Essex Brokets: 2nd Willingale clan
Two separate but related Broket clans thrived in Willingale, near Chelmsford. Both clans began with a younger son who worked as an attorney at one of the Inns of Court in London. This second clan maintained close connections with London and younger children were usually Londoners.
The first clan sold its Willingale estate in 1634, but 54 years later it was bought back by a distant cousin. This second clan lived in Essex for over 2 centuries until 1906—albeit with 2 arrangements to preserve the name when the patriline died out.
Much more is known about the second Willingale Brocket clan:
- While the first clan was in Willingale for about 91 years, this second one occupied and/or owned Spains Hall for 208 years.
- While there are only 4 Wills from the first clan, 3 of which are very short, there are 12 from the second, several of which are long and detailed.
- From a lawsuit brought by one family member against others in 1747-8, comprising 12 depositions.
- Many of them lived most of their lives in London.
Memorials to generations of the clan from its 2nd century dominate the little church of St Andrews and All Saints in Willingale, suggesting how they dominated the life of the little village for 200 years.
John I was born 1649 in London, a younger son of a Charles Brockett, Citizen and Fishmonger of London. John I was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1672. According to his daughters he was ‘by profession an Attorney but chiefly followed the practice of a Solicitor in the Court of Chancery‘.1 Being an Attorney was one of the fastest ways to make money in late 17th- and early 18th-century Britain and many of those trained at one of the Inns of Court were able to retire to a rural property purchased from the profits of their business.2 This applied to John who became known as both Gent and Esq. In 1688 he bought the Manor of Torrells Hall followed by the Manor of Willingale Spain in 1698. He died in or about June 17043 aged c 55.
On 4 Apr the year that he was admitted to the Middle Temple he was married at the Temple Church to Sarah dau of John HERNE Gent of Cliffords Inn, an Inn of Chancery. The 1860 Gateshead pedigree describes Sarah as his heiress. No records of her father have yet been found, but she would have brought wealth to the marriage. Her sister, married to a Mr Spyre, died a wealthy woman. Her estate passed to John I in 1700 as executor and residuary legatee and was valued at £1500.4 £300 of it had been left to her sister Sarah, John’s wife, and it is a sign of the times that John did not pass this to his wife except through his Will.5 Their children also each received legacies from Aunt Spyre—except Penelope and Richard who alledgedly never received theirs from William I, John I’s executor.6
John and Sarah’s children:
- Sarah 1673-1723.
- John b 1674 d young.
- John II Esq 1675-1744 unmarried. Admitted at the Middle Temple 29 May 1688. Lord of Spains Hall 1704-44, Will proved PCC 1745.
- William I Gent/Esq 1677-1745, Lord of Spains Hall 1744-45/6, Will proved PCC 1745, married 1710 London Jane dau of Thomas DRING of London. William went to Eton College c1688-1691, ‘ ‘W.Brockett’ is cut with ‘I. Brockett’ on a pillar in Lower School’.7 Admitted at the Middle Temple 5 Nov 1697; clerk of Christ’s Hospital 1711-45.8 William and Jane’s children:
- Richard b 1679 d young.
- Robert b 1680 d young.
- Elizabeth I 1681-1759 unmarried, Will proved PCC 1759.
- Powell b 1683 d young.
- George 1685-1716, d Jamaica, married Ann dau of Roger ELLETSON. Children: Richard 1712-4, Sarah
- Penelope 1686-1754, unmarried, Will proved PCC 1754.
- Richard Gent 1692-1754 married 1717 London Rebecca dau of William TRUNKET. No children.
William II Esq 1719-91 had a long career at the Middle Temple: admitted 1738, called to the bar 1742-3, Bencher 1778, Reader 1785 and Treasurer 1790. His only son died unmarried aged 18 but his daughter Mary married Stanes CHAMBERLAYNE Esq and had children including a son Stanes Brocket CHAMBERLAYNE. William’s Will was long and principally concerned to preserve the Brockett name.10 Consequently his grandson became Stanes Brocket Brocket, as follows.
Stanes Brocket CHAMBERLAYNE Esq 1782-1873 (d aged 90), grandson of William Brockett II. Admitted at the Middle Temple 1790, aged 8. Alias from 1834: Stanes Brocket BROCKET Esq, Lord of Spains Hall 1834-73 (39 years), High Sheriff of Essex 1844 (aged 62), Will written 1866-9 pr London 1873 married 1822 Elizabeth 1787-1864 daughter of Isaac RUTTON Esq of Ospringe, Kent, widow of John WOOLLETT Esq of Rye, Sussex. Children:
- Stanes Brocket Brocket II, b 1823. Admitted at the Middle Temple 1836, aged 13, but died 1844 unmarried.
- Elizabeth II 1825-95 unmarried, Lady of Spains Hall 1873-95, Will written 14 Aug 1888 pr 2 Jul 1895 London, sole executrix sister Mary.
- William Brocket Brocket c 1826-47 married 21 Oct 1847 Mary DAWBINEY Spinster of Stepney, d/o William, Master Mariner, in Stepney Parish Church, he a Gentleman from Rye, Sussex.11 IGI recorded it at St Dunstan Stepney between William ‘Brooket Brooket’ and Mary DOWBINEY. ‘Dauverry’ in E J Brockett.12 Also spelt ‘Danberry’. He died within months, aged 21, name spelt Brockett.13
- Mary Brocket 1827-1906; married 1866 London Charles Pix MERYON 1814-79. A single child d young: Stanes Brocket MERYON 1866-7. Mary resumed her maiden name in 1896 to become Lady of Spains Hall 1896-1906. Died 1907 Rye Sussex, aged 78.14 Will written 16 Aug 1896 pr 20 Mar 1907 London, executors William and Edwin Dawes; estate valued at £46,199 10s 2d.
- Thermuthes Brocket 1829-52 d a spinster
- Valentine Brocket Brocket 1833-5
For the 1841 census Stanes, aged 18, was living by independent means in the house of George Seddon, Merchant, 75 Guildford St, St Pancras, London—name mistranscribed as Staione Brochet, and the other children were with Mary HUGHWAY, 55, Independent, and 5 servants in High St, Rye, Sussex: Elizabeth, 16; William, 15; Mary 13; Thermuthis, 12—all born in the county except Mary.
Below are the names on the memorials in St. Andrews Church, Willingale Spain. They belong to the second clan after 1755 only. At least one other Brocket had been buried there previously—William Esq who died 1745 having requested to be buried underneath the family pew. Members of the first clan may also have been buried here too.
On the wall behind the pulpit in the nave:
Mary Brocket (infant) died Aug. 30 1755
Mary, wife of William Brocket Esq. died Sept 22 1757 aged 23 years
Elizabeth Brocket died December 6th, 1759
Jane Brocket, mother of William Brocket Esq. of Spains Hall died July 5th 1771 aged 87 years
William only son of William Brocket Esq. of Spains Hall died Aug. 20th 1774
Mary Brocket sister to William Brocket Esq. of Spains Hall died 1782 aged 69 years
William Brocket Esq. Lord of the Manor of Willingale Spain died 1791 aged 72 years
William Brocket Brocket died December 19th 1847 aged 21 years
Thermuthis Brocket died May 13th 1852 aged 23 years
To the memory of:
Elizabeth Brocket wife of Stanes Brocket-Brocket who died on the? 1st day of January 1864 aged 77 years
Stanes Brocket Brocket who died on the 2nd of March 1873, aged 90 years
Elizabeth Brocket who died on April 25th 1895, aged 70 years
Stanes Brocket Brocket who died on September 11th 1844 at Pontesbury, Shropshire and was buried there aged 21 years
Valentine Brocket Brocket who died on April 6th 1835 at Rye and was buried in Rye Church aged 2 years
Charles Pix Meryon died 3rd December 1879 aged 65
Mary his widow died 29th December 1906 aged 79 years
and their son Stanes Brocket Meryon died 9th Jan 1867 aged 11 weeks
All buried at Rye, Sussex
Page Last Updated: September 9, 2020