Bedfordshire Brokets 19th and 20th C - The Broket Archive

Brockets of Bedfordshire 19th C

The Bedfordshire Grouping in the 19th C entirely comprised labouring folk, living and working in 9 or so villages within 8 m of Bedford town, with one family slightly further out in Kimbolton—just over the border into Huntingdonshire.

Contents of this page: Below are outlines of known individuals and families from the late 18th to mid 19th C. More details may be found on their residence pages: Bedford, Biddenham, Blunham, Bromham, Kimbolton and Souldrop. Later 19th and 20th C individuals and families are recorded under their parents or grandparents, rather than listed separately as here—no living ones are of course mentioned.

1. James (b 1777? Bromham) and Margaret HILLS of Blunham
2. Elizabeth (b by 1781?) of Bromham
3. Thomas (b 1782) and Ann CLARK of Bromham
4. James (bap 1789 Stagsden) and Frances CURTIS of Cardington
5. John (b c 1790 Bromham?) and Jane STOKES of Blunham
6. James (bap 1791 Biddenham) and Lucy BATES of Bromham
7. Joseph (b c 1795) and Anne WRENCH of Biddenham
8. Thomas (bap 1796 Bromham?) and Mary of Blunham
9. John (b c 1798 Colworth) and Maria DARLING of Bedford and Northampton
10. Edward (b c 1798 Houghton) and Mary Anne SPENCER of Houghton and London
11. James (b c 1801 Bedford?) of Bedford
12. John (bap 1803 Bromham) and Ann JAMES of Bromham
13. Daniel (bap 1805 Houghton) and Rachel SPURGE of Houghton and London
14. John (b by 1806) and Elizabeth ESTHER of Blunham
15. John (b c 1808 Souldrop) and Sarah BIRD of Souldrop
16. Thomas (b c 1810 Radwell) and Hannah ABRAHAMS of Kimbolton Hunts
17. Joseph (b 1812 Bromham) and Sarah CORRALL of Kempston
18. Daniel (b c 1813 Radwell) and Sarah ABRAHAMS of Kimbolton Hunts
19. Daniel (b c 1814 Souldrop) and Mary GREEN of Souldrop
20. John (b c 1816 Kimbolton) and Eliza INCH of Kimbolton Hunts
21. Samuel (b c 1817 Bromham) and Mary Anne LOVEDAY of Bromham
22. John (b 1820 Cardington) and Eliza LARKINS of Bedford
23. James (bap 1822 Biddenham) and Ann WOLSTON of Biddenham
24. Thomas (bap 1828 Bromham) and Mary TEBBUTT of Kempston and Bromham
25. George (b 1828 Cardington) and Ann BETTLES of Bedford
26. Charles (bap 1829 Biddenham) and Mary Ann WESTON of Biddenham and Bedford
27. Ann (bap 1835 Bedford) of Bedford and Shropshire

Being Labourers little documentary evidence has survived other than their 3 life events of baptism, marriage and burial—and some of these went unrecorded. Only 2 administrations/Wills have been found, both from Blunham in 1831 and 1847. The men would have been similar to this account of Edburton, W Sussex, c 1850:   Read more

While earlier in this period the men were all Agricultural Labourers, later their trades diversified. Some stayed in the county, others left for work to places like Northampton, Northumberland or Australasia. The descendants of William and Sarah of Kempston, for instance, moved in and around Bedford for at least 100 years, then in the 1850s began moving further afield to London, Northumberland and Sussex. A bird’s-eye view of selected male lines over 2 centuries shows mobility and occupations:

Brockett occupations 18-20 C—originally of Kempston

In both halves of the century 1855-1954 London had more Broket births, marriages and deaths in the UK than other counties or cities. Bedfordshire came next in the 1st half but its birth rate dropped by more than half in the 2nd as Brocketts left the county. Census totals 1881 and 1901 show the turn:

Alive 1881
Alive 1901
The rest of the UK

1. James of Blunham, ?b 1777 Bromham

James and Margaret HILLS were married in Blunham 23 May 1800. Apart from Scotland, James up to this time was almost exclusively a name used by the Bedfordshire clans. There was only 1 known Bedfordshire James of an age to marry in 1800—bap Bromham 5 Oct 1777 eldest child of William and Elizabeth WILCOX. The other 2 Jameses baptised before 1800—in 1789 and 1791—both married others. The death in Blunham 14 Oct 1845 of James, Labourer, aged 68—of disease of the heart—confirms.2 So James came to Blunham from Bromham, c 8 m W. Margaret’s baptism wasn’t recorded in Blunham. She died 6 Oct 1803 and 15 months later on 3 Jan 1805 he married 2ndly Elizabeth HILLS—perhaps a sister of Margaret—in Blunham. Elizabeth’s baptism wan’t recorded in Blunham either. Did Elizabeth die 1839 Biggleswade District?3 In 1841 James was recorded in Blunham on his own, aged 60, Agricultural Labourer, next door to son William.4 He died 1845.

2. Elizabeth of Bromham, b by 1781?

Elizabeth Broket married George ODELL of Oakley Raynes 16 Oct 1801 in Bromham.5 Also recorded 4 Oct 1801 in Oakley. Not being a Widow, she presumably would have been b by 1791. Her parents aren’t known.

3. Thomas of Bromham 1782-1841

Bromham Parish Register recorded the baptism of a Thomas 21 May 1809, aged 27 on Apr 13, ie b 1782. About 7 years earlier on Oct 12 1801 ‘Thomas Brokit from Bromham’ had married Ann CLARK in Biddenham, Ann’s parish. The couple were progenitors of a clan that flourished in Bromham through the 19th C and now survives mainly in New Zealand.

It’s unlikely that Thomas was an unrecorded son of William and Elizabeth WILCOX of Bromham. More likely is that he moved into Bromham from a nearby parish, some time prior to his marriage. Biddenham is only about a mile from Bromham. Perhaps his parents were John and Mary KENDAL of Biddenham? It’s difficult to believe that he wasn’t closely related to James [son of John and Mary KENDAL] and Lucy BATES of Bromham, who lived a few houses away from Thomas in 1841.

4. James of Cardington, bap 12 Apr 1789 Stagsden

Bap 12 Apr 1789, Stagsden, son of James and Mary GEARY,6 James married Frances CURTIS 8 May 1809 in Odell, Beds, 7 probably Frances’ parish—the only suitable Bedfordshire baptism of a Frances in the IGI was 24 Dec 1786 in Odell d/o William and Elizabeth CURTICE. Contemporaries of namesakes James and Elizabeth of Blunham and James and Lucy of Bromham, James and Frances raised their children in Cardington.

Census records for James:+Read more

Labourer.8 Died 16 Feb 1853 Union Workhouse, Bedford, aged 71 [more like 64], Labourer, of apoplexy, Mary Ann BROWN in attendance.9 Did Frances die 12 years before him in Bedford District 1841?10 Children all bap Cardington11 except Ann in Odell—probably because of the custom of baptising the first child in the mother’s parish:

  1. Ann, bap Odell 27 Jul 1809, born 11 Jul 1809.
  2. William, bap 17 Nov 1811.
  3. Mary, bap 10 May 1814.
  4. Mary, bap 2 Mar 1817.
  5. John, bap 28 Jul 1820; m 1st Eliza LARKINS, 2nd Elizabeth KEECH.
  6. Sarah, bap 25 Jul 1824.
  7. George, bap 12 Oct 1828; m 1st Ann BETTLES, 2nd Elizabeth REDMAN, 3rd Elizabeth CRUMP.

5. John of Blunham, b c 1790

John married Jane STOKES 26 Nov 1811 in Blunham and as a family they lived in the hamlet of Chalton.John died 21 June 1847 at Chalton of disease of the heart, aged 57.12 This suggests a birth c 1790, but no suitable baptism has been found. Since 2 others of the 4 incomers to Blunham at this time were sons of William and Elizabeth WILCOX of Bromham, perhaps John was another son of theirs? The only other contemporary John recorded in Bedfordshire Parish Registers and the IGI 1760-1800 married Elizabeth PAIN in Felmersham 1804, and elsewhere the only known John was bap Hitchin 1779. Jane probably died 1865 Bedford District.13

6. James of Bromham, bap 1791 Biddenham

Second son of John and Mary KENDAL, James was baptised 22 May 1791, Biddenham, probable twin of Mary. He married Lucy BATES 14 Oct 1811 in Bromham and they probably lived the rest of their lives there. Their children were all baptised there. Although Bromham was Lucy’s parish—bap there 7 Aug 1791, daughter of Thomas and Ann14—it’s difficult to believe that James wasn’t related to Thomas and his family, a few houses away in 1841. It was a small settlement with no more than a dozen baptisms per year in the 1790s.

They were younger contemporaries of namesakes James and Elizabeth of Blunham and James and Frances of Cardington. Lucy died 1866 Bedford District, aged 75.15 James was recorded as a Farm Labourer that year,16 but died 1873 Bedford District aged 82.17

7. Joseph b c 1795, of Biddenham

Joseph was b c 1795 son of John Labourer.18 The marriage certificate didn’t say that his father was deceased, but that may have been an oversight. His baptism isn’t recorded in the Biddenham Parish Register or elsewhere in the IGI, but he married in Biddenham—twice—and all his 8 children were born there. Escaping record in the Parish Register was not unkown, so it’s possible that he was a son of John and Mary KENDAL of Biddenham.

He married 1stly Anne WRENCH 28 Mar 1815 in Biddenham.19 Aged 43, Joseph married 2ndly Patience TRUEMAN, Widow, Lacemaker, 15 Jan 1838 in Biddenham.20 He probably died later that year Bedford District.21 Patience d 1866 Biggleswade District, aged 72, ie b c 1794.22

8. Thomas of Blunham, ?bap 1796 Bromham

Thomas, Labourer, and Mary had a daughter Emma bap 19 Apr 1835 in Blunham.23 The IGI recorded the marriage of an Emma to Thomas BARRICH 10 Sep 1871 St John Bedford.24

Thomas was probably the son of William and and Elizabeth WILCOX of Bromham, baptised there 1796, and moving to Blunham where his older brother James was—perhaps John too. No other known suitable Thomas was recorded in Bedfordshire or elsewhere.

9. John b c 1798 Colworth

Married Maria DARLING. Further details here.

10. Edward b c 1798 Houghton Conquest

Moved to Shoreditch and married Mary Anne SPENCER. Further details here.

11. James b c 1801 Bedford?

James son of John and Mary Brocket was buried 24 Mar 1811 in Bedford St Mary’s aged 10.25. No baptism record c 1801 has been found, and the only John and Mary known at the time were John and Mary KENDAL of Biddenham and they had a son James b 1791 who married Oct 1811. It was thought that the Parish Register might have corrupted 1811 from 1831, when a James son of John and Maria could well have been buried in Bedford St Mary’s, but a thorough check of the Parish Register for both 1811 and 1831 suggested not. So either the curate mistakenly wrote ‘Brocket’ for another surname, or else inexplicably there was another John and Mary in Bedfordshire at the time.

12. John bap 23 Dec 1803 Bromham

Only surving child of Thomas and Ann CLARK of Bromham. John bap Bromham 23 Dec 1803. He married Ann JAMES 22 Mar 1824 Bromham. They lived all their married life in Bromham and had a large family. John’s occupation 1851 Labourer, 26 also retrospectively in 1861, 64.27 John died from diabetes 11 Jun 1861 Bromham, Farm Labourer, aged 58, informant Ann MILLARD.28

13. Daniel bap 2 Jun 1805 Houghton

Moved to Bethnal Green and married Rachel SPURGE. Further details here.

14. John of Blunham, b by 1806

John married Elizabeth ESTHER in Blunham 12 Oct 1824. His parents aren’t known and his death also wasn’t certified—it’s possible he died 23 Aug 1857 of fever, 1 month, in the Fever Hospital, Bedford, aged 60, ie b c 1797, Labourer,29 but this was much more likely John of Bedford, b Colworth. The couple apparently had no issue. He may have been John of Souldrop 1808-87. Further details here.

15. John of Souldrop 1808-87

3rd son of William and Hannah HOLLADAY, b c 1808 in Souldrop and married Sarah BIRD there 23 Oct 1837. It’s possible that he was John of Blunham, by by 1806.

He and younger brother Daniel were the only householders in Souldrop in 1881. John died 2 Sep 1887 of decay and diarrhaea 2 days, aged 79, Farm Labourer of Souldrop, at the Union Workhouse, Bedford.30

16. Thomas b c 1810 Radwell

Married Hannah ABRAHAMS. Further details here.

17. Joseph b 5 Oct 1812 Bromham

Joseph son of James and Lucy BATES of Bromham was born 5, bap 25 Oct 1812 in Bromham,31 and died 1879 in Bedford District.32 Occupation 1837, Labourer.33 Only 1 other Joseph is known from this period, the other being the husband first of Anne WRENCH from 1815, and then of Patience TRUEMAN from 1838. Joseph’s 1st marriage to Sarah CORRALL isn’t apparently in the IGI but the 1841 and 61 censuses recorded the family in Kempston. Sarah died 1865 in Bedford District.34 Joseph married 2nd Mary Ann GOSLING 10 Apr 1866 in Bedford Register Office.35 Mary Ann died of senile decay 16 Apr 1915 at 3 Beatrice St, Kempston, aged 79, Widow of Joseph, Farm Labourer, informant A E Brockett, daughter in law.36

18. Daniel b c 1813 Radwell

Married Sarah ABRAHAMS. Further details here.

19. Daniel of Souldrop c 1814-93

5th son of William and Hannah HOLLADAY, b c 1814 in Souldrop and married Mary GREEN in 1835 in Hail Weston. Daniel, Farm Labourer aged 79, died 19 Feb 1893 Souldrop.

20. John, b c 1816 ?Kimbolton Hunts

John and Eliza INCH . Ancestors of a clan that flourished in Lincolnshire from the 1880s.

21. Samuel, b c 1817 Bromham

Samuel, b c 1817, son of James and Lucy BATES of Bromham. He married Mary Anne LOVEDAY 6 Mar 1838 in Bromham, he a Labourer, she a Servant (MC). Like James and Lucy before them, Samuel and Mary Anne probably lived in Bromham all their married lives. Mary Ann died in 1891, aged 76, and Samuel in 1893, aged 77.

22. John b 28 Jul 1820 Cardington

Second son of James and Frances CURTIS, born 28 Jul 1820 in Cardington. Footman to Sir Samuel Whitbread. Married Eliza LARKINS 7 Dec 1842 in Cardington, and secondly Elizabeth ‘Betsey’ KEECH 29 Mar 1875 in Bedford. Within 3 years he had died of bronchitis—on 18 Feb 1878 at 20 Gravel Lane, Bedford St Paul, aged 55, Labourer in Iron Works.37

23. James of Biddenham, bap Biddenham 1822

Son of Joseph and Anne WRENCH, bap 10 Mar 1822, Biddenham, and died 1877 in Bedford. Married Ann WOLSTON in Biddenham and they raised their children there.

24. Thomas bap 1828 Bromham

First son of John and Ann JAMES, bap 11 May 1828, Bromham; married Mary TEBBUTT 14 Oct 1851 Bromham, who bore him 11 children there. Mary died 1894 Bromham, aged 59, ‘wife of Thomas Brockett a Farm Labourer’; Thomas died 1910, aged 80.

25. George b 1828 Cardington

Third son of James and Frances CURTIS was born 12 Oct 1828 in Cardington. He married 1st Ann BETTLES10 Feb 1854 in Cardington; and 2nd Elizabeth REDMAN 21 Sep 1879 in Bedford St Cuthberts; and 3rd Elizabeth CRUMP 15 Jun 1887 in Bedford Register Office. George died 1914, aged 87.

26. Charles bap Biddenham 1829

Youngest son of Joseph and Anne WRENCH, bap 27 Sep 1829, Biddenham; married Mary Ann WESTON 24 Dec 1850 in Biddenham. 7 children. Charles died 1897, aged 66. Mary Ann died 1910, aged 78.

27. Ann bap Bedford 1835, d 1842

Only recorded daughter of William and Elizabeth, bap 1835 St Paul Bedford; d 1842 North Wales, aged 7.

Page Last Updated: April 5, 2020


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


[1] (accessed 15 Jan 2017).

[2] Death certificate

[3] GRO qtr 2

[4] census

[5] Parish Register

[6] Parish Register

[7] IGI

[8] Marriage certificates of son George 1854 and 79

[9] Death certificate

[10] GRO qtr 2

[11] IGI patron submissions

[12] Death certificate

[13] GRO qtr 4

[14] Parish Register

[15] GRO qtr 4

[16] Marriage certificate

[17] GRO qtr 3

[18] Aged 43, in Marriage certificate 1838

[19] IGI

[20] Marriage certificate

[21] GRO qtr 4

[22] GRO qtr 2

[23] Parish Register

[24] GRO qtr 3

[25] Parish Register

[26] Marriage certificate of son Thomas

[27] Marriage certificates of sons James, Daniel

[28] Death certificate

[29] Death certificate

[30] Death certificate

[31] Parish Register

[32] GRO qtr 1, aged 67

[33] Birth certificate of son George

[34] GRO qtr 4

[35] Marriage certificate

[36] Death certificate

[37] Death certificate