Brocket v Brocket 1747-8
This was a case brought by Richard Brocket to the Court of Exchequer in Westminster against his nephew William II claiming money owed to Richard by his late brothers John II and William I, and by William II as well. 12 depositions—including two from sisters Elizabeth and Penelope—describe the work Richard did for them all and provide a wealth of information about the members of the family and life in those times, only some of which can be reproduced here.
TNA E133/27/9 consists of one very large parchment sheet and 23 stout paper sheets measuring about 10×16 inches. The parchment itemises the 16 interrogations and the paper records the 12 deponents’ responses, taken between 19 Nov 1747 and 25 Apr 1748. The Bill of Complaint and the Answer are not among the E133/27/9 papers.
Information about individuals
• John II was a Barrister at Law, but practised chiefly in the Court of Chancery and conducted Courts as Steward of various Manors.1 He owned and occupied a house in Shire Lane c 1710-1714, then owned Chambers in Middle Temple Lane from 1714 till his death in 1744. He resided there when in Town till 1741, and at other times at his Country Seat in Essex. He also owned property in the parishes of St. Dunstan in the West, London and St. Clement Danes, Middlesex, and the Court Rolls of the Manor of Petersham, Surrey show the Admissions of John II and William I to a Copyhold Tenement at Petersham.2 This Exchequer case may have been why, or partly why, probate of John II’s Will was not completed soon after his death
• William I was an Attorney at Law and a Solicitor in the Court of Chancery. He was Clerk of Christ’s Hospital from 1713 until his death in 1745. He owned three houses in Shire Lane, Cliffords Inn Lane and Weedon Street, Chancery Lane, and another in Bell Yard, and shared a Copyhold Tenement at Petersham with brother John II.3
• Elizabeth, unmarried at the time of this case, resided in Great Chelsea and Penelope, also unmarried, in Fetter Lane, London.4 Fetter Lane runs north from Fleet Street to Holborn.
• Richard was an Attorney of King’s Bench at Westminster in 1747.5 As the youngest brother (17 years younger than John II, 6 years younger than the next youngest, Penelope), he was much under the control of his eldest brother. Richard began his legal career aged 18 in 1710 when John II placed him out as Clerk to Mr. Francis Milles, Attorney.6
From the time Richard’s Clerkship expired 1714 right through to their deaths in 1744 and 45 both John II and William I employed Richard as Steward or Agent in the management of their businesses and affairs and properties in London.7
John II also employed Richard as his Steward of various manors. Richard often went out of Town to hold courts and had servants of his own who helped him in his work for his brothers.8
After the death of William I, Richard acted as his son William II’s bailiff for several houses in Shire Lane and a house adjoining Temple Bar until June 1746.9
Rents and salaries
John Brocket II’s Chambers in Middle Temple Lane could be let for £25 or £30 p.a. in 1717 or 1727, but for only £20 in 1747.10
Mr. William Trunket, a Perfumer was a tenant in John II’s property called the Civet Cat at Temple Bar and in 1714 Richard was lodged there by John. Richard married Mr Trunket’s daughter in 1717 and they were still there in 1747, 30 years later.11
In the immediate vicinity of the Civet Cat between 1740-8 there had been a fall in rent upon average from £60 to £40 p.a. and in 1748 it could only command £40 p.a. In general, between 1741-8 rents around Temple Bar were estimated to have fallen about 35%.12
Deponents’ estimates of salaries of Attorneys’ and Solicitors’ Clerks or Agents in 1747:13
•£50 p.a. or more without board and lodging for hose capable of transacting business; sometimes £40.
•£40 and often £50 p.a. without board and lodging for those expert in business, but with liberty to do business for themselves.
Page Last Updated: April 5, 2020