Thomas Broket of Wheathampstead Esq
b by 1396 d 1477
Thomas Broket probably spent his childhood in Appleton in Bolton Percy, Yorkshire. As a young teenager he would likely have been sent for schooling to London—probably Westminster where from 1398 his father worked as an attorney and from 1410 as Remembrancer to the Treasurer. A senior Justice of the Peace himself later, Thomas must have had good early schooling.
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The plentiful surviving records of Thomas Broket of Appleton, Yorkshire, Remembrancer to the Treasurer, and of Thomas Broket Esq of Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, from the next generation, coupled with the lack of records of another contemporary Broket family of similar standing are good indirect proof that the two were father and son. Direct proof can be found in Glover‘s Broket pedigree, and in this 1 Oct 1458 release of land in Nether Acaster, just across the river Ouse from Acaster Selby in Yorkshire, to Robert Stillyngton, Clerk, and his heirs, which begins—in translation—To all who shall see or hear this charter, Thomas Broket Esquire son and heir of Thomas Broket and Dionisia his wife daughter of William Sampson late of Appulton Esquire, Greeting. Know [that I have …]:1
“Omnibus hoc scriptum visuris vel audituris / Thomas Broket Armiger filius & heres Thome Broket et Dionisie vxoris sue filie Willi’m Sampson’ nup’ de Appulton’ Armigeri / Sal’t’m. Noueritis [me …]”
As an adult this Thomas the son would have spent much of his time on the estates in Hertfordshire, largely inherited through his marriage to Elizabeth Asshe, heiress to the FitzSimon estates. A prominent Hertfordshire landowner, Thomas was one of its two knights coming to Parliament in 1435. He therefore had the title ‘Sir’ but in documents is styled ‘Esq’. He was long lived, like his brother Edward, and probably their father before them.
Thomas was a man of some standing in Hertfordshire by the 1450s, shown by a number of references to him sitting as a working Justice of the Peace.2 He may well have sat in Essex also. As a working justice he would probably have been regarded as a ‘man learned in the law’, since in one or two cases he seemed to be acting as the senior figure on the bench—indicated by the phrase that the indictment was taken ‘before Thomas Broket and his associates, justices of the king’s peace’.
Between 1419-22 ‘Thomas Broket the younger’ submitted a complaint to Chancery concerning 2 properties and 90 acres of land in Wycombe Buckinghamshire, some 25 miles WSW of Wheathampstead and Hatfield. It is in Anglo-Norman, so is interesting to quote in full. The right hand end was reproduced on the homepage of the earlier version of this Archive.3 Read more
1. A tresreuerent pier en dieu & leure tresgraceouse seignur
2. leuesqz de Durem & Chaunceller Dengleterre
3. Suppliont treshumblement Bartilmewe Dekene Richard Osbarn’ Wauter Adam Citezeins de londres & Thomas Broket le puisne . qe come ils feurent droiturelment seisez de deuxz
4. mees . iiijxx acres de terre & dys acres de pree oue les appurtenaunces en Wycombe deinz le Counte de Buk’ & leure possession en yceuxz longement & pesiblement continueront . tanqz Moris Talworthe Andreu
5. Sperlyng & Richard Reedhode apres le darrein viage de nostre tressouerein seignur le Roy en Normandyarmez & en maner du guerre viendront au dite Ville de Wycombe & la . oue forte main saince asoun
6. title de droit horsbotoient lez ditz suppliantz de lez terres & tenementz oue lez appurtenances auantditz . & possession en ycelles vnqore torceuousement continuent . & les profitz des ditz terres & tenementz
7. oue lez appurtenances continuelment prengnent . en contempt du nostre dit tressouerein seignur le Roy & finalle destruccion du ditz suppliantz . sauuez le pluys hastif remede en ceo cas . Please a vostre
8. tresgraceouse seignurie de vostre tresbenigne grace . considerer la materie auantdite . & sur ceo grantier briefs seueralment directz as ditz Moris Andreu & Richard Reehode pur comparer deuant Vous en la Chaun
9. cellarie a certein iour par Vous alimitez soubz certeine peine . pur y estre examinez sur lez materies auantditz . & apres lexaminacion deuant Vous ensi faite . faire as ditz suppliantz ceo qe droit
10. & ley demandent . & ceo pur dieu & en oeure du charitee .
Plegii de prosequendo
Johannes Bartelmewe de london’ tournour
Thomas Broune de london’ payntour
1. To the right reverend father in God & their most gracious lord
2. the Bishop of Durham & Chancellor of England
3. Bartholomew Dekene, Richard Osbarn, Walter Adam, Citizens of London, & Thomas Broket the younger most humbly complain that whereas they were by right seised of two
4. messuages, 80 acres of land and ten acres of meadow with their appurtenances in Wycombe in the county of Bucks and their possession in them long and peacefully would have continued, however Maurice Talworthe Andrew
5. Sperlyng & Richard Reedhode after the last journey of our right sovereign lord the King to Normandy came armed and in warlike fashion to the said town of Wycombe and there with strong hand without any
6. title of right ejected the said complainants from the aforesaid lands and tenements with the appurtenances and still wrongfully continue to possess them, and the profits of the said lands and tenements
7. with the appurtenances they continue to take in contempt of our said right sovereign lord the King and of the final ruin of the said complainants unless [there be] the swiftest remedy in this case. So may it please your
8. most gracious lord out of your very benign grace to consider the aforesaid matter and thereupon to grant writs directed at each of the said Maurice Andrew & Richard Reehode to appear before You in the
9. Chancery on a certain day to be limited by You under a certain pain in order to be examined there on the aforesaid premisses and after the examination made thus before You to do to the said complainants what right
10. and law require and this for God and in way of charity.
Pledges to prosecute:
John Bartholomew of London, Turner (lathe worker)
Thomas Brown of London, Painter
The complaint was undated and addressed to the Chancellor, the Bishop of Durham. This dates it between July 23 1417 and July 6, 1424, the period of the Chancellorship of Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham.
Line 5 mentions the last of a series of journeys by the King to Normandy, refining the date to 1419-22.
- Henry V (reigned 1413-1422) invaded Normandy in 1415, defeating the French at Agincourt.
- His second and last invasion was 1417-19, capturing Rouen.
- His son and successor, Henry VI, was opposed to continuing the war with France and made no Normandy incursions.
The three complainants had held the land before the last campaign to Normandy in 1417 and Thomas Broket the younger would have been at least 21 to do so. This provides a latest birth date for him of 1396. To be able at that age to co-hold a sizeable estate with three citizens of London, is fairly conclusive proof that he was the son of Thomas of Appleton near York, Remembrancer to the Treasurer in Westminster 1410-35. No other comparable land-owning Brokets are known from that time. Moreover, a later document about these properties makes the link explicitly.
This Thomas the father was probably also the son of a Thomas. But in none of the many surviving documents concerning him is he referred to as ‘the younger’. Moreover, by 1420 he was in his 50s with an adult son Thomas of his own. It is not possible that Thomas the Remembrancer was the ‘Thomas the younger’ of the document above.
It’s possible that before he married and moved to Hertfordshire Thomas son of Thomas and Dionesia, may have spent time on the Yorkshire estates. On 10 Oct “1419 Thomas Brokett of Nunappilton”—the next township south of Appleton—was a witness to a deed concerning land in neighbouring Acaster Selby. It is not known what land he held in Nunappilton to be dubbed ‘of Nunappilton’—perhaps a property belonging to his father’s Jewleas manor, see the separate page—but Thomas the father—then Lord in Appleton overall—would not have himself been referred to as ‘of Nunappilton’.4 However, Glover gave Thomas and Dionice two sons called Thomas, and if that was correct, then this record could feasibly refer to the other one as opposed to Thomas, later of Wheathampstead.Read more
As mentioned above, Thomas later released land in Nether Acaster—just a few miles from Nun Appleton—to John Styllyngton’s son.
His earlier ownership was referred to 25 years later in 1483 when it was given away by Robert Stillyngton:6 Read more
According to YASRS some or all of this land was called Northfeld or Northwaites.7
Thomas married Elizabeth ASSHE, daughter and sole heiress of William Asshe, heir through marriage to half the FitzSimon estates. The date of the marriage is not known, but they are first recorded together in 1432 when Roger Megur, the new Rector of Chivesfield, presented to them as holders of the advowson.8 To marry an heiress the groom’s family had to be well established and the marriage would have required a major financial investment from Thomas’ father, made possible from his work at the Exchequer in Westminster. It was what established Thomas in Hertfordshire as lord of the FitzSimon estates.
Harley 807 gave Thomas and Elizabeth Asche 2 children: Edward who married Elizabeth Thwaites andElizabeth who married Haselrige. But these were an Elizabethan reconstruction and both were actually siblings of Thomas, rather than children. Thomas and Elizabeth Ash had no surviving issue.
Commission to collect tax from the abbot of St. Albans by Thomas Broket and Nicholas Morley £64 4s. 4d. in Hertfordshire.
Almshoe or Allmysho
A FitzSimon manor, now a farm called Almshoe Bury, lying about 3 miles south of Hitchin in Hertfordshire.10
Originally a FitzSimon manor and coupled with Simonside.
In 1477 Thomas and Elizabeth had an interest in the Manor of Brondsych and land in Fobbyng and Fang, previously owned by her first cousin John Moseley Esq.11 It passed to Elizabeth after Thomas’ death. She was the plaintiff in a case in 1480 regarding the same Manor of Brandysshe and land in Fobbing and Fange.12
In a case from 1483-5 Thomas and Elizabeth had jointly held the Manor of Haghams and lands in Lamborne, Chigewell, Theydon Boyes, Rothyng St Botall and Stapelford Abbot.13
Simonside was the main FitzSimon manor15 and Thomas’ principal inheritance from his marriage to Elizabeth Ash. It included Waterships, later called Brocket Hall.
St Clere and East Tilbury16
Edward was named as Thomas’ heir in the manors of St Clere and East Tilbury.17 The IPM into Thomas’ Essex lands held in chief in 1477 listed East and West Tilbury, Fenge (i.e. Vang), Fobbing, Corringham and Stanford le Hope.18
Originally a FitzSimon manor, Thomas and Elizabeth bought Thebrigg with the manors of Symondeshide and Bengeo in May 1438 from Nicholas Girlington and Richard Weltden.19 If Thomas and Elizabeth had no issue it would remain to Elizabeth’s heirs (ll 11-13). After Thomas’ death Elizabeth granted Thebrigg to Richard Pigot, Edward Brockett and others (her IPM) and by 1532 it was in John of Swaffham Bulbeck’s possession (his IPM), from whom it passed to his grandson Sir John I.
1450: On 14 Jun 1450 Thomas Broket, representing himself, made a plea at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster against William Chave of Kympton, Wheelwright, and William Elnore late of Bishop’s Hatfeld, Milner, for debts of 8 marks and 40s respectively, which he alleged they owed him. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the Hertfordshire sheriff to pursue them and take them and bring them to court on 27 Jan 1451:20 Read more
Thomas Broket in person appeared for the fourth day against William Chave of Kympton in the county aforesaid wheelwright in a plea that he render him 8 marks; and against William Elnore late of Bishop’s Hatfeld in the county aforesaid milner, in a plea that he render him 40s, which they owe him and unjustly detain &c.; and [the defendants] have not come; and, as many times, it had been ordered the sheriff to take them if &c. and safe &c., so that he have their bodies here on this day, namely, on the quindene of Trinity; and the sheriff now reports that they are not found &c.; therefore it is ordered the sheriff to have them exacted from county court to county court until &c., they shall be outlawed if not &c. and if &c. then he shall take them and safe &c. so that he shall have their bodies here on the quindene of Hilary, and whereof &c.
1450: In the Trinity term of 1450 William Venour, Thomas Broket and Thomas Bensewe made a plea at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster against Richard Pratte of Stopysley in county Bedford Husbandman and William Saunder of Northmymmes in the same county Loder, alleging that they forcibly broke into a close of theirs at Great Offley, and reaped their corn to the value of £10. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the Hertfordshire sheriff to take them and bring them to court on 13 Oct 1450:21 Read more
William Venour, Thomas Broket and Thomas Bensewe appeared by their attorney for a fourth day againstRichard Pratte of Stopysley in county Bedford Husbandman and William Saunder of Northmymmes in the county aforesaid Loder, in a plea wherefore by force of arms they broke into a close of the said William Venour, Thomas and Thomas at Great Offeley, and reaped his corn there lately growing, and took and carried off that corn and other goods and chattels of his found there, to the value of £10; and (inflicted) other enormities (upon him) &c. to grave damage &c. and against the peace &c. And [the defendants] have not come; and it had been ordered the sheriff to take them &c. And the sheriff now reports that they are not found &c. Therefore, as before, let them be taken, to be here on the quindene of Michaelmas &c.
Thomas therefore held land in Great Offley at this time, where later generations of the clan farmed.
1455: Thomas was one of 3 Justices of the Peace presiding over a Court of Common Pleas case on 9 January 1455 at Hitchin concerning Assault, Breach of Statute and Taking of goods at North Mimms. The other two JPs were Ralph Grey and Robert Knolles—see also their 1460 pleas below regarding their right to the manor of Northmymmes.22 Read more
1460: In the Hilary term of 1460 Thomas Broket Esquire, Edmund Peryent Esquire and Ralph Grey made a series of pleas at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster against Robert Knolles esquire regarding their right to the manor of Northmymmes. The court reinstated the plaintiffs’ right to the manor:23 Read more
Thomas Broket esquire, Edmund Peryent esquire and Ralph Grey, by John Horn their attorney, sought from Robert Knolles esquire the manor of Northmymmes with appurtenances as their right and inheritance, by a writ of the lord king de recto precipe in capite. And wherein they say that they themselves were seised of the manor aforesaid with appurtenances in their demesne as of fee and right in the time of peace in the time of the lord now king, taking thence issues to the value &c. And that such is their right they offer &c
And the aforesaid Robert comes by John Ferrers his attorney, and defends the right of the aforesaid Thomas, Edmund and Ralph and their seisin, of whose seisin as of fee and right and all &c. and especially of the manor aforesaid with appurtenances; and calls therein to warrant John Oliver, who is present here in court in person, and freely warrants the manor aforesaid with appurtenances to him.
And thereupon the aforesaid Thomas Broket, Edmund and Ralph seek against the aforesaid John Olyver, holding by his warrant, the manor aforesaid with appurtenances in form aforesaid &c. And wherein the same Thomas, Edmund and Ralph say that they themselves were seised of the manor aforesaid with appurtenances in their demesne as of fee and right in the time of peace in the time of the lord now king, taking thence issues to the value &c.; and that such is their right they offer &c.
And the aforesaid John Olyver, holding by his warrant, defends the right of the aforesaid Thomas Broket, Edmund and Ralph when &c. and their seisin, of whose seisin &c. as of fee and right and all &c. and especially of the manor aforesaid with appurtenances &c. and put himself upon the grand assize of the lord king &c. and craved it be recognized whether he has less right to hold the manor aforesaid with appurtenances as he holds it as tenant thereof by his warrant, or the aforesaid Thomas, Edmund and Ralph have that manor with appurtenances as they have sought it above &c.
And the aforesaid Thomas Broket, Edmund and Ralph crave licence of interlocution thereon &c. And they have &c.
And afterwards the same Thomas Broket , Edmund and Ralph, by their attorney aforesaid, come back here in court, and the aforesaid John Olyver, although solemnly exacted, has not come, but makes default in contempt of the court &c. Therefore it is considered that the aforesaid Thomas Broket, Edmund and Ralph shall recover their seisin against the aforesaid Robert Knolles of the manor aforesaid with appurtenances, to hold to the same Thomas, Edmund and Ralph and their heirs quit of the aforesaid Robert Knolles and his heirs and of the aforesaid John Olyver and his heirs for ever; and that the same Robert Knolles have of the lands of the aforesaid John Olyver to the value of the manor aforesaid with appurtenances &c. and the same John Olyver in mercy &c.
Notes: a writ of the lord king de recto precipe in capite = …
1465-8: Thomas was presiding Justice of the Peace over a series of cases in 1465-6 where Richard Wayte ‘mynstrel’ was accused of aiding and abetting the murderers of John Warner, as well as stealing the parish plate of Braughing from the house of the parish wardens.24 Richard escaped from Hertford gaol with a fellow convict, a woman who was awaiting trial for murder having pleaded her belly to delay the process against her. The original indictments also survive25 probably because the crown was anxious to follow up an escape from the royal prison and called the JP’s record into the King’s Bench for examination.26
Five persons — 6s 8d
They say, further, the same jurors, upon their oath, that there are and during the time aforesaid were other persons in the county aforesaid,. servants and not householders in the same county, to wit, John Frank, James Johnson, Robert White, Edward Wever and Deryk Johnson, who, according to the power, form and effect of the commission aforesaid, should pay to the lord king for the subsidy aforesaid for the time aforesaid, to wit, each of them 6d
Five persons — 2s 6d
And, also, the jurors aforesaid say upon their oath that there is no other person called Venetian, Easterling, Italian, Genoese, Florentine, Milanese, Luccan, Catalan, Albertine, Lombard, Hansard nor Prussian merchant nor merchants or brokers or factor nor any other stranger merchant staying, waiting or returning within the county aforesaid during that period, nor ever thereafter as the jurors aforesaid can discover. In witness of which the jurors aforesaid have affixed their seals to this inquisition. Given the day and year abovesaid.
Thomas and Elizabeth were probably buried in the Brocket Chapel, Wheathampstead. Thomas’ Will is lost.28
There were two separate IPMs on his death in 1477,29 one each for his land held direct from the king in Essex (pdf file) and Hertfordshire (pdf file). Compare the IPMs of wife Elizabeth (pdf file) and brother Edward (pdf file).
The Essex one was was held at Stratford Langthorn in the county of Essex on 31 Oct 1477 (“vltimo die Octobris Anno regni Regis Edwardi quarti decimo septimo”), and at the end it said he died on 22 May that year: “the Thursday next before the feast of Pentecost last past” (obijt die Iouis proximo Ante festum pentecost vltimo preterito).
The Essex one mentioned land in East Tilbury, West Tilbury, Feng, Fobbyng, Coryngham and Stanford in le Hope.30 The Hertfordshire one mentioned the Manors of Symondeshide and Bengeho, and Almsho and 262 acres in Langley, plus a messuage called Watershepis and a hide of land called Duranteshide.
No inquisition is recorded for Thomas from Yorkshire, nor for brother Edward.
Page Last Updated: October 29, 2023