Hertfordshire Brokets 17-20th C
Dynasties’ wealth has its rise, zenith and decline. The 17th and 18th C saw the Brokets’ waelth steadily decline and for a hundred years—from the 1780s to the 1880s—they disappeared from Hertfordshire.
Huge changes were taking place in England during the first half of the 17th C: the Puritan movement, the beginning and rapid growth of emigration to the New World, the Civil War of 1642-6 and the execution of Charles I in 1649, to name a few. Brokets still had landed wealth in Wheathampstead in the 1st half of the 17th C but it was significantly less than in the previous 2 centuries.
17th C Herts Brokets lived in:
In 1598 Sir John II had died without a son and the dynasty’s seat of Brocket Hall had passed through a daughter to the Reade family. The Brokets now held only Whethampstead Place—passed from Edward to son John in 1598—and Mackarells End House or Mackery End House, inherited from his mother by the last Broket knight, Sir John III, knighted in 1599.
Sir John III served the King in Ireland but in 1603 was accused of counterfeiting coin there. Whether or not he was guilty, a cloud may have remained over his name, for although buried in Wheathampstead Church c 1613, there is no memorial to him nor Will surviving. His son Thomas sold Mackarells End in 1628. His other son called ‘John Brockett of Caswell’ after his last residence in Wheathampstead, was styled an Esquire, but as Chancery Bills suggest, his financial situation went from bad to worse. He was the last of that line in Wheathampstead. When he died in 1658 neither of his sons lived there.
For easier identification it may help to divide the Brokets of 17th C Hertfordshire first into those called John:
- Sir John III of Mackerye End c 1562-1613 (separate page)
- John Esq of Wheathampstead c 1571-1649— §1.1 below
- John Gent of Codicote bef 1572-1653— §1.4 below
- John Esq of Caswell 1583-1659 (separate page)
- John Grocer of Pirton 1600- (separate page).
- Rev John s/o John of Caswell 1612-1663 (separate page)
and then others:
- Anne of Wild Hill d 1616 — §1.3 below
- Clement Husbandman 1609 — §1.5 below
- Edward of Ware c 1590-1647 — §1.7 below
- Edward III of Hitchin and Leicestershire, Yeoman b 1595 (separate page)
- Edward Gent of Wheathampstead 1606-69 — §1.11 below
- Edward II of Walsworth c 1617-1687 — §1.8 below
- Edward of Hitchin Quaker 1657-64 — §1.9 below
- Edward III Yeoman of Walsworth d 1696 — §1.15 below
- Dame Elizabeth of Brockett Hall d 1612 (separate page)
- George of Royston Labourer 1614 — §1.6 below
- Rev John [Job] of Royston 1688 — §1.14 below
- Margaret Brockett / Dale / Leigh / Levett c 1582-1648 (separate page)
- Richard Yeoman of Cosmer, Hippolletts d 1603 (separate page)
- Susanna Widow of Watford d 1686 — §1.13 below
- Thomas s/o Sir John III 1584- (separate page)
- William Yeoman III of Hitchin c 1559-1623 (separate page)
- William Esq s/o William of Esyndon c 1564-1626 — §1.2 below
- William Gent s/o John of Codicote b c 1594 — §1.10 below
- William Gent of Wheathamstead 1631-75 — §1.12 below
Only son of Edward and Etheldred Lady Challoner. His baptism is not recorded in Wheathampstead. Perhaps it was in Buckinghamshire? Matriculated Oxford 30 Oct 1584, ‘of Buckinghamshire’, aged 13, so was b c 1571. Admitted to Gray’s Inn 1588.
He was known as ‘John Brockett of Wheathampstead Esq’, and lived near the Church at a residence called the Street. His father died 1598 and for half a century thereafter John was a prominent local squire until his own death. He was sometimes called ‘the elder’—as in 1631—to distinguish him from the other John of Wheathampstead Esq, b 1583, called latterly ‘John Brokett of Caswell‘ after his last residence in Wheathampstead.
1598: John was bearer of one of the 2 standards at the heraldic funeral of Sir John II in St Etheldreda’s Hatfield.
1631: On 4 Aug John Brockett the elder of Wheathampstead, Esq, placed a close of land called the Great Brache in Sandridge in trust, to reconvey it to himself as security for payments of £2 a year to the poor of Wheathampstead, Hatfield, Sandridge, Harpenden and Redbourn. By an inquisition of 7 Jun 1628, under the Statute of Charitable uses, it had been found that John Brockett was chargeable with this charity having £200 ‘remaineing in his hands from one Edward Smith of Saundridge’.1 He signed (on the insert at the bottom):
1638: John—or John of Caswell—was accused of digging a ditch across a public way.2
1647: Conveyed the Manor of East Hide—part of Luton Manor—to Thomas Mitchell.3
1649: Died. Will proved PCC 1650. He married twice and had 10 or more surviving children:4
1. By 1st wife Mary GARROWAY, bur 29 Jul 1619 (7 out of the 10 died young):
- Mary bur 1 May 1604
- Frances bap 29 Mar 1604, bur 23 Jul 1623
- Judith bap 30 May 1605; mar Richard EDMONDS5
- Edward of Wheathampstead Gent, bap 14 Jan 1606, bur 19 Jan 1669
- William bap 20 Jul 1608, bur 7 Nov 1609
- John bap 20 May 1611, bur 4 Nov 1628
- Charles bap 1 Jul 1613, bur 9 Jan 1616
- Thomas bap 15 Jan 1614, bur 9 Aug 1619
- Garway or Garraway bap 6 Jun 1616, bur 19 Apr 1619
- Charles of Westminster Gent, bap 2 Jun 1618, d 1662/3.
2. By 2nd wife Mary BANNISTER, m 29 Dec 1623 St Bride Fleet St, London.6 She was bur 21 Dec 1667 (1 out of the 8 died young):
- George bap 4 Jan 1624, alive and married in 1675 (brother William’s Will). No issue? Witness to John of Caswell’s Will.
- Mary bap 19 Jun 1627
- Thomas bap 4 May 1628. Thomas of The Place bur 6 Jul 1671. Citizen and Clothworker of London.
- Elizabeth bap 3 Aug 1628, bur 18 Jul 1632
- John bap 20 Oct 1629. Mentioned on mother’s gravestone but not in father’s Will of 1649 or brothers’ Wills. If he had died before 1649, his burial was not recorded in the Wheathampstead Parish Register. Why else though would he not be mentioned in family Wills?
- William of Wheathampstead Gent, bap 23 Oct 1631, bur 1 Jan 1675
- Bannister bap 20 Jan 1632, Will pr PCC 1652
- Henry bap 22 Jul 1634. Alive 1675 (brother William’s Will). Of Hitchin?
Two of his surviving sons, the eldest Edward (1606-1669) and one of the youngest William (1631-1675), remained in Wheathampstead as gentlemen. But they were the last 2 Brocketts of Wheathampstead.
MARY BROKETT SECOND WIFE OF JOHN
BROKETT LATE OF WHETHAMSTEAD IN
YE COVNTY OF HERTF ESQ & DAVGHTER
OF GEOGE BANISTER LATE OF DRAYTON
IN YE COVNTY OF MIDDX GENT & HAD
ISSVE BY HIM 6 SONNES & 2 DAVGHTERS
VIZ GEOGE THOMAS MARY JOHN
WILLIAM ELIZABETH BANISTER & HENRY
SHE DEPARTED THIS LIFE YE DAY
OF ANNO DOMINI 1669
AGED 77 YEARS
The gravestone said she died 1669, the Parish Register said 1667.
Eldest son and heir of William of Esyndon Gent, ‘Gent aged 46 or more’ in 1610 in his father’s IPM, thus b c 1564. Sole executor of his father’s Will.
In 1597 he was admitted to Gray’s Inn. It was probably William who carried letters from the Privy Council to Sussex 1601. A series of documents 1596-1603 7 concerning the manor, lordship and farm of Quidhampton in the parish of Wroughton, Wiltshire, c 3 m SW of Swindon8 show that:
- William married Sara 2nd d/o Thomas CRANE Esq of Quidhampton.
- Sara was aged 18 in 1597—therefore b c 1579—and had married William by 19 Nov 1599, when he was c 35. At that time he was referred to as of Wildhill, Herts, Gent.
- Thomas had married his 1st and 3rd daughters to Esquires before Oct 1596 by which time they were 19 and 17 respectively.
- Since those two had had their portions on marriage, Sara was left Quidhamption in her father’s Will and the 4th daughter the manor of Newton Tony.
- William and Sara sold Quidhampton within 4 years in 1603 for £1000.
Here are their signatures on the on the inserts at the bottom of the 1603 deed:9
Another series of large documents dating 1596-1605 recorded a case brought by Bourcher, William Brokett Esq and Jones against Waterhouse, Lockey (Luckie), Milner and Kent.11
In 1618 he sold Camfield Place, the mansion house he inherited from his father.12 William died intestate 1626 in Limpsfield, Surrey, 1 m N of Oxted, administration granted 21 Oct to son Thomas.13 BMI and the IGI recorded the marriage of Sara to Robert PRENTISE 24 Jul 1629 St Dunstan, Stepney, London.
A suit brought by Sarah in 1637, then remarried,14 alledged that William had died with a house called Stockenden in Surrey, lands worth £200 p a and personal estate of £3,860, but that the family were then in dire straits:.Read more
This appears to be more land than owned by his famous younger contemporary the Rev Ralph Josselin of Essex.15 There is a Stockenden Farm in Oxted, c 14 m E of Dorking. The suit shows that in 1637 William and Sara’s eldest son was:
- Thomas, who had not been heard of for two years,
and that the youngest children in 1637 were a son and 3 daughters:
- Brian—born by 1625 at the latest. Not the Brian who emigrated to Maryland 1669.
None of these 5 are recorded in the IGI, but all would have been born 1600-26—when their father died. A petition to the House of Lords against imprisonment in 1628 by another son, William, reveals that then there were 10 siblings.
- 3 are known to have been male, 3 female.
- Whether or not there were sons among the other 4 who later had families isn’t known. They may all have been daughters.
- William might have emigrated to Virginia in 1638
- And what became of son William’s wife and children mentioned in the imprisonment case? No more has yet been found about them. Perhaps the baptism of Elizabeth in 1629 in St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, daughter of William and Mary was another child of theirs.
2. Wildhill in the Countie of Hardfordshire single woman beinge of perfect memory thankes Read more
3. be vnto God doe make and ordayne this my last will and Testament in writinge in manner
4. and forme followinge, and doe renounce all former wills by this my deed and hand, First
5. I bequeath my soule the best part to God that gave it, my body to the earth of which it
6. was made, and my goodes the least part to the world where I haue enioyde them, In
7. primis therefore I give vnto Thomas Brocket my Brother Williams sonne Tenn Poundes
8. Itm I give vnto my Brother Edmund Brockettes eldest daughter my Goddaughter Ann
9. Brockett Tenn Pounds, Item I give vnto my Brother Jhon Brockettes eldest sonne my
10. Nephew William Tenn Poundes, Item in my loue I give vnto my Brother Thomas
11. Brocket A ringe of xxs price, Item I give vnto my Brother Williams wife A small
12. remembrance of xx shillinges to buy her A Ringe, Item I give vnto Barbara Mordaunt
13. my lovinge freind xxs to buy her A Ringe, Item the rest of my goodes and Chattells
14. whatsoever vnbequeathed my debtes beinge paid and my funeralls discharged, I
15. give vnto my good and loveinge sister Margaret Cage widdowe whome I praye
16. God to blesse and I the aforesaid Ann Brockett doe ordayne and make the saide
17. Margaret Cage my sole and absolute Executrix of this my last will and Testament
18. In wittnesse where vnto I the said Anne Brockett haue sett vnto my hand and
19. seale this vjth of March 1615. An: Brocket, Sealled and delivered the daye and
20. yeare aboue said in the presence of vs H: Mordaunt, Jonas Fennynge Nicholas
1.4. John Brokkett of Codicote Gent b bef 1572, Will proved 9 May 165317
Second son of William of Esyndon Gent, John was a gentleman of comfortable means much of his life—the recipient of a Heralds’ Visitation 163418—but ended his life with some financial problems. His eldest son William had been imprisoned for debt and it had cost John to free him. As with many Broket families, at least 2 of the younger sons moved to London. Codicote is c 4 m NE of Wheathampstead and 1 or 2 miles N of old Welwyn.
On 31 May 1593 in Codicote.19 John married Dorothy, one of 3 daughters and coheiresses of Robert PENN of Codicot Bury. A 1636-7 Chancery suit shows that they had 10 children alive then. They still were in 1653 when John Brokkett left bequests in his Will to all but the eldest.
- William of Codicote Gent
- John b c 1602 Fishmonger and Citizen of London d bef 1683. Bequeathed £30 in father’s Will 1653.
- Anne married 27 May 1624 John IMPEY.20 Bequeathed £10 in father’s Will 1653.
- Edward probably bap 7 Dec 1606 Harpenden.21 Bequeathed £30, quarter of the crop of High Heath and half the household effects in father’s Will 1653 (ll 35-8). He was most likely the Edward Brockett who married 22 Mar 1642/3 Welwyn, Herts Mary SHERMAN,22 Welwyn is only a mile or two from Codicote. Perhaps they were the parents of his father John’s grandson Edward.
- Charles b c 1609 Fishmonger and Citizen of London d bef 1660. Bequeathed £30, quarter of the crop of High Heath and half the household effects in father’s Will 1653 (ll 35-8).
- Richard probably bap 2 Jul 1609 Harpenden.23 Bequeathed £10 and half the crop of High Heath and half the household effects in father’s Will 1653 (ll 30-5). Married Mary … and had children: Richard bap 1643, John bap 1645, Mary bap 1647.24
- Thomas bap 1615. Sole executor of father’s Will 1653 and bequeathed £60 “for the taking off a Decree which maie be some impediment in the payment of these legacies by mee bequeathed, and for repairinge the Mansion howse after my decease”.25 Married Ellen … and had a son William 1642.26
- Ellen married Mathew ROGERS 22 Mar 1643 Welwyn.27 Was she the Ellen d/o John Brocket bap 7 Oct 1604 St Peter, St Albans?28 Bequeathed £50 in father’s Will 1653.
- Margarett married by 1653 … HEYWARD. Bequeathed £10 in father’s Will 1653. Two sources said she was wife of Richard PERKINS29.
- Dorothy unm 1653. Bequeathed £5 in father’s Will 1653.
1593 31 May: John Brokett m Dorothy PENN
1615 4 Feb: Thomas bap s/o John gent
1642 28 Aug: William bap s/o Thomas and Ellen
1643 3 Mar: Richard bap s/o Richard and Mary
1645 3 Dec: John bap s/o Richard and Mary
1647 26 Feb: Mary bap d/o Richard and Mary
1711 22 Dec: Richard m Sarah TAYLER
1791 11 May: Mrs Brockett buried
1805 6 Apr: Thomas buried
The Chancery suit was brought by Francis Combs of Hempstead Herts Esq against John and Dorothy and comprised a Complaint30 dated 21 May 1636 and an Answer31 dated Jan 1636/7. Read more
Background: The marriage of the eldest son of a gentleman was an insurance for the future advancement of the family and descendants. In 1618 John Gent and Dorothy married their eldest son William to a daughter of Francis Combes sen Esq of Hempstead.
A principal method for protecting daughters’ futures was by jointure. Francis Combes had got John and Dorothy to pledge land to Mary and her heirs male in case she became a widow. This may have been the land in Coddicotte and Knebworth transferred by John and Dorothy to Francis in 1618 consisting of 3 messuages, 1 dovecote, 4 gardens, 5 orchards, 140 acres of arable land, 10 acres of meadow, 40 acres of pasture, 10 acres of wood and 6 acres of gorse and heath (Feet of Fines Mich 16 Jas I, Hine n d p 160).
William and Mary had 2 children: John and Mary, but Mary the mother died 1620-1. Mary’s family took over the upbringing of the 2 children. Francis Combes sen also died. By 1634 William had allegedly had sold the land that was Mary’s jointure and the children’s right. Asserting the rights of his deceased sister to protect her two teenage children, Francis jun sued John and Dorothy.
Francis Combes’ Complaint (main points)
1. William Brockett of Coddicott married Mary Combes his sister and had 2 children by her: John and Mary both still alive.
2. William made Mary a jointure of £40 p a plus land worth £100 p a entailed on William and his and Mary’s heirs male.
3. In consideration Francis Combes sen paid £400 as a marriage portion to John Brockett the father.
4. Then about 2 years after the marriage Mary died and ‘John and Mary haue ben mayneteyned theis 13 or 14 yeares with meate drinke and apparell and other necessaryes fittinge for their birth and quallitye’ by Francis Combes sen and jun.
5. The entailed lands ought in all equity according to the agreement to have descended to John son of William as heir male but William ‘through his ill husbandry fallinge into povertye was enforced to Cut of the Intayle of the Joynture Land and soald good parte thereof’.
6. Francis Combes having custody of John and Mary therefore demanded of William an annual payment for the children’s maintenance.
7. William agreed and in Feb 1632 made over an annuity of £8 p a out of his lands to Francis Combes for the benefit of the children.
8. But William never paid any of it because the lands charged with the annuity had already been leased out to others.
9. William then agreed to pay Francis Combes £300 for the use of the children within 6 months of selling the entailed lands called High Heath.
10. But William and his parents deceived Francis Combes of the £300 intended for the children and together sold the lands and cut the entail and have refused to pay the £300.
11. The children have thus been cheated out of their inheritance.
12. William Brockett holds the written agreement so Francis Combes is unable to sue for payment by usual legal means. Likewise John and Dorothy promised Francis Combes in secret so he has no witness. Francis Combes is therefore without all remedy by the strict rules of the Common Law to recover the £300.
John and Dorothy’s Answer (main points)
1. John had lands in Codicote worth £90 p a.
2. In exchange for 2 obligations amounting to £200—£50 for Richard and Charles when 21 and another £100—on 10 Oct 1627 John conveyed part of his land to the value of £40 p a to William for life, then to Mary for her jointure and then to their sons.
3. But because of John’s responsibilities to his large family he and William privately agreed that John would keep 26 acres of the land rent free.
4. John settled his other land after his own and wife Dorothy’s death on William for life, then on his sons, but denied that this was worth £100 p a or anything near it.
5. John was paid £250 in several instalments as Mary’s portion, not £400 as claimed or £500 as promised.
6. After Mary’s death William cut the entail and sold the land to Mr Woodhall, except the 26 acres, for £20 p a.
7. William then became £200 in debt and was imprisoned. To free him, John and Dorothy joined with William and sold the 26 acres and the reversion of the other land settled on William to Thomas Michell for £200 + £250 to the 9 children and £150 to William.
8. Mr Woodhall said the land he had bought was not worth £20 p a and threatened to claim the 26 acres as well, so John had had to pay him £5 p a for some years, 8 still remaining.
9. Upon the sale to Michell John and Dorothy also took a lease of 40 years on High Heath.
10. Because of the difficulties he and his other 9 children were now in John did not consider he had wronged William’s children at all, and denied trying to defraud them of £300.
11. In any event Francis Combes would not part with the children and voluntarily maintained them.
Clement Brocket Husbandman gave evidence 18 Dec 1609 at an inquiry in Royston re the death of Robert Foster.32 Was he the Clement buried 12 Jan 1634/5, Sherfield on Lodden, Hampshire? No other record of a Clement is known.
George Brockett of Royston Labourer stole a purse containing 6s 11d on 9 Mar 1614 and was condemned to hang.33 No other record of him is known. The IGI records the baptism of a George son of John at St Giles Cripplegate, London, 1593, but who was he? And why should a young man have moved from London to Royston?
“Edward Brokett and Alice PARKER were married the xjth daye of september 1615” at Widford.34 Edward’s parents are not known. A “Henry Brockett was buried the xxxth daye of Auguste” at Widford 1613, but no age was given and he may have been a brother or other relation. A relationship of these two to one of the Broket families of the more southerly Hertfordshire clan is perhaps more likely than to the smaller Hitchin clan, c 22 m NE. An Alice Packer was baptised in Ware 18 Aug 1594.35 Edward and Alice soon moved 4 m W to Ware where they had children:
- “John Brocket son of Edward”, bap 19 Jul 1618 St Mary’s Ware.36 In an undated handwritten transcription of the Ware registers the entry is “Brocket John (son of John) July 19 1618″, however it has a blatant mistake even on the title page dating the transcription 1645-1553, so the actual register is more to be trusted.37 It’s possible that John emigrated to New Haven.
- “Edward Brocket son of Edward and Alice”, bap 2 Apr 1620 St Mary’s Ware.38 Probably Edward of Much Hadham—5 m NE of Ware—recorded father of:
- Alse Brockett bap 20 May 1649 Much Hadham. An Alice Brokett married Edward BENTON there 22 Sep 1669.39
- Edward Brocket bap 8 Oct 1650 Much Hadham.40 No further record has so far been found, but he could not have been Edward of Hitchin, Quaker.
- Nicholas Brockett bap 25 Jul 1652 Much Hadham.41 A Nicholas Brockit married Ann/Anis WOLLWARD there 1 Oct 1679,42 Children—all baptised Much Hadham.43
- Edward Brocket, son of Nicholas and Annis, bap 10 Oct 1680.
- Ann Brocket, daughter of Nicholas and Annis, bap 20 May 1683.
- Elisabeth Brocket, daughter of Nicholas and Ann, bap 31 Mar 1686.
- Mary Brocket, daughter of Nicholas and Ann, bap 7 Apr 1689.
No further record of Nicholas’ family has so far been found.
A 5-mile move by Edward, bap 1620, from Ware to the village of Much Hadham is more likely than a 15-mile one from Baldock, where John and Joan, the parents of Edward, bap Dunton 1624, had moved to when their Edward was 17. These parents Edward and Alice of Ware are more likely than John and Joan of Baldock.
- Martha Brockett was buried 1 Apr 1625 in St Mary’s Ware. No parents were named, so she may not have been Edward and Alice’s daughter.44
- Marie Brockett was buried 17 Oct 1626 in St Mary’s Ware. No parents were named, so she may not have been Edward and Alice’s daughter.45
“Edward Brocket, a Smith” was buried in St Mary’s Ware on 21 Nov 1647.46 It isn’t yet known who his parents were. The only known unaccounted-for contemporary Edward is the 2nd son of Edmund Vicar of Luton, but he would hardly have become a Smith—his elder brother was a senior Officer in the Army, his next youngest was a Gent in London. No further Brokets were buried in St Mary’s Ware up to 1670.47
Son of Edward Brockett the elder of Walsworth.48 Edward Brockett the elder must have been the man we call Edward I of Walsworth, son of Edward I of Hitchin. Edward II lived into his 70s; the latest birth date of 1617 is calculated from his marriage in 1635.
This was Edward II’s signature as witness to a Will of 1675 in two places.49
From 1998—Gray’s pedigree of Brockett of Hitchin—up until 2017, it wasn’t clear whether or not this Edward II was the Edward Brockett of Hitchin who was a Quaker. Were they two different men or one and the same? And what was his or their descent from the earlier Hitchin Brokets?
Re the first question Gray hinted that they might have been the same person by placing Edward the Quaker in a box on the pedigree next to this Edward. Re the second question Gray was more equivocal—no hint at their possible descent is evident from his pedigree, indeed it could imply that they were from a separate clan to other Hitchin Brokets.
But evidence has since emerged and accumulated to the point where not only does it seem definite that they were one and the same person, but also what their descent must have been from the earlier Hitchin Brokets. Following below is the proof statement that Edward Brockett II of Walsworth and Edward Brockett of Hitchin the Quaker were one and the same person:
- Only four records of Edward Brockett ‘of Hitchin, Quaker’, have been found, and they date between 1657-64. More records have been found of Edward Brockett (II) ‘of Walsworth’, before, during and after 1657-64. The other known contemporary Edward Brokets are:Read more
1. Edward, b 1589-9 Luton, the 2nd son of Rev Edmund Brockett, ALIVE 1655, but no other records have been found. Presumably a Gentleman like his brothers.
2. Edward III of Hitchin, eldest son of William III of Hitchin, baptised 1595 Hitchin—a 2nd cousin. He sold the family property in Hitchin by 1632 and in the early 1640s absented himself to places unknown, but by 1652 had settled in Wales.
3. Edward, bap 1625 in London, s/o of Hanscombe Brockett (a younger brother of Edward III of Hitchin). No further record has been found either of him or of Hanscombe and Anne’s burials, and it would be pure and unfounded speculation that they become Quakers and returned to Hitchin.
4. Edward of Ware (c 1590-1647) and his son Edward, bap 1620, and grandson Edward, bap 1650. The Edward, bap 1620, was in all likelihood the father of a family in Much Hadham—5 m NE of Ware.
5. Edward probably b 1606 in Harpenden, s/o John of Codicote, Gent, living 1653.
- Walsworth was a hamlet in the parish of Hitchin. so it is highly probable that outside the immediate vicinity someone living in Walsworth would be described as ‘of Hitchin’.50 Within the parish ‘of Walsworth’ was a description locals would give someone who lived in the hamlet. Why records referred to someone as ‘of Walsworth’ or ‘of Hitchin’ was more a question of whether the records were of local or wider provenance or relevance, not that different people were necessarily involved.
- All the records of Edward Brockett (II) ‘of Walsworth’ were local to Hitchin: manorial records and the purchase or sale of property. All the four records of Edward ‘Quaker’ were on a wider than local level, relating to the persecution of Quakers by the national religious authorities.
- The records of Edward ‘Quaker’ give no hint as to his birth date, but they are entirely compatible with an estimated 1617 as the latest birth date for Edward II of Walsworth. No record of a baptism has unfortunately been found.
- The 1657 record of Edward Brockett as a Hitchin Quaker was for imprisonment for refusing to pay tithes. This meant he held property in Hitchin. Whether copyhold or not, it would have been mentioned in manorial records, as was the property owned by Edward Brockett II of Walsworth.
- Hitchin manorial records show that the wife of Edward II of Walsworth was called Anne, both by 8 Oct 163851 and at their deaths late in 1687.52 The 1657 record of Edward Brockett the Quaker being imprisoned was followed by a record from 1660 of Anne Brocket of Hitchin refusing to swear the Oath of Allegiance.53 So, not only was there an Edward Brockett of Hitchin Quaker and an Edward Brockett (II) of Walsworth between 1657-60, but there was also an Ann Brockett of Hitchin Quaker and an Ann Brockett of Walsworth. The couple could not have been Edward II of Dunton 1589-1660, married to Ann NEGUS. That Edward Brockett clearly lived in Dunton and Millo all his adult life and made no mention of Hitchin property in his Will of 1660.
- The 1662 record of Edward Brockett as a Hitchin Quaker concerned not baptising his children. He and his wife must therefore have had children in Hitchin, as did Edward Brockett III and Ann of Walsworth.
- That a baptismal record for Edward III of Walsworth has not been found suggests that his parents may have been Quakers. Manorial records show that Edward III was the son of Edward II of Walsworth and Ann. Baptismal records have also not been found three other children of Edward Brockett.
- Two of Edward Brockett’s daughters were married in Quaker meeting houses.
Taken together these evidences can leave little doubt that Edward Brockett of Hitchin, Quaker, was this Edward II of Walsworth, Yeoman.
There can also be little doubt that it was this Edward II of Walsworth who married Ann PAPWORTH in nearby Ippollitts in 1635,54 and that it was their daughter Ann who was baptised in Hitchin 30 Mar 1637.55 As discussed above, no other suitable Edwards are known, and Hitchin manorial records show that the wife of Edward II of Walsworth was called Anne by 8 Oct 1638.56 This means Edward was born by 1617 at the latest.
However, after 1637 no further records of baptisms of children of Edward and Ann were recorded until the birth of another daughter, Mary, in 1651, a period of 14 years. Who knows why this was? Mary could have been baptised late, Edward III could have been born during this period, and they could have had other children that died. A more speculative suggestion would be that his wife Ann PAPWORTH died and some time afterwards he married again, to another Ann. It was a common name. No records of course support this, and an argument that Quakers didn’t marry in the established church so there would be no record, would mean that Edward married the 2nd Ann a certain time after 1647, when George Fox, the founder of the Quaker movement, started preaching, and that he and Ann PAPWORTH had had no further surviving children.
Gray suggested that Edward married Mary SHERMAN 22 Mar 1642/3 in Welwyn, Herts.57 The marriage is recorded in Allen’s Index of marriages, however that Edward was more likely Edward son of John of Codicote. Welwyn is just a couple of miles from Codicote, and about 10 from Hitchin. Gray also suggested that the Edward who married Ann PAPWORTH in 1635 in Ippollits was Edward III of Hitchin.58 This is unlikely since that Edward and his wife Johanna had sold their property in Hitchin in 1631-2 and moved to Leicestershire. It isn’t known if Johanna died before her husband, but according to Edward’s brother John, after 1632 or 33 Edward settled somewhere in Wales, where he still was in 1652.59
- Ann, bap Hitchin 30 Mar 1637: “The 30 day. baptized Ann the daughter of Edward Brockett”.60 Gray put her as the daughter of Edward III of Hitchin, following his suggestion mentioned above that Ann PAPWORTH might have married him rather than this Edward II of Walsworth.61
- Edward III of Walsworth. No baptismal record so far found.
- Mary, bap 4 Dec 1651 Hitchin, daughter of Edward Brockett.62
- Daughter, buried Hitchin Sep 1652: “The 13th day was buried the daughter of Edward Brockett”.63 Unnamed presumably because newly born; the other daughter buried that month was named—Susanna daughter of Laurence Tristram.
- Sarah, buried Hitchin Oct 1652: “The 28th day was buried the daughter of Edward Brockett”.64
- Sarah. No baptismal record so far found. Sarah Broket of Walsoe (Walsworth), Hitchin, Spinster, married 12 Dec 167- Thomas CUNINGHAM, late of Hitchin, Butcher, at a public Quaker meeting at William Lucas’ place in Hitchin.65 The first witness after the couple themselves, and before William Lucas, was Edward Broket, presumably Sarah’s father.
- Elizebeth, bap 23 Feb 1661 Hitchin, daughter of Edward Brockett.66 A Quaker Marriage Clearance issued by Hitchin M M to Kensworth M M dated 29 Apr 1691 freed Elizabeth Brockett, late of Hitchin, to marry James HAWKINS.67 It was signed by Samuel Newman, John Samm junior, William Lucas, Graveley Whittingstall, Daniell Saunders, and William Turner. Her father Edward had died in 1687. No other Elizabeth Brockett is known from Hitchin at this time. Kensworth is just SW of Hitchin past Luton. It is now in Bedfordshire but at that time was in Hertfordshire.
1646: After the marriage and baptism of daughter Ann in 1637, the next record found is of Edward Brockett of Walsworth Yeoman purchasing an acre of arable land in Purwell Field on 11 December 1646 from William UNDERWOOD for £14:68 Read more
1658: On 21 July 1658 Edward Brockett and his wife Ann surrendered 100 acres of arable in Walsworth in his own occupation to Thomas Blackall the younger and his wife Martha and their heirs.69 The land presumably included the 3½ acres in 3 pieces in the Furlong called Hide Dane “lately the land of a certain Edward Brockett” mentioned among Thomas and Martha Blackall’s copyhold lands in the 1676 Survey of the Manor of Hitchin.70 The same Survey listed about 32 acres of copyhold land in Walsworth and over 2 acres of freeehold land there then held by his son Edward but formerly by this Edward. Nonetheless, the Edward Brockett recorded with 4 hearths in Hitchin in the April and September 1663 hearth subsidy returns71—the only Brockett listed for the whole of Hitchin hundred—would have been this Edward II of Walsworth, or Edward the Quaker, if they weren’t the same person.
1676: Edward II was recorded as a customary tenant in 1676 living in the Hamlets of Hitchin, holding the following copyhold land, totalling about 32 acres and paying yearly 16s rent.72
2. the eastern part of a close of pasture called Garretts containing by estimation 2 acres
3. 20 acres of land lying dispersed in the common fields of Walsworth: in Midle Field 3 acres in 3 pieces, in Great Field 10 acres in 13 pieces, in Mill Field 7 acres in 13 separate pieces, once of Edward Brockett, the elder deceased, his father, and now in the tenure of the aforesaid Edward
4. 10 acres and 3 roods of land in Purwell Field in 10 separate pieces
5. 12½ acres of land in 5 separate pieces in Great Field in Walsworth in the furlong called Neither Innings
6. 3 acres and 3 roods of land in the same field in 4 separate pieces in the furlong there called Midle Innings
7. 1 piece of land called Scottswell containing by estimation 7 acres in the field of Walsworth next to Ickleford
8. 1 other piece of land in the same field called Woollgrave Peece in the furlong there called Woollgrave containing by estimation 5 acres, and 1 other acre in the same furlong
9. 2 closes of pasture and meadow at Walsworth beyond the stream called Pelters and Patents containing by estimation 3 acres with the king’s highway leading from Hitchin to Baldock lying between them
10. 1 close of pasture called Sumpters containing by estimation 2 acres
11. 1 close of meadow or pasture called Hills containing by estimation 3 acres, once of the aforesaid Edward Brockett, the elder deceased, his father.
In 1676 Edward Brockett was also a freehold tenant of the following 2 acres and 4½ roods paying yearly 4d rent:73
2. 1 pightle of pasture, by estimation one and a half roods, adjoining the last mentioned pasture towards the north and lying next to the highway there
3. 1 acre of land in Purwell Field adjoining the customary land of Edward himself there towards the west, being lately the land of Edward Brockett, the elder, his father deceased, and now in the tenure of the said Edward.
All this property was “once [the property] of Edward Brockett the elder, deceased, his father”.74
1687: On 19 Oct 1687 the Hitchin Manor Court fined Edward 5s for keeping “above the allowance of two sheep per acre of land lying fresh and fallow in his occupation within the manor, contrary to the ordinance”.75 Edward died very soon after because by the Court’s sitting on 19 Dec 1687, his widow Anne had also died and son Edward had entered into both her copyhold property and her deceased husband’s freehold.76 No Will of either has been found.Read more
Now at this court, held by adjournment as abovesaid, comes the aforesaid Edward Brockett the son and craves to be admitted tenant to the premises aforesaid with appurtenances; to whom the said lady queen by her steward aforesaid granted seisin thereof by the rod: to have and to hold to him, his heirs and assigns from the lady, for a term of 40 years, at the lady’s will, according to the custom of the same manor, by fealty, suit of court, and a rent per annum of 11s 2d, and other services thence formerly due and of right accustomed. And he gives to the lady for fine 5s 7d, has done fealty, and is admitted thereof tenant.
Rent 11s 2d
Fine 5s 7d
At this court it is presented by the homage that the aforesaid Edward Brockett senior (who held freely from the lady of this manor 1 acre 3 rods of pasture, being the western part of the aforesaid close called Garretts in Walsworth aforesaid, a pightle of pasture containing by estimation 1½ rods adjoining the last-mentioned pasture, and 1 acre of land in the field called Purwell Feild in Hitchin aforesaid adjoining the customary land of the said Edward on the west, by fealty, suit of court and rent of 4d per annum) has died seised thereof; and that the aforesaid Edward Brockett junior is his son and next heir and of full age, whereby there falls to the lady 4d for relief; which said Edward Brockett junior, being present here in court, did fealty, and paid 4d for relief aforesaid.
Four records of Edward Brockett of Hitchin as a Quaker have been found between the years 1657-64, and one of Anne Brocket of Hitchin Quaker:Read more
2. In 1660 Anne Brocket was sent to prison. “In this Year the Oath of Allegiance was tendred to many of this People, who being taken at their Meetings, and conscientiously refusing to Swear, were sent to Prison… On the 20th of the same month [January 1660/1] …Robert Fairman, Gravely Whittenstall, Frances Field Widow, Anne Brocket, Dorothy Gurney, and Frances Huckle, taken from a Meeting at Hitchin… So that the Number of those who were taken out of their religious Meetings and committed to Gaol [in Hertfordshire] in this Month only was ninety four Persons.” 80
3. On Oct 12 1662 Edward (along with 6 other Hitchin men) was brought before the Archdeacon’s court in Huntingdon for not having his children baptised.81
4. On Oct 30 1663 Edward Brockett (and 5 other men) were presented for not paying their rate to the church, and all were fined on Dec 16 1663. Edward’s sum was £2 2s, larger than the others.82
5. On 3 Jun 1664 in Hitchin the guardians presented Edward Brockett (and 4 other men) for standing excommunicate, and then again for not coming to their parish church to hear Divine service (along with about 28 others).83
Edward and his friends are said to have accepted all these difficulties with “heroic tranquillity” making no attempt to hide or meet in secret.84
Eldest son of John and Dorothy Brockett of Codicote, born c 1594, no later than 1597. On 11 Oct 1618 married Mary d/o Francis COMBES Esq in Kimpton.85 He was a widower 1620/1; admitted to Gray’s Inn 1621; imprisoned for debt 1640. It is not known what became of him thereafter. He was not mentioned in his father’s Will of 1653.
He married again in the early 1620s as on 1 Feb 1625 ‘William Brockett and Anne his wife’ conveyed a messuage and cottage at Codicote and land in Codicote and Knebworth equating to 30 acres, which he had been ‘given by his father John Brockett Gent’ entailed to ‘the heires males of his bodie begotten’.86 This was recorded in a Recovery of 16 May 1625, by which the entail was broken and transferred to Henry Ewer of the Middle Temple, London, Esq, and Thomas Woodall, Citizen and Skinner of London. William and Anne demised the property on 1 Feb 1625 to Ewer and Woodall for 26 years 6 months for a peppercorn rent, who then leased it back to ‘Wlliam Brockett of Ware, Gent’ on 16 May 1625 for 26 years 5 months at a rent of £20 p a for the first 21 years, and after that a peppercorn to be paid to them ‘in the common dyninge hall of the Middle Temple’ twice a year in equal halves, and they could lawfully repossess the property if William ever defaulted by more than 21 days after the agreed payment dates. William signed the indenture:
Eight years later the Parish Register of Widford, 4 m W of Ware, recorded the marriage on 11 Feb 1633 of “William Brockett of surdicott gent and Jane Cutt of Cheshunt widowe”.87 The Widford Parish Clerk or Priest wrote untidily:
This must have been this William of Codicote, as there was no other gentleman William Broket at the time and there is no place Surdicott. Cheshunt is c 9m S and Codicote c 15m W of Widford. The majority of the marriages that year and the next in this Widford register were of couples from other parishes, many of them 8 or more miles away, like Cheshunt, and some of spouses up to 25 miles away like Braintree. Perhaps Widford church offered somewhere that couples could get married quietly away from their own parishes. On 19 Jun 1634 “Edwarde Pattamore of stortforde, and lidia Brockett alias Brokas, dawghter of Thomas Brockett alias Brokas of Hatfeeild Regis alias Hatfeeild Broadocke Butcher were married”, and on 5 Jul 1634 “John Bockett of thetchworthe laborer, & Elizabeth witherall of litle hadham dawghter of edward witherall of litle hadham Deceased were married”.88
The Complaint brought by Francis Combes Esq jun against William’s parents in 1636-7 shows that William then had 2 surviving children—John and Mary—and that Mary the mother had died about 2 years after the marriage, perhaps late 1620 or early 1621.
The IGI shows baptisms in Hemel Hempstead of John 22 Nov 1619 and Mary 19 Mar 1620.
Referring to William’s 2 children in his deposition in a suit brought by John and Mary Martyn in 1 Oct 1640 against John, Dorothy and William Brockett and Thomas Mitchell Gent, Francis Combes Esq said ‘John is synce deceased & the sayd Mary is only livynge & the only Childe of the sayd Willyam and Mary’.89
Bap 14 Jan 1606, eldest son of John of Wheathampstead Esq. Married Mary TOOKE and had 4 daughters Mary, Elizabeth, Frances and Anne, and a son John bap Wheathampstead 1660, alive 1692,90 ?married Annis and, if so, d 1700-1 with issue. Apart from Elizabeth, all were left bequests in Edward’s brother William’s Will of 1675. No further record of John has been found. He is unlikely to have been John of Shillington Labourer.
Edward was taxed Michaelmas 1663 for 8 firehearths, the 5th rating in Wheathampstead—after John Garrard 26, William Stubbing 14, Thomas Hunsdon 12. Mary his widow was assessed Lady Day 1673 for 11 firehearths, the 3rd highest in Wheathampstead—after John Garrard 23, Thomas Hunsdon 13.91
Edward ‘of The Place’ was buried in Wheathampstead 19 Jan 1669; no Will has been found. A memorial inscription on the floor of the Brockett Chapel in Wheathampstead reads:
GENT ELDEST SON OF JOHN BROKETT
LATE OF WHETHAMSTEAD IN YE COVNTY
OF HERTF ESQR & LATE HVSBAND OF
MARY YE DAVGHTER OF HENRY TOOKE LATE
OF BISHOPS HATFEILD IN YE COVNTY OF
HERTF GENT & HAD ISSVE BY HER ONE SON
& 4 DAVGHTERS VIZ JOHN MARY
ELIZABETH FRANCES & ANNE
HE DEPARTED THIS LIFE YE 9TH DAY OF JANUARY
ANNO DOMINI 1669 AGED 64 YEARS
Son of John of Wheathampstead Esq, bap 23 Oct 1631, bur 1 Jan 1675. The last Brockett of Wheathampstead. ?Purchased land 1673.93 Will written 10 Dec 1675.94 No issue. Bequests included one of £160 to nephew John. Inventory of goods and chattels.95
Will written 21 Aug, pr Sep 1686.96 Bequests to:
- Niece Sarah Runnington £5
- Nephew George Runnington
- Brother William Runnington £40 and his son William £5
- Brother-in-law John Ansell £40
- Residue to executrix sister Mary Burton Widow,
suggesting that her marriage was childless. The IGI shows that Susannah was bap 22 Jul 1634 at St Mary’s Watford. Her husband is not yet known; no marriage was recorded at St Mary’s Watford. It is most unlikely to have been Rev John of Bentworth, unless she was a second wife c 34 years John’s junior and no older than his 3rd son.
No baptismal record has been found. However, manorial records show that Edward was the “eldest son” of Edward II of Walsworth and Anne Brockett, and that he inherited their property in Walsworth at the end of 1687 when his parents both died.98 Edward III had known surviving sisters, probably born in the 1650s. But no surviving brothers are known; the “eldest son” of the manorial record seems to have been formulaic.
On 12 Jan 1690 the Hitchin Manor Court book recorded a transaction between Edward Brockett and Simon Lucas Gent, signed by both.101
Edward was raising money (£550) from Simon Lucas by pledging/mortgaging the property to him. If Edward repaid the money (with £25 interest) in 2 instalments: £12 10s on 13 July 1690, and £562 10s on 3 January 1691, then the whole transaction would be cancelled. If it was not repaid, then ownership would be transferred to Simon Lucas. Any copyhold transaction had to go through the manor court by surrender to the lord and regrant, hence this convoluted procedure, in order to transfer ownership (albeit conditionally) to Lucas. Brockett could not just make the arrangement in private with Lucas without involving the manor.102 Here is Edward’s property that he mortgaged to Simon Lucas: Read more
2. a messuage, cottage or tenement in Walsworth in the occupation of Margaret Fisher widow
3. 40 copyhold acres of arable land being part of the land mentioned in a court record of 8 October 1638 held by Edward Brockett senior deceased [Edward II of Walsworth] and Anne his wife, belonging to the messuage or farm in Walsworth aforesaid:
a. 10 acres and 3 rods in Purwellfeild in separate pieces in the great field or the field by Wymondly in a place there called the Neither Innings Shott
b. 12½ acres, 8 acres in separate pieces in the furlong called Midle Innings, 3 acres 3 rods lying in separate pieces in the field next to Ickleford, one piece of c 7 acres, commonly called Scotswell, abutting on the south on the land late of Thomas Love
c. in the same field another piece in a furlong called Wollgore Shott commonly called Woolgore Piece, containing c 5 acres and abutting on the stream there; and also in the same furlong an acre, the remainder of the said 40 acres, abutting likewise on the said stream
4. two closes of pasture and meadow in Walsworth on the far side of the stream, one on the right side of the road there leading from Hitchin to Baldock, and the other on its left side, one of them being commonly called Pelters, and the other Pattents, the two of them containing c 3 acres
5. a close of pasture commonly called Sumpters, containing c 2 acres in the lane there leading to Shadwell, lying on its north side
6. a close or piece of land called Lamas Ground of the meadow or pasture commonly called Shadwells, containing c 7 acres
7. a close or piece of land called Lamas Ground of the meadow or pasture commonly called Hills, containing c 3 acres
All these properties had been recorded held by Edward II of Walsworth and Anne Brockett in surrenders to the manor court in 1638.103 Six of them are clearly identifiable with those mentioned in the 1676 Survey above (items 1, 3a, 3b, 4, 5 and 7). Two closes—Pattents and Sumpters—were among the properties owned by Edward Brockett I of Walsworth mentioned in the 1608 Survey of the King’s timber and wood on the manor of Hitchin, proving this Edward’s descent from that one. That Edward II and Anne held the property on 8 Oct 1638 means that Edward I of Walsworth had died by then.
This is the manor court entry in full: Read more
At the Hitchin Manor Court of 23 October 1691, adjourned to 23 December, it was recorded that nothing of the £575 had been paid to Lucas by Brockett on the days and place specified on 12 January “whereby the estate of the said Simon Lucas in the respective premises has become absolute”.104
Edward III and Mary had the following children, all baptised in Hitchin:105
- Edward IV of Walsworth, Victualler, bap Hitchin July 1680. Buried Hitchin 1739. Married 1st 1704 Ann CANES, 2nd 1738 Ann OLIVER.
- William, born 8 Aug 1682, bap Hitchin Feb 1684/5: “the 4th day were Baptized William & Henry sons of Edward & Mary Brockett of Walsworth the said William being borne the 8th day of August 1682”.106 William is the only one of the family for whom no further record has been found, so it is most likely that he died young.
- Henry, bap 1685 Hitchin.107 Sawyer. Buried in Hitchin 1765.108 Married Mary ….
- Richard, bap Hitchin 1687.109 Labourer. Buried Hitchin 1729. Married 1711 Sarah TAYLER.
- John, bap Hitchin 11 Apr 1690: “the jjth day was Baptized John the sone of Edward Brockett of Walsworth”.110 ?Buried 1721/2 Hitchin, ?married 3 Oct 1710 Offley Mary STEWARD.111
- Samuel of St Albans, Brazier, bap Hitchin 1692.112 Buried St Peter’s St Albans 1764 or 66. Married 1727 Mary HORNALL.
A Hitchin Manor court of 21 Oct 1696 recorded Edward III’s death since the last court—27 Jul 1696.113 He had died intestate and administration of his estate was granted to his widow Mary on 16 Sep 1696, along with Richard and Thomas Love, perhaps her brothers.114 She marked with an X; on her Will she drew a large and awkward M. She lived a further 36 years.
Numbers of Hertfordshire Brokets dwindled and 8 of the 12 baptisms this century were in Hitchin.115 Brocket Hall had no connection with any Brockets in this century.
- Mary of Hitchin Widow d 1733
- Edward IV of Walsworth Victualler 1680-1739
- Henry of Hitchin Sawyer 1684/5-1765
- Richard of Hitchin Labourer 1687-1729
- Samuel of St Albans Brazier 1692-1764 or 66
- Henry, Yeoman, died 1684 Limbury, Bedfordshire
[Mark and seal of William Lodge, signature and seal of George Love, signature and seal of Thomas Pettit]
“Buried 1732/3 Feb 14 Mary Brocket widow” in Hitchin.117 Her Will was written 5 Mar 1730, proved 6 Mar 1733.118 To son Edward one shilling. To son Henry—sole executor—and heirs her 4 cottages near Hollow Lane in Back Street, all her other lands, plus all her money and personal estate. Sarah Brockett widow—of Mary’s son Richard—was living in one of Mary’s cottages. Read more
Jos: Sutton Henry Hatley Cha: Nicholls Field
Mary Brockett her Marke
His father died in 1696 when Edward IV was only 16, so the manor court gave his mother Mary guardianship of his copyhold property in Walsworth until he reached 21.120
For a rent of 8s 2d a year, it comprised:121
2. 3 acres of land in Midlefeild in 3 pieces
3. 10 acres of land in Great Feild in 13 pieces
4. 7 acres of land in Mill Feild in 13 pieces
At the same court Edward was also admitted to his father’s remaining freehold property:122
6. a pightle of pasture containing by estimation 1½ rods adjoining the close of pasture called Garretts on the north and lying next to the highway
7. 1 acre of land in the field called Purwell Feild in Hitchin
Edward would have come into full possession of these properties in 1701.
On 26-27 March 1705 Edward and his wife Ann concluded a lease and release with William Watson of Cadwell Yeoman of 3 properties for £70.123
2. A pightell of pasture lying in a close called Garretts adjoining aforesaid premises on north and lying next to highway from Hitchin to Baldock which Edward Brockett his grandfather bought of John Lawman late of Walsworth deceased comprising 1 and a half roods.
3. 1 acre in Purwell Field in Hitchin abutting on the common way from Hitchin to Baldock lately purchased by Edward Brockett his grandfather of William Underwood of Hitchin deceased.
These references to purchases by his late grandfather Edward Brockett, the third of which was purchased on 11 December 1646, clarifies the lineage in the absence of a baptismal record of Edward’s father.
First wife Anne
On 6 Feb 1704/5 Edward Brockett Husbandman married Ann CANES in Hitchin St Mary, “both of this Parish by Banns”.124 As shown below, Ann was aged about 48 or 49 at this time, so was likely to have been a widow. The burial on 19 Aug 1703 of “Ann the daughter of Ann Kaines wid” might have been of one of her children.125 And records of a burial in 1689 and a baptism in 1690 of sons of an Edmund CANE of Walsworth might possibly be of her children also.126 Otherwise, records of Canes/Kaines in Hitchin from this period have not been found—no Will, for instance, nor mention in the 1676 Survey.127
On 9 Oct 1736 “Ann Wife of Edwd Brocket Victualer” was buried in Hitchin.128 Gerish recorded a Memorial Inscription in Hitchin of an Ann Brockett buried 1736 “aged 80”.129 Aged 80 in 1736 would mean a birth c 1656, some 24 years before Edward, an unusual partnership. The only other Edward Brockett of Hitchin known to have been living at that time was this Edward IV’s nephew Edward V, aged c 23, and in 1741 his wife’s name was Elizabeth. Moreover he is not known to have been a Victualler. Her husband Edward was alive—the gravestone in St Mary’s graveyard, Hitchin reads: “Ann Brocket, wife of Edward Brocket who departed this life October the Fifth 1736 Aged 80”:130
It looks as though space was left for Edward’s details underneath, but on 13 Feb 1738/9 in Hitchin of “Edwd Brocket Victualer and Ann OLIVER were married by Banns”.131 “Edward Brocket Victualer” was buried a month later on 14 March,132 perhaps in another grave. No records of children from either of Edward’s marriages have been found. There was an extended OLIVER family in Hitchin in the 16th and 17th C, to which Ann may have been related by birth, but more likely by marriage—Edward was 58 or 59 when he and Ann married, so Ann was probably a widow. No record has been found of her remarriage or burial after Edward’s death, apart from the Terrier of the Manor of Hitchin, mentioned below, which suggests it might have been as soon as 1740.
Edward IV’s Will
Edward’s Will was written 22 Feb 1739 and proved a month later on 27 Mar 1739.133 He bequeathed all his property to his wife Anne—sole executrix—for her life provided she remain a widow. After her death or remarriage the property was to go to the unnamed]134 eldest son of his youngest brother Samuel of St Albans Brazier. Edward’s signature is on the Will. Read more
Witnesses: Richard Tristram John Tristram Thomas Love
Notes on the Will: (to follow)
Terrier of the Manor of Hitchin 1684-1765
A Terrier of the Manor of Hitchin that had been drawn up in 1727 has a page entitled “Edward Brockett of Walso” (Walsworth) with “For Mess. & 5 ac in Walsworth Cop. unde Mess. & 2 ac voc Patents & 3 ac voc Hills 2s 6d” below.135 This means that he was the copyholder of a house and 5 acres, two of which were called Patents, and 3 called Hills, and the annual quit rent of the whole property was 2s 6d. To maintain an up to date record of the tenants the steward of the Manor made alterations, so after Edward’s death in 1739 added “the words “Dead Qrey his wo. Ann”, querying whether or not his widow Ann was the new copyholder. These words were then crossed out and “Anne widdow of” were written above Edward’s as the new copyholder. Then a year later in 1740 the steward added a new admission “now Henry Brocke [sic] & Elizabeth his wife”. Henry was Edward’s nephew. In 1740 Henry and his wife Elizabeth were admitted to copyhold property in Walsworth comprising a messuage and 2 acres called Patents, and 3 acres called Hills. It had previously belonged to Henry’s elder brother Edward, and perhaps briefly to his widow Ann. The entry for 1770 was blank, Henry having died 5 years previously.
Third son of Edward III and Mary of Walsworth. Four records have been found for Henry:
- 1684. His baptism 4 Feb 1684/5 Hitchin.136.with his older brother William, who appears to have died when Henry was young.
- 1733. He was appointed sole executor of his mother Mary’s Will in 1733, in which she left him most of her property: 6 acres of arable land dispersed in the common fields of Walsworth.
- 1751. On 16-17 Oct 1751 Henry Brockett of Hitchin, Sawyer, and Mary his wife leased and released the property his mother had left him 18 years before to William Cooper of Lower Gravenhurst, Beds, Yeoman for £80, i.e. the 6 acres of arable land dispersed in the common fields of Walsworth:137 Read more
“Three half Acres part thereof lying in a certain Feild there called the Millfeild the Land of Pulter Forrester Esquire lying on the North part thereof And the Land heretofore of Thomas Love lying on the South part thereof and abutts on an orchard heretofore of the said Thomas on the East part thereof Two Acres more thereof lye in Long Gutter Shott the Land of the said Pulter Forrester lying on the East and west part thereof and Abutts on the way leading towards Cadwell half an Acre more thereof lyes in Blackwell Shott half an Acre more thereof lyes in the Ley Feild next Letchworth in a Shott there called Didkyne (?) and Abutts on Statfold way half an Acre more thereof in the same Feild the Mill path going over it one Acre more thereof lyes at Gilliams Crosse the way leading to Baldock going over and Abutts on Long Stonehill and now or late are or were in the tenure or occupation of John Watson Yeoman or his Assigns and Devised to him the said Henery Brockett by Mary Brockett his mother deceased.”
This shows that he had married Mary … before 1751. Henry and Mary’s large signatures are at the bottom of both indentures.
- 1765. The burial of Henry Brockett in Hitchin 1765138 must have been his; no other Henry Brocketts were recorded in Hitchin.
Married Mary ….
Henry is not to be confused with his namesake nephew Henry who married Elizabeth … before 1740. This Henry was the one mentioned in the Terrier. Until the final court record of the Broket property in Walsworth was found, it was thought that there was just this one Henry Brockett in the 18th C. However the terrier was difficult to interpret and the final sale of the Broket property wasn’t clear. So ended over 200 years of Brockett-held property in Walsworth. Thereafter the family were landless and after 1783 none were recorded in Hitchin. If any of the males survived and had descendants elsewhere who are still living, it would be fascinating to compare their DNA with Genetic Group 1.
Son of Edward III and Mary of Walsworth, bap Hitchin 8 Jul 1687.139 Married 22 Dec 1711 Sarah TAYLER in Codicote Herts (but not to be confused with Richard s/o John of Codicote).140 Children, all bap Hitchin:
- Mary, “1712 September. The 27th. was baptized Mary Daughter [of] Richard Brockett”.141 1717 October the 24th was buryed Mary the Daughter of Richard Brocket Laborer”.142
- Edward V of Hitchin bap 21 Mar 1713/4: “Then also was Babtiz’d Edward the Son of Richard Brocket”.143 Died bef 1754.144 The marriage on 13 Feb 1738/9 in Hitchin of Edward Brockett to Ann OLIVER would have been a second marriage of his uncle Edward, rather than a first of this Edward, who married Elizabeth … around the same time. She? married 2nd Thomas SUTTON 16 Aug 1761 Hitchin.145 Children:
- Samuel bap 27 Sep 1741 Hitchin.146
- Elizabeth bap 1 Jun 1746 Letchworth.147
- Sarah bap 13 Sep 1747 Hitchin.148
- Martha bap 18 Mar 1749 Letchworth.149
- Edward VI of Hitchin bap 1754 Letchworth. Married 29 Aug 1775 Hitchin Hannah GRAY.150 Children, all baptised Hitchin151:
- Mary, “March the 9th 1717/8 was baptized Mary the Daughter of Richard and Mary [sic?] Brocket Laborer” in Hitchin.152
- Richard bap 30 Apr 1721.153
- Samuel bap 1724/5.
On 12 Jan 1743/4 a Sarah Brocket married John IMPEY, Barber, in Hitchin by Banns.154 The Clerk at the time didn’t note whether brides were widows or spinsters, but did note if they came from another parish. Sarah, therefore, could have been Richard senior’s widow, marrying late in life after being a widow for some 13 years. No record of her burial as a Brocket has been found. Alternatively, perhaps less probably, Sarah was a daughter of Richard and Sarah, whose baptism wasn’t recorded. Following up who John Impey was might provide a clue.
Son of Edward III and Mary of Walsworth, bap Hitchin 1 Feb 1692.155 Removal order 1744 St Albans Abbey Parish to St Peter’s Parish.156 Buried St Peter’s 1764 or 1766. Married 1727 St Andrew Hertford Mary HORNALL. Children:
- Thomas of St Peter’s, St Albans, apprenticed to father 1750.157 Married 5 Oct 1767 St Albans Abbey Ann LYLES.158.
- ?Samuel bur St Peter’s 1764 or 1766.
No record of this Henry’s baptism has so far been found, and it isn’t clear who his parents were. Until the Hitchin Manor court record of 31 Oct 1770 was found,159 which recorded the last years of Broket property in Walsworth—‘the Ship’— we didn’t know who the Henry and Elizabeth Brockett of Limbury in Luton, Bedfordshire, were. We knew that they had married in Luton in 1741 and their Wills were proved there in 1684, but who were they? They clearly had no surviving children and their Wills only mentioned property in Luton. However, this Hitchin Manor court record partially answered—he was a nephew of Edward Brockett IV of Walsworth Victualler 1680-1739, but son of which brother we don’t know.Read more
They were admitted (next page).
The court book LR3/29 recorded on p.208 4 November 1785 the admission of Thomas Brockett of St Albans brazier and Ann his wife.
On 2 November 1795 p.482 it was reported that Ann Brockett had died. Thomas Brockett late of St Albans but now of Codicote brazier surrendered the copyhold messuage known as The Ship then in the occupation of William Watson and 5 acres of pasture also in the occupation of William Watson to William Lucas the younger who was admitted. Rent 2s 6d a year.
The Ship was in 1816 owned by William Lucas whose family were weel known Quaker brewers in Hitchin and who owned many public houses. It was rebuilt in the 19th century and a few years ago was extended and renamed The Millstream.
Married Elizabeth … before 1740.
Page Last Updated: May 2, 2019