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. The main residence of this second clan was Spains Hall in Willingale, but they maintained close connections with London and younger children were usually Londoners.
Note: Where a source is not mentioned here it will probably be the 1860 Gateshead pedigree, ‘The GP’ for short. The 3rd principal source for this pedigree was Spains Hall, where the author William Henry Brockett visited between 1847 and 1852 and was given access to family manuscripts.
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 Charles Brockett, Citizen and Fishmonger of London, see the separate page. 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.
On 4 Apr 1672—the year that he was admitted to the Middle Temple—he was married in the Temple Church to Sarah dau of John HERNE Gent of Cliffords Inn, an Inn of Chancery. The GP described Sarah as “d. and heir of John Herne (of the Middle Temple) and Sarah, his wife, d. of Richard Antrobus.” 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 £1500.3 £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 Sarah except through his Will.4 Their children also each received legacies from Aunt Spyre—except Penelope and Richard who allegedly never received theirs from William I, John I’s executor.5
The baptismal records of their children indicate that they belonged to the parish of St Clement Danes, Westminster 1673-77 and then to the parish of St Dunstan in the West, City of London, 1678-92 and up to their deaths. “Mr John Brockett out of Shear Lane [was buried] in St Annes Chappell 20 Jun 1704”, St Dunstan in the West,6 aged c 55. “Sarah Brockett a Gentlewoman was buried from Sheer L: in the Church, in St Anns Chappel 25 June 1710”, St Dunstan in the West,7 John and Sarah’s children:
- “Sarah Brockett the daughter of John and Sarah” was baptized 17 Jun 1673 in St Clement Danes Westminster.8 The Richmond St Mary Magdalene Parish Register recorded the burial of “Mrs Sarah Brockett” on 2 Aug 1723.9 The GP had “Sarah, b. 1673, d. 1723.” No more is known about her.
- “John Brockett the son of John and Sarah” was baptized 14 Aug 1674 in St Clement Danes, Westminster.10 The GP had “John, b. 1674, d. an infant.” No record has been found of his burial but his namesake was baptised 5 months later, as follows.
- “John Brockett the son of John and Sarah” was baptized 17 Jan 1675 in St Clement Danes, Westminster.11 The GP had “John, b. 1675, d. 1744 at Willingale.” Admitted at the Middle Temple 29 May 1688, see the separate page. Lord of Spains Hall 1704-44, buried unmarried 24 Oct 1744,12 Will of “John Brocket of the Middle Temple London Esqr and now residing at Spains Hall in Willingale Spain in the County of Essex”, written 7 Feb 1742/3, proved 10 Jul 1745/6.13 A long Will with much interesting detail. John is referred to in this website as ‘John II’.
- “William Brockett the son of [blank] and [blank]” was baptized 21 Aug 1677 in St Clement Danes, Westminster.14 The baptisms of his siblings before and after William with named parents, along with no other Brokets in the parish at the time, leave no doubt that his parents were John and Sarah. William went to Eton College c1688-1691: “‘W.Brockett’ is cut with ‘I. Brockett’ on a pillar in Lower School”.15 William was Lord of Spains Hall 1744-45/6, and is referred to in this website as ‘William I’. A lot of good research has been done on William and his extended family by Frances Piercy-Reins, and published on WikiTree, see ID Brockett-658 for this William and ID Dring-208 for his wife Jane DRING.
“Mr William Brocket of the Middle Temple and Mrs Jane DRING of St Paul Covent Garden were marryed Feb: 13″ in Saint Christopher le Stocks, Threadneedle Street, City of London.16 Jane was baptised 12 Apr 1684 in St Dunstan in the West, City of London, the daughter of Thomas and Christian DRING of Fleet Street, London.17 Of Jane, the GP had “d. and heir of Thomas Dring (of Saint Dunstan’s in the West, London) and Christian, his wife, d. of Robert Baldrick, of Hodgesden [sic], Middlesex, d. 1771, aet 87.”
Year of marriage: The St Christopher parish register recorded William and Jane’s marriage on 13 Feb, but was not clear whether this was 1710 or 1711.18 Ancestry.com indexed it as 1710, but the old style dating was still in force until 1752 according to which the new year started on 25 March, so 13 Feb 1710 by today’s reckoning would have been called 13 Feb 1709 then. The three January marriages at the top of that page in the register do indeed have “1709” written above them—i.e. 1709/10—and they follow on from the Dec 1709 entry on the previous page. But the two February marriages have “1710” written above them—i.e. 1710/11—and the 3 April one has “1711” by the side. If these are all correct it means that the 13 Feb date by our reckoning should be 1711 and that there was no marriage recorded in the register for a whole year between 19 Jan 1709/10 and 1 Feb 1710/11. However, the 1 Feb one is in the same hand as the 19 Jan one and the 13 Feb one is in the same hand as the 3 April one. That might suggest there was no marriage recorded between 1 Feb 1709/10 and 13 Feb 1710/11. The clerk or clerks obviously copied up the entries at different times and may have made errors with the years. But taking the 13 Feb date of 1710 at face value—i.e. 1710/11—along with the record of the birth of their first child Sarah on 13 Jan 1712 [or 1712/13], a marriage in 1710/11 would have most evidence.
Career: Like his elder brother and father before him, William joined the legal profession and gained admission at the Middle Temple in London 5 Nov 1697. Many documents survive in the UK National Archives and elsewhere recording his work. He also served as Clerk of Christ’s Hospital 1711-45.19 On 18 Nov 1730 William was certified to act as a Solicitor in the High Court of Chancery, recorded on this document held by the Society of Antiquaries of London:20
William wrote his Will 20 Nov 1744, and it was proved 24 Jan 1745/6 by son William Brocket Esq, sole executor.21 He therefore died between 20 Nov 1744 and 24 Jan 1746, however a definite burial record of William hasn’t been found. It’s unlikely that the “William Brachet: St James C”, buried 6 Feb 1744/5 in St Anne, Soho, Westminster was him,22 but no other suitable record has yet been found. Perhaps the Essex Record Office will have one. The GP said “d. 1745 at Willingale”, but this may simply reflect William’s request in his Will “to be interred near or under the pew where we usually sit in Willingale Spaine Church”. The earliest memorial inscription in Willingale Church is from 1755—William’s 1st grand-daughter—see below, however other Brockets are likely to have been buried there previously from this 2nd Willingale clan, or indeed from the 1st, and were just not recorded in stone. William’s wife Jane, dying much later, was buried at Willingale, the memorial inscription has “Jane Brocket, mother of William Brocket Esq. of Spains Hall died July 5th 1771 aged 87 years” [i.e. b c 1684].23
William and Jane’s children, 3 of the 5 dying young:
- Sarah, born 13 Jan 1712, baptised 20 Jan 1712 in Christ Church Greyfriars Newgate, London, daughter of William and Jane Brockett.24 The GP had “b. 1711, d. an infant at Petersham.” The parish register of Petersham St Peter, Surrey recorded her burial on 15 May 1712.25 Interesting that even a 4-month-old could be called ‘Mrs’:
- Mary, born 14 Mar 1713, baptised 8 Apr 1713 in Christ Church Greyfriars Newgate, London, daughter of William and Jane Brockett.26. The GP had “b. 1713, d 1782, at Willingale.” There are some quaint letters from Mary to a friend in the 1730s.27 Mary Brocket was buried 7 Jun 1782 in Willingale.28 The GP had “d. 1782 at Willingale”, the memorial inscription has “aged 69 years”, i.e. b c 1713, see below.
- Jane, born 2 Apr 1714, bap 12 Apr 1714 in Christ Church Greyfriars, Newgate, London, daughter of William and Jane Brochett [sic].29 The GP had only “died at Hampton an infant.” No record of her burial has been found.30 Hampton is nowadays in the London Borough of Richmond, where Jane’s namesake younger sister was buried in 1722.
- William II Esq 1719-91 Lord of Spains Hall 1745/6-91, see below.
- Jane, born 11 Feb 1722, bap 12 Feb 1722 in Christ Church Greyfriars, Newgate, London, daughter of William and Jane Brocket.31 The GP had only “d. at Richmond, an infant.” The Richmond St Mary Magdalene Parish Register recorded the burial of “Jane Brockett, A Child Octo’r 9th” 1722.32
- “Richard son of Jo’n Brockett & Sarah his wife bap: out of sheir Lane” 19 Dec 1678 in St Dunstan in the West, City of London.33 “Rich’d Brocket a Child bur: in the Church from Shear Lane” 29 Mar 1682 in St Dunstan in the West.34 The GP had “Richard, b. 1679, d. an infant.” The “Richard Brockett bur’ 14 July” 1681 in St Clement Danes Westminster must have been a different person, see separate page.
- “Robert son of John Brockett & Sarah his wife bapt: out of Sheir Lane” 23 May 1680 in St Dunstan in the West, London.35 No record of his burial in the images of the St Dunstan in the West parish register from 23 May 1680 through 31 Dec 1687. The GP had “Robert, b. 1680, d. an infant.”
- “Elizabeth daughter of John Brocket & Sarah his wife bapt’ from Shear-Lane” 14 Aug 1681 in St Dunstan in the West, London.36 Died 1759 unmarried, Will proved PCC 1759. The GP had “Elizabeth, b. 1681, d. 1755, at Willingale.” Referred to in this website as Elizabeth I.
- “Powel son of John Brocket & Sarah his wife from Shear Lane” bap 3 Jun 1683 in St Dunstan in the West, City of London.37 The GP had “Powell, b. 1683, d. an infant.” No record of his burial in the images of the St Dunstan in the West parish register from 3 Jun 1683 through 31 Dec 1687.
- “George son of John Brockett & Sarah his wife bapt’ from Shear Lane” 13 Sep 1685 in St Dunstan in the West, City of London.38 “George Brockett of St Dunstans in the west London & Anne Ellittson of St Clements Deans compt. Midlesex ware here Maried with Licence the 18th June 1713” in St Benet Gracechurch, City of London.39 The GP had “George, b. 1685, d. 1716, in Jamaica. He married Ann, d. of Roger Elletson, of Legunsa, in the parish of St. Andrew, in Jamaica, and Ann, his wife, and had issue—Richard, an infant (b.1712, d. 1714, at Putney) and Sarah.” “Anne daughter of Roger and Anne Elletson baptized July 27 1685″ in St Andrew parish, Surrey County, Jamaica”.40 Children:
- “Richard Son of George Brockett & Anne uxor” was baptised 6 May 1714 in St Clement Danes Westminster.41 The printed transcription of the Parish Register of Putney St Mary recorded the burial of “Richard Brockett, a n[urse] child from Charles Rudwells” on 30 Jul 1714.42
- Sarah. No other information known.
- “Penelope daug’ of Mr John Brocket & Sarah his wife from Shear Lane” was baptised 28 Oct 1686 in St Dunstan in the West, London.43 The Richmond St Mary Magdalene Parish Register recorded the burial of “Mrs Penelope Brockett” on 22 Sep 1754.44 The GP had “Penelope, b. 1686, d. at Richmond 1754.” Will proved PCC 1754.
- “Richeard Brockett Son of John and Sarah Bapt in Sheare Lane” in St Dunstan in the West, City of London, 4 Feb 1691/2.45 “Richard Brockett married Rebecka Trunkett with Licence” 6 Jan 1717/18 in St Botolph, Bishopsgate, City of London.46 The GP had “Richard, b. 1692, married Rebekah, d. of William Trunket.” At some point Richard and Rebecka obtained the following certification of their marriage from the Curate of St Botolph Without Bishopsgate, now held by the Society of Antiquaries of London:47
Richard Brocket was buried 17 Jun 1755 in St Clement Danes, Westminster.48 The Will of Richard Brocket, Gentleman of Saint Clement Danes, written 31 Oct 1754 co-executrixes Rebecca Brocket and Susanna Lewis, was proved 18 Jun 1755 “by the oath of Susanna Lewis Spinster the Surviving Executrix”.49 Rebecca Brockett predeceased Richard by 4 months and was buried on 19 Jan 1755 in St Clement Danes Westminster.50 No children.
William II Esq 1719-91, Lord of Spains Hall 1745/6-91 (46 years). Born 31 May 1719, baptised 6 Jun 1719 in Christ Church Greyfriars, Newgate, London, son of William and Jane Brocket.51 Married 1752 or 54 Mary daughter of John MARKHAM of London. See Frances Piercy-Reins’ very good biography on WikiTree.52 William 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 Brocket was buried 20 May 1791 in Willingale,53 the memorial inscription has “aged 72 years”, i.e. b c 1719, see below. William’s Will was long and principally concerned the preservation of the Brockett name.54 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.55 IGI recorded it in St Dunstan Stepney between William ‘Brooket Brooket’ and Mary DOWBINEY. ‘Dauverry’ in E J Brockett.56 Also spelt ‘Danberry’. He died within months, aged 21, name spelt Brockett.57 On 14 Jun the next year, 1848, Mary—“Mrs Brockett” arrived in Adelaide, South Australia, on the barque Princess Royal, and within a month married the Ship’s Captain, see separate page.
- 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 78.58 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. Earlier members of the clan may well have been buried in the church, or at least in the churchyard, and indeed members of the first clan too.
On the wall behind the pulpit in the nave:In the vault underneath are deposited the remains of the following members of the Brocket Family:
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 yearsIn memory of:
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: January 8, 2023