Bedfordshire Brokets 17th C - The Broket Archive

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:

  1. The small Luton Gentleman family
  2. The larger Dunton Yeoman clan
  3. 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

Specifically, the Brokets of 17th C Bedfordshire comprised:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 Huntindonshire11 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. The Dunton clan
    1. Parnell, wife of Edward Brockett I of Dunton, married by 1586, d 1641
    2. Edward II of Dunton Yeoman 1589-1660
    3. John of Dunton Yeoman 1593-
    4. Robert of Millow Yeoman 1596-1652
    5. Edward of Millo in Dunton 1614-1661
    6. Samuel and Geoffrey of Little Barford 1653-5
    7. Robert and Rose of Potton 1663-96
    8. Joan of Sutton 1674
    9. Mary of St Neots, Hunts 1684
  2. The Sandy / Blunham / Kempston family and others
    1. Elizabeth – Shillington 1610
    2. Alice, Jane and Lettice – Tempsford 1612-23
    3. Richard I, of Henlow, Sandy and Blunham 1636-9
    4. Elizabeth – Dunstable 1641
    5. Ralph – Streatley 1641
    6. Susan – Potton 1649
    7. Widow Broket – Shillington 1649
    8. Martha – Old Warden 1659
    9. Andrew I 1631-79 – Blunham 1655-66
    10. Richard II 1659-1713 mainly of Kempston
    11. John and Mary – Shillington 1696-1710

1. The Dunton clan

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

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

1.1. Parnell TANNER / Brocket / Rush

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.

Parnell and Edward’s 3 sons all stayed in Dunton and had large families:

  1. Edward II bap 1589 and Ann: 9 children c 1615-35
  2. John bap 1593 and Joan: 11 children c 1618-35
  3. Robert bap 1596 and Joan and Frances: 7 children c 1632-50.
Couples Edward & Ann and John & Joan both had sons called Edward, John, Robert and William and precise identification can be difficult. The pedigrees of Gray and Pye had minor differences in interpretation.

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

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
Ellyn’s executor was her son-in-law, Parnell’s husband William RUSH:

“I doe ordeyne and make my sonne in lawe William Rush for the trust I doe repose in him my sole & onely Executour of this my present last will and testament”

The Will of William Rushe of Millo, written 1 Apr 1625, proved Dunstable 17 May 1625, was as follows:21+Read more

Observations on William’s Will:

1. William had freehold land and copyhold land in Henlow, most of which he bequeathed to Oliver son of John Rushe, probably his nephew.
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 Henlow: Elizabeth 8 Oct 1574; Susan 1 Dec 1575; John 6 Jul 1578; Nicholas 12 Nov 1582.
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.
3. He set up Parnell with an annuity for the rest of her life from the proceeds of some of his Henlow land.
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.

1.2. Edward II of Dunton Yeoman 1589-1660

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.


  1. Edward bap 19 Feb 1614/5, bur 21 Sep 1660 Dunton.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:
    1. John b 4 Feb 1656/7 (?married Annis and d 1700-1)
    2. 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:
      1. Anna b 8 May 1697
      2. Hannah bap 20 Jun 1700
      3. John b 13 Dec 1702 bap in his 26th year 10 Sep 1727
      4. Mary bur 30 Jul 1715
      5. Martha b c 1707 bap 14 Jul 1723 in the 16th year of her age.
    3. Elizabeth bap 1660
    4. Mary bap 1664
    5. Ann bap 23 Aug 1666
    6. Hannah bap 1673.

    In the hearth tax for 1671 Robert paid on one hearth in Dunton cum Millo.33

  1. Ann bap 1622 m … CHURCHAINE
  2. William bap 1624. Probably Rev William of Little Cornard, Suffolk.
  3. 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.
  4. Elizabeth bap 1629 m George NEGUS.
  5. 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.
  6. Susannah bap 1635 m William REED.

1.3. John of Dunton Yeoman 1593–

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:

  1. 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’.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:
    1. 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.
    2. 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
  4. Edward IV bap 1624. Possibly later Edward of Much Hadham, c 15 m SE of Baldock, who baptised children there 1649-52.
  5. Elizabeth bap 1627. Either this Elizabeth or her first cousin—bap 1629—married Thomas GREEN of Dunton 8 Jun 1663.
  6. Joan bap 1629. Possibly married John FICKIS in Sutton in 1674.
  7. 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.
  8. Moses bap 1633 bur Dunton 1633
  9. Mary bap 1634. Possible emigrant to Virginia as an indentured servant in 1652, like her brother William.
  10. Rebecca bap 1636/7
  11. Ann bap 1638/9.

1.4. Robert of Millow in Dunton Yeoman 1596-1652

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:

  1. Isabel bap 1632; m 1654 Dunton Thomas COOKE (or Cocke).
  2. 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.
  3. Dorothy bap 18 Oct 1636; ?buried 23 Mar 1658/9 Guilden Morden aged about 23.
  4. Mary bap 1638/9.
  5. 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.
  6. Frances bap 1645.
  7. Elizabeth bap 1649/50.

Will of Roberte Brockett of Millow yeoman, 18 Apr 1652, pr PCC 10 Jun 1652.39

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.

1.5 Edward of Millo in Dunton 1614/5-1660

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

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.

1.6. Samuel of Little Barford 1653-5 and ?Geoffrey

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:

  1. Susan daughter of Samuel and Mary, b and bap 17 Dec 1653. Probably married in St Neots, c 2 m N in 1674.
  2. 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.

1.7. Robert and Rose of Potton 1663-96

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

  1. Susanna bap 20 Sep 1663
  2. Thomas Brockett, bap 25 Nov 1667, bur 28 Jun 1715;48 Labourer, m 1 Aug 1703 Mary MAN, both of the parish, children:
    1. Thomas b 9 Sep, bap 10 Sep, bur 15 Sep 1704
    2. Elizabeth b and bap 7 Jul 1706, m 11 Apr 1732 William MASON
    3. John Brockett, bap 23 Sep, bur 26 Sep 1708.49

1.8. Joan 1674 Sutton

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.

1.9. Mary of St Neots, Hunts 1684

Excommunicated 1684,51 most probably the wife of a Dunton Broket, and ancestress of a line in St Neots through to the mid 18th C. Died there 1701, leaving a Will.

2. The Sandy / Blunham clan

2.1. Elizabeth married 1610 Shillington

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:

  1. 2 Jul 1610: Elizabeth Brockett m James KEYNE
  2. 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, probably Edward of Letchworth Gent (d 1559), and that this Elizabeth was an—otherwise unknown—grand or great grand daughter of his. The only such Elizabeth known was the daughter of Edward’s son William, known only from Edward’s daughter Lucie’s Will, written 5 Oct 1569, who was therefore born before then and so only likely to have been this Elizabeth of Shillington if she married James as a Spinster in her mid 40s or older. Moreover, that Elizabeth, daughter of William, may well have died young—she wasn’t mentioned in her father’s Will of 1609, nor her sister Anne’s of 1616.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 currently known with the husband dying in the preceding 50 years—or finally that she was from an otherwise unrecorded Bedfordshire family.

2.2. Alice, Jane and Lettice married 1612-23 Tempsford

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:

  1. Alice Brockett m Richard PARKIN 29 Oct 1612.
  2. Jane Brockett m Henry EDWARDES 9 Oct 1615.
  3. 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.

2.3 Richard I 1600-66

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:

  1. Winifred daughter of Richard and Agnes Brocket 16 Mar 1635/6
  2. Martha daughter of Richard and Ann Brocket 30 Oct 1639. Probably m 1659 Old Warden.
  3. 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:

  1. b c 1609, son of John and Dorothy PENN of Codicote. He married Mary and they had children in Codicote in the 1640s.
  2. 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.
  3. baptised 1598 Sherfield, Hampshire, died there 1640.
  4. 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:

  1. Richard of 1630s Sandy was the ‘old man’ Brockett buried in the neighbouring parish of Blunham 1666.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

2.4. Elizabeth 1641 Dunstable

“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.

2.5. Ralph 1641 Streatley

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.

2.6. Widow Brocket buried 1649 Shillington

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:

  1. 2 Jul 1610: Elizabeth Brockett m James KEYNE
  2. 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.

Most 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 she 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.

2.7. Susan 1649 Potton

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.

2.8. Martha 1659 Old Warden

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.

2.9. Andrew I 1631-79

He only lived to 48, but records from Sandy, Bromham, Kempston and Turvey, show that Andrew married three times.

Andrew of Blunham’s 3 marriages

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’s first wife: Elizabeth, buried Bromham 1663

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:

1655/6 Elizabeth daughter of Andrew Brockett baptised 7 Jan
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 I’s second wife: Elizabeth, buried Kempston 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.

Andrew I’s third wife: Eve/Effa BUTTON of Turvey

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.

2.10. Richard II 1659-1713, mainly of Kempston

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:

  1. Elizabeth, baptised as BRATHWOOD 17 Jul 1687 Cardington. Married, as Brocket, John—possibly Jos[eph]—SOSEBERRY 13 Mar 1738 Kempston.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. ? A son who may have been the father of:
    1. 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.
  5. Samuel, baptised as BROCKWOOD 20 Nov 1698 Kempston; buried as BROCKWOOD 7 Jan 1700 Kempston.
  6. Sarah, baptised as BROCKWOOD 13 May 1705 Kempston.

2.11. John and Mary of Shillington

Between 1696-1720 Shillington Parish Register recorded the family of John and Mary Brockett (misspelt Braket in 1697):69

John of Shillington Labourer buried 1720

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:

  1. 1657: son of Robert and Mary of Millow, Dunton, making him c 35 at marriage
  2. 1657: son of Samuel of Assington, Suffolk
  3. 1660: son of John and Mary of St Nicholas Cole Abbey, London.71 Did he become a Mariner?
  4. 1660: son of Edward and Mary of Wheathampstead, probably a gentleman
  5. 1666: son of Thomas and Abigail of Reading, probably emigrated to Barbados 1682
  6. 1669: son of Benedick and Jane of York, but he died a day old.

Mother Mary may have been bap 1661 in Luton, daughter of Richard and Sarah LAWRENCE,72 making her c 35 at marriage and 47 at the birth of Thomas. Son Lawrence moved to Luton.

Page Last Updated: April 5, 2020


For full bibliographical details please see the sections Publications or Glossary.


[1] Email from Pamela Birch 31 Jul 2018

[2] (accessed 2 Aug 2018)

[3] See Genetic Group 2.

[4] BLARS AD3195

[5] Email from Pamela Birch, Bedfordshire County Archivist, 31 Jul 2018

[6] 'Parishes: Dunton with Millo', in A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1908), p 222. British History Online (accessed 29 Jul 2018)

[7] Email from Pamela Birch, Bedfordshire County Archivist, 31 Jul 2018

[8] (accessed 2 Aug 2018)

[9] Banks 1931 p 36

[10] Will pr Lincoln 17 May 1625

[11] Archd Beds

[12] Estreat of Hitchin Fines and Amercements of 5 Oct 1598 (TNA LR 11/61/857); also in a later addition to the 1591 Rental of Hitchin, TNA SC 12/31/12.

[13] NSOED: 1993 'a small field'

[14] BLARS ABP/W 1585, Written 25 Nov 1584, proved 21 Apr 1585 Archd. Beds. lines 5-12

[15] Lines 16-18

[16] BLARS ABP/W 1608/190, Written 13 Oct 1604, proved 10 Oct 1609 Archd. Beds.

[17] Lines

[18] Lines

[19] NSOED 1993: 'a small metal pot or vessel for boiling, with a handle and three feet'

[20] Lines

[21] LCC Wills 1624 – 5/533

[22] Family Search: England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 (accessed 5 Aug 2018)

[23] Transcript of parish register

[24] Proved Archd Beds 25 Apr 1630.

[25] England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975, ie FMP's online transcript of the parish register, (c) IRI, used by permission of FamilySearch Intl (accessed 4 Aug 2018).

[26] Transcript of parish register

[27] Archd Beds

[28] Parish records

[29] BLARS T53/10

[30] TNA E115/19/125

[31] BLARS Z584/5 of 29 Feb 1656. A later terrier, Z584/6, lists substantially similar, if not the same properties as Z584/5, but the names of owners of abutting properties north and south are mostly different. This implies some lapse in time between the two terriers.

[32] BLARS Z584/5

[33] section 39

[34] Mistranscribed as 'Burlott' in the IGI (online Family Search version accessed 4 Aug 2018) and copied from that by both's and FMP's online transcript of the parish register (accessed 4 Aug 2018).

[35] England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975, ie FMP's online transcript of the parish register, (c) IRI, used by permission of FamilySearch Intl (accessed 4 Aug 2018).

[36] HALS 28564: 'vno mesuagio vno gardino vno pomario et una acra terre cum pertinencijs'

[37] HALS 28572

[38] Allen Index

[39] PROB 11/222

[40] HALS 28564

[41] With thanks to Andrew Pye of Steeple Morden for his comments, Nov 2017.

[42] BLARS P51/1/6

[43] Archdeacon Beds

[44] TNA E179/243/6

[45] TNA E179/243/10 f70v

[46] section 56

[47] all events Potton

[48] FMP: National Burial Index

[49] FMP: National Burial Index

[50] Parish Register P123/1/2

[51] Archd Hunts AH12/267/79

[52] IGI

[53] Family Search: England Births and Christenings, 1538-1973 (accessed 5 Aug 2018)

[54] FMP online version of Transcriptions of the parish register © Bedfordshire Family History Society (accessed 5 Aug 2018)

[55] BARS BS1298

[56] Banks 1931 p 36

[57] Boyd's 1st Misc Series 1538-1775

[58] Parish Register

[59] BT—the Parish Register survives only from 1693.

[60] IGI

[61] Dec 2014

[62] HALS DE/X983/72197-8

[63] Parish Register

[64] BARS L1/88

[65] Parish Register

[66] Not in the IGI

[67] BFHS

[68] FMP: National Burial Index

[69] Source: Transcript of parish records

[70] FMP: National Burial Index

[71] IGI

[72] IGI

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