased a property there with a garden, an orchard and an acre of land for £41.36
There were no more records of their family in Dunton after 1638/9.
It is unlikely that Joan was the Widow Brocket, buried in Shillington 1649. Although Shillington is c 10 m W of Baldock, most likely the widow was of William Brockett III of Hitchin. She had reason to move to Shillington. She had been born there and soon after her husband’s death her eldest son sold the family property in Hitchin. Over the previous 21 years Joan bore John 11 children—6 sons and 5 daughters, all baptised Dunton:
- William bap 1618. Possible emigrant to Virginia in 1638—although he may have been a Brackett. Rather, was it not this William who was buried in Dunton 28 Apr 1644, recorded in the Parish Register as ‘Brocket, farmer’? As eldest son he was perhaps most likely of the three—himself, brother Robert and cousin John—to have been styled ‘farmer’.
- Robert bap 1620, probably only a year younger than his cousin Robert. He may have been buried in Dunton 28 Apr 1644, recorded in the Parish Register as ‘Brocket, farmer’, but it seems more likely that that was his brother William and that Robert moved to nearby Potton, and had a family.
- John bap 1622. Probably married Jane … There is a slight difficulty distinguishing this John from namesake cousin John bap Dunton 1617. The following records, however, probably refer to this John:
- Hannah ‘daughter of John Brocket of Millo’ was baptised or born in Dunton 10 Sep 1654. As mentioned above, if John were her father (following Pye), then the 1644 burial entry of ‘Brocket, farmer’ would have to have been another adult Brocket born before 1623. This could only mean one or other of John’s 2 elder brothers, William or Robert, or else cousin John bap Dunton 1617. Parents John and Joan had probably moved to Baldock by 1641, but one or more of their eldest sons over 21 by then may well have stayed in Dunton or Millo.
- John Brockett of Dunton Yeoman and Jane his wife acquired a messuage in Baldock High Street and an acre of land in Willian feild for £8 in 1 Dec 1670. They sold it 3 years later for £9.37
- Edward IV bap 1624. Possibly later Edward of Much Hadham, c 15 m SE of Baldock, who baptised children there 1649-52.
- Elizabeth bap 1627. Either this Elizabeth or her first cousin—bap 1629—married Thomas GREEN of Dunton 8 Jun 1663.
- Joan bap 1629. Possibly married John FICKIS in Sutton in 1674.
- Isaac bap 1631. It might have been this Isaac who married Ellen … rather than his cousin son of Edward and Ann Negus, but it is less likely.
- Moses bap 1633 bur Dunton 1633
- Mary bap 1634. Possible emigrant to Virginia as an indentured servant in 1652, like her brother William.
- Rebecca bap 1636/7
- Ann bap 1638/9.
Third son of Edward I of Dunton and Parnell. The first Brockett baptised in Dunton. Churchwarden 1635-36. Married 1st 14 Oct 1630 Baldock, Herts38 Joan FAGE bur Dunton 6 April 1639, 4 children over 9 years, 3 daughters, 1 son; married 2nd 1640 Bedford St John, Frances WHEELER bur Dunton 1661, 3 children over 10 years, 1 son, 2 daughters—all baptised Dunton:
- Isabel bap 1632; m 1654 Dunton Thomas COOKE (or Cocke).
- Edward V bap 1634. Aged 18 when his father made him co-executor of his Will. The other executrix wasn’t Edward’s mother. Churchwarden 1648-51? Or one of the other Edwards? Edward probably moved 40 miles E to Bures St Mary, Suffolk.
- Dorothy bap 18 Oct 1636; ?buried 23 Mar 1658/9 Guilden Morden aged about 23.
- Mary bap 1638/9.
- Robert bap 1642/3. If brother Edward was of Bures St Mary, this Robert was alive in 1696 when Edward left him £5 in his Will.
- Frances bap 1645.
- Elizabeth bap 1649/50.
Robert was sole executor of the Will of his step-father Constable William Rush. Robert died aged 55 years old, predeceasing his eldest brother Edward by 8 years. The Parish Register burial entry calls him ‘of Milloberry‘. In 2002 Millowbury was a farmhouse in Millow owned by the Kendall family. His Will was written within 4 or 5 days of his death, with legacies of £300 over and above the rest of his estate. The Will was proved at the highest court in the land, probably for status. He was concerned for the education of his children and maintenance of their status.
Eldest son of Edward II of Dunton and Ann. According to the transcript of the Dunton register “Edward son of Edward Brockett” was baptised 19 Feb 1614/5. There was only one adult Edward Brockett in Dunton then: Edward II, who had married Ann NEGOOSE 19 Jul 1613. We know that Edward, son of Edward II, was still alive on 25 Apr 1660 when Edward II left his son Edward a bequest in his Will.
But how do we know that this Edward bap 1615 was the Edward Brockett of Millo who died in September 1660, leaving a widow Elin and two children? For a proof statement Read more
2. Edward son of John probably moved to Baldock by 1641, when his parents purchased a property in Baldock with a garden, an orchard and an acre of land.40 Their family, including son Edward who would have been at the most 17 at the time, would have gone with them. There were no further records of any of them in the Dunton register after 1639. It is possible, although not very likely, that Edward later moved to Much Hadham, c 15 m SE of Baldock. Otherwise no record of him has so far been found. No Will of his father or mother have been found.
3. Edward son of Robert was still alive in 1652 at least, when he was made co-executor of his father Robert’s Will, and residual beneficiary of the estate with his mother. Edward may still have been living in Dunton in 1652, being only 18, but it looks likely that he later moved 40 miles E to Bures St Mary, Suffolk, eventually dying there in 1696.
4. Two of the witnesses to Robert’s Will of 1652 were Edward Brockett the elder and Edward Brockett the younger. Edward Brockett the elder here would have been Robert’s eldest brother, who wrote his Will on 25 Apr 1660 as ‘Edward Brockett the elder’. So, who was ‘Edward Brockett the younger’? He was unlikely to have been Robert’s son Edward as it was probably not allowed for a beneficiary to be a witness to a Will. The most likely Edward Brockett the younger was the son of Edward Brockett the elder. He was aged about 38 in 1652, and Edward Brockett the elder was about 63.
5. Furthermore, Edward of Millo mentioned his two children in his Will of 1660 and had been styled ‘Edward Brocket junior’ in the record of their baptism in 1658, as also in that of his own burial in 1660. This would have been because although he and his father both died in 1660, his father clearly predeceased him—he mentioned his son Edward in his Will. And his mother, who also died in 1660, appears to have predeceased her husband—he didn’t mention her in his Will. The transcript of the register recorded their burials in the order ‘Anna’, ‘Edward senior’, ‘Edward junior’.
Thus, in the absence of any evidence suggesting otherwise, the 2 Wills of 1660—the first of Edward the Elder of Dunton Yeoman and the second of Edward of Millo in Dunton—were doubtless Wills of father and son. Edward of Millo, husband of Elin, can safely be confirmed as the son of Edward II and Ann Negus.41
Edward and Elin’s twins William and Frances were minors when their father died—only 2 years old in fact. The original Dunton Parish Register entry for 20 Sep 165842 read: Bapt. Gulielmus et Fransisca gemelli Eadvardi Brocket Jn—in English: ‘William and Frances, twins of Edward Brocket jnr were baptised’. Edward Brockett of Millo’s Will was written 20 Sep 1660, proved 20 Mar 1660/1.43 Nothing is yet known of what became of Elin. Son William later evidently moved down to Steeple and Guilden Morden.
Little Barford Parish Register survive only from 1678, earlier records are from BTs. They recorded no Broket marriages or burials 1650-85, but 2 baptisms:
- Susan daughter of Samuel and Mary, b and bap 17 Dec 1653. Probably married in St Neots, c 2 m N in 1674.
- Mary daughter of Samuel, b 29 Nov 1655. Probably married in Southoe, c 4 m N in 1678.
Because of Little Barford’s proximity to Dunton—c 8 m—, the later marriages of his 2 daughters in St Neots and Southoe, and the patterns of family names, it is safe to assume that Samuel was the 5th son of Edward and Ann NEGUS of Dunton, bap 1626/7. It is also clear that Samuel’s wife Mary died in nearby St Neots in 1701.
The IGI also recorded a John son of Geoffrey, b 7 Nov, bap 6 Dec 1654 in Little Barford, but the original BT record gave Geoffrey no surname, and there is no reason from the BT to assume his surname was Brocket. It could have been any surname. The IGI transcribers must have conflated the record in their notes after copying. No Geoffrey Brocket is in any case recorded from those times.
After Susan in 1649 the remaining 12 Potton Parish Register Broket entries all concern the family of Robert—buried 31 Jan 1696—and Rose—buried 24 Mar 1691. No Brokets were recorded in Potton for the 1661 Lay subsidy roll.44 And the only Brockett household recorded there in the 1666 subsidy, that of this Robert of Potton, was “noe distress”, signifying poverty—there was nothing the bailiffs could distrain for the shilling owed.45 By the 1671 hearth tax Robert paid for one hearth in Potton.46 It’s possible that he was Robert bap 1620 Dunton, 3 m S of Potton. Robert and Rose’s children:47
- Susanna bap 20 Sep 1663
- Thomas Brockett, bap 25 Nov 1667, bur 28 Jun 1715;48 Labourer, m 1 Aug 1703 Mary MAN, both of the parish, children:
- Thomas b 9 Sep, bap 10 Sep, bur 15 Sep 1704
- Elizabeth b and bap 7 Jul 1706, m 11 Apr 1732 William MASON
- John Brockett, bap 23 Sep, bur 26 Sep 1708.49
Joan Brocket m John FICKIS 21 Jun 1674 Sutton.50 The Parish Register commenced there 1549. Sutton is c 2 m N Dunton and she was possibly baptised there 1629 daughter of John and Joan NEGUS. This would have made her c 45 at marriage, but no other Joan is known.
Shillington is about 8 m N of Luton and 4 m SW of Henlow, where a family was living who may well have been Elizabeth’s. The Shillington Parish Register—which date from 1543 and were well maintained during the Civil War and Commonwealth—had 2 solitary records of Brokets in the 1st half of the 17th C, both female and one at least a Broket by marriage:
- 2 Jul 1610: Elizabeth Brockett m James KEYNE
- 14 Nov 1649: Widow Brocket buried.
The next records in Shillington were 47+ years later when the family of John and Mary Brockett were recorded there 1696-1720, John being born by c 1677.
Elizabeth’s marriage in 1610 was the 1st Bedfordshire Broket record since the 14th C not obviously from the Hertfordshire Grouping. The IGI has no suitable baptism in Shillington for her husband James, nor of any children there, so unless Elizabeth was from the Henlow family, it isn’t clear why they married there. They may have moved to Luton later, where a Mildred, daughter of James KEYNE was baptised 15 Oct 1615 and an Elizabeth, daughter of James and Elizabeth KEENE was baptised 1624.52 Was this where one or other of them came from previously?
An unlikely possibility is that Elizabeth was connected to Edward, recorded 63 years earlier in Luton 1547. The [unlikely] assumption would be that that Edward was Edward of Letchworth Gent, and William son of William son of Edward of Letchworth Esq had a daughter Elizabeth. She is known only from Lucie’s Will of 1570, therefore born before 1570 and so only likely to have been this Elizabeth of Shillington if she married James as a Spinster in her mid 40s or more.
More likely, Elizabeth was a younger Spinster in 1610, and probably born 1585-93. Unless other records come to light, only 2 relevant Elizabeth Broket baptisms are known in Britain in that period, including the north and Scotland—the daughters of:
- John Broket younger of York, bap 1583; no further record. It’s difficult to imagine this Elizabeth moving from York to a rural Bedfordshire settlement.
- Edward son of William II of Hitchin, bap 1586 Campton. This Elizabeth married Thomas HUGGINS, Melbourn, Cambridgeshire 1601.
She may have been daughter of Widow Brocket, buried in Shillington 1649, although that could have made the Widow in her mid 80s at death. So, given that Shillington is only about 4 m from Henlow, it seems most likely that Elizabeth was from the Henlow Brothwood family and an otherwise unrecorded daughter of John BROTHWOOD married Margaret GOODALLE. Other possibilities—decreasing in likelihood—are that she was a widow herself in 1610—although no marriages to Elizabeths are known with the husband dying in the preceding 50 years—or that she was from an otherwise unrecorded Bedfordshire family.
After Elizabeth in 1610 two of these three marriages were the next Bedfordshire Broket records not from the Hertfordshire Grouping (i.e. the Dunton clan). Although the Tempsford Parish Register dates only from 1602, that it recorded no Broket baptisms or burials—only these 3 marriages 1612-23 and another 97 years later in 1760—suggests that these brides were incomers:
- Alice Brockett m Richard PARKIN 29 Oct 1612.
- Jane Brockett m Henry EDWARDES 9 Oct 1615.
- Lettice Brockytt m William BASS 4 Jan 1623/4.
Indeed other evidence shows that all 3 sisters were baptised as BROTHWOODs in Henlow: the surviving daughters of John and Margaret Brothwood, in 1593, 1595 and 1604 respectively. That all three married in Tempsford suggests that by then that was where they lived. Their father John had died 1605 in Henlow and their mother married there again in 1606 to “Thomas Middleton of Tempsford”, so by 1612 at the latest they had moved to Tempsford—there is a record of a burial of a Thomas Midleton in Tempsford in 1632. For possible reasons for their changing their name, see the separate page.
Alice was buried 15 Mar 1641 in Tempsford and Jane was buried 22 Dec 1630 in Kempston, and a Lettice BASS married William SCOTT 2 Feb 1650 in Dunton.53 A William BASSE had been buried in Eaton Socon (3m N of Tempsford) in 1628, and a Letitia Scott was buried in Eaton Socon in 1694.54 She would have been the grand old age of 90.
Richard was the brother of Alice, Jane and Lettice, and like them he early on used the surname BROCKETT as an alias. Most records found of Richard are from Sandy and Blunham, however the first so far found is from Tempsford 16 Oct 1617: Richard Brockett was one of 4 witnesses to a Feoffment for £23 by Henry Finch of Tempsford, Yeoman, to Richard Henson of Tempsford, Yeoman of 2 acres 3 roods of meadow in Tempsford, lately purchased of Nicholas Everard.55 Tempsford was where two of his sisters had already married as Brocketts, so it looks as though Richard and his siblings were living there between at least 1612 and their marriages. Their father had died 1605 and their mother had married again in 1606 to Thomas Middleton, who was perhaps of Tempsford—he may have been buried there 1632. Richard was young to be a witness—17 going on 18—having been baptised 29 Mar 1600, but it must have been he who was the witness.
As shown elsewhere, he alternated between the name BROCKETT and The next record of him as a Broket is from Sandy, a village on the old Great North Road from London to Edinburgh, a quarter of the way into the 12 mile post-stage going north from Biggleswade. Sandy Parish Register date from 1538 and weren’t adversely affected 1642-60, but their only Broket entries were 3 baptisms:
- Winifred daughter of Richard and Agnes Brocket 16 Mar 1635/6
- Martha daughter of Richard and Ann Brocket 30 Oct 1639. Probably m 1659 Old Warden.
- Elizabeth daughter of Andrew Brocket [BROTHWOOD] 4 Mar 1651/2. The square brackets indicated that the name BROCKET was in the Parish Register and BROTHWOOD in the BTs.
It’s clear from Dunton records—well-documented at that time—that Richard wasn’t from that clan, nor from the even-better-documented Hertfordshire Grouping as a whole. He was not recorded as a Broket in the Bedfordshire Subsidy Rolls in 1622-8.56
The name Richard was unusual among Brokets at that time—it wasn’t a Dunton one for instance—and only 4 Richards are known born in Britain 1590-1625:
- b c 1609, son of John and Dorothy PENN of Codicote. He married Mary and they had children in Codicote in the 1640s.
- baptised 1615 York. No further record has been found of this Richard in the north, but it would have been unlikely for a York city lad to move all the way down to a Bedfordshire village where most people depended on the land, and to have been baptising a daughter there aged only c 21.
- baptised 1598 Sherfield, Hampshire, died there 1640.
- married Isabell HASKER in Reading, Berkshire 1632. There are no further records of this Richard in Reading, but Isabell was his second wife, so Agnes/Ann would have had to have been a third. But again why should he have moved more than 50 miles across country up to Sandy from Reading?
Further records show that:
- Richard of 1630s Sandy was the ‘old man’ Brockett buried in the neighbouring parish of Blunham 1666.
- He was the father of Andrew who had a young family in Blunham at that time—including a Richard; both names being unusual among Brokets at that time.
- He was baptised in 1600 in Henlow as a BROTHWOOD, like his sisters Alice, Jane and Lettice, all children of John and Margaret Brothwood of Henlow:
In fact Richard of Sandy/Blunham became the ancestor of the whole Bedfordshire Broket Grouping—both of the large clan descended from his great grandson William I of Kempston 1688-1740, with members still in Bedfordshire, elsewhere in the UK, and in N America and Australasia, and of the other associated clans comprising the Bedfordshire Grouping, who in all likelihood descended from Richard’s other great grandson< William I’s younger brother Andrew III of Bletsoe 1692-1747.
Richard and Agnes/Ann were neither married nor buried in Sandy—the couple moved in and then out. He married Ann/Agnes STEVENS 1630—as BRATHWOOD—in Gamlingay, Cambridge on the border of Bedfordshire, 11 miles from Henlow.57 Andrew their son was baptised before they came to Sandy—in 1630/31 in Blunham. It is a sign of the time that Richard was called ‘an old man’ at the age of 66.
“Elizabeth a bastard daughter of Elizabeth Brokett”, was baptised 21 Sep 1641 in Dunstable.58 Elizabeth the mother would have been born by 1625, but no suitable record has been found. Dunstable is in the south of the county, c 4 m W of Luton, and this was the only entry in the Parish Register, which date from 1558, suggesting that Elizabeth the mother was an incomer to the parish. The location and the spelling of the surname suggests a relationship to Edmund and Mary of Luton, but an Elizabeth was not among their [many] children, nor apparently of other Hertfordshire Brokett couples. No record of what became of Elizabeth the daughter has been found.
Ralph Brockett married Judith TUCKEY 14 May 1641 Streatley,59 in the south of the county c 4 m N of Luton. A Juddie TOKEY was bap 8 Oct 1605 in Marston Moretaine, c 8 m NW of Streatley,60 but 36 was probably too old to have been marrying for the first time.
A Jesse BROOKETT is also recorded marrying Judith TURNER 14 Mar 1641 Streatley.61 This looks like a transcription error for Ralph’s marriage.
Similar to Elizabeth of Dunstable, this was the only entry in the Parish Register, suggesting that Ralph wasn’t originally from the parish. But no record of a suitable Ralph has been found before or after, excepting Ralph of Clerkenwell, London, in the 1670s. However, there are the following gaps in the BTs that record births, marriages and burials before 1693: 1602-32, 1634-6, 1640-1, 1652-60, 1665-8, 1670-3, 1675-99.
Shillington is about 8 m N of Luton and 4 m SW of Henlow. The Shillington Parish Register—which began 1543 and were well maintained during the Civil War and Commonwealth—had 2 solitary records of Brokets in the 1st half of the 17th C, both female and one at least a Broket by marriage:
- 2 Jul 1610: Elizabeth Brockett m James KEYNE
- 14 Nov 1649: Widow Brocket buried.
It is possible that the Widow was the mother of Elizabeth, however that could have made the Widow in her mid 80s at death. So it seems more likely that Elizabeth was from the Henlow Brothwood family. Conversely, the Widow is unlikely to have been from the Henlow family, since she would have come from the previous generation to the ones adopting the Broket name. She might have been Joan or Jane daughter of Robert NEGUS of Dunton, wife of John Yeoman of Dunton and later Baldock, however why she would have moved to Shillington is not clear.
More likely is that Widow Brocket was Katherine, widow of William Brocket III of Hitchin. William died 1622/3 but Katherine was still living in 1623 and 1641, but was deceased by 1658. No record of her burial as ‘Katherine’ Brocket has been found. It was probably her who was baptised in Holwell in 1570, the daughter of Mathewe and Alice Hanscombe. Holwell is 2 m E of Shillington. An indenture of Fine of Easter 1583 records Matthew Hanscombe, Gent–probably her father–purchasing a messuage, 15 acres of land, 4 acres of meadow, and 25 acres of pasture in Shillyngton.62 One of Katherine’s sons was called Matthew [Brockett].
The next Broket record in Shillington was a further 47 years after Widow Brocket was buried: the family ofJohn and Mary Brockett were recorded there 1696-1720. Since Shillington was a small rural settlement, it seems likely on the face of it that the Brokets of Shillington were all related, but the gaps in time—each of well over a generation—and the lack of other evidence suggest otherwise, and rather that all were incomers to Shillington from different families.
The 1st Broket record in Potton, which began 1602, was the marriage of Susan Brockett on 29 Oct 1649 to Robert DALE.63 The remaining 12 Potton Parish Register Broket entries—dating from 1663—all concern the family of Robert, probably from Dunton, c 3 m to the south. However Susan wasn’t recorded as part of that clan. Although Potton parish borders Sandy, she also does not seem to have been related to Richard of Henlow and Sandy.
Martha Brockett m Edward CRANFEILD 14 Sep 1659 Old Warden, c 4 m SW of Sandy, where she was probably bap 1639, daughter of Richard and Ann. The Old Warden Parish Register dates from 1576 and Martha’s is the only Broket record.
There is no record of Andrew’s baptism as a Broket, but it can safely be assumed that Andrew I was the son of the old man Richard Brockett of Blunham, formerly of Sandy, and that having a child by 1655/6 would mean he had been born by the early 1630s at the latest. This is confirmed by the baptism of Andrew BROOKWOOD on 30 Jan 1630/31 in Blunham, son of Richard. Buried as BROTHWOOD in Turvey 28 Aug 1679, Andrew was therefore recorded with three surnames. As detailed elsewhere Richard I and Andrew I were originally BROTHWOODs who used the alias BROCKETT and variants in between, the baptismal variant BROOKWOOD probably being a transcription variant or error for BROCKWOOD, which can be seen as a half-way house between BROTHWOOD and BROCKETT.
Was there just the one Andrew?
- Remarriage for a working man with children was usual in those days and given the high mortality rates, 3 marriages over a period of 20 years would not have been unheard of. The dates, moreover, all fit.
- Movement from village to village was not as unusual in earlier times as is sometimes assumed, especially perhaps after the upheavals of the Civil War and Interregnum 1642-60. Bromham, Kempston and Turvey are all within 7 miles of each other just west of Bedford.
- No Andrew Brokets have been found in Britain before this one b 1630/31, not even in Scotland, and the next to be recorded were his son Andrew II bap 1672 in Turvey and great grandson bap 1723 in Bletsoe.
- If we don’t assume that there was only one Andrew, we have to entertain the incredible possibility of 2—or even 3—contemporary Andrews of similar age in the same locality, all 3 of whom escaped baptismal and burial record.
Andrew I no doubt lived in Blunham most, if not all, of his first 33 years, and although her name isn’t mentioned in these Blunham baptismal records, Andrew’s wife here in Blunham would have been his first—Elizabeth WIGMORE—whom he married in Sandy on 24 Jun 1650 (as Andew BROTHWOOD). The Blunham Parish Register—which dates from 1571—recorded a Brockett family there 1655-66:
1659 Richard son of Andrew Brockett baptised 27 Nov
1662 Elizabeth daughter of Andrew Brockett buried 9 Apr
1662 Katherine daughter of Andrew Brockett buried 5 May
1666 Richard Brockett buried 24 Dec, an old man
Elizabeth apparently came from Sandy—baptised there 4 Nov 1632 daughter of Thomas and Susan WIGMORE—and following the custom Andrew and Elizabeth baptised thier first child in the mother’s parish. She was named Elizabeth after her mother and was baptised as a BROTHWOOD 4 Mar 1651/2 in Sandy. She was buried there the same day, but as a BROCKET. Their next child, another Elizabeth, was baptised in Blunham a few years later as a BROCKETT. Elizabeth the mother was buried in Bromham in March 1663. The family had probably just moved to Bromham from Blunham, as their fourth child, Katherine, had been buried 5 May 1662 in Blunham. Andrew Brothwood was mentioned as former occupant of some holms, or islets, associated with 3 water mills in Blunham in a lease of 24 Nov 1662.64
After Richard I died and Andrew I left Blunham there was a gap of 134 years before Brokets returned to Blunham. They were nonetheless descendants—members of the Bedfordshire Grouping of which Richard I was the ancestor.
Elizabeth wife of Andrew Brocket was buried in Bromham 2 Mar 1663.65 The couple appear to have had three daughters and a son in Blunham between 1655 and 1662, all died young, so they would have been temporary or recent incomers to Bromham and it appears that Andrew left Bromham after Elizabeth’s death for neighbouring Kempston where his 2nd wife—another Elizabeth—died 7 years later in 1670.
Andrew’s second wife—another Elizabeth—was buried in Kempston 7 years later on 30 Nov 1670 as a BROCKETT. A year after that, on 5 Nov 1671, Andrew married for the third time—as a BROCKETT to Eve BUTTON—in Turvey, 5-6 m W of Kempston, and he lived with her there almost 8 years until he was buried in Turvey 28 Aug 1679 as a BROTHWOOD, by which surname Eve/Effa married again in 1682.
Elizabeth wife of Andrew Brockett was buried in Kempston 30 Nov 1670. The couple were only married for seven years at the very most and appear to have only had a daughter, Elizabeth, d 1672, who died just over a year after her mother 15 Feb 1671/2 and was buried in Turvey, where Andrew would have moved to after marrying again. The Kempston Parish Register began in 1570, 100 years before Elizabeth’s burial, the first Broket entry. Again it’s unlikely that a line of Brokets entirely escaped record for a century and safe to assume that her husband was Andrew son of Richard, and that they were therefore incomers to Kempston from Bromham and/or Blunham. Widowered twice within 7 years, Andrew apparently married for a 3rd time a year later in Turvey, 5-6 m W of Kempston.
Eve was Andrew’s third wife. As though it was considered their true name, Effa reverted to the BROTHWOOD surname after Andrew’s death, whose surname then had also been recorded as BROTHWOOD. No IGI baptism has been found for Eve.
There were 4 Broket entries in Turvey All Saints Parish Register 1602-1812 and 2 Brothwoods:66
1671 Andrew Brockett married Eve BUTTON 5 Nov
1671/2 Elizabeth daughter of Andrew Brockett buried 15 Feb
1672 Andrew son of Andrew and Effe Brocket baptised 7 Jul
1678 Mary daughter of Andrew Brockett baptised 8 Sep
1679 Andrew BROTHWOOD buried 28 Aug67
1682 Effa BROTHWOOD married John JENKIN 27 Jul
Son Andrew we call Andrew II to distinguish him from his nephew Andrew III, who lived mainly in Bletsoe. No further record has been found of Andrew II or his sister Mary as Brokets or Brothwoods. Perhaps they later took or were given the surname JENKIN after their mother Eve/Effa married John JENKIN in Turvey 1682, but no record of them as such has been found either.
Eldest surviving son of Andrew I and Elizabeth WIGMORE, Richard II and his family moved around a lot, presumably for work. The recorded surname for him and his family was also mobile. He was baptised 27 Nov 1659 Blunhamas BROCKETT; married as BRAITHWOOD 26 Sep 1686 Wootton Susan STATTON/STRATTON. Their first child was baptised as BRATHWOOD in 1687 in Cardington—Susan’s parish? Richard BROCKWOOD was recorded in Kempston between 1688-1705, specifically as a Miller in 1700 and 1705. Also recorded as BRAITHWAIT in Kempston in 1692. Richard was probably buried as BROCKETT 25 Dec 1713 in Pavenham (c 6 m NW of Kempston).68 A record for Susan’s burial hasn’t been found. Children:
- Elizabeth, baptised as BRATHWOOD 17 Jul 1687 Cardington. Married, as Brocket, John—possibly Jos[eph]—SOSEBERRY 13 Mar 1738 Kempston.
- William I ‘senior’, baptised as BROCKWOOD 23 Dec 1688 Kempston; buried as BROCKET Labourer, 23 Dec 1740 Kempston; married as BRAITHWOOD Kempston Elizabeth EYRES, widow, 27 Oct 1712. William was recorded as a Servant in 1712 and a Dairyman 1716, otherwise as a Labourer, although he part owned a property in 1734-5. For fuller details see the separate page.
- Andrew III, baptised as BRAITHWAIT 31 Jan 1691/2 Kempston; buried as BROCKET 9 Apr 1747 Bletsoe; married as BRATHWITE Bedford St Paul 18 May 1719 Sarah LUDBROOK and had a family in Bletsoe where she was buried as BROCKET too: on 27 Jan 1753. Their children and many descendants all had the surname Brocket/t.
- ? A son who may have been the father of:
- Elizabeth BROCKETT of Kempston who married George GRIFFIN of Wootton 5 May 1748 in Kempston. George was baptised in 1717, so Elizabeth would probably have been born 1715-28.
- Samuel, baptised as BROCKWOOD 20 Nov 1698 Kempston; buried as BROCKWOOD 7 Jan 1700 Kempston.
- Sarah, baptised as BROCKWOOD 13 May 1705 Kempston.
Between 1696-1720 Shillington Parish Register recorded the family of John and Mary Brockett (misspelt Braket in 1697):69
John would have been born by 1677 at the latest and—given the gap in the Parish Register since ‘widow Brocket’ died 1649—was most likely an incomer to Shillington. Mary Brockett was recorded buried in Shillington 25 May 1710.70 John’s burial record called him “Labourer”. The only John baptisms found were in:
- 1657: son of Robert and Mary of Millow, Dunton, making him c 35 at marriage
- 1657: son of Samuel of Assington, Suffolk
- 1660: son of John and Mary of St Nicholas Cole Abbey, London.71 Did he become a Mariner?
- 1660: son of Edward and Mary of Wheathampstead, probably a gentleman
- 1666: son of Thomas and Abigail of Reading, probably emigrated to Barbados 1682
- 1669: son of Benedick and Jane of York, but he died a day old.
Page Last Updated: April 9, 2019