Only son of Edward and Etheldred Lady Challoner. 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 a 1631 document—or ‘snr’—as in the baptism of his son John—to distinguish him from the other adult John of Wheathampstead Esq, b 1583, called latterly ‘John Brokett of Caswell‘ after his last residence in Wheathampstead.
John’s baptism is not recorded in the surviving Wheathampstead records. Perhaps it was in Buckinghamshire? He matriculated at Magdalen College Oxford 30 Oct 1584, ‘of Buckinghamshire’, aged 13, so was b c 1571. Admitted to Gray’s Inn 1588. 1649 5 Nov: “John Brocket Esqr” was buried in Wheathampstead.1
John married twice, firstly to Mary GARROWAY, in St Mary Abchurch, London, 13 Dec 1600.2 She bore him 10 children, 7 of whom died aged 19 or younger. The 3 survivors were Judith, Edward and Charles. On 29 Jul 1619 “Marie Wyfe of John Broket Esqr.” was buried in Wheathampstead.3 On 29 Dec 1623 John married secondly Mary BANISTER at St Bride Fleet St, London.4 She bore him 8 children, 3 and probably 4 of whom died aged 20 or younger. The 4 known survivors were George, Mary, Thomas, William and Henry. Gough’s transcription of the Wheathampstead Parish Registers records Mary’s burial there on 21 Dec 1667: “Mrs Mary Brockett Widow, from Ayte”,5 presumably Ayot. This was 18 years after John had died.
Children with first wife Mary GARROWAY:6
- Mary bur 1 May 1604 in Wheathampstead.
- Frances bap 29 Mar 1604, bur 23 Jul 1623, both in Wheathampstead.
- Judith bap 30 May 1605 in Wheathampstead. “Robert Clarke A minister of the Parish of Sarrett in the Countie of Harfoot [sic] and Judeth Brockett of Whetthamsted in the same Countie maried the sixtene of February” 1634/5 at London St Nicholas Acons.7 Sarratt is c 15 m SW of Wheathampstead. Magdalen, daughter of Robert and Judeth CLARKE was baptised 30 Sep 1640 at Sarratt.8 According to the 1669 Visitation of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire,9 Judith married Richard EDMONDS.10 This would have been between Jan 1648 and Jun 1650, the writing of her father John’s Will and the challenge to it—in the former she was “daughter Clark” and in the latter “Judith Edwards alias Brockett”.
- Edward of Wheathampstead Gent, bap 14 Jan 1606/7, bur 19 Jan 1669/70, both in Wheathampstead. See below.
- William bap 20 Jul 1608,11 bur 7 Nov 1609, both in Wheathampstead.
- John bap 20 May 1611,12 bur 4 Nov 1628, both in Wheathampstead.
- Charles bap 1 Jul 1613,13 bur 9 Jan 1616/7, both in Wheathampstead.
- Thomas bap 15 Jan 1614/5,14 bur 9 Aug 1619, both in Wheathampstead.
- Garway or Garraway bap 6 Jun 1616,15 bur 19 Apr 1619, both in Wheathampstead.
- Charles of Westminster Gent, bap 2 Jun 1618 in Wheathampstead,16 died 1662/3. See below. See separate page.
Children with second wife Mary BANISTER:
- George of Watford Gent, bap 4 Jan 1624/5 in Wheathampstead, buried 8 Sep 1686. See below.
- Mary bap 19 Jun 1627 in Wheathampstead,17 married Richard MICHELL, St Bride Fleet St, London, 12 Nov 1647,18 the church that her father and mother were married in 24 years before. Richard was perhaps baptised at Wheathampstead 14 Mar 1623/4, son of Richard Michell Gent.19 “Mary Michell alias Brockett” was still alive in 26 Jun 1650 when the right of probate of her father John’s Will was challenged.
- Thomas bap 4 May 1628 Wheathampstead, buried there 6 Jul 1671. See below.
- Elizabeth bap 3 Aug 1628,20 bur 18 Jul 1632, both in Wheathampstead.
- John bap 20 Oct 1629 in Wheathampstead.21 His mother’s gravestone, inscribed in 1669 had hJohn’s name included along with all her other children, including Elizabeth who died in infancy, but her husband John didn’t mention him in his Will of 1649. nor did his brothers Bannister, Charles or William in theirs of 1652, 1662 or 1675 respectively, and no other records of John have been found. He probably died young, and his mother Mary wished to record his memory. It would be speculation to suggest why the burials of all his other siblings who died young were recorded in Gough’s copy of the Wheathampstead Parish Register, but not his. Omissions in parish records weren’t uncommon, and Gough’s copy was made in the 18th C from old Churchwarden’s accounts. If John hadn’t died by 1649 at the latest why would he have been the only surviving child not mentioned in family Wills?
- William of Wheathampstead Gent, bap 23 Oct 1631 in Wheathampstead, bur 1 Jan 1675/6. See below.
- Banister of London, Servant, bap 20 Jan 1632/3 in Wheathampstead. Died unmarried. Will written 7 Feb 1651/2, proved PCC 20 Jul 1652. See below.
- Henry bap 22 Jul 1634 in Wheathampstead. Alive 1675 (brother William’s Will). To be distinguished from Henry Brockett of Limbury, Laborer/Yeoman, died 1684, and of course from Henry Brockett of Hitchin 1684-1785.
That the baptismal dates of nearly all John and Marys’ children were separated by only one or two years suggests that they were all baptised regularly as young infants. Two of John’s surviving sons, the eldest Edward (1607-1670) and one of the youngest William (1631-1675), were known as gentlemen of Wheathampstead. They were the last 2 Brocketts of Wheathampstead.
This is the memorial inscription over Mary’s grave on the floor of the Brockett Chapel in St Helens Wheathampstead, lying to the left of her stepson Edward’s.22 It shows that John’s 2nd wife Mary was the daughter of George Banister of Drayton, Middlesex, Gent and lists the 8 children she bore him:
HERE LYETH INTERRED YE BODY OF
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 [blank] DAY
OF [blank] ANNO DOMINI 1669
AGED 77 YEARS
It says that Mary died in 1669, with a blank space for month and day< although according to Gough her burial had been on 21 Dec 1667. The gravestone and style of inscription are so similar to Edward’s that it looks as though they were made and laid at the same time following Edward’s burial in 1670, hence perhaps the mistake with Mary’s year of death and the blank spaces left for day and month.
1598: John was bearer of one of the 2 standards at the heraldic funeral of Sir John II in St Etheldreda’s Hatfield.
1628: “John Brockett of the Streete Esqr” was due £4 on £10 worth of land in the Lay Subsidy of July this year.23
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’.24 He signed (on the insert at the bottom):
1638: John—or John of Caswell—was accused of digging a ditch across a public way.25
In the name of God Amen the sixt day of January Anno D[omi]ni One thousand six hundred fortie and seaven I John Brockett of Wethamsted in the County of Hertf Esqr calling to minde the incertaintie of this my temporall being and how that I ought to be in a readines with all ioy and gladnes to embrace the visitation of Almighty god when soe ever it shall please him to send the same and being now ill in body but of good and perfect memory praised be Almighty god (revoking all other wills by me heretofore made) doe make and ordaine this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following First and principally I commend my soule into the hands of Allmightie god my Creator hopeing and assuredly trusting by the merritts and passion of Iesus Christ my Saviour to have remission of all my sinns And for my body I committ it to the earth whereof it was made to be buried and laid by my former wife in the Chappell belonging to myne Ancestors in Whethamsted aforesaid in such sort as my Executrix hereafter named shall thinke fitt And for that wordly estate which it hath pleased god in mercy to blesse me withall I dispose of it as followeth. First I will that my Executrix hereafter named doe at my Funerall distribute to the poore people of Whethamsted aforesaid such a competent summe of money as shee shall thinke fitt in such sort as shee shall best like of Item my will and desire is and I doe hereby soe bequeath that Mary my deare and loveing wife shall for two whole yeares next after my decease have hold and inioy my Capitall Messuage with th’appurtenances in Whethamsted aforesaid wherein I now dwell with the orchard garden dovehouse and other appurtenances thereunto belonging And also all my land meadow and pasture to the said Messuage belonging or therewith used or occupied as well in Whethamsted aforesaid as in the parish of Sandridge in the County aforesaid and that shee shall freely use and inioy the barnes stables and out howses belonging to the same during the time aforesaid with free ingresse egresse and regresse into and from the same And my will is That if shee shall have sowen any graine within the said terme that shall not be cropt and carried before the said terme be ended That then shee my said wife her Executors and assignes shall have free libertie after the said terme of two yeares to take and carry away the said corne and graine And after the said terme of two yeares be ended Then I give my said capitall Messuage and Lands with thappurtenances to my eldest Sonne Edward Brockett and his heires forever And my will and minde is that my said wife shall for the said terme that shee holds and inioyes my said Messuages and Lands pay unto my said sonne Edward fourty pounds yearly vizt tenn pounds by quarter towards his mainetenance. Item I give and bequeath all that my Messuage Tenement and Farme comonly called Huntshide with th’appurtenances And all Lands Meadows Pastures feedings Commons Woods Wasts28 and Hereditaments to the said Farme belonging or there with now used or occupied or accepted or reputed as part parcell or member thereof in Hatfeild in the County of Hertf And all other my Messuages Lands tenements and Hereditaments with th’appurtenances in Hatfeild aforesaid being part or parcell of the said Farme called Huntshide unto my loveing freinds George Banister of [ ] in the said County of Hertf gent Edward Bassocke of London Marchant and Toby Comes of Hemelhemsted in the said County of Hertf and their heires after my decease To have and to hold unto them and their heires and assignes ymmediatly after the decease of me the said John Brokett upon trust and confidence, and to the intent and purpose that they the said George Banister Edward Bassocke and Toby Comes and their heires and the Survivors and Survivor of them, and his heires shall within convenient time after my decease make sale of the inheritance of all and singular the premisses with th’appurtenances for the best price they cann. And that out of the money made thereof the sume of sixteene hundred pounds be paid unto six of my younger Children hereafter named be equally devided amongst them vizt To Charles George Thomas William Banister and Henry. And if there happen to be any // overplus thereof my will is that the same goe and be payd unto my loveing wife towards the performance of this my will. And my minde is that the profitts of the said Farme and Lands in the meane time untill it be sould shalbe equally devided amongst my said six children for their maintenance And my will and minde is that if any of my said six children shall dye and depart this life before such time as his or their portion be due to be paid according to the true meaneing of this my will That then his or their portion or portions soe dyeing shalbe equally devided amongst my surviveing younger Children Item my further will and minde is that my said wife shall have the ordering and manageing of my said Childrens portions untill the same be payable to them And that shee shall have and receive the benefitt thereof towards their breedeing and bringing up And my will and minde is that the residue of my childrens portions for which noe time of payment is appointed be payd unto them at their severall and respective ages of one and twentie yeares, yf the sale of my Lands cann be made in the meane time, or otherwise the same to bee payd to them as soone as it cann be raised by the said sale of my Lands Item I give unto my daughter Clark the summe of twentie five pounds to be paid unto them as soone as conveniently it may after and out of the sale of my said Lands And my will is that the said twenty pounds soe given to the said Magdaline be payd unto her mother my daughter for the use of her said child Item I give unto my loveing sister Pease and her daughter Anne Pease the summe of five pounds to be equally devided betwix them, and to be paid unto them within one yeare next after my decease All the residue of goods and chattells whatsoever as will bonds plate as otherwise my debts paid funeralls discharged and this my present will performed I give and bequeath unto my said loveing wife Mary whom I make sole Executrix of this my last will and testament In wittnes whereof I the said John Brokett have hereunto sett my hand and seale the day and yeare first above written. John Brockett Sealed and published as the last will and testament of the said John Brokett in the presence of Geo Banister Edward Bassock Richard Michell
Comments on the Will:
- John willed to be buried near his first wife in the Brockett Chapel in Wheathampstead parish church.
- His second wife Mary was sole Executrix.
- 8 of John’s 9 living children were left bequests: his 7 sons Edward, Charles, George, Thomas, William, Banister and Henry, and his daughter Clark—Judith. The omission of his daughter Mary Michell appears to have been a copyist’s error, see the next point.
- In the challenge to John’s Will of 26 Jun 1650, both John’s surviving daughters were mentioned: “Judith Edwards alias Brockett” and “Mary Brockett alias Michell“. However, in this court copy of the Will itself only Judith—as daughter Clark—was mentioned, plus her own daughter Magdaline. However the text is corrupt and it seems that the copyist omitted a line or two as you can see:
“Item I give unto my daughter Clark the summe of twentie five pounds to be paid unto them as soone as conveniently it may after and out of the sale of my said Lands And my will is that the said twenty pounds soe given to the said Magdaline be payd unto her mother my daughter for the use of her said child”
The word ‘them’ must refer to someone missing, as also the referents of “the said twenty pounds” and “the said Magdaline”. It might just have been the bequest to Magdaline that was omitted, however why should John not have made a bequest to his daughter Mary after she had done so to Judith; “Item I give unto my daughter Michell the summe of twentie five pounds”? One of the witnesses to the Will was Richard Michell, Mary’s husband—or perhaps father-in-law if he was still alive. It would seem unlikely that Mary would be John’s only surviving child not given a bequest. The scribe’s omission may well have contained it.
- John bequeathed two messuages. One in Wheathampstead and Sandridge, the next parish, and the other in Hatfield. The first he bequeathed to his wife for the term of two years, thereafter to his eldest son. The other was to be sold and £1,600 of the proceeds were to be divided equally among “six of my younger children”, i.e. £266 pounds each.
- John also left £5 to a sister[-in-law] married to Pease with a daughter Anne. Neither of John’s actual sisters were married to a Pease.
- Witnesses: George Banister Edward Bassock Richard Michell.
- No IPM was held on John’s death. His property would not have been held in chief from the king.
It appears that Mary’s executorship was challenged by all the children and a nephew: all 7 sons, the 2 daughters Judith Edwards and Mary Michell, and Edward Salter, son of John’s sister Ursula. Mary the Widow therefore went to court to confirm her right as Executor, which she obtained. The children failed to appear and were pronounced contumacious. This is the Sentence, or final decree, of Sir Nathaniel Brent, Master of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, issued 26 Jun 1650:29Read more
In the name of God, Amen. The merits and circumstances of a certain business of the probate of a testament under the hand of John Brockett late of Whethamsted in the county of Hertford esquire having been heard, seen, understood, and fully and maturely discussed by us, Nathaniel Brent knight, doctor of laws, lawfully constituted master or keeper of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, which was lately discussed and depended, and is still discussed and remains undecided before us in judgment, between Mary Brockett relict and executrix named in the testament of the said deceased, the party promoting this business, and Edward Brockett, Charles Brockett sons, Judith Edwards alias Brockett a daughter, George, Thomas, William Bannistre and Henry Brockett, sons, as well as Mary Brockett alias Michell another daughter, and Edward Salter a nephew on the sister’s side of the said deceased, in particular, and all and other singular persons whomsoever having or pretending to have any right, title or interest in the testament or in the goods, rights or credits of the said deceased, in general, the parties contra, who promote this business on the other side, lawfully proceeding:
The party of the aforesaid Mary Brockett the executrix aforesaid lawfully appearing before us by her proctor in judgment, and asking and craving a sentence to be made and justice to be done for their part; and the aforesaid Edward Brockett, Charles Brockett, Judith Edwards alias Brockett, George, Thomas, William Bannistre and Henry Brockett, Mary Michell alias Brockett and Edward Salter, in particular, and all and singular the others (as above) in general, having been respectively cited, intimated and forewarned by public edict of citation, and not appearing, but contumaciously absenting themselves, and pronounced as contumacious; and, firstly, the whole and complete process had and made before us in this business having previously been considered by us and diligently gone through, and saving to ourselves those things to be reserved in this part, thus we now come to proceed to the issuing of our definitive sentence or final decree in this business; and we proceed in this manner following:
Whereas be the acts enacted, deduced, alleged, exhibited, proposed and confessed in this business it clearly appears to us and we find for the party of the aforesaid Mary Brockett the executrix, her intention deduced in her allegations and the original testament of the said deceased, given and exhibited in this business on her part and remaining with the registrar of this court; which said allegation and testament we have and wish to be had read on this account and inserted, and to be established and proved at large (as pronounced below); and nothing at all having been or being in any part either in particular or in general, having been excepted, deduced, alleged, exhibited, propose, proved or confessed that might elide or in any manner whatever enervate the intention of the said Mary Brockett the executrix aforesaid
Therefore we, Nathaniel Brent knight and doctor of laws, the judge aforesaid, having first invoked the name of Christ, and putting and having him the only God before our eyes, and of and with the advice of men learned in the law with whom we have communicated in this behalf, pronounce, decree and declare that the aforesaid John Brockett the testator aforesaid deceased while he was alive, sound of mind and whole of memory to have rightly and lawfully constituted, made and declared his testament aforesaid exhibited and alleged on behalf of the aforesaid Mary Brockett the executrix in this business, containing in itself his last will, and that he named, ordained, made and constituted the same Mary Brockett, the party promoting this business, his executrix
and to have given, donated, bequeathed, left and disposed all and singular other things in all things and through all things as is contained in the testament aforesaid; and for the strength, value and validity of the testament aforesaid of the said John Brockett deceased, exhibited and alleged on behalf of the said Mary Brockett in this business. Moreover, we ratify and confirm by this our sentence definitive or this our final decree which we make and promulgate in these writings, the probate and approval of the testament aforesaid to the aforesaid Mary Brockett the executrix aforesaid had and made in common form in this court
Bap 14 Jan 1606/7, eldest son of John of Wheathampstead Esq. 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 13.30
“Edward Brockett Gent.” was buried in Wheathampstead 19 Jan 1669/70.32 He left no Will, and Administration of his estate is recorded for 14 Jul 1670.33 The transcript notes “Wheathampstead, Herts., Ad. to Mary B., wid., rel.”34 It means that he died at Wheathampstead and Administration was given to Mary Brockett, his widow. This is the memorial inscription over Edward’s grave on the floor of the Brockett Chapel in St Helens Wheathampstead, lying to the right of his mother Mary’s:35
HERE LYES YE BODY OF EDWARD BROKETT
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
This shows that he married Mary TOOKE and they had 5 children:
- Mary. Baptised Wheathampstead 25 Sep 1654. In uncle William’s Will of 1675, she was bequeathed—as “Mrs Mary Broket” when aged about 21 and probably unmarried—£100, a quarter of the residue and £20 of the bequest to uncle George if he predeceased his wife, which he did. No further definite record of Mary has yet been found.
- Elizabeth. Baptised Wheathampstead 21 Nov 1654. Elizabeth was the only one of her siblings not to be mentioned in her uncle William’s Will of 1675, although she was still apparently single and aged about 21. It was presumably her marriage that was recorded in Gough’s transcript of the Wheathampstead register as: “Lawrence Kilbee Cittiezen of Lond’ and Elizabeth Brokett 3 Jun 1680“—no other Contemporary Elizabeth Brokett of Wheathampstead is known. She died soon after, as the Administration of the estate of Elizabeth Kilby is recorded for 18 Jun 1681.36 The transcript notes “A. H. the Less, Lond.; d. at Wheathampstead, Herts., Ad. to Law. K., h.”37 This means that she died at Wheathampstead and was buried in All-Hallows-the-Less in the City of London, and that Administration was given to Lawrence Kilby, her husband. All-Hallows-the-Less was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666, but the site of the church was retained as a burial ground.
- Frances. Baptised Wheathampstead 16 Jun 1658. In uncle William’s Will of 1675, she was bequeathed—as “Mrs Frances Broket” when aged about 17—£100, a quarter of the residue and £20 of the bequest to uncle George if he predeceased his wife, which he did. She married 24 Oct 1678 in Wheathampstead Mr Wm BUTTLER, Citizen of London.
- John. Baptised Wheathampstead 5 May 1660. In uncle William’s Will of 1675, he was bequeathed—as “Mr John Broket” when aged about 15—£100, a quarter of the residue and £20 of the bequest to uncle George if he predeceased his wife, which he did. John was alive in 1692 when he and others answered a Bill of Complaint brought by maternal cousins Anne Lench and others re property in Hamside, Hatfield Woodgate, Hertfordshire, and West Smithfield, Middlesex.38 He may have married Annis and, if so, died 1700-1 with issue. No further record of John has been found. It is more than unlikely that he was John of Shillington Labourer, who had a family there from 1696 and died 1720.
- Anne. Baptised Wheathampstead 1661. In uncle William’s Will of 1675, she was bequeathed—as “Mrs Ann Broket” when aged about 14—£100, a quarter of the residue and £20 of the bequest to uncle George if he predeceased his wife, which he did. She married Stewart SPICER 1 Nov 1682. The entry reads: “Stewart Spicer, of St Helen’s, London, Bach[elo]r, about 23, & Anne Brockett, of Whitehamsted [sic], Herts, Sp[inste]r, about 19 [more like 21], her parents dead, she at the disposal of [blank] Lamb.Vicar of Whitehamsted afsd, who consents; alleged by John Gray, of St Botolph, Bishopsgate, London, Merchant Taylor; at Stratford Bow or Bromley, co. Middx., or Westham, co. Essex.”39
In the name of God Amen The Seaventh day of January Anno D[omi]ni One Thousand Sixhundred Sixty two [i.e. 1663] and in the Foureteenth yeare of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord King Charles the Second &c I Charles Brockett of Westm[inste]r in the County of Midd’ Gent’ being Sicke and weake in body, but of good and perfect minde and memory, thankes be given to Allmighty God, and calling to minde the mortality of my flesh, Doe make and Declare this my last will and Testament as followeth; First and principally I committ and commend my Soul into the handes of Allmighty God, who gave itt with assured hope and confidence of the Remission of my Sinns by the merritts death and passion of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, My body being of the Masse and Substance of the Earth, to the Earth I committ to bee buryed in Decent manner. And as concerning Such worldly Goodes and Subsistance as it hath pleased Allmighty God to blesse mee with all in this life, I give and bequeath the same as followeth; First I give and bequeath vnto my brother Thomas Brockett, my kinsman Edmond Brockett, and my friend Mr William Rolfe, Six poundes Thirteene Shillings Foure pence apeece; Item all the Rest and Residue of my Goodes, Chattelles, Debtes, money and other Estate whereof I am possessed or is any due or belonging vnto mee (my Legacies and Funerall Charges first discharged) I give and bequeath vnto my two Sonns Charles Brockett and John Brockett equally to bee Devided betweene them, to bee paid and deliuered to them with the benefitt to bee made thereof att their respective ages of One and Twenty yeares; and if either of my Said Sonns Shall happen to Dye and Departe this life, before they accomplish their respective ages of one and Twenty yeares, Then I give the part Share and porcion of him Soe Dyinge to the Survivor of them; And if both my Said Sonns Shall happen to Dye and Depart this life before their respective ages aforesaid, Then I give and bequeath my said Goodes, Chattelles, Debtes, money, and other estate, vnto and amongst the Children of my eldest brother Edward Brockett equally to bee Devided betweene // Them, Share and Share like, To bee; paid and deliuered to the Sonns att their respective ages of one and Twenty yeares, and to the daughters att the like age or marriage first happening; And if any of my Said eldest brothers Children shall happen to dye and Depart this life before Such age or marriage as aforesaid, Then I give the part share and porcion of him her or them soe dying; to and amongst the Survivors and Survivor of them; And I Doe make and ordayne my Said brother Thomas Brockett may [sic] said kinsman Edmond Brockett, and the said Mr William Rolfe Executors in trust of this my last Will and Testament, desireing their care in the educacion and breeding of my Said Sonns [v. young]; In witnes whereof I the said Charles Brockett the Testator have to this my last will and Testament Sett my hand and Seale the Day and yeare first above written; Charles Brockett; Sealed published and deliuered; in the presence of Richard Symonds, Robert Lloyd, Geo: Plucknett Junr
Inventory of the goods and chattells of Charles Gent of Westminster taken 6 Aug 1663.41Read more
An Inventary of all & singular the goods chattels & debtes of Charles Brockett …… of the Citie of Westminster in the County of Midd’ Gent’ ………& appraised the second day of March in the year of our Lord ..ade according to the Computacione of the Church of England 1662/3 by Azariah Pheasant Francis Sh…. Edward Skeggs Joseph F.. Edward Brokett & Francis Sibley as followeth vizt: Inprimis a house & all his accoutrementes belonging to a Souldier £16 Item a trunck a silver tankard per..e…ing apparell £14 10s
Item a small trunck & cabinett wth severall small things £6 11s 5?d
Item pewter & bookes 39s 2d Item one trunck of lynnen marked wth B £6 1s
Item one trunck wth … wth old fashioned …. £13 19s Item one trunck marked … A K wth wearing apparrell £10 13s 6d
Item one trunck marked wth EB wth lynnen & other things £9 Item one truncke marked CB wth small lynnn £10 3s Item one truncke marked AE wth old fashioned thinges 3s Item one bedd boulster pillow & Rugge with a Cupbord Cloth £4 5s Item a truncke in the County of Hartford wth lynnen valued att £14 1s Summa totale huius Inventory £38 17s 8d [more like £105!]
Item in sperate & desperate debtes due & oweing to the sd dec[ease]d at the tyme of his death 700s [or £] [700s = £35]
Summa patet Jo: Rucke [Inventory exhibited 22 Aug 1663 [?] by R… …. … …
Charles had a contemporary namesake kinsman in London: Charles, a Fishmonger. They both had sons named John, and the Willingale Spain Brockets, desendants of Charles the Fishmonger, preferred to claim descent from this Charles Gentleman.
George bap 4 Jan 1624/5.42 Married Susanna RUNNINGTON 30 Apr 1660 in Newington St Mary, Surrey,43 now a district of South London, just south of the River Thames. Susannah, daughter of William and Mary Runnington was baptised 22 Jul 1634 at Watford St Mary.44 Soon after their marriage they removed to Watford, Hertfordshire, where their daughter was christened, c 11 m SW of Wheathampstead. George was witness to John of Caswell’s Will proved 1659. George was alive and married in 1675—his brother William’s Will of that year reveals an antipathy towards George’s wife. Child:
“Mr George Brocket” was buried 5 Jun 1676 Watford St Mary.47 George left no Will, and Administration of his estate is recorded being granted to Susannah 26 Jun 1676.48 “An Inventory of the goods & Chattelles of George Broket late of Watford in the County of Hertf’ Gent” was taken 15 Jun 1676.49 It isn’t known who the Geo Brocket buried 1676 St James Clerkenwell, Middlesex, recorded in Boyd’s London Burials, was.50
“Mrs Susanna Brocket Widow” was buried 8 Sep 1686, Watford St Mary, a note dated 17 Sep by the Churchwardens said that [unlike all the burials of that month and August] “No Affidavit was brought within the time limited by the Statute for Burying in Woollen”.51 In her Will, written 21 Aug 1686, proved Archdeaconry of St Albans Sep, she left the following bequests to:
niece Sarah Runnington £5
nephew George Runnington
brother William Runnington £40 and his son William £5
brother-in-law John Ansell £40
executrix sister Mary Burton Widow, the residue52
suggesting that she and George had no surviving children.
How do we know that “Thomas Brokett Cittizen and Clothworker of London” whose Will was proved 20 Jul 1671, was baptised and buried in Wheathampstead, son of John of Wheathampstead Esq?
1. In his Will of 1675 the younger brother of the Thomas baptised 1628—William of Wheathampstead Gentleman—mentioned “my Executorshipp to my brother Thomas Broket”.
2. The sole Executor of the Will of Thomas, Citizen and Clothworker of London, proved 1671, was “my loveing brother William Brokett of London Gentleman”. No other contemporary Thomas Brokett of London is known who had a Gentleman brother William, and no other contemporary Gentleman William Brokett of London or elsewhere is known who had a brother Thomas who was a Citizen and Clothworker of London. That William was styled both of London and Wheathampstead reflects the fact that “In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries especially, younger sons of the gentry who were destined not to inherit land and titles often went to London to seek their fortunes in trade.”55 Brothers Charles and Bannister also removed to London. Perhaps William styled himself of ‘Wheathampstead’ after his elder brother Edward Brokett of Wheathampstead Gent died in 1670.
3. Probate of Thomas’ Will was on 20 Jul 1671 at the PCC and Thomas, baptised 1638, had been buried a fortnight earlier in Wheathampstead 6 Jul 1671. It was a simple Will requiring little time in execution. That Thomas was recorded as “from the Place” suggests that he had either removed back from London latterly, or that his burial ceremony proceeded from that house.
In addition, Edmond Brockett Citizen and Merchant Taylor of London appointed “my Cousin Thomas Brockett” Executor of his Will in 1665, which was subsequently disputed by Edmond’s widow Judith, who referred to Thomas as Edmond’s “kinsman”. Edmond was baptised in Wheathampstead in 1625, 3 years before Thomas, so the two would have known each other from childhood. They were third cousins. Since Edmond was sick in the middle of the major 1665 epidemic of the plague in London it makes sense that he would have chosen an Executor near to hand in London rather than one a day’s journey away in Wheathampstead.
A secondary source, Boyd’s Inhabitants of London recorded the following Family Unit:56
Thomas Brocket of St Dunstan East, citizen & Clothworker
Wife Ellen. Died 1652 Jul 8 at St Dunstan E
Will 1671 PCC fol 58
Anne bap 1650 Jan 6
Anne bap 1651 Jan 30
Note: St Dunstan in the East is to be distinguished from St Dunstan’s, Stepney, where other Broket families were recorded earlier and probably later.
This adds the information that Thomas was married to Ellen and they had two daughters called Anne, the first presumably dying before the second was baptised. Indeed, the following 7 parish records have been found for Thomas and Ellen or Eleanor:
“Thomas Brockett sonne of Thomas and Ellen” was baptised in St. Clement Danes, Westminster, 19 Jan 1645/6.57
Ann Brocket, daughter of Thomas and Ellin was baptised in St Dunstan in the East, London 6 Jan 1651/2.58
Eleanor Brockett, wife of Thomas was buried in St Dunstan in the East, London 8 Jul 1652.59
Female Brocket, daughter of Thomas and Ellyn was baptised in St Dunstan in the East, London 30 Jan 1652/3.60
Martha Brockett, daughter of Thomas and Ellin was baptised in St Dunstan in the East, London 20 May 1655.61
Joan Brockett, daughter of Thomas and Ellinor was baptised in St Dunstan in the East, London 16 Aug 1657.62
Joan Brockett, daughter of Thomas was buried in St Dunstan in the East, London 28 Nov 1658.63
But did all these records—or any of them—relate to our Thomas the Clothworker? We have no other record confirming his parish, and none of these parish records specified him as a Clothworker or a Citizen, or anything else—as shown by this snip of the first one above:64
The other 6 records, however, are transcripts so it’s possible that the originals might have more information, but until they are accessible we assume that like this one they don’t. Furthermore, no marriage records have so far been found of a Thomas Broket—whether Clothworker or not—marrying an Ellen or Eleanor. Might another Thomas Broket in London at the time have been the husband of Ellen or Eleanor? Or perhaps of the second Ellen or Eleanor? Boyd’s Inhabitants of London is an invaluable resource—the author was one of the foremost genealogists of the first half of the 20th C—but it was a compilation of transcriptions of records from disparate sources,65 and there is no explicit linkage in these records of Thomas’ family that he—if he was one individual—was the Clothworker, nor were any sources provided. And did the son Thomas or Martha or the unnamed daughter survive to adulthood? The fact that Thomas mentioned neither wife nor children in his Will doesn’t necessarily mean that none of them did.
And were Eleanor and Ellen the same person? Or persons—the parish records above show that Thomas and Ellen/Eleanor baptised 3 further children after Eleanor (Ellen?) died in 1652. So did Thomas marry a second Ellen/Eleanor and she gave birth to the unnamed female only 7 months after the previous Ellen/Eleanor died? Also, the first baptism—of son Thomas—was in 1646 and Thomas the Clothworker, baptised 1628, would only then have been about 18 years old. That Thomas, baptised 1628, and his siblings were probably all baptised as young infants is suggested by the regularity of their baptisms every 1 or 2 years. A teenage marriage would have been uncommon though not unheard of. But the 1645/6 baptism was in a different parish, so were the parents another Thomas and Ellen? The picture is unclear.
Having said all that, unless and until a more suitable Thomas Broket is found in London records at that time, it is probably unduly sceptical not to assume that Thomas, husband of Ellen/Eleanor, was the Citizen and Clothworker of London who lived 1628-1671.
In the name of God Amen The last day of February Anno Dni 1664 And in the Seaventeenth yeare of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord King Charles the Second of England &c. I Thomas Brokett Cittizen and Clothworker of London being at this present in good health of body and of sound and perfect minde and memory (thanks be to God for the same) but considering with my selfe the frailty of this life and the certainty of death though the time thereof be alltogether uncertaine Doe make and declare this my present last Will and Testament in manner followeing (vizt) First and principally I committ my Soule into the hands of Allmighty God my Creator And my body I comitt to the earth therein to be interred in decent and Christian like manner And as touching such goods Chattells lands tennements and personall estate whatsoever as I now have or to me shall in any wise belong att the time of my decease I give leave and bequeath the same and every part thereof unto my loveing brother William Brokett of London Gentleman his heires Executors Administrators and Assignes To and for his and theire owne proper use and behoofe and as his and theire owne proper goods and chattells for ever Whom I also make and ordaine the full and sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament Hereby revoakeing all former Wills and Codicills by me att any time heretofore made or given And doe ordaine and appoint this to stand and abide for and as my last Will and Testament and soe to be accompted In witnesse whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and Seale the day and yeare abovesaid Tho: Brokett Signed sealed published and declared in the presence of us Nicholas Moore and Ri: Hare Snr.
The whole point of this brief Will was to hand over his entire estate to his brother without any conditions. It provides little other information apart from:
1. Thomas was a Citizen and Clothworker of London.
2. His brother William—the sole executor—was a Gentleman of London.
3. The witnesses were Nicholas Moore and Richard Hare Snr. Comment: The latter was probably a co-defendant with Thomas in the suit brought by Judith Brockitt in 1665.67
Son of John of Wheathampstead Esq, bap 23 Oct 1631,68 bur 1 Jan 1675/6, the last Brockett of Wheathampstead. Although in his own Will he styled himself “William Broket of Wheatthamstead in the County of Hertford gentleman” he also lived in London, as evidenced by his brother Thomas’ Will of 1664, proved by William as sole Executor in 1671, which referred to him as “my loveing brother William Brokett Gentleman of London“. No other William of London is known who could have been him. Perhaps William styled himself of ‘Wheathampstead’ after his elder brother Edward Brokett of Wheathampstead Gent died in 1670. William wrote his Will on 10 Dec 1675 and it was proved at the PCC 1 Mar 1675/6.69 At least by the time of writing his Will William had neither wife nor children:Read more
In the name of God Amen the tenth day of December One thousand six hundred seventy and five I William Broket of Wheatthamstead in the County of Hertford gentlema’ being Sick in body but of perfect and sound memory blessed bee Almighty God doe make and ordaine this my Last Will and Testament in manner and forme following First I bequeath my soul into the hands of of Almighty God my maker hopeing that through the death and passion of Jesus Christ to receive free pardon of all my sins and to inherit everlasting life And my body I bequeath to the earth to bee decently buryed according to the discretion of my Executors hereafter nominated And as touching the disposeing of Such temporall Estate as it hath pleased Almighty God to bestowe upon me I give and dispose as folleweth First my Will is that my debts and funerall Charges shall bee paid and discharged Item I doe give and bequeath unto my brother Mr George Broket the summe of one hundred pounds to bee paid to him as followeth twenty pounds to bee paid to him within nine moneth after my decease and eighty pound more to bee paid unto him at the day and death of his now liveing Wife in the meane time my Will is that my said Executors shall pay yearly and every yeare the interest of the said eighty pound to my brother George Broket aforesaid but my Will is That if my brother George Broket Wife Survive him that the said Legacie of eighty pound bee equally devided and paid to John Broket Mary Broket Frances Broket Ann Brokett my Brother Edward Broket Children Item I doe give and bequeath unto Henry Broket my brother the Summe of tenn pound with the bills and bonds of one hundred pound more and upwards which hee oweth to me by vertue of my Executorshipp to my brother Thomas Broket provided hee Will give a generall Release to my Executors at the receiveing the Said money and bills and bonds Item I doe give and bequeath unto John Brokett my brother Charles sonn the Summe of One hundred Sixty & Six pounds to bee paid to him at the age of one and twenty yeares further my Will is hee shall give a generall Release to my Executors for their discharge Item I doe give and bequeath unto Mrs. Broket Widow Relict of my brother Edward Broket Gentleman the Summe of fifty pound Item I doe give and bequeath unto Mr John Broket the Summe of fifty pound I doe meane my brother Edward Broket Sonne Item I doe give and bequeath unto Mrs Mary Broket my brother Edward Broket daughter the Summe of One hundred pound Item I doe give and bequeath unto Mrs Frances Broket my brother Edward Broket daughter the Summe of fifty pound Item I doe give and bequeath unto Mrs. Ann Broket my brother Edward Broket daughter the Summe of One hundred and thirty pound Item I doe give to my friend Mr Thomas Rufin the Summe of ten pound Item I doe give to George Rufin Sonne of Mr Thomas Rufin aforesaid the Summe of tenn pound Item I doe give to John Nash of Gusterwood the summe of twenty shillings Item I doe give to John House of Gusterwood the summe of twenty shillings Item I doe give unto John Flecher the summe of forty shillings Item I doe give to Thomas Joye Elder the summe of twenty Shillings Item I doe give unto Solomon Grunwyn the summe of twenty Shillings Item I doe give to Richard Rayment the summe of twenty Shilling Item I doe give unto the Churchwardens of the parish of Wheathamstead the summe of five pound to bee by them distributed to the poor to Widdows to aged person Such as have greatest need And further my mind and Will is that all those Legacies by me bequeathed excepting those that have other dayes of payment appointed bee paid within nyne moneth after my decease Lastly I doe make and ordaine Mr Jesper Wilshire of Broket Hall and Mr Thomas Lanch Cittyzen of the Citty of London Waxchandler to be my faithfull Executors of this my Last Will and Testament giveing and bequeathing to Mr Jesper Wilshire the Summe of fifty pound and alsoe giving and bequeatheing to Mr Thomas Lanch the Summe of fifty pound And further my mind and Will is to allow my said Executors their Charge and Charges in getting in my bills bonds and desperate70 debt Saveing them harmeless in the executeing this my Last Will and Testament And further if any of the Legates die before their Legacies become due my Will is their Legacie shall returne to the survivour of my brother Edward Broket Children namely to John Broket Mary Broket Frances Broket An Broket the survivours of these And further my Will is that my Said Executors doe solemnize my funerall and buryall with a Charge of thirty pound and Lastly all these before mentioned Legacies bee paid or settled according to the true meaning and intent of this my Last Will and Testament that then my said Executors doe and shall give up accompts to my brother Edward Broket Children therefore I doe give and bequeath unto John Broket Mary Broket Frances Broket An Broket all the overplus money in the hands of my said Executors with all Chattells whatsoever Soe desireing my Said Executors to execute this my Last Will according to its true meaning makeing this my Last Will and Testament revoking all other Will and Testaments whatsoever In witnes whereof I the said William Broket to this my Last Will and Testament doe set my hand and Seal William Broket Sealed Subscribed published to bee his Last Will and Testament in the presence of Iohn Lord Francis Gibley Hugh Smyth
To brother Mr George Broket £100—only £20 of which within 9 months of William’s death, and the remaining £80 on the death of George’s wife. If she survived him—which she did 6 months later in 1576—then the remaining £80 to go in equal parts to brother Edward’s children John, Mary, Frances, Ann.
To brother Henry Broket £10 with £100+ of bills and bonds that he owed William by vertue of my Executorship to my brother Thomas Broket provided hee Will give a generall Release to my Executors at the receiveing the Said money and bills and bonds.
To John Brokett son of brother Charles £166 at 21. Comment: Apart perhaps from the residue left to his brother Edward’s children, this was the largest single bequest. The fact that John son of Charles was under 21 in 1675, i.e. born after 1654, is significant for the correct descent of the Willingale Spain Brocket family.
To Mrs Broket Widow of brother Edward Broket Gentleman £50.
To Mr John Broket son of brother Edward Broket £50.
To Mrs Mary Broket daughter of brother Edward Broket £100.
To Mrs Frances Broket daughter of brother Edward Broket £50.
To Mrs. Ann Broket daughter of brother Edward Broket £130. Comment: For some reason William made no bequest to his brother Edward’s other daughter Elizabeth who didn’t marry till 1680.
Residue to the children of brother Edward Broket John Mary Frances and Ann.
William also left bequests to 8 friends of £17 plus £5 to the poor of Wheathamstead, and the Executors Mr Jesper Wilshire of Broket Hall and Mr Thomas Lanch Citizen of the City of London Waxchandler,71 were to receive £50 each.
A true and perfect Invent[ar]y of all and singuler the goodes Chattles and debtes of Wm. Brokett late of the parish of Wheathamstead in the County of Hertford deceased taken vallued appraised the 31st of December [date smudged] by Francis Sibley and Iames Greene as followeth vizt
In primis money in purse two Guineys – £2 3s
Item one twenty shilling peece of gold – £1 3s
Item 2 tenne shilling peeces of gold – £1 3s
Item in money silver – £2 16s 10d
Item in Mr Jesper Wilsher his hand which is Boo Cocks £8 l received of Mr Draper – £8
Item in the handes of Robert King elder – £5
Item Wm Thettridge by bill – £10
Item Mr Wm Bristowe by one bond – £51 10s
Item Mr Wm Bristowe & Edwd. Spencer by one bond – £51 10s
Item Mr Lomex by one bill – £20
Item Mr John Rotheram & Wm. Ford by one bond – £51 10s
Item Mr John Galloway & John Halling by one bond – £51 10s
Item John Rosington Mr Robt. Rosington’ by one bond – £103
Item Mr Robt. Rosington & Mr John Rosington by one bond – £103
Item Thomas Carpenter by one mortgage – £35
Item Sir Thomas Smyth by one mortgage – £154 10s
Item Mr James Hoppy by one bond – £51 10s
Item Mr John Cuthbert by one mortgage – £51 10s
Item 4 guilt silver spoones two plain silver spoones 1 silver Candle Cuppe with a Cover of silver – £3 11s
Item 6 paire of holland73 sleeves 1 shirt 1 paire of holland drawers a quilted cape one bible – £1
Item two swords – 7s
Item one paire of gloves – 3s 6d
Item one tuck74 in a stick – 1s
Item foure beltes – 10s
Item one perriwige – 15s
Item his wearing Cloth & hatt – £2 10s
Item one paire of bootes 1 pr shooes – 13s
Item one featherbedd – £1
Item 1 dosen of buttones – 2s 3d
Item two setting nettes – 5s
Item Lumber – 2s
[total:] £765 15s 7d
Item Mr Jasper Wilshire one of the Ex[ecutor]es exhibiting this Invent[ar]y doeth declare the Debtes following to be due to the Estate of the said Testator but that he hath not receaved the same nor any part thereof therefore doeth not hereby Charge himselfe therewith but when receaved shall be ready & will Charge himselfe according as he shall receave vizt.
Due from one Mr Beverley by one bill – £6 9s
Due from John Ellis James Ellis & John Howe by bond – £51 10s
Ev: P: Exton
£765 15s 7d + £57 19s in outstanding bills not received = £822 19s 7d, which was a tidy sum. The bequests in his Will came to £778, not counting the £100+ debts written off from brother Henry, so there was a residue of £44 19s 7d for his nieces and nephew.
Aside from these 2 Wills and the Inventory, and a mention in his father’s Will of 1647, the only other record currently found concerning William is from 27 Mar 1673 when William Brockett of Whethamsted, Gent, purchased a 500 year lease for £35 from Thomas Carpenter of Abbots Langley, Yeoman, of 7 acres of arable land in Abbots Langley called The Heath, adjoining Pease Lane north and the land of Daniell Lea south and the land of Thomas Carpenter west, Witnesses Joshua Lomax and John Dagnall.75 Langley is c 6 m N of Wheathampstead.
In the name of God Amen the seaventh day of February Anno Dni one thousand six hundred fifty one I Bannister Brocket of London (servant) unto Mr Richard Cathill ?Catlin? of Norwich (Marchant) beinge Sicke and weake in body but of good and perfect memorie praised be Allmightie God I doe make this my last will and Testament in manner and forme followeinge first and principally I commend my Soule into the hands [dittography deleted] of Allmightie God my Creator hopeinge and assuredly trustinge by the merritts and passion of Jesus Christ my Saviour to have remission of all my Sinnes and for my body I committ to the Earth whereof it was made to be buried and laid in Lambeth Church by my Aunte Bassocke And for that worldly Estate which it hath pleased God to blesse me withall I Dispose of it as followeth Item my will and desire is that that portion which my Deare Father left me I doe bequeath and give as followeth First I give vnto my loveinge and Deare mother Mrs Mary Brockett the Summe of five pounds Item I give and bequeath vnto my brother Edward Brockett twenty Shillings to buy him a ringe Item I give to my brother Charles Brockett twenty Shillings in like manner Item I give vnto my brother George Brockett twenty Shillings in like manner Item I give vnto my Sister Mrs Mary Michell twenty Shillinge in like manner Item I give to my brother William Brockett the Summe of Fiftie pounds Item I give to my brother Henry Brockett the Summe of Fiftie pounds Item I give vnto my loveinge vncle Mr Thomas Taverner Fortie Shillings Item I give to my Aunte Taverner fortie Shillings Item I give vnto my Couzen Betty Taverner twenty Shillings Item I give vnto my Aunte pease twenty Shillings Item I give to my Couzen Anne Pease twenty Shillings Item I give vnto my Couzen George Pease twenty Shillings Item I give to loveinge Freinde George Hill twenty Shillings to buy him a ringe: Item I give and bequeath all the rest of my Estate whatsoever belonging vnto me vnto my loveinge brother Thomas Brockett whome I make my Sole Executor Witnesse my hand and Seale the day and yeare above written Banister Brockett Read Signed Sealed and published as his last will and Testament in the presence of Caleb Nicholas Thos Taverner George Fill [mistranscription for Hill?]
He left the following bequests to his Brockett relatives:
mother Mrs Mary £5
brother Edward 20s for a ring
brother Charles 20s for a ring
brother George 20s for a ring
sister Mrs Mary Michell 20s for a ring
brother William £50
brother Henry £50
brother Thomas, Sole Executor, the residue
and several to relatives on his mother’s side.
Page Last Updated: August 25, 2022