Biddenham - The Broket Archive

Biddenham  Brokets 19-20th C

Adjoining the parishes of Kempston to the south, Bromham to the north and Bedford to the east, Biddenham parish was home to 4 Broket households 1778-1867 with c 24 births/baptisms. The village was no more than 2 miles from the Kempston, Bromham and Bedford settlements.

The Biddenham Parish Register dates from 1667, with Bishop’s Transcripts from from 1602, but Brokets were only recorded there first in 1738, then 1778; both times as incoming bridegrooms from Kempston. The first  couple, William Brocket and Sarah WHITE, returned to Kempston, but the second, John and Mary KENDAL, remained in 1778. Theirs was the single Broket household there of about 8 persons in 1801 when Biddenham’s population was 252 in perhaps 63 households.1 In 1901 Biddenham had 2 Broket households.2

Brocketts of Biddenham

Contents of this page:

1. John and Mary KENDAL
2. Joseph b c 1795-1838 and Anne WRENCH, …
3. Mary and Thomas PLACKET
4. James 1822-77 and Ann WOLSTON
5. Charles 1829-97 and Mary Ann WESTON
A note on sources: Unless otherwise noted, all records of events on this webpage are from The Biddenham Parish Register of Biddenham 1602-1812, a printed transcription published by the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Services (BLARS). The Register itself has of course also been transcribed by the IGI, and their transcription is available on FMP, FamilySearch and, however the printed BLARS transcription sometimes provides extra significant details.

John b c 1755 and Mary KENDALL

Third son of William jnr and Sarah THOMPSON of Kempston, baptised there 9 Mar 1755; married Mary KENDALL 12 Oct 1778 in Biddenham. John and Mary baptised 7 known children there over a 20 year period 1779-99 and were probably also the parents of three others between c 1782 and 1801. In 1794 John was recorded as a Pauper in Biddenham.3 John was buried in Biddenham 19 Mar 1823, aged 70, ie b c 1753,4 and Mary 3 Nov 1829, aged 81, ie b c 1748.5 No Kendal family was recorded in Biddenham in the 18th C, but a Mary was baptised in Wilshamstead (aka Wilstead)—c 7 m S E of Biddenham—on 1 Jan 1755, daughter of James and Mary Kendall.6 The 6 year disparity between this and a date of birth estimated from her burial record can be accounted for by the fact that ages given at burial for old illiterate country folk over 70—usually provided by younger relatives or parish clerks—were often inexact. So the Wilshamstead baptismal record is with little doubt of our Mary here, especially since there are no other records of a baptism for her in nearby parishes. Born in late 1754, she would have been about 47 in 1801 if James was her son. Children:

  1. Sarah, bap 8 Aug 1779, married 12 Oct 1802 William CRANE.
  2. Susan, bap 30 May 1784, married 19 Oct 1807 William GOSS of Sharnbrook.
  3. James, bap 22 May 1791. Probable twin of Mary. James married Lucy BATES 14 Oct 1811 in Bromham and stayed there.
  4. Mary, bap 22 May 1791. Probable twin of James. Mary would have died by the 1793 baptism of sibling namesake—it seems hardly likely that John and Mary had two daughters alive named Mary with only a couple of years between them.7
  5. Mary, bap 25 Dec 1793. Probable twin of William. She may have been too much of a minor to have married Thomas PLACKET in 1807, but who else could that Mary have been but this one?
  6. William, bap 25 Dec 1793. Probable twin of Mary. Buried 30 Jan 1794.8
  7. Ann, bap 12 May 1799, married 14 Oct 1816, James HUTCHINS, Spinster and Bachelor, both of the parish and signing with ‘X’.

John and Mary were probably also the parents of other sons:

  1. Thomas born c 1782 between Sarah and Susan, who moved to Bromham and married Ann CLARK of Biddenham, and was later baptised in Bromham.
  2. Joseph, born 1795/6 between William and Ann. His baptism wasn’t recorded in the Biddenham Parish Register and hasn’t been found in the IGI elsewhere, but he married in Biddenham—twice—and all his 9 children were born there.
  3. James, “son of John and Mary Brocket”, was buried in Bedford St Mary on 24 Mar 1811, aged 10.9 No baptism record c 1801 has been found, and the only possible John and Mary known at the time were this John and Mary KENDAL. As can be seen above, they had a son James b 1791 who married Oct 1811, but this James born 10 years later, c 1801, could have been a second son named James, as they had a large family and had baptised daughter Ann as recently as 1799. James was Mary’s father’s name. The only other known John and Mary were John and Maria DARLING of Bedford St Cuthbert who didn’t marry till 1821. It isn’t likely that there was another John and Mary Brocket in the Bedford area at the very beginning of the 19th C, who left no other trace.

Why John and Mary should have baptised other children, but not Thomas, Joseph or James, is not known.

Joseph b 1795/6, d 1838

Joseph was b 1795 or 6—in 1838 his age was given as 4310 and 42.11 He married 1stly Anne WRENCH 28 Mar 1815 in Biddenham, both of the parish, witness James HUTCHIN12 Anne was bap there 20 Mar 1791 d/o John and Susan. Biddenham was his wife Anne’s parish from birth, but it’s probable that it was his also and that his parents were John and Mary KENDAL—the only couple in Biddenham at that period having children baptised. Joseph’s 1838 marriage certificate gave his father as John, Labourer. It didn’t say that he was deceased, and John h/o Mary KENDAL had died 1823. This may have been an oversight—as with his own daughters’ marriage certificates 1852 and 1854. Other supporting evidence is that:

  • No other suitable John as his father has been found recorded in Bedfordshire.
  • James HUTCHIN/S, witness to Joseph’s marrige to Ann WRENCH in 1815, married John and Mary KENDAL’s daughter [his sister?] Ann the following year in Biddenham.
  • Escaping record in the Parish Register was not unkown—Joseph’s son James and wife Ann WOLSTON, for instance, had one child recorded in the census but who isn’t in the GRO or IGI, unlike all his other children.
  • Joseph’s son James’ widow Ann was living next door to a grandson of John and Mary KENDAL in 1891.

There is, nonetheless, a faint possibility that Joseph was the elder brother of John who married Maria DARLING, and therefore a son of Andrew and Ann LAWSON of Colworth, whose children’s early baptisms went unrecorded. Children:13

  1. Charlotte, bap 20 Jul 1816 Biddenham; m there 26 Dec 1836 James CHAMBERS.14 Witness—with an X—of sister Mary Anne’s marriage.
  2. John Wrench, bap 26 Jul 1818 Biddenham. No record of a John Wrench after 1837 in the GRO.
  3. William, bap 25 Jul 1820 Biddenham. No obvious death recorded in the GRO after 1837.
  4. James, b c 1822; married Ann WOLSTON 1857 Biddenham; d 1877 Bedford.
  5. Mary Anne, bap 27 Jul 1823 Biddenham. Married 15 Nov 1852 St Edmund Northampton Henry LABRUN, Laborer, Bachelor and Spinster, both of full age—she actually 29—and residing Butchersgate, Northampton.15 The family of John Brocket who married Maria DARLING were also in Northampton by the early 1850s.
  6. Jane Susanna, bap 13 Aug 1826 Biddenham. No apparent record under either name in the 1841 or 51 censuses or the GRO after 1837.
  7. George, bap 9 Apr 1828 Biddenham. No apparent record in the censuses or the GRO after 1837.
  8. Charles, b 1829; married Mary Ann WESTON 1850 Biddenham. He d 1897 Bedford, she d 1910 Bedford.
  9. Caroline, bap 29 Jul 1832 Biddenham. Married 21 Apr 1854 Register Office, Northampton John KILBY, Shoemaker, Bachelor and Spinster, both aged 21 and residing Kettering Rd.16

Anne would have died by 15 Jan 1838 when, aged 43, Joseph, Widower, Labourer, married 2nd Patience TRUEMAN, Widow, also aged 43, Lacemaker, in Biddenham.17 He died later that year and was buried in Biddenham 8 Dec 1838.18 No issue recorded. His occupation was given as Labourer in 1857.19

Census records for Joseph’s family:    Read more

Patience d 1866 Biggleswade District, aged 72, ie b c 1794.20.


Married Jul 5 1807 Thomas PLACKET from Bletsoe in Biddenham.21 No children recorded in Biddenham. She was not the Mary bap 1783, d/o William and Elizabeth WILCOX of Bromham. Mary, bap 25 Dec 1793 in Biddenham, d/o John and Mary KENDAL, may have been too much of a minor to have married in 1807, but who else could Mary have been? It is hardly likely that John and Mary’s previous daughter Mary, bap 1791, was living when they named their next child Mary a couple of years later.

James bap Biddenham 10 Mar 1822

James s/o Joseph and Anne WRENCH was bap 10 Mar 1822, Biddenham,22 and died 1877 in Bedford.23 The other contemporary namesakes in Bedfordshire were James of Bromham and Portsmouth, 1838-90, married Elizabeth LONGFORD 1861 and James of Blunham, 1840-, married Hannah ALFORD 1867. Aged 34 on 1 Apr 1857, occupation Labourer, James married Ann WOLSTON in Biddenham.24 She was 27. James and Ann raised their children in Biddenham. A Labourer, he couldn’t write. James died 1877 Bedford District Beds, aged 55.25 Ann died 1892 Bedford District Beds, aged 62.26

Census records for James and family:    Read more


  1. Julia, b c 1852, Biddenham.27 No marriage or death recorded in the GRO after 1871.
  2. Frederick J, b c 1856, Biddenham.28 Unmarried, Agricultural Labourer, and still living at home in 1881.29 Married Julia BALL 22 Dec 1894 in Bedford Register Office, he aged 39, Bachelor, Railway Labourer, s/o James, Labourer, deceased, she aged 38, Widow, Charwoman, both residing 2 Hand Court, Newnham St, Bedford.30 Frederick James d 1901 Bedford District, aged 45, ie b c 1856.31 Julia remarried to John WEST 1903 Bedford District.32 +Census records for Frederick and Julia:    Read more

    1. Florence Gertrude, b 1896 Bedford District.33 No further GRO record. Was she put away in a mental asylum? Child:
      1. Elsie May, b 16 Jan 1916 at Ford End Cottages, Biddenham, to Florence Gertrude, of no occupation, informant grandmother Julia WEST, making her mark, present at the birth.34 Twin daughters born 13 Sep 1939 at 3 Kimbolton Rd, Bedford, to mother Elsie, a Domestic Servant of 14 Ford End Cottages, Bedford. 3 Kimbolton Rd was also where Herbert Alfred was born in 1925. Elsie May died unm 4 Jul 1994 at 20 Green End Rd, Kempston, Beds, Administration Leeds 17 Oct, £107,451.35
  1. Elizabeth, bap 8 Jan 1860, Biddenham.36 Married 5 Dec 1879, Francis ARMSTRONG, Biddenham.37
  2. William Thomas, bap 26 Jun 1864, Biddenham.38 Agricultural Labourer in 1881, unmarried and living at home.39 Married Emma Jane WINWRIGHT 18 May 1893 Chicheley, Newport Pagnell, Bucks, he aged 29, Bachelor, Labourer, she aged 28, Spinster.40 He probably died Bedford District 1927, aged 64.41 She died 1947 Bedford District, aged 82.42 +Census records for William Thomas and Emma Jane:    Read more

    1. Henry William, b 18 Jun 1893 Biddenham.43 Married—as William Henry—Emma Elizabeth BODIMEADE 7 Jun 1915 Ealing, by licence, he aged 22, Bachelor, Mason, s/o William Thomas, Farm Labourer, she aged 21, Spinster, both residing 41 The Grove, Ealing.44 He died 1949 Bedford District, aged 56.45 She died 1960 Bedford District, aged 65, ie b c 1895.46 Children:
      1. William Henry, b 13 Apr 1916 Brentford London.47 Married 15 Mar 1952 Gwendoline Violet CRAMP St Peter the Great Parish Church, Chichester, Sussex, he aged 35, Bachelor, Press Operator, residing St Michael and All Angels, Bedford, she 34, Spinster, Waitress, residing 4 Little London, Chichester, witness [?brother] F Brockett.48 He died 5 Nov 2001 at 5 Fieldside, Goldington, Bedford, Will proved Manchester 28 Mar, not exceeding £25,000.49 Gwendoline Violet d 29 Apr 2002 at 5 Fieldside, Goldington, Bedford, will pr Manchester 7 Jun, not exceeding £6,000.50 1 son.
      2. Charles Kenneth, b 15 Mar 1920 Bedford District;51 died 1981 Luton Beds, aged 61.52
      3. Frank Thomas, b 1921 Bedford District;53 married 1944 May SIMMONS Tonbridge Kent.54 May died d 25 Jan 1967 at Sevenoaks Hospital, residng 49 Prospect Rd, Sevenoaks, Kent, aged 52 [ie b c 1915], Administration London 8 Mar to Frank Thomas Brockett, Postman GPO, estate valued at £693.55 He died 3 Jan 2001 Eastbourne, E Sussex, residing 4 Middlesex Court, Leslie St, Eastbourne, E Sussex, Will proved Brighton 28 Feb 2001, estate not exceeding £210,000.56 No issue recorded in the GRO.
    2. Ethel May, b 1896; residing Church End, Biddenham 1916;57 m … JACKSON 1927 Bedford District.58
  3. Sidney William, bap 27 Oct 1867, Biddenham;59 d 1901, Bedford District.60 Living at home in 1881, Agricultural Labourer, and with brother Frederick in 1901.61

Charles bap Biddenham 27 Sep 1829

Charles s/o Joseph and Anne WRENCH was bap 27 Sep 1829, Biddenham.62 He married Mary Ann WESTON 24 Dec 1850 in Biddenham.63 Charles and Mary raised their children in Biddenham till they moved to Bedford 1857-8. Charles died 1897 Bedford District, aged 66.64 Mary Ann died 24 Jan 1910 of bronchitis and senile decay, aged 78, at 25 Union St, Bedford St Paul, Widow of Charles, Jobbing Gardener.65

Page Last Updated: March 5, 2021


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


[1] Parish Register transcript, p ii.

[2] Census.

[3] Parish Register.

[4] NBI (Transcription by Bedfordshire Family History Society).

[5] NBI (Transcription by Bedfordshire Family History Society); IGI (FHL Film #1066898, reference ID: 115).

[6] IGI, FHL Film #826474, accessed from and FMP, 5 Mar 2021. Many thanks to Barbara Webster for this record, 5 Mar 2021.

[7] FMP, accessed 5 Mar 2021, also recorded a Mary daughter of John and Mary Brockett, baptised 22 May 1792, source IRI (used by permission of FamilySearch Intl) but this is not in FamilySearch, accessed 5 Mar 2021, nor in BLARS' printed transcription, and will be a mistake.

[8] NBI.

[9] Parish Register.

[10] Marriage certificate.

[11] NBI.

[12] IGI.

[13] Baptisms all IGI and TR).

[14] IGI; TR.

[15] Marriage certificate.

[16] Marriage certificate.

[17] Marriage certificate.

[18] NBI; GRO qtr 4.

[19] Marriage certificate of son James.

[20] GRO qtr 2.

[21] IGI.

[22] IGI; TR.

[23] GRO qtr 2, aged 55.

[24] Marriage certificate.

[25] GRO qtr 2.

[26] GRO qtr 1.

[27] 1861 census—birth not recorded in the GRO.

[28] 1861 census—birth not recorded in the GRO.

[29] Census.

[30] Marriage certificate.

[31] GRO qtr 2.

[32] GRO qtr 1; birth certificate of granddaughter; 1911 census.

[33] GRO qtr 2.

[34] Birth certificate.

[35] LPR.

[36] IGI; TR; GRO qtr 1.

[37] IGI; GRO qtr 3.

[38] IGI; TR; GRO qtr 3.

[39] Census.

[40] Marriage certificate.

[41] GRO qtr 3.

[42] GRO qtr 1.

[43] Birth certificate.

[44] Marriage certificate.

[45] GRO qtr 3.

[46] GRO qtr 2.

[47] GRO qtr 2.

[48] Marriage certificate.

[49] LPR.

[50] LPR.

[51] GRO qtr 2.

[52] GRO qtr 3.

[53] GRO qtr 2.

[54] GRO qtr 2.

[55] GRO qtr 1; LPR.

[56] LPR.

[57] Birth certificate of son.

[58] GRO qtr 1.

[59] IGI; TR; GRO qtr 4.

[60] GRO qtr 3, aged 32.

[61] Censuses.

[62] IGI; TR.

[63] IGI; GRO qtr 4.

[64] GRO qtr 1.

[65] Death certificate.

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