The Brokets of Hertfordshire - The Broket Archive

The Brokets of Hertfordshire

Originally incomers from Yorkshire, the Brokets further established themselves through a marriage to the heiress to the FitzSimon lands. 14th C poll taxes for Hertfordshire have not survived, but evidence from the following 2 centuries shows without doubt that there was only the one Broket clan in the County. They were influential at the ruling level of the County for about 175 years—from the 1420s to 1599.

The eldest line was based in Wheathampstead and Hatfield—where they built Brockett Hall1—with several cadet branches thriving nearby, especially in Hitchin—although the Hertfordshire Brokets were never numerous.

Three were County Sheriffs, 4 were MPs and others were Esquires, Gentlemen and Yeomen.

Further pages:

  1. Before the 16th C
  2. 1500-58
  3. 1558-99
  4. 17-18th Centuries
  5. 19-20th Centuries
  6. Wheathampstead Parish Registers
  7. Map of Hertfordshire
  8. Brocket Hall
  9. Hitchin

The three who held the influential office of Sheriff of Essex and Herts2 were:

  1. John of Wheathampstead Esq in 1506-8 and 1531-2.
  2. Edward of Broadfield and Letchworth Esq in 1547-8 and 1554-5
  3. John of Hatfield Esq in 1566-7 and (of just Herts as Sir John II)  in 1581-2.

The four who were MPs for Herts3 were:

  1. Thomas of Wheathampstead Esq in 1435, Lord of the FitzSimon estates and husband of Elizabeth Asshe
  2. Edward of Letchworth and Broadfield in 1542 and 1554
  3. Sir John I in 1553 and 1555
  4. Sir John II in 1572.

From the 1570s the then head of the dynasty, Sir John Brockett II, who had no male heir, sold lands to finance his daughters’ dowries. This peaked on his death in 1598 when the main estate of Brockett Hall passed to daughters’ husbands. Decline in influence was then inevitable and by 1675 the last Brockett of Wheathampstead was buried. A cadet line lived on in Hitchin into the 1780s, but others moved to nearby counties and of course London. Most 19-20th C Hertfordshire Brocketts descended from sons who later returned.

As substantial landholders for 2 centuries the Hertfordshire Broket dynasty left numerous records and only a selection can be referred to in these pages.

Page Last Updated: September 7, 2018

Footnotes

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

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[1] The two-t spelling was the predominant one in 16th and 17th C records. Today the Hall goes by the single-t spelling.

[2] Chauncy 1826 vol 1 pp 46-8. Chauncy mistakenly listed 'William Brocket and John Cobbys, Esquires' as MPs for Herts 1556-7 (vol 1 p 36). For Cobbys read Cock, but there was no MP William Brocket at any time. Edward of Letchworth and Broadfield had a son William (of Esyndon), but he would only have been in his 20s in the mid 1550s and in all but one record was always styled Gentleman. The first William Brocket consistently styled Esquire was William of Spains Hall, Essex, in the 18th C.

[3] Bindoff 1982 pp 498-500; Hasler 1981 pp 486-8; Chauncy 1826 vol 1 pp 35, 36.