Elizabeth Broket nee Asshe
Married women’s estate in medieval times passed to their husbands during his life, so women were usually recorded in association with their menfolk—until in their own right as widows. So it was with Elizabeth Asshe, wife and later widow of Thomas Broket of Wheathampstead Esq. Their date of marriage is not known, but it was before 1432 when Roger Megur, the incoming Rector of Chivesfield, was presented by Thomas and Elizabeth Brocket as local Lord and Lady.1 Up until Thomas’ death in 1477 Elizabeth’s land transactions are listed with his. A certain amount about her land can be inferred from records of her father—she was his sole heiress. The last of the FitzSimon line—Nicholas—had 2 coheiresses, daughter Elizabeth married to William Asshe and daughter Christian married to John Mosley. There was an inquisition on Elizabeth’s death—although no will survives.
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Half the FitzSimon estates descended through marriage to William Asshe, but strangely there is no IPM recorded for him, as there was for his heiress Elizabeth Broket. Following is what is so far known about William Asshe:
- From earliest records new Rectors to the Church of Chivesfield had been presented by the FitzSimons. In 1410, Henry Trowel, the incoming Rector was presented by William Ash and John Molsey.2
- 3 Feb 1411 William and Elizabeth Asshe and John and Christian Mosley sold the Manor of Almsho.3
- The other references to William in the Herts Feet of Fines 1409-27 were between:
- 1409-13 as one of 7 purchasors of 4 messuages and 46 acres in Wheathampstead.4
- 1417-23 as one of 5 purchasors of the Manor of Heronns—William Asshe armiger.
- William Asshe and Richard Boteler were the executors of the will of Alicia Charleton of the Nunnery of Sopwelle, written 20 Sep 1412, pr 4 Jul 1416.5
- William acted on various Royal Commissions. A search for Asshe and Simonside—and variants—through the Calendars of Patent Rolls 1401-41 showed him on 6 between 1412-1419, e.g. the Commission for Peace for Herts in 1419 and 22 and Commissions to raise tax in Herts in 1412 and 1419. He was also mentioned in a licence for a manor in Northyevell, Co Bedford in 1412.
- He was one of the commissioners overseeing the Herts subsidies 1402 and 1428.6 The latter recorded John Brokett holding half a fee in Hatfield formerly held by Hugh FitzSimon and John Muslee holding the other former Hugh FitzSimon lands listed—half a fee in Almeshoo, Gravele, Radewell and Berlee, and a quarter fee in Ykelford. William was not recorded as a tenant.
Up until Thomas Broket’s death in 1477 Elizabeth’s land transactions are listed with his. In 1477 both were recorded with an interest in the Manor of Brondsych and land in Fobbyng and Fang, previously owned by her first cousin John Moseley Esq.7 It passed to Elizabeth after Thomas’ death. She was then the plaintiff in a case in 1480 regarding the same Manor of Brandysshe and land in Fobbing and Fange.8
Between 1480-1500, when Thomas Scot was Archbishop of York and Chancellor of England, a case was brought to Chancery by Richard Battaille, ‘cousin and heir of Dame Elizabeth Brockett widow’against Richard Fyssher Esquire concerning the detention of deeds relating to the Manor of Symondes Hyde in Bishop’s Hatfield.9 Richard Bataylle, ‘son of John Bataylle knight, great-grandson of John Bataylle, great-grandson of Hugh Fitz Symondes knight’ brought a similar, subsequent suit against John Broket Esquire, son and heir of Edward Broket, and Richard Fissher Esquire, and Elizabeth his wife.10 This would have been a challenge to Thomas Broket’s brother’s descendants claim to the FitzSimon land, Elizabeth Asshe having had no issue. Glover recorded the daughter of John son of Sir Hugh Fitz Symon marrying a Battell and having issue—generation 4.
Why might Richard Fyssher have had these deeds? In 1511 Richard and Elizabeth his wife sold land in Bishops Hatfield, Willian and Diggeswell to John Broket senior esquire (Elizabeth’s nephew) and others.11
As a widow there was an Inquisition Post Mortem following the writ of diem clausit extremum on Elizabeth’s death directed to the escheators in Essex and Herts Feb 1 and 15, with her surname spelt Broket and Brokette.12 The IPM exists in both Chancery and Exchequer versions.13 The former has its top edge indented showing that it was an actual original. Its bottom left hand corner is missing, however, so the Exchequer copy is used here as the base for transcription (pdf file). Only substantial differences between the two are noted in footnotes; minor spelling variations are not. There are many similarities with the 1477 Hertfordshire IPM of husband Thomas Broket (pdf file),14 and with the 1488 IPM of brother-in-law Edward Broket (pdf file).15 Like Thomas, Elizabeth owned the Manors of Symondeshide and Bengeho, and Almsho and 262 acres in Langley, plus a messuage called Watershepis and a hide of land called Duranteshide. Elizabeth also owned the Manor of Thebrigg with appurtenances and a close called Sandridge Heth.
Thomas had held land direct from the King in Essex too, but not so Elizabeth.
Page Last Updated: April 6, 2020