Edward Brokett of Broadfield and Letchworth Esq
b 1490/1 d 1559
You might get some surprises when you read about this man, like his supervision of the burning at the stake of heretics or the scandal surrounding his eldest son. This was his signature in 1544:1
Contents of this page:
- Wife and children
- Coros’ biography
- Sheriff of Essex and Herts 1547-8 and 1554-5
Officiating at the burning of heretics
- Other records
Edward was the 2nd son of the local Lord of the Manor, John Brokett of Wheathampstead and Lucy, nee PULTER of Hitchin. His father was Sheriff of the counties of Hertfordshire and Essex when Edward was 17, so he grew up accustomed to deference from the people of the parish. On public occasions he sat with his parents and brother and sisters in the Brockett Chapel in Wheathampstead Church and then processed out while those in the nave remained standing.
Edward was a prominent Hertfordshire squire, twice Sheriff of Herts and Essex (1547-8, 1554-5), twice Member of Parliament for Herts (1542, 1554), serving on many County commissions, so a large number of documents survive regarding him. When his elder brother, the heir to the estates, died in 1526, Edward would have assumed a more prominent position in the family, along with his eldest nephew, still young at the time—the later Sir John Brockett I. The exact date when Edward died isn’t known but it was probably in November or December 1559, when he was almost 70. His Will says it was written 31 Jul 1558, but there were problems with his eldest son who assumed administration and it wasn’t proved till 25 years later when the son died. Nor has an Inquisition following his death (IPM) been found.
Edward styled himself ‘of Letchworth’ in his Will written in the last couple of years of his life, as did his daughter Lucie in hers 10 years later. The History of Parliament entry recorded his purchase of the manor of Broadfield in 1537/8 and so dubbed him ‘of Broadfield and Letchworth’. This has usually been followed here as Broadfield remained in the family after his death. Edward was gifted part of the manors of Letchworth and Weston in 1515 for 17 years but no other record has been found of Edward in association with a manor in Letchworth.2 In earlier records he is dubbed of Wheathampstead (1533), London (1535) and Temple Dinsley (1538) and tax records show that he also lived at Almshoe (1525) and Preston near Hitchin (1541-5). He may well have had several residences at any one time. Where his wife brought up the children is unknown.
It was probably he who went to Eton College 1506-08 as a King’s Scholar,3 i.e. holder of a Foundation Scholarship. The entry in Sterry simply has ‘Brocket 1506-1508. K.S. Audit Books [source] 1506-07, 1507-08’ but who else would this boy have been than Edward? There were no other Brokets in that social class. His elder brother John was at least 21 in 1506, whereas Edward was 15. Then on 8 Feb 1511 Edward was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in London. He was called to the bar in 1518 and records of him at Lincoln’s Inn go through to 1553. He appears to have sent all 4 of his sons there and sponsored other relatives.
His elder brother (who had gone to the Middle Temple in 1509) died in 1526. Their father died in 1532 when Edward was c 42 and nephew John, the heir to the estates and later to become Sir John, c 22. Thereafter John and Edward were the leading members of the dynasty for the next 26 years.
Edward held considerable property in Hertfordshire, especially in Hitchin Parish and Hundred, his mother’s home territory. The relative William Broket from whom Edward borrowed £120 was from Hitchin; Edward’s father bequeathed him the manor of Almeshoe in neighbouring St Ippollitts for term of his life; he styled himself ‘of Letchworth‘ (c 3 m NE of Hitchin) in his Will of 1558; and he owned the Manor of Bradfield (or Broadfield, c 8 m E of Hitchin) from 1537/8 till he died in 1559.
Edward probably died in November or December 1559, but no IPM has been found. The complainants in a Chancery action said they met him in person on 28 Oct 1559 when he agreed to a debt repayment schedule,4 but by Christmas the same year 1559 his son Edward jnr had assumed the responsibility for repayment, so Edward snr would have died by then.5 This conflicts with a Common Pleas action Edward jnr brought in Easter 1559 in which he claimed he had been given administration of his deceased father’s estate on 27 Apr 1558, however the claim is questionable.
According to Glover, Edward’s wife was Margaret MICELFEILD. In his Will Edward mentions his wife’s aunt ‘Mykelfeilde’. Berry and Clutterbuck had Mickleford, probably mistakenly. They probably married between 1514-19 and Margaret bore Edward 8 known surviving children over 17-22 years.
Even though Edward was the younger son, this would probably have been a strategic marriage by Edward’s parents, and Glover called her an heir. But nothing is yet known of Margaret’s family or whether she was an heiress. Only one Micklefield Will was proved at the PCC 1383-1604, that of John the younger, Baker, from Hadley, Suffolk in 1565. She was still alive in 1562,6 and 1567.
Estimating the date of their marriage and then of the birth of their children must take into account a number of variables. As a starting point, Edward’s own birth date is fairly secure at 1490-1. But at what age would he have married? He was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn of Court 8 Feb 1511, and at that time call to the bar was generally 7 years after admission.7 There was however no rule to stop a student member being married and by the close of the 15th C the longest continuous residence period was seven weeks.8
Edward could therefore have married as early as 1511, but 21 would have been unusually young in those days. Stone claimed that ‘the median age at first marriage of heirs for the English squirearchy was twenty-one in the early sixteenth century’,9 but his claims have been severely criticised10 and Laslett calculated the average age at first marriage in the 2nd half of the 16th C for males at about 26½ and for females about 23½.11 But these are averages and individuals obviously varied either side of the average, whether eldest child or youngest, whether rich or poor. Edward could therefore have married any time over an age range of 21-30 or more, i.e. between 1511-21 onwards. But somewhere in the middle of this range is most likely, i.e. Edward most probably married 1514-19 aged 24-28.
If so, then when were Edward and Margaret’s children born? Unlike for Edward himself, no secure birth dates for any of them are known. Possibilities and probabilities have to be estimated and assessed. Read more
The couple were up-and-coming gentry and the likelihood that they employed a wet nurse for their new borns would have been high.12 This is supported by Dorythy having 8 known surviving children from a marriage of 16-19 years and the likelihood is also high that Dorythy would have had one or more miscarriages or still births or even infants dying young. The century-later diary of Rev Ralph Josselin of Essex 1617-1683 recorded 2 of his wife’s 10 children dying in infancy and her having at least a further 5 miscarriages over 20 years between 1643-63.13 If Dorythy had two such mishaps, then the interval between conceptions would have averaged 19-22 months.
Since none of Edward and Margaret’s surviving children were under 21 when Edward wrote his Will on 31 July 1558, the youngest would have to have been born by early 1537 at the latest. This gives Margaret a child-bearing period of about 17-22 years: c 1514/19-1536. Like Dorythy, Margaret probably employed a wet nurse. We know of 8 surviving children, and presuming a similar experience to Dorythy of two or three miscarriages, still births or infants that died young, provides a total of 10 or 11 conceptions with average minimum and maximum intervals of 18-26 months, probably nearer 18 towards the beginning and 26 towards the end. This suggests a rough earliest and latest date of birth for each of the 8 known surviving children of:
- Earliest: 1515. Latest: 1517
- Earliest: 1517. Latest: 1519
- Earliest: 1518. Latest: 1521
- Earliest: 1520. Latest: 1523
- Earliest: 1521. Latest: 1526
- Earliest: 1523. Latest: 1529
- Earliest: 1525. Latest: 1532
- Earliest: 1526. Latest: 1536.
2. The phrase ‘the 8 known surviving children’ has been used because 6 of the 8 are known from their mention in father Edward’s Will in 1558 and the other 2 (daughters) from their mention in daughter Lucie’s Will in 1570. Edward presumably didn’t mention these 2 daughters in 1558 because they were already married whereas the other two weren’t. There may therefore have been others not mentioned by either Edward or Lucie.
- Edward, b c 1515-17, of Bradfield Esq/Gent who was slandered as a murderer and became embroiled in legal problems, ending up an outlaw and then in prison in the late 1560s (pardoned 1569). Buried in Cottered, Herts 8 Jan 1583/4.14
- Millicent, b c 1517-19, married George LEACH by 1550—their two sons Edward and Thomas were over 21 in 1571.15 The assumption, with little certainty, is that she was older than sister Lucie, who only called herself “one of the daughters” of Edward in her Will, rather than “the eldest”.
- Lucie, b c 1519-21, died 1572, unmarried, perhaps a widow; in any case without surviving children. She was mentioned before Ann by their father in his Will of 1558 as one of his unmarried daughters, so was probably older.
- Grace, b c 1521-23 —assuming, again with little certainty, that she was younger than Lucie. Alive 1586, married … HAMILLDEN by 1550—their son William was over 21 in 1571.16 Until discovering Grace’s deposition in the 1586 suit between her brother William and Richard Bardolf,17 we only knew of her as a possible unnamed daughter of Edward because of Lucie’s bequest in her Will to “my newey William hamillden”, depending whether Lucie was using ‘nephew’ in its modern sense of son of a sibling. By 1586 Grace was married to John BARKER of Everton, Northamptonshire, Gent, but her deposition confirmed that her previous husband was called HAMELDEN. Grace’s deposition mentioned that she had the lease of some pasture land called Lymbresey in Maldon in Bedfordshire, and that in 1586 she was aged 58 or thereabouts. This would make her birth c 1530, 7-9 years later than the calculation above.
- William, b c 1531, later of Esyndon Gent, d 1611. Co-executor with youngest brother John of their father’s Will, see the separate page.
- Thomas, b c 1525-29, alive 1558, when he was left a legacy from his father. In 1563, or a year or few before, Thomas Brockett, Gent, was sued by Staple Inn for non-payment of dues as a member, and the proclamation was sent to the sheriff of Herts, as Thomas’ last known place of residence.18 This Thomas could only either have been s/o Sir John I or this son of Edward of Letchworth. Given Thomas, s/o Sir John was probably not born before 1549, and that Edward sent his other three sons to Inns of Court, this was probably his Thomas. He was probably alive 1570, when sister Lucie called brother William’s son Thomas ‘younger’, although Lucie did not actually mention this Thomas as the elder. Perhaps he was the Thomas Brockett who was discharged 10 Mar 1587 from Hertford gaol by proclamation.19 Perhaps therefore he was the unnamed, but living, father of Lucie’s nephew Edward in 1570. It’s possible that it was this Thomas who made a plea in the Hilary term of 1548 at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against John Trewelowe late of Lee, Essex, Husbandman, for a debt of 40s, which Thomas alleged he owed him. John did not come to defend himself and the court ordered the Essex sheriff to get him to court on 15 April 1548:20Read more
Thomas Brokett appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against John Trewelowe late of Lee in the county aforesaid husbandman, in a plea that he render him 40s that he owes him and unjustly withholds &c. And [the defendant] has not come; and it had been ordered the sheriff to summon him &c. And the sheriff now reports that [the defendant] has nothing [in his bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby he might be attached] &c. Therefore let him be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [15 April 1548] &c.
Lee was presumably Lee Chapel, c 1 m W of Basildon. Since Swaffham Bulbeck is nearer Essex than Letchworth is, the only other known contemporary Thomas Broket, son of John of Swaffham Bulbeck Esq. seems more likely to have been the plaintiff.
The record of Thomas Brokett as a legatee in a Dunstable Will of 1554 was doubtless a misspelling.
- John, b c 1527-32, d 1607, of Stowe and Impington (and probably formerly of Kimpton), Gent. A member of Clement’s Inn of Court in 1561 (or a year or few before). Married Katherine … John’s Will of 1607 mentioned no children of his own, however the William Brockett admitted to Gray’s Inn in 1612 as “son and heir of John Brockett of Kimpton, Herts, Gent” could only have been son of this John, son of Edward of Letchworth. What became of this William? In 1558 John was named co-executor with brother William of their father’s Will, although when it was finally proved in 1584 John wasn’t present. For more details about John, see this separate page.
- Ann, b c 1529-36, unmarried in 1558.
With a father twice the Sheriff of Essex and Herts between 1547 and 1555, these children would have enjoyed a certain status in society.
About 8 years after Edward’s death in 1567 his widow Margaret and second son William were recorded paying tax on land in Ayott Parva (St Peter’s), 21 of £6 and 40s respectively:
Part of Ayot St Peter was in the manor of Westingtons, held at that time by the second Sir John Brockett of Brockett Hall, whose father had purchased it in 1555.22
3. Coros’ biography23
BROCKET, Edward (1490/91-1558/69), of Broadfield and Letchworth, Herts.
b. 1490/91, 2nd s. of John Brocket by Lucy, da. of John Pulter of Hitchin. educ. ?L. Inn, adm. 8 Feb. 1511. m. Margaret Mickleford, at least 4s. 2da.26
J.p. Herts. 1521-?d., q. 1554, Beds. 1542; escheator, Essex and Herts. 1534-5, 1541-2; commr. tenths of spiritualities, Herts. 1535, relief 1550; sheriff, Essex and Herts. 1547-8, 1554-5.27
There were several Edward Brockets alive in the 1550s, but the one most likely to have sat in the Commons in 1554 and (conjecturally) in 1542 was the oldest of them, a younger son of the sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire in 1507-8, and the uncle of (Sir) John Brocket. Probably the Edward Brocket admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1511, he next appears as a party to a fine of Hertfordshire lands in 1518 and he became a justice of the peace three years later. In 1536 he was one of those commissioned to examine witnesses to alleged seditious talk by a St. Albans priest, and later in the same year, at the time of the northern rebellion, he was among the leading country gentlemen proposed as the keepers of good order in Hertfordshire. His age and experience make it possible that he was the ‘Brokett’ who sat for Hertfordshire in 1542, for his nephew, later Sir John, was about 30 years of age at the time and had but recently begun his career of service in the county. Brocket was one of those called on in 1544 to raise troops for the French war, but there is no evidence that he himself went to France. Rated at £40 for the subsidy in 1545, he was thus probably one of the wealthiest men in the half-hundred of Hitchin.28
Brocket was the first sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire pricked in Edward VI’s reign.29 Six months later, in June 1548, he was licensed to exercise the office during the King’s pleasure; a similar dispensation, with permission to act by deputy, is probably misdated 1549 and in fact refers to the same licence. Nothing is known of his role during the crisis of 1553, but he was re-appointed to the commission of the peace by Queen Mary and became one of the quorum on the bench for Hertfordshire. Returned as knight of the shire to the Parliament of November 1554 he became sheriff again two days after the session had begun; it was during this second term that he officiated at the burning of the Protestant George Tankerfield. Foxe says nothing to suggest that Brocket was a Catholic zealot, and the disappearance of his name from the Elizabethan commission for Hertfordshire may have been consequent on his death, the date of which is not known . He either found difficulty in, or objected to, contributing to the loan of 1557, for in November 1557 the Hertfordshire commissioners ordered him to appear before the Privy Council, which he did ‘and desired to have it so recorded’.30
Brocket made his Will on 31 July 1558, but no inquisition post mortem has been found, and the Will was not proved until 1584. Yet he must have died before July 1569, when his eldest son Edward, administrator of his father’s estate, obtained a pardon of outlawry. Edward had not been named an executor of his father’s Will but had obtained letters of administration as next-of-kin: why this course was adopted is not clear, but it was presumably agreed upon between the testator’s sons. The executors of a relative, William Brocket, were to sue Edward Brocket the younger in Chancery for an alleged debt of £120 in connexion with some land in Kent owned by his father; the pleadings recite the Will and the younger Edward’s agreement with his brothers to pay the debt claimed, so that Edward had probably agreed to pay it in return for authority to administer the Will. He finally took out probate of his father’s Will in October 1584. The Will left a life interest in certain lands and goods to the widow and divided the testator’s principal lands in Hertfordshire and Kent between his four sons in tail; the residue of the goods and chattels went to two daughters.31
Comments on Coros’ biography
1. The statement in his 3rd footnote that Edward was aged 56 in Jan 1547 appears to be precise rather than approximate,32 so his birth can be placed in 1490 or 91.
2. See above for a more precise death date than 1558/69.
4. Coros’ statement that there were several Edward Brockets alive in the 1550s is true, but only one other than his own son was of age. There were:
- Edward of Willingale/Sawbridgeworth Gent, aged c 32 in 1550.
- Edward’s own son, aged c 30 in 1550.
- Edward of Appleton, Yorkshire, aged c 20 in 1550
- Edward s/o William I of Hitchin Yeoman, aged 14 at most in 1550.
- Edward of Wheathampstead Place, aged c 10 in 1550.
5. That the William Brocket, whose executors sued Edward Brocket the younger for an alleged debt of £120, was a relative was either seen by Bindoff in the preamble to the pleadings before the parchments were too damaged to decipher, or else assumed by him as an obvious interpretation of the situation— a loan of that size to someone with the same surname. particularly an unusual one, would clearly have been made by a kinsman, especially as in this case on an oral agreement.
6. It was actually Edward’s 2nd son William who took out probate of his father’s Will in October 1584.
7. That no IPM has been found may have meant that none of Edward’s property on his death was held in chief, although the delay in probate of his Will may have been the reason.
Like his father John of Wheathampstead Esq before him and great nephew Sir John II of Brockett Hall after him, Edward had two terms as Sheriff. As the representative of Edward VI and then of Philip and Mary his court was a hub of county enactments, influence and information. It came with both benefits of enrichment and contacts but also with expense and difficult duty like assessing and collecting taxes. “The potential expense to the incumbent of becoming High Sheriff was one of the reasons the role was for a single year only.”34 The Sheriffs’ financial returns were recorded annually at Michaelmas in the Pipe Rolls. Chauncy called him Edward Brocket Esq of Hatfield for both terms.35
1st term of office 1547-8
Edward’s first appointment began 27 Nov 1547, although his accounts dated from Easter 1547; his predecessor was John CONYNGESBY Esq (of North-Mims) from 23 Nov 1546), and his successor John COK, or COKKE Esq (of Brokesborne) took over 3 Dec 1548.36 Coros’ statement that “in June 1548, [Edward] was licensed to exercise the office during the King’s pleasure” means the king chose to keep him in post for a further 6 months after his accounting year was up around Easter.
The reference at the beginning of this return to “the preceding roll in the Item of Essex” is to the following entry:44 Read more
It seems that Edward Brokett incurred this debt back in 1538 with Raynesford who was Sheriff 14 Nov 1537 to 15 Nov 1538.45
And here is the return 2 years later for the year Michaelmas 1551–Michaelmas 1552, with 60s 6d still owing:48 Read more
This 1551-1552 entry says his account was cleared in the Adhuc Item of 1 Mary,49 which part seems to be missing, as does the return for Michaelmas 1552-Michaelmas 1553.50
2nd term of office 1554-5
Edward took over from Sir John WENTWORTH on 14 Nov 1554 and was followed by William HARRYES Esq on 14 Nov 1555.51 As Coros said, “Returned as knight of the shire to the Parliament of November 1554 he became sheriff again two days after the session had begun”. Parliament began 12 Nov.52
His account in the Pipe Rolls during this second term as Sheriff, for Michaelmas 1554-Michaelmas 1555 shows him clearing a debt of £54 18s on 11 Nov 1557.54 Read more
And is quit..
And Anthony Cockett, for whom he is charged among his totals in the 1st year of queen Mary in the Adhuc Item of Essex and in the Residuum of Essex, to wit, 40d thereof for Thomas Newman for a contribution granted to the late king Henry VIII; 20s for Lionel Evans for the same contribution; 28s 4d for William Dadid for the same contribution; £8 6s 8d for Rotbert Chester for the same contribution; 25s for Alexandra de Bolonia for the same contribution; 40s for Thomas Vaugham for the same contribution; 15s for Richard Cordall for the same contribution; 3s 4d for Thomas Forth for the same contribution; 15s for Andrew Dewbere for the same contribution; 8s 4d for Adam Lee for the same contribution; 50s for Richard Ranshawe for the same contribution; £4 3s 4d for Thomas Johnson for the same contribution; 30s for Gilbert Comporte for the same contribution; 16s 8d for John Hull for the same contribution; 66s 8d for John Penne for the same contribution; 25s for William Chester for the same contribution; 32s for John Hull for the same contribution; £4 3s 4d for Thomas Johnson for the same contribution; 66s 8d for Richard Ranshawe for the same contribution; and the remaining 15s for Richard Halle for the same contribution, by process had thereon and recorded by order of the barons in the Treasurer’s Remembrancer’s Memoranda for the 1st and 2nd years, to wit, among the precepts for Michaelmas term, roll [blank]
And he does not owe the sum of £67 17s 5½d for which he is likewise charged among his totals there, to wit: 66s 8d thereof for Robert Brograve for a contribution granted to the late king Henry VIII; 20s for Philip Wuluston for the same contribution; £4 for Thomas Howghton for the same contribution; 33s 4d for John Goldwall for the same contribution; £6 10s for Edward Cowper for the same contribution; 30s for William Jermyn for the same contribution; 15s for William Hope for the same contribution; 15s for Thomas Cleyborne for the same contribution; 15s for William Warde for the same contribution; 16s for William Crystmas for the same contribution; 15s for Stephen Colman for the same contribution; 15s for Oliver Pegge for the same contribution; 15s for John Thorne for the same contribution; 15s for George Fen for the same contribution; 12s for Christopher Chapman for the same contribution; 20s for Twine for the same contribution; 30s for Richard Pegge for the same contribution; 20s for Richard Maple for the same contribution; 30s for John Sandon for the same contribution; 15s for John Thomson for the same contribution; 30s for Francis Graunte for the same contribution; 20s for Ralph Heydon for the same contribution; 26s 8d for the rector of Shenley for the same contribution; 33s 4d for Dorothy Burgon for the same contribution; 33s 4d for Elizabeth Burgon for the same contribution; 16s 8d for Richard Baker for the same contribution; 13s for Dorothy Peryent for the same contribution; 28s 4d for the vicar of Cheston for the same contribution; 16s 8d for the vicar of Stratford for the same contribution; 100s for the rector of Muchehadham for the same contribution; 26s 8d for the vicar of Broxborne for the same contribution; 30s for the vicar of Ware for the same contribution; 25s for the vicar of Thorley for the same contribution; 20s for the vicar of Barkway for the same contribution; 3s 4d for the rector of Radwell for the same contribution; 33s 4d for James Orwell for the same contribution; 12s 6d for John Ryggs for the same contribution; 5s for Johanna Goldyng for the same contribution; 20s for Thomas Hartwell for the same contribution; 28s 4d for Richard Godier for the same contribution; 64s 10d for Henry Platte for the same contribution; 3s 4d for Anne Hill for the same contribution; 4s 5d for John Assheley for the same contribution; 3s 11d for the rector of Bramfelde for the same contribution; 25s for Alexander Symsaid for the same contribution; 15s for Martin Ferrer for the same contribution; 15s for Thomas Wylde for the same contribution; and the remaining 25s for the vicar of Langley for the same contribution, by process had thereon and recorded by order of the barons there.
And he does not owe the sum of 6s 8d for which he is charged among his totals before the Apposer of Foreign Estreats of this Exchequer in the Estreat Roll under the title ‘Issues before the Barons for Alice Clerke widow from her issues forfeit Hilary term in the 1st year of queen Mary’, as is more fully contained in a schedule to the petition annexed and examined by Arthur Assheby Clerk of the Estreats of this Exchequer: by process had thereon and recorded by order of the barons there.
And he does not owe the sum of £20 8s 4d for which he is charged among his totals in the 1st roll of queen Mary in the Residuum of Essex, for Richard lord Ryche for part of a farm of £126 13s 4d per annum for the farm of the manor of Estwodebury in county Essex and other lands, tenements and hereditaments in Estwoodebury being parcel of the Honor of Raileight in the aforesaid county of Essex, together with the courts, liberties, franchises and all and singular their appurtenances in the said county of Essex pertaining to the aforesaid manor of Estwodebury, saving only marriage of wards belonging to the manor aforesaid and reserved to the king: by process had thereon and recorded by order of the barons there.
And he does not owe the sum of 2s for which he is charged among his partials in the 1st and 2nd roll in the Item of Essex as part of a sum of 1 mark per annum for the firm for profit of the county, under the title ‘For sheriff’s tourns and ancient fines within the hundred of Chafforde in county Essex’, as contained both in the Book of Profits remaining here in court in the keeping of the Treasurer’s Remembrancer, and also in a declaration of the aforesaid sheriff of all and all manner of farms exacted under the name of the same sheriff in the county aforesaid, raised or to be raised by the said sheriff according to the form and effect of an Act of Parliament therein lately issued and provided for the sheriffs of this realm of England, in the parliament of the late king Henry VIII begun at Westminster in the 33rd year of the reign of the same late king and continued to the 12th day of May in the 35th year , and then and there issued and provided, and remaining in the keeping of the Engrosser of the Great Roll of this Exchequer: which said sum of 2s per annum and every part thereof the sheriffs of the county aforesaid for the time being were accustomed to raise yearly from the wardens of the church called Grace Churche in London, for their land called Groves in Southewokyngton; which said land called Groves in Southwokington aforesaid, among others, came to the hands of lord Edward VI late king of England by reason and cause of an Act of Parliament of the 1st year of the reign of the aforesaid late king Edward VI issued and provided concerning certain chantries, free chapels and their possessions given and granted by the same act to the same late king, whereby the aforesaid rent of 2s per annum was totally extinguished; among others the lady queen Mary by her letters patent given at Guldeford on 22 June of the 1st year of his reign  gave and granted to Thomas Cotton of London gentleman and to Johanna his wife the aforesaid lands called Groves in Southwerkington aforesaid by the name of all that messuage and tenement called Groves otherwise called Groveland with appurtenances, situate and being in Southwerkington aforesaid in county Essex, late parcel of the possessions and hereditaments of the late chantry found within the church of Gracechurche, London, by one Johanna Rosse; to have and to hold and enjoy the aforesaid messuage and tenements with their appurtenances among others to the aforesaid Thomas Cotton and Johanna his wife and the heirs and assigns of the said Thomas from Easter in the 1st year [25 March 1554] and thenceforth for ever, by reason of letters patent enrolled in the 1st part of the Originalia for the 1st year of the said queen, roll [blank]; to hold from the aforesaid lady queen her heirs and successors in chief by service of a 100th part of a knight’s fee for all services and demands whatsoever to be rendered, paid or made therefor to the aforesaid lady queen, her heirs and successors in any way; moreover the aforesaid lady queen wished and of her fuller grace granted to the aforesaid Thomas Cotton and Johanna his wife and to the heirs and assigns of the said Thomas that the same lady queen, her heirs and successors for ever, yearly and from time to time shall exonerate, acquit and thenceforth preserve both the aforesaid Thomas Cotton and Johanna his wife and the heirs and assigns of the said Thomas and also the aforesaid messuage and tenement with their appurtenances from all and all manner of rents, fees, annuities and sums of money and from whatsoever yearly charges arising from the premises or thereon charged or to be charged or to be paid, other than the service aforesaid reserved by the aforesaid letters patent; and, furthermore, the same lady queen by the said her letters patent gave and granted to the aforesaid Thomas Cotton and to Johanna his wife all issues, rents, revenues and profits of the messuage and tenement aforesaid with appurtenances, among others, issuing or arising from Easter then last past to the date of the said letters patent: to have to the same Thomas and to Johanna his wife and to the heirs and assigns of the said Thomas by gift of the said lady queen, without rendering, paying or making account or anything else in any way therefor to the said lady queen, her heirs or successors: by process had thereon and recorded by order of the barons there.
And he does not owe the sum of 6s for which he is likewise charged among his partials there as part of a sum of 8s 1d for four farms exacted under the name of the sheriff, to wit: 4s thereof exacted by the same sheriff per annum for the value of the lands and tenements which were of Walter Graveley outlawed for felony in Graveley and Wylmundeley in county Hertford; and the remaining 2s exacted by the same sheriff per annum for the value of a cottage in the town of Baldocke which was of William Martyn chaplain, fugitive, to be paid at Easter and Michaelmas, to wit, for this year, as is more fully contained in the declaration of the aforesaid sheriff of the county aforesaid remaining in the keeping of the Engrosser of the Great Roll of this Exchequer. Which said lands and cottage, among other things, king Edward VI by his letters patent given at Westminster on the 14th day of May in the 7th year of his reign  and enrolled in the 4th part of the Originalia of the said 7th year of the aforesaid king Edward VI, roll 23, for a certain sum of money paid to the same late king, of his especial grace and from certain knowledge and of his own accord, gave and granted to John Wright and Thomas Holmes, among other things, all the lands and tenements aforesaid with appurtenances in Graveley, Wymondley and Baldock aforesaid, by the names of all those his lands, tenements, meadows, pastures and hereditaments with appurtenances in Graveley and Wymondley in county Hertford once part of the possessions of Walter Graveley, outlawed for felony, and a cottage with appurtenances in Baldocke in the said county of Hertford once parcel of the lands and possessions of William Martyn fugitive; to hold from the same late king, his heirs and successors, as of his manor of Estgrenewyche in county Kent, by fealty alone, in free socage and not in chief; and, further, the same late king by the same his letters patent granted to the aforesaid John Wryght and Thomas Holmes all issues, rents, revenues and profits of all and singular the premises with appurtenances issuing or arising from Michaelmas then last past up to the aforesaid 14th day of May; to have to the same John and Thomas by gift of the said lord king without rendering, paying or making account or anything else thereon to his heirs or successors; as in the same letters patent is more fully contained; by process had thereon and recorded by order of the barons there.
And in the treasury 110s 1d in the payments of the 26th day of April in the 1st year of queen Elizabeth by the said sheriff for the remainder of his account
And is quit.
This Michaelmas 1556-Michaelmas 1557 return shows that Edward claimed £30 for bringing 17 heretics from London and supervising their executions. England’s official religion under Queen Mary had reverted to Catholicism and many Protestants were burned at the stake during her reign. The Privy Council dealt with heresy from a civil point of view, and the Acts of the Privy Council for 1555,57 contain a number of orders to the Sheriff of Herts, although mentioning Edward only once by name.58 The Privy Council was troubled by the religious fervent in Hertfordshire, and wanted it to be dealt with effectively.59 As representatives of the Crown Sheriffs up and down the country were presiding at fires of execution and as Coros said, there is nothing to suggest that Edward was a Catholic zealot. It was the ecclesiastical authorities, notably Edmund Bonner Bishop of London, who examined suspects and condemned them to death; Sheriffs were the secular authorities at the end of the process carrying out the royal commands.
Summers’ list contains 16 executions in Essex and Herts between 14 Nov 1554 and 13 Nov 1555—the period of Edward Brokett’s shrievalty—and one in Suffolk that he was initially involved with:60 Read more
Rowland Taylor in Hadleigh [Suffolk]
William Hunter in Brentwood
Thomas Causton of Thundersby in Rayleigh
Thomas Higbed in Horndon-on-the-Hill
William Pygot in Braintree
Stephen Knight in Maldon
John Laurence in Colchester
Thomas Wats of Billericay in Chelmsford
Thomas Haukes in Coggeshall.
John Ardley of Great Wigborough in Rayleigh
John Simson of Great Wigborough in Rochford
Thomas Osmond of Coggeshall in Manningtree
Nicholas Chamberlain of Coggeshall in Colchester
William Bamford of Coggeshall in Harwich
Thomas Fust in Ware
William Hale of Thorpe-le-Soken in Barnet
George Tankerfield of London in St Alban’s
Foxe mentioned Edward Brokett twice by name in his individual accounts of these executions, mostly as “sheriff” without his name, and sometimes not at all, although Edward was probably involved in these too, since he claimed expenses for 17 executions. Unfortunately, his expenses claim has not been found, only that of Sir John Butler, Sheriff 1556-7, which probably would have been similar.
Although some regard Foxe as unreliable because of his anti-Catholic stance, the British Library’s view seems sensible: “While Foxe was by no means an impartial writer, and his presentation of history is selective and peppered with comment, his access to the evidence from very recent trials and eye-witness accounts renders his work generally reliable.”62 Extracts from Foxe regarding Edward and these 17 executions follow Summers’ order above:
Dr Rowland Taylor: Read more
When they were come almost at Brentwood, one Arthur Faysie, a man of Hadley, who before time had been Dr. Taylor’s servant, met with them; and he, supposing him to have been at liberty, said, “Master doctor, I am glad to see you again at liberty,” and came to him, and took him by the hand. “Soft sir,” quoth the sheriff, “he is a prisoner; what hast thou to do with him?” “I cry you mercy,” said Arthur; “I knew not so much, and I thought it no offence to talk to a true man.” The sheriff was very angry with this, and threatened to carry Arthur with him to prison; notwithstanding, he bade him get quickly away. And so they rode forth to Brentwood, where they caused to be made for Dr. Taylor a close hood, with two holes for his eyes to look out at, and a slit for his mouth to breathe at. This they did, that no man should know him, nor he speak to any man: which practice they used also with others. Their own consciences told them, that they led innocent lambs to the slaughter…
All the way Dr. Taylor was joyful and merry, as one that accounted Taylor himself going to a most pleasant banquet or bridal. He spake many notable things to the sheriff and yeomen of the guard that conducted him, and often moved them to weep, through his much earnest calling upon them to repent, and to amend their evil and wicked living. Oftentimes also he caused them to wonder and rejoice, to see him so constant and steadfast, void of all fear, joyful in heart, and glad to die. Of these yeomen of the guard, three used Dr. Taylor friendly, but the fourth (whose name was Homes), used him very homely, unkindly, and churlishly.
At Chelmsford met them the sheriff of Suffolk, there to receive him, and to carry him forth into Suffolk. And being at supper, the sheriff of Essex very earnestly laboured him to return to the popish religion, thinking with fair words to persuade him; and said, “Good master doctor! we are right sorry for you, considering what the loss is of such a one as ye might be, if ye would. God hath given you great learning and wisdom; wherefore ye have been in great favour and reputation in times past with the council and highest of this realm. Besides this, ye are a man of goodly personage, in your best strength, and by nature like to live many years; and, without doubt, ye should in time to come be in as good reputation as ever ye were, or rather better. For ye are well beloved of all men, as well for your virtues as for your learning: and me thinketh it were great pity you should cast away yourself willingly, and so come to such a painful and shameful death. Ye should do much better to revoke your opinions, and return to the catholic church of Rome, acknowledge the pope’s holiness to be the supreme head of the universal church, and reconcile yourself to him. You may do well yet, if you will. Doubt ye not but ye shall find favour at the queen’s hands. I and all these your friends will be suitors for your pardon; which, no doubt, ye shall obtain. This counsel I give you, good master doctor, of a good heart and good-will toward you: and thereupon I drink to you. In like manner said all the yeomen of the guard, “Upon that condition, master doctor, we will all drink to you.”
When they had all drank to him, and the cup was come to him, he staid a little, as one studying what answer he might give. At the last thus he answered and said, “Master sheriff, and my masters all, I heartily thank you for your good-will: I have hearkened to your words, and marked well your counsels. And to be plain with you, I do perceive that I have been deceived myself, and am like to deceive a great many of Hadley of their expectation.” With that word they all rejoiced. “Yea, good master doctor,” quoth the sheriff, “God’s blessing on your heart! hold you there still. It is the comfortablest word that we heard you speak yet. What! should ye cast away yourself in vain? Play a wise man’s part, and I dare warrant it, ye shall find favour.” Thus they rejoiced very much at the word, and were very merry. At the last, “Good master doctor,” quoth the sheriff, “what meant ye by this, that ye say ye think ye have been deceived yourself, and think ye shall deceive many a one in Hadley?” “Would ye know my meaning plainly?” quoth he. “Yea,” quoth the sheriff, “good master doctor, tell it us plainly.”
Then said Dr. Taylor, “I will tell you how I have been deceived, and, as I think, I shall deceive a great many. I am, as you see, a man that hath a very great carcase, which I thought should have been buried in Hadley churchyard, if I had died in my bed, as I well hoped I should have done; but herein I see I was deceived: and there are a great number of worms in Hadley churchyard, which should have had jolly feeding upon this carrion, which they have looked for many a day. But now I know we be deceived, both I and they; for this carcase must be burnt to ashes: and so shall they lose their bait and feeding, that they looked to have had of it.”
When the sheriff and his company heard him say so, they were amazed, and looked one on another, marvelling at the man’s constant mind, that thus, without all fear, made but a jest at the cruel torment and death now at hand prepared for him. Thus was their expectation clean disappointed. …
But let us return to Dr. Taylor, who, at Chelmsford, was delivered to the sheriff of Suffolk, and by him conducted to Hadley, where he suffered…”
William Hunter: Read more
One wonders which of Edward’s 4 sons this was, and what Edward thought of his actions.
Thomas Causton and Thomas Higbed Gents: Read more
William Pygot, Stephen Knight and Rev John Laurence: Read more
Thomas Haukes Gent: Read more
Thomas Wats: Read more
John Ardley and John Simson: Read more
Thomas Osmond, Nicholas Chamberlain and William Bamford: Read more
George Tankerfield: Read more
George Tankerfield of London Cooke, borne in the Citie of Yorke, about the age of 27. or 28. yeeres, was in King Edwards daies a verie Papist, till the time Quene Marie came in, and then, perceiuing the great crueltie vsed of the Popes side, was brought into a misdoubt of their doings, and began (as he sayd) in his heart to abhore them… (p 395b)
In primis, he was brought vnto St Albons by the high Sheriffe of Hertfordshire, Master Edward Brocket Esquire, and one Pulter of Hitchen, which was under Sheriffe.
Item, their Inne was the Crosse=keyes, wheras there was great concourse of people to see and heare the prisoner: among the which multitude, some were sorrie to see so godly a man brought to be burned, others praised God for his constancie and perseuerance in the truth. Contrariwise, some there were which sayd, it was pitie he did stand in such opinions: and others, both old women and men cried against him; one called him Heretick, and sayd it was pitie that he liued. But George Tankerfield did speake vnto them so effectually out of the word of God, in lamenting of their ignorance, and protesting vnto them his vnspotted conscience, that God did mollifie their hardned hearts, insomuch that some of them departed out of the chamber with weeping eyes…. (p 396a-b)
And all this time the Sheriffes were at a certaine Gentlemans house at dinner, not far from the towne, thither also resorted Knights and many Gentlemen out of the countrie, because his sonne was married that day, and vntill they returned from dinner the prisoner was left with his Hoste to be kept and looked vnto. And George Tankerfield all that time was kindly and lovingly intreated of his Hoste; and considering that his time was short, his saying was, That although the day was neuer so long, yet at the last it ringeth to euening song.
Item, about two of the clock, when the Sheriffes were returned from dinner, they brought George Tankerfield out of his Inne vnto the place where he shoud suffer, which is called Romeland, being a greene place nigh vnto the West end of the Abbey Church: vnto the which when he was come he kneeled downe by the stake that was set vp for him, and after he had ended his prayers he arose, and with a joyfull faith he sayd, that although he had a sharpe dinner, yet he hoped to haue a ioyfull supper in heaven.
Item, while the fagots were set about him, there came a Priest vnto him, and perswaded him to beleeue on the sacrament of the altar, and he should be saued. But George Tankerfield cried out vehemently, and sayd; I defie the Whore of Babylon: site of that abominable Idoll: Good people doe not beleeue him, good people doe not beleeue him. And then the Maior of the Towne commanded to set fire to the Hereticke, and sayd, If he had but one loade of fagots in the whole world, hee would giue them to burne him. There was a certaine Knight by, who went vnto Tankerfield, and tooke him by the hand, and sayd, Good brother, be strong in Christ, this hee spake softly; and Tankerfield said, O Sir, I thanke you, I am so, I thanke God. Then fire was set vnto him, and he desired the Sheriffe and all the people that they would pray for him; the most part did so. And so imbracing the fire, he bathed himselfe in it, and calling on the name of the Lord Jesus hee was quickly out of paine, &c.
After the martyrdome was ended, and that he was fallen asleepe in the Lord, there were some superstitious old women who did blasphemously say, that the Diuell was so strong with him and all such Heretickes as he was, that they could not feele anie paine almost, nor yet be sorry for their sinnes. (p 396b ult – 97a
Thomas Fust and William Hale: Read more
This Michaelmas 1556-Michaelmas 1557 return for Edward as Sheriff also mentioned 20s expenses in relation to Twine. The Sheriff of Herts had been required to deal with the goods of a Richard Twine, Twyne or Twynne and arrest him,80 but he isn’t in Summers’ list, so presumably not a heretic.
Sir John Butler, Sheriff of Essex and Herts a couple of years after Edward, was also required to execute heretics by burning, and his expenses claim for burning 4 has been located. It was a third of Edward’s amount of £30 for burning 17. A thorough search for Edward’s claim in the relevant bundles of Sheriffs’ Accounts and Petitions in the national Archive’s E 199 series failed to find it.81
5. Other records82
As a prominent member of the community, and trained in the law, Edward was often asked to be executor, or overseer of a Will, or left a bequest. Here are those found so far:Read more
1546: Overseer—with Thomas Parrys—of the Will of William Audeley of Hitchin Yeoman, for which they each were given 40s “for there labour”.
1511: With his father, elder brother and others, Edward purchased land in Bishops Hatfield, Willian and Diggeswell from Richard and Elizabeth FYSSHER.83
1515: Chauncy recorded the gift of the manors of Letchworth and Weston by Sir Nicholas BARRINGTON in his Will to 2 esquires, Edmund Brocket Gent and others for 17 years.84 This must be an error for Edward, whose sister Elizabeth was married to Sir Nicholas Barrington. The first known Edmund Brocket was not born till c 1566.
1519: In the Hilary term of 1519 Roger Acheley citizen, alderman and draper of London made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster to recover an alleged debt of £16 11s 10d from Edward Brokett, late of Whethampsted Gent, for 13 yards of woollen cloth of grane [?] colour, 14 yards of black woollen cloth, 19 yards of broad cotton, 40 yards of narrow cotton, and 4¼ other yards of black woollen cloth. Edward requested a delay until 8 May 1519:85Read more
Edward Brokett late of Whethampsted in county Hertford gentilman otherwise called Edward Broket late of Whethamstede in county Hertford gentilman was summoned to answer Roger Acheley citizen and alderman of London otherwise called Roger Acheley citizen and draper of London, in a plea that he render him £16 11s 10d which he owes him and unjustly withholds &c. And wherein the same Roger, by John Selyard his attorney, says that whereas the aforesaid Edward on the 23rd day of July in the 7th year of the reign of the now lord king , at London in the parish of St Peter, in the ward of Chepe, by a certain writing obligatory of his granted himself to be held to the same Roger in £6 10s 2d of the aforesaid £16 11s 10d, payable to the same Roger at Michaelmas then next following [29 Sep 1515]; and also, whereas the aforesaid Edward on the day and year abovesaid at London in the parish and ward aforesaid bought from the same Roger 13 yards of woollen cloth of grane colour, 14 yards of woollen cloth of colour blake, 19 yards of brode cotton, 40 yards of narrowe cotton, 4¼ yards of woollen cloth of colour black, for £10 20d, the rest of the aforesaid £16 11s 10d, payable to the same Roger on request; however, the aforesaid Edward, although very often requested, has not yet rendered the aforesaid £16 11s 10d to the same Roger, but has so far refused to render to to him, and still refuses, whereby he says that he is injured and has damage to the value of 100s; and therein brings his suit &c.; and produces here in court the aforesaid writing for the £6 10s 2d, which testifies to that debt in form aforesaid, the date of which is the day and year abovesaid &c.And the aforesaid Edward comes, by John Heyworth his attorney, and defends the force and injury when &c. and craves licence of interlocution thereon hence to the quindene of Easter [8 May 1519]; and he has &c. The same day is given to the aforesaid Roger here &c.
1521: In the Hilary term Edward Brokett Gent made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against 3 men from Kelshull, Knebworth and Great Wymbley for debts totalling £12 13s 4 and 20 marks worth of barley. The court ordered the Hertfordshire sheriff to get them to court on 14 April 1521:86 Read more
Edward Broket gentleman appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against Robert Cormonger late of Kelshull in the county aforesaid gentleman, in a plea that he render him £10 13s 4d; and against John Grene late of Knebworth in the county aforesaid laborer, in a plea that he render him 40s; which they owe him and unjustly withhold; and against James Wilshire late of Great Wymbley in the county aforesaid husbondman, in a plea that he render him 31 quarters of barley worth 20 marks, which he unjustly withholds from him &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. Therefore, as before, let them be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [14 Apr 1521] &c.
1523: In the Hilary term Edward Brokett made two pleas at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster. The first against 3 men from Codicote, Kelshull and London for debts totalling £32 6s 8d and the second against 2 men from Granchester in Cambridgeshire and Farnham in Essex for debts totalling £40. The court ordered the London sheriff to get them to court on 19 April 1523:87 Read more
Edward Brokett appeared in person for a fourth day against Edmund Chevall late of Codicote in county Hertford gentilman, in a plea that he render him £11; and against Richard Cormunger of Kelshull in county Hertford gentilman, in a plea that he render him £10; and against Brian Sandford late of London clerk, in a plea that he render him £11 6s 8d; which they owe him and unjustly withhold &c. And (the defendants) have not come; and it had been ordered the sheriffs to summon them &c. And the sheriffs now report that (the defendants) have nothing (in their bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby they might be attached) &c. Therefore let them be taken, to be here on the octaves of Candlemas [9 Feb 1523] &c. On which day here comes the aforesaid Edward in person, and appears for a fourth day against the aforesaid defendants in the pleas aforesaid. And (the defendants) have not come; and the sheriffs now report that (the defendants) are not found &c. Therefore, as before, let (the defendants) be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [19 Apr 1523] &c.
Edward Brokett appeared in person for a fourth day against Nicholas Sandford late of Graunceter in county Cambridge gentilman, in a plea that he render him £30; and against George Sandford of Farnham in county Essex clerk, in a plea that he render him £10; which they owe him and unjustly withhold &c. And (the defendants) have not come; and it had been ordered the sheriffs to summon them &c. And the sheriffs now report that (the defendants) have nothing (in their bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby they might be attached) &c. Therefore let them be taken, to be here on the octaves of Candlemas [9 Feb 1523] &c. On which day here comes the aforesaid Edward in person, and appears for a fourth day against the aforesaid Nicholas and George in the pleas aforesaid. And (the defendants) have not come; and the sheriffs now report that (the defendants) are not found &c. Therefore, as before, let (the defendants) be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [19 Apr 1523] &c.
1524: Edward witnessed the Will of his elder brother John Brockett of Swaffham Bulbeck as ‘Gentleman’.
1525: In the Hilary term of 1525 Edward Broket formerly of Wethamsted in county Hertford, Esquire, was accused of not repaying a debt of £200 in a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster by the executors of the Will of Thomas Spryng of Lavenham, Suffolk, Gentleman. The court ordered the Suffolk sheriff, supported by the deputy sheriff of Hertfordshire, to get Edward to court on 1 July 1525:88 Read more
William Waldegrave knight and Thomas Jermyn esquire, executors of the testament of Thomas Spryng otherwise called Thomas Spryng of Lavenham in the seid counte of Suff’ gent’ otherwise called William Waldegrave knight and Thomas Jermyn my son-in-law executors of the testament of Thomas Spryng of Lavenham in county Suffolk and in the diocese of Norwich, appeared by William Markaunt their attorney for a fourth day against Edward Broket late of Wethamsted in county Hertford esquire otherwise called Edward Broket of Wethamsted in the countie of Hertf’ esquier, in a plea that he render them £200 that he unjustly withholds from them &c. And [the defendant] has not come &c; and, as many times, it had been ordered the sheriff to take him if &c. and safe &c. so that he have his body here on this day, namely on the quindene of Hilary &c. And the sheriff now reports that [the defendant] is not found &c. Therefore it is ordered the sheriff to cause him to be exacted from county [court] to county court until &c. he shall be outlawed if he do not [appear] &c. and if [he appear] &c. then [the sheriff] shall take him and safe &c. so that he have his body here on the octaves of Midsummer [1 July 1525]; and whereof &c.Hertfordshire
And by the statute &c. it is ordered the sheriff of the aforesaid county of Hertford to cause to be proclaimed in his full county [court] on three several days, whereof one of the proclamations aforesaid shall be at a general session to be held in the district of Wethamsted aforesaid, that the aforesaid surrender to the aforesaid sheriff of Suffolk, so that the same sheriff have his body here at the aforesaid octaves of Midsummer to answer the aforesaid executors in the plea aforesaid; and be it known that the justices here on the 7th day of February this same term delivered the writ thereon to William Mynors, the aforesaid county of Hertford to execute in form of law &c.
Whether Edward owned property in Wheathampstead is not known, but his father was usually known as John Brocket of Wheathampsted, and this case could not have concerned any one but this Edward. Eight years later on 12 Feb 1533 a royal writ ordered the plaintiffs to desist from pursuing Edward further for the £200.
1525: Also in the Hilary term of this year Edward Brokett formerly of London, Gent, was accused of not repaying a debt of £4 in a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster by warden of the Fleet prison. The court ordered the London sheriff to take Edward and bring him to court on 30 Apr 1525:89 Read more
Edmund Haselwode esquire, warden of the prison of the lord king of Flete, otherwise called Edmund Haselwode esquire, warden of the prison of the lord king of Flete, appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against John Caunter late of Tammerton Folyat in county Devon gentilman, and against William Wylkyns of London gentilman, and against Brian Travers of Berefferes in county Devon gentilman, in a plea that each of them render him 20 marks; and against Edward Brokett late of London gentilman , in a plea that he render him £4 ; which they owe him and unjustly withhold &c. And (the defendants) have not come; and it had been ordered the sheriff to summon them &c. And the sheriff now reports that (the defendants) have nothing in his bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby they might be attached) &c. Therefore let them be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [30 Apr 1525] &c.
1525: Also in the Hilary term of this year John Broket (Edward’s brother), Henry Barley, Thomas Grene, William Sulyard, George Hyde, John Bollys, William Pulter, Hugh Clerke and Humphrey Worthe recovered from Edward Broket “6 messuages, 130 acres of (arable) land, 10 acres of meadow, 20 acres of pasture and 10s rent with appurtenances in Hytchyn, Dynnesley, Polettys and Offeley, as their right and inheritance”.90
1528: In the Hilary term of 1528 Edward Brokett made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against 4 men: two from Hitchin, one from Willian (c 3m NE of Hitchin) and one from Kimpton (c 7m S of Hitchin) for debts totalling £14. The court ordered the Hertfordshire sheriff to get them to court on 26 April 1528:91 Read more
Edward Brokett appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against John Tayllour of Wylyhen in the county aforesaid husbandman, in a plea that he render him £4 6s 8d; and against Nicholas Burre late of Hytchyng in the county aforesaid maltman, in a plea that he render him £4; and against Thomas Goldsmyth late of Hytchyng in the county aforesaid yeoman, in a plea that he render him 73s 4d; and against John Penyffather late of Kympton in the county aforesaid husbandman, in a plea that he render him 40s; which they owe him and unjustly withhold &c. And [the defendants] have not come; and it had been ordered the sheriff to summon them &c. And the sheriff now reports that they have nothing &c. Therefore let them be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [26 April 1528] &c.
The location of the alleged debtors, in and around Hitchin shows that this was Edward Brokett of Letchworth. His son Edward was scarcely a teenager at the time.
1527-33: Edward Brokette’s relationship with John Docwra Esq is evidenced by 6 records from this period. Edward’s aunt had possibly married a Docwra. John’s son or grandson was overseer of the Will of Edward’s grandnephew Edward:Read more
2. 1528-30: Edward Brokett and John Docwra, with two or three others are recorded making two land transactions.94
3. 1530: John and Edward made a plea together at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster to reclaim an alleged debt owed to them of £20.
4. 1531: Edward was executor with Thomas Hutton and John Peryent of the Will of John Docwra of Temple Dinsley, Herts, pr 12 Aug,95 for which Edward received 5 marks the first year, 26s 8d each year thereafter for life, costs, and a further 6s 8d for every £20 of land purchased from the estate. This led to the following two pleas at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster, translated below:
5. 1533: An attempt by Edward Brokett, Thomas Hutton and John Peryent, executors of John Docwra’s Will to recover a debt of £4 from George Sandford late of Flowre, Northamptonshire, Clerk.
6. 1533: An attempt by Edward Brokett Thomas Hutton and John Peryent, executors of John Docwra’s Will to recover a debt of £100 from John Shepperd late of Offley, Hertfordshire, Yeoman.
1529: In the Hilary term of 1529 Edward Broket as one of a group of 12 squires and gentlemen made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster claiming their right to the Cambridgeshire manor of Hengraves alias Feltons alias Fordam against John Whitby junior.96 The manor of Fordham in Cambridgeshire lies c 14m NE of Cambridge and 7m NE of Swaffham Bulbeck, and is also called Hengraves and Feltons after 14th C owners Edmund Hengrave of Hengrave, Sufolk, and Sir Thomas Felton.97 Four of the group of 12 squires and gentlemen were related to Edward—Thomas Peryent senior (husband of Edward’s aunt Alice), Thomas Peryent junior (1st cousin), George Hyde (husband of Alice, Edward’s sister), Thomas Rudstone (husband of Edward’s brother’s widow)—and 2 had been sheriffs of Herts and Essex before him: Sir Philip Boteler of Watton in 1533 and 1540 and Thomas Peryent of Digswell in 1536.
1529-35: Edward sponsored the admission to Lincoln’s Inn98 of:
- John BARRINGTON, his nephew, and admitted him to his chamber 1529.
- Ralph BROUGHTON, his ?nephew, and admitted him to his chamber 1532.
- Leonard HYDE, his ?nephew, 1535.
1530: In the Hilary term of 1530 Edward Broket Esq made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster paying the king 80s for the licence for the manor of Erdyngton (c 2m N of the centre of Birmingham):100 Read more
£4 Edward Broket esquire gives the lord king 80s for licence of concord with Edmund Bray knight, in a plea of covenant of the manor of Erdyngton with appurtenances, and of 20 messuages, 200 acres of [arable] land, 100 acres of meadow, 400 acres of pasture, 100 acres of wood and £10 rent with appurtenances in Erdyngton, Wytton, Saltley, Lytelbromwych, Castelbromwych and Aston, as well as of the advowson of a chantry in Aston. And he has a chirograph for peaceful admittance before Robert Brudenell knight, justice in the country.
1530: In the Hilary term of 1530 Edward Broket Gent made another plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster this time with John Docwra to reclaim an alleged debt owed to them of £20. The defendants did not appear and the court ordered the Bedfordshire sheriff to get them to court on 1 May 1530:101 Read more
John Docwra esquire and Edward Broket gentleman appeared by their attorney for a fourth day against Thomas Crawley late of Luton in the county aforesaid husbandman otherwise called Thomas Crawley of Lewton Sowcon husbandman, and against John Laurence late of Luton in the county aforesaid maltman otherwise called John Laurence of Luton Sowcon in the county aforesaid maltman, in a plea that both of them render them £20 that they owe them and unjustly withhold &c. And [the defendants] have not come; and it had been ordered the sheriff to summon them &c. And the sheriff now reports that [the defendants] have nothing [in his bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby they might be attached] &c. Therefore let them be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [1 May 1530] &c.
1531: Two pleas at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster regarding Yorkshire this year suggest that Edward had responsibility for the family there while nephew John was still a minor. However Addingham is c 13m NW of Bradford, some 28 m W of Bolton Percy, so these may have been new ventures by Edward:102 Read more
Edward Broket esquire appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against John Malhom and John Medehop clerk, in a plea that they allow him to present a suitable person to the church of Adyngham, which is void, and belongs to his gift &c. And [the defendants] have not come; and they had the day therein by their essoin here on this day, namely on the octaves of Hilary after summons &c. Therefore let them be distrained, to be here on the quindene of Easter [23 April 1531] &c.
2. City of York
The jury between John Bacheler plaintiff and Edward Brokett, in a plea of taking and unjust keeping of avers (grazing animals) is put in respite hence to the quindene of Easter [23 April 1531], unless the justices of the lord king assigned by form of statute to hold assizes in the county aforesaid come first to the guyhald (Guildhall) of the city aforesaid on Tuesday in the third week of Lent [14 March 1531]; for lack of jurors, as none came; therefore the sheriffs shall have their bodies &c.
1532: On father John’s death the manor of Almshoe became the property of John’s son John, subject to the life interest of Edward.103
1532-1534: Edward Brocket purchased a large amount of timber from Wain Wood in the hamlet of Preston in Maydencroft Manor, just south of Hitchin costing £26 13s 4d.104 The wood would have ‘provided fuel for domestic … purposes, as well as for fencing and a host of other uses’.105 It was an enormous quantity of wood. The total receipts for the manor that year were £45 16s 8d, less than double this one transaction. The usual annual receipts without sale of wood were £19 3s 4d.106
1533: Two pleas were made at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster regarding Edward’s executorship with Thomas Hutton and John Peryent of the Will of John Docwra of Temple Dinsley attempting to recover debts of £4 and £100:107 Read more
George Sandford late of Flowre in county Northampton clerk was summoned to answer Thomas Hutton,Edward Brokett and John Peryent, executors of the testament of John Docwray esquire otherwise called John Docwray of Temple Dynsley in county Hertford esquire, in a plea that he render them £4 which he unjustly withholds from them &c. And wherein the same executors, by Thomas Hemmyng their attorney, say that whereas the aforesaid George on the 10th day of May in the 21st year of the reign of the lord now king , at London in the parish of St Peter, in the ward of Chepe, by a certain writing obligatory of his granted himself to be held to the aforesaid John Docwray in his lifetime in the aforesaid £4, to be paid to the same John on request; however, the aforesaid George, although very often requested, has not yet rendered the aforesaid £4 to the aforesaid John Docwray in his lifetime or to the same executors after the death of the same John, but has refused to render it to them, and still refuses to render it to the same executors, and unjustly withholds it, whereby they say that they are injured, and have damage to the value of 100s; and therein bring their suit &c. And they produce here in court both the writing aforesaid, which testifies to the debt aforesaid in form aforesaid, the date of which is the day and year abovesaid &c. and also letters testamentary of the aforesaid John Docwray, by which it is clear enough to the court here that the said Thomas, Edward and John Peryant are executors of the testament aforesaid John Docwray, and have administration thereof &c.And the aforesaid George comes, by John Thorneton his attorney, and defends the force and injury when &c.; and says nothing in bar or preclusion of the aforesaid action of the aforesaid executors, whereby the same executors remain undefended against the aforesaid George therein. Therefore it is considered that the aforesaid executors shall recover from the aforesaid George their debt aforesaid and their damages by occasion of the withholding of that debt, adjudged with their assent by the court here at 6s 8d to the same executors. And the aforesaid George in mercy &c.
Thomas Hutton, Edward Brokett and John Peryent, executors of the testament of John Docwra esquire appeared by their attorney for a fourth day against John Shepperd late of Offeley in the county aforesaid yeoman otherwise called John Shepperd of Offeley in county Hertford yeoman, in a plea that he render them £100 that he unjustly withholds from them &c. And [the defendant] has not come; and, as before, it had been ordered the sheriff to distrain him &c. And the sheriff now reports that [the defendant] has been distrained by chattels to the value of 20d, and is mainperned by John Den and Richard Fen [fictitious]; therefore they in mercy. And, as many times, let him be distrained, to be here on the quindene of Easter [27 April 1533] &c
1533: On 12 Feb this year a royal writ was sent to the court of Common Pleas at Westminster ordering the executors of the Will of Thomas Spryng of Lavenham, Suffolk to desist from pursuing Edward Esq further for an alleged debt of £200:108 Read more
Be it remembered that the justices of the lord now king on the 12th day of February this same term in the 24th year of the reign of the lord now king delivered [a writ] to Arthur Hewar deputy sheriff of the aforesaid county of Suffolk, to execute in form of law, the tenor of which said writ follows in these words:Henry VIII by the grace of God king of England and France, Defender of the Faith and lord of Ireland, to the sheriff of Suffolk, greeting. Whereas we have lately ordered thee to cause to be exacted Edward Broket late of Wethampsted in county Hertford esquire otherwise called Edward Broket of Wethampsted in the countie of Hartf’ esquyer, from county [court] to county until, according to the law and custom of our realm of England, he shall be outlawed if he do not appear, and if he appear then thou shouldst take him and cause him to be kept safe, so that thou shouldst have his body before [our justices] at Westminster on a certain day now to be, to answer Thomas Jermyn esquire executor of the testament of Thomas Spryng otherwise called Thomas Spryng of Lavenham in the said countie of Suff’ gent’ otherwise called ‘to the said Thomas Jermyn my son-in-law’ executor of the testament of Thomas Spryng of Lavenham in county Suffolk and in the diocese of Norwich, in a plea that he render him £200 that he owes him and unjustly withholds, as it is said; however, because it has been sufficiently established to our justices at Westminster that before the issuing of our writ aforesaid of exigend the aforesaid Edward, by Thomas Hemmyng his attorney, has appeared in our court aforesaid and very many times has offered himself in our same court to answer the aforesaid Thomas Jermyn in the plea aforesaid, and so our writ aforesaid issued against him recklessly; therefore we order thee that thou shalt completely supercede from further exacting, outlawing or in any way molesting the aforesaid Edward by reason aforesaid; and thou shalt have there this writ. Witness Robert Norwiche at Westminster the 25th day of January in the 24th year of our reign 
1535: The Prior of the House of Our Blessed Lady and Convent of Hertford demised to Edward for 41 years all its tithes of corn, grain, hay, wood, wool and lamb arising within the parishes of Hitchin, Minsden, Langley and Hippolits.109 Edward’s son Edward assigned the remainder of the lease in 1562 to John Esq (Sir John II).
1535: In the Hilary term of 1535 Henry Averell citizen and goldsmith of London made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster to recover an alleged debt of £70 from Robert Arthure formerly of Southminster, Essex, Gent and Edward Brokett formerly of London, Gent. The two were executors of the Will of the late Robert Arthure of Southminster, Essex, valet of the Crown of the king, who allegedly became indebted to Henry Averell for £70 on 16 May 1530 to be repaid by 16 May 1532. But Averell claimed he never repaid it:110 Read more
Robert Arthure late of Southmynster in county Essex gentilman and Edward Brokett late of London gentylman executors of the testament of Robert Arthure of Southmynster in county Essex valet of the Crown of the lord king, [were] summoned to answer Henry Averell citizen and goldsmith of London, in a plea that he [they] render him £70 which they unjustly withhold from him &c. And wherein the same Henry, by William Blakwell his attorney, says that whereas the aforesaid Robert Arthure the testator in his lifetime on the 16th day of May in the 22nd year of the reign of the lord now king , at London, in the parish of St Peter in the ward of Chepe, by a certain writing obligatory of his granted himself to be held to the same Henry in the aforesaid £70, to be paid to Henry on the 16th day of May to be in the year of the Lord 1532; however, the aforesaid Robert Arthure the testator in his lifetime and the aforesaid executors after the death of the same Robert Arthure the testator, although very often requested, have not rendered the aforesaid £70 to the same Henry, but have refused to render it to him, and the aforesaid executors still refuse to render it to the same Henry, and unjustly withhold it, whereby he says that he is injured and has damage to the value of £10; and therein brings his suit &c.; and produces here in court the writing aforesaid, which testifies to the debt aforesaid in form aforesaid, the date of which is the day and year abovesaid &c. And … [The text breaks off here, mid-word.]
Which Edward?Read more
1536: On 20 Jan 1536 Robert Arthure Gent and Edward Brokett Gent, as executors of Robert Arthure of Southminster, Essex, Yeoman of the Guard, made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster to reclaim an alleged debt owed to him of £200. The defendant did not appear and the court ordered Richard Lyndesell, deputy sheriff of Essex—who was also the plaintiffs’ attorney!—to get him to court on 1 Jul 1536:111 Read more
It had been ordered the sheriff to take John Aburfurth late of Thaxstede in the county aforesaid junior yoman otherwise called John Aburfurth junior of Thaxsted aforesaid yoman if &c. And safe &c. So that he have his body here on this day, namely on the octaves of Hilary, to satisfy Robert Arthure gentleman and Edward Brokett gentleman executors of the testament of Robert Arthure otherwise called Robert Arthure of Southmynster in county Essex one of the yeomen of our guard, both of a debt of £200 that the aforesaid executors have recovered against him in the court of the lord now king before his justices here at Westminster, and also of 13s 4d that was adjudged to the same executors in the same court of the said lord king here for their damages that they have had by occasion of the withholding of the debt aforesaid of which he is convicted; and now here on this day come the aforesaid executors, by Richard Lyndesell their attorney, [and] appear for a fourth day against the aforesaid John in the plea aforesaid. And he has not come; and the sheriff now reports that he is not found &c. Therefore it is ordered the sheriff to exact [the defendant] from county [court] to county until &c. he shall be outlawed if he do not [appear] &c. and if [he appear] &c. then he shall take him and safe &c. so that he have his body here on the octaves of Midsummer [1 July 1536]; and whereof &c. And be it known that the justices here in court this same term have delivered the writ thereon to Richard Lyndesell, deputy sheriff of the county aforesaid, to execute in form of law &c.
1536: In Hilary term 1536 Edward Brokett Esq made a plea in person at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster to reclaim alleged debts amounting to £10. The defendants did not appear and the court ordered the Hertfordshire sheriff to get them to court on 30 Apr 1536. It has been assumed that this was Edward senior, as Edward junior was a teenager at the time, and in any case was normally ‘Gent’ during his father’s lifetime, and only ‘Esq’ occasionally afterwards:112 Read more
Edward Brokett esquire appeared in person for a fourth day against William Everard of King’s Walden in the county aforesaid husbondman, in a plea that he render him £8 ; and against John Spade of Wylyen in the county aforesaid husbondman, in a plea that he render him 40s ; which they owe him and unjustly withhold &c. And [the defendants] have not come; and it had been ordered the sheriff to summon them &c. And the sheriff now reports that [the defendants] have nothing [in his bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby they might be attached] &c. Therefore let them be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [30 April 1536] &c.
1537: In Hilary term 1537 Edward Brokett Esq made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster regarding a property in Kympton from Thomas Audeley. The proceedings followed a similar pattern to his 1529 plea above and the warrantor, fictitiously, failed to re-appear and the court therefore ruled that Edward recover his tenure of the property against Thomas Audeley:113 For a translation and explanation of the case, see the separate page.
1538: Early this year in the Hilary term Edward Brokett of Temple [Dinsley] Gent was accused of not repaying a debt of £40 in a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster by William Colsell Citizen and Mercer of London. The scribe must have mistakenly omitted ‘Dinsley’ after ‘Temple’—there is no other Temple … in Hertfordshire. Another similar London plea against Edward of Temple Dinsley dates that debt back to this same year. In this case the court ordered the London sheriff to take Edward and and bring him to court on 5 May 1538:114 Read more
William Colsell citizen and mercer of London appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against Edward Brokett of Temple in county Hertford gentleman, in a plea that he render him £40 that he owes him and unjustly withholds &c. And [the defendant] has not come; and it had been ordered the sheriffs to summon him &c. And the sheriffs now report that [the defendant] has nothing [in their bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby he might be attached] &c. Therefore let him be taken, to be here on the octaves of Candlemas [9 Feb 1538] &c. On which day here comes the aforesaid William by his attorney, and appears for a fourth day against the aforesaid Edward in the plea aforesaid &c. And [the defendant] has not come; and it had been ordered the sheriffs to take him &c.; and the sheriffs now report that he is not found &c. Therefore, as before, let him be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [5 May 1538] &c.
It could be that this—and the 1545 plea—concerned his son Edward jnr, but since they both relate to 1538, when Edward jnr was only between 21 and 23 years old, pending further information it will be assumed they both concerned Edward the father. Between 1541-5, at least, Edward senior held considerable land in Preston, where Temple Dinsley was a hamlet. Edward senior apparently inherited it from his father. However, given Edward junior’s later record of indebtedness this case may have been an early example.
1538: In 20 Oct Edward purchased Broadfield/Bradfield manor from Dorothea SNOWE for £20.115 The same Close Roll records his purchase on 6 June from Alice ROLFF Widow of 4 crofts of arable land and pasture in Broomfield Essex, and on 3 November from Peter RANDALL of Buntingford in Hertfordshire Labourer for 8 marks a messuage with garden and 2 crofts of land adjoining at Patmore Heath in Albury Hertfordshire.
1538-1539 Edward Broket paid 4d yearly rent for 1 stall in Hitchin Market Place next to the stall of Leonard Dey, and Edward Papworth paid 8d for 2 stalls together next to the stall of Edward Broket.116 In 1556 and 1564 his son Edward was recorded holding a stall or stallage there too, however it was probably a different one and Edward senior would have sold this one before 1556. This is because on 20 Feb 1555 William Fraunces of Ikleford Esq sold Edward Brockett of Letchworh Esq “one shoppe in the merkett place of hechen”.117 This could be the shop owned by Edward Broket Gent (junior) in 1556 and 1564. “Other stalls in Hitchin Market in 1539 were held by such wealthy and important men as the Earl of Essex, William Pulter and Thomas Parys. Edward would almost certainly have had a tenant or servant running the stall. The accounts for 1538-1539 are the only year to contain a list of all the Rents of Stalls in the Market Place. So it is impossible to know how long Edward Broket had held his stall. This list is not repeated in subsequent years. The stallage in the Market Place would have been a permanent site for a stall or probably a permanent structure.”118
1541-5: For all three subsidies during these 4 years—which included his time as MP for Herts—Edward Broket Esq paid 40s in Preston hamlet, about 3 miles south of Hitchin.119 This was on land valued at £40, which represented substantial property. Taxes on land were on all property a man owned in the county, so this £40 may not have been only on this Preston property, however Preston would have been considered his main residence at the time. Perhaps it was the same, or expanded, property that his father held in Preston in the Manor of Temple Dinsley (on the southern edge of Ippollitts parish) in 1494. The record from the same year below called Edward ‘formerly’ of Temple Dinsley, however this may have referred to his son Edward jnr. Edward’s Preston property was not in Hitchin parish, nor apparently in Ippollitts. The 1545 tax return listed Preston separately from both Hitchin and Ippollitts. For the 1544 subsidy Edward was one of the Commissioners for Broadwater and Hitchin Hundred and the signature at the top of this webpage is from the return that year.
1542, 44: MP for Herts.
1544: In the Hilary term of 1544 Edward Brokett senior made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against Thomas Yattys late of Hitchin, Haberdasher, alias Thomas Yates of Hitchin, Husbandman, and John Jenkyns late of Abbotts Walden, Husbandman, for a debt of 10 marks. The court ordered the Hertfordshire sheriff to get them to court on 27 April 1544:120 Read more
Edward Brokett senior appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against Thomas Yattys late of Hytchyn in the county aforesaid haberdassher otherwise called Thomas Yates of Hechyn in county Hertford husbondman, and against John Jenkyns late of Abbottys Walden in the county aforesaid husbondman otherwise called John Jynkyns of Abbotts Walden in the same county husbondman, in a plea that both of them render him 10 marks that they owe him and unjustly withhold &c. And [the defendants] have not come; and it had been ordered the sheriff to summon them &c. And the sheriff now reports that [the defendants] have nothing [in his bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby they might be attached] &c. Therefore let them be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [27 April 1544] &c.
1545: In the Hilary term of 1545 Edward Brokket or Brokkett formerly of Temple Dynnesley, Esquire, was accused of not repaying a debt of £20 in a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster by Thomas Blande of Amersham, Buckinghamshire, Gentleman. Edward denied the allegation and called for a jury to hear the case. The court ordered the London sheriff to convene a jury on 19 Apr 1545:121 Read more
Edward Brokkett late of Temple Dynnesley in county Hertford esquire otherwise called Edward Brokket of Temple Dynnesley in county Hertford esquire, was summoned to answer Thomas Blande gentleman otherwise called Thomas Blande of Hagmondyssham in county Buckingham gentleman otherwise called Thomas Bland gentleman, in a plea that he render him £20 that he owes him and unjustly withholds &c. And wherein the same Thomas, by Richard Bydwell his attorney, says that whereas the aforesaid Edward on the 10th day of July in the 30th year of the reign of the lord now king , at London in the parish of St Sepulchre in the ward of Faryngdon Without, by a certain writing obligatory of his granted himself to be held to the same Thomas and to one Roger Lupton now deceased, in the aforesaid £20, to be paid to the same Thomas and Roger at All Saints [1 Nov] in the year of the Lord 1540; but the aforesaid Edward, however, although very often requested, has not yet rendered the aforesaid £20 to the same and to the aforesaid Roger in the lifetime of the said Roger, nor to the same Thomas after the death of the same Roger, but has so far [new folio: CP 40/1124 d1979] refused to render it to them, and refuses to render it to the same Thomas, whereby he says that he is injured and has damage to the value of 10 marks; and therein brings his suit &c. And produces here in court the writing aforesaid, which testifies to the debt aforesaid in form aforesaid, the date of which is the day and year abovesaid &c.And the aforesaid Edward comes, by Richard Chamber his attorney, and defends the force and injury when &c. And says that he should not be charged with the debt aforesaid by virtue of the writing aforesaid, for he says that that writing is not his deed; and of this he puts himself upon the country (i.e. let the plaintiff prove the case to a jury); and the aforesaid Thomas likewise. Therefore it is ordered the sheriffs to cause to come here on the quindene of Easter [19 April 1545] twelve men &c. by whom &c. and who neither &c. to recognize &c. that both &c.
As with the similar plea from 1538, it could be that this plea concerned his son Edward jnr.
1546: ‘Edward Broket’ with no title was mentioned in the Manor Court proceedings of either the Manor of Limbury cum Biscot or of Lewsey-cum-Chalton in the Luton area. That Edward’s principal taxable lands in 1541-5, at least, were in Preston, c 6 m NE of Luton suggests that this record concerned him, but it may have concerned son Edward.
1553 Sale of 9 acres of land and 2 of pasture in Hitchin by Edward and his son Edward to William Frances.125
1554-5: Plumstead Marsh land licences
1554-5: Purchase by Edward from William Fraunces of Ickleford Esq of land in Hitchin, Walsworth and Offley on 20 Oct 1554, two years before William I’s death, for £80 and £40, total £120, then in the tenure and occupation of “Thomas Paris of Hechyn gent”.126 This was followed by a bargain and sale by William Fraunces to Edward Brockett dated 20 Feb 1554/5 of a capital messuage called the Vyne in Briggward (Bridge Street Ward), various pieces of land and “one shoppe in the merkett place of hechen”.127
1555 27 Nov: A Chancery Order in an action brought by John Lawryng and his wife against Edward Brokett said, “The defendant hath taken othe that he cannot make aunswer for lacke of his euydence Wherupon he is respected to make answer octaves hillary”.128 The original complaint is unknown, also whether it concerned this Edward or his son.
1556: Records of Edward’s possessions in Hitchin in a Rental of the manor of Hitchin, 17 August 3 and 4 Philip and Mary.129
1557: Edward had a lifetime’s involvement with his nephew, the first Sir John Brockett, so it was most probably this Edward of Letchworth Esq who was one of the 3 witnesses to his Will. The Will ends “In witnes to the premysses Rauf Rowlett knight, Edward Brokett and Christopher Smythe Esquiers, with others”. The other two Edward Brokett Esquires were Sir John’s own second son who at that time was probably referred to as ‘Gent’, and Edward, eldest son of Edward of Letchworth, who likewise would probably have been referred to then as ‘Gent’.
1558 Sep 8: Edward was appointed overseer to the Will of John Brokett of Offley, Yeoman, his probable first cousin: “I do ordeyn Mr Edwarde Broket esquyir my ouereseare and he to haue for his good cownsell and paynes aboute this my testament iiij li out of the Sumes of money that he doo owe me”. Edward had borrowed money from more than one cousin. £4 was not a small sum and it was not the whole amount he owed John. One wonders if John’s executrix, his widow Joan, ever recouped any of the rest.
1559: A plea made at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against ‘Edward Brockett formerly of Hatfield, Gentleman’, and 5 others was in all likelihood against Edward’s son Edward.
Written 31 Jul 1558; executors sons William and John. However, “a certayn agrement was vppon good consideracions had and made betwene [eldest son Edward jnr] and his brethren beinge executors of the said last will” 131 and Edward jnr took upon himself the execution of the Will.132 But Edward jnr ran into debt and his father’s Will was not proved till 30 Oct 1584—26 years later—by son William after Edward jnr’s death in Jan 1583.
Edward’s main legacy to wife Margaret was all the household stuff—if she didn’t remarry, a lease and grant in Letchworth plus property in and around Hitchin:Read more
19. Awnte Mykelfeildes and sixe playne silver spoones that she did make and the best fetherbedd
20. with the bolster , the best counterpoynt with all the shetes , tableclothes , napkynes and all other
21. Lynnen to doe withall at her pleasure . Item I will that my saide wiffe shall haue the keeping
22. and occupying of all my ‘other’ howshould stuffe duringe her lyfe , Yf she keepe her selfe sole and not
23. marrye , And after her deceasse I will yt to be devided amongest my ffower sonnes by three
24. indifferent persons named by my exequutors , And also I will that there be an Inventarye made
25. of all the sayde stuffe maintenaunt after my deathe so that none of yt be embeseled . Item I will
26. and gyve to my saide wief all the Lease and graunte with the proffitt of the same in Lech//
27. worth that my Lady Barrington my sister haue given vnto me duringe her lief Yf shee
28. so longe lyve ,
29. the yeares then to comme . Item I giue and bequeathe vnto my saide wiffe all my Landes Tenementes
30. and hereditamentes within the parishes of Hinchin Ipolettes Ikleford muche Willmondley for
31. terme of her lief in recompence of those Landes and Tenementes that I didd once giue her in
32. Bradfeilde parishe to the yearlye valewe of Twentie poundes , And after her deceasse I will
33. and give all the saide Landes Tenementes and hereditamentes vnto Edward my sonne and
34. to the heires males of his bodye lawfullye begottenn
Edward’s legacies to his children:
- Edward: All his property in the parishes of Hitchin Ipolettes Ikleford Much Willmondley after Margaret’s death. His Manor of Bradfeild, and all all his property in the parishes of Bradfeild, Russeden, Codered and Throcking.
- William: All his property in Plumpsted Marsh in Kent and in the parish of Lechworth and Willien.
- Thomas: All his property in the parish of Stevenage and all his property held by … Joyner.
- John: All his property in the parishes of Kympton, Kings Walden, Baldock, Graveley, Sheveffelde and Hinxworth.
- ‘all my saide Leases and farmes and residue of my goodes and debtes (not before given or bequeathed) vnto Lucye and Anne my daughters towarde the preferment of theire marriage equally to be deuided betwene them and to be payde at the daye of theire marriage, so that they be ruled by theire mother and my Exequutors’.
2. octogesimo quarto. coram venerabili viro magistro Willelmo Drury legum doctore curie Prerogative
3. Cantuariensis commissario etcetera in Loco Consueto London’ iudicialiter sedenti in presentia mei Anthonij Lawe
4. Lawe,134 notarij publicj
5. in testamento suprascripto nominatorum et exhibuit testamentum huiusmodi ac realiter produxit quasdam
6. Litteras administracionis bonorum eiusdem defunctitanqam ab intestato decedenti alias Cuidam Edwardo
7. Brockett filio naturali et Legitimo dicti defuncti , nonnullis ab hinc annis elapsis concessas et allegauit
8. dictum presens135 administratorem vita functum
9. vltimum testamentum eiusdem defuncti’ fuisse et esse , et desuper fecit fidem , Vnde dominus ad eius
10. peticionem probauit approbauit et insinuauit testamentum suprascriptum commisitque administra//
11. cionem etcetera Eidem’137 Willelmo Brockett exequutori etcetera De bene etcetera iurato Reseruata patestate
12. etc Iohanni Brockett alteri exequutori in huiusmodi testamento nominato cum venerit etcetera.
before the venerable man master William Drury doctor of laws at the Prerogative
Court of Canterbury commissary etc. sitting as a judge in the usual place in London in the presence of me Anthony Lawe,
public notary etc. there appeared in person William Brockett one of the executors
named in the above Will and he exhibited this Will and he produced in their original form
certain letters of the administration of the goods of the same deceased as being intestate granted at another place to a certain Edward
Brockett natural and legitimate son of the said deceased a considerable number of years having elapsed since this and [William Brockett] alledged
and said that the previously appointed administrator was dead. Nonetheless the aforesaid Will was true and
was and had been the last Will of the same deceased, and on that point he made his faith. Whereupon the Lord [Judge] at [William’s]
request proved, approved and registered the above written Will and entrusted the administration
etc. to the same William Brockett as executor etc. for the well etc. [i.e. and faithful administration of the same] having sworn. The power being reserved
etc. to John Brockett the other executor named in this will when he turns up etc.
Page Last Updated: September 21, 2020