John Brokett of Offley - The Broket Archive

John Brokett of Ippollitts/Offley Yeoman
d 1558/9

John was one of the four Broket heads of household in mid 16th C Hertfordshire. Offley was about 1 mile south of Hitchin, where his contemporaries William and Edward both held property. In 1545 he was farming in Ippollitts Parish, about 3 miles east of Offley (Subsidy Rolls). Paying only 3 pence tax in 1545 placed John further down the social scale than the others but his Will shows that he was part of their clan, in all likelihood William I of Hitchin’s brother. As such he would have been the grandson of Edward of Wheathampstead, the heir to the lands of Thomas, husband of Elizabeth Asshe. Thomas held land in Great Offley, but it’s unlikely it was he.

Contents of this page:

  1. Plea
  2. Testament and Will
  3. Wife Johan’s Will
  4. Son Richard’s Will

1. Plea 1544

In April 1544 John Broket esquire—who 2 years later was to become the first Sir John Brockett—made a plea against this John and his son John at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster before John Baldewyn knight and his fellows, justices of the lord king de Banco, for Hilary term in the 35th year of the reign of Henry VIII. They were two of eight defendants against the allegation that they forcibly broke into a close of John Broket esquire’s at Graveley and Ipoletts and cut down and carried off his trees and underwood to the value of 100s and had not come to defend themselves. The court ordered the Hertfordshire sheriff to take John and the others and bring them to court on 27 April 1544:1   Read More

Points to consider:

1. John was described as a ‘late’, ie former, Yeoman of Ippollitts. This was in April 1544 yet the following year John was recorded paying tax on property in Ippollitts. He must have sold property before 1544 and then purchased again before 1545.
2. John is termed ‘senior’ and since we know of no other Brokets in Ippollitts at the time, John junior would presumably have been his son. John junior is not mentioned in John senior’s Will, so possibly died between 1544-58.
3. Prior to ordering them to be ‘taken’, the Court had ordered them to be ‘attached’. For the original system of ‘attachment’:+++Read More

2. John’s Testament and Will 1558

In dei nomine Amen The yere of oure lord god millesimo CCCCC
lviij The eight day of the monethe of September I John
brokett of Offleye in the countie of Hertford yeman being
of good and perfette memorye lawdede be god do make my
testamente and last will in manere and forme folowynge   Read More

His Will shows that:

  • John was a yeoman of middling means. He had a flock of 70+ sheep and at least £84 8s in ready cash.
  • John had the funds to lend money to a respected, senior kinsman, Edward of Letchworth Esq, whom he appointed his overseer. Edward was probably his first cousin.
  • John’s daughter Grace was probably aged 10-15 in 1558. She had been left 20s in William I’s Will in 1556/7.
  • The Bocketts of Hitchin are mentioned by Howlett.3

3. John’s wife Johan’s Will

To follow.

4. John’s son Richard’s Will

The Will of Richard Brockett Yeoman of Cosmer, Ippollitts written 18 Jan 1603,4 left bequests to his wife Johan, daughters Johan and Grace and the residue to his son and sole executor Nicholas. It wasn’t this Nicholas who had an interest in a ship which transported cargo to Virginia in the 1630s.

Page Last Updated: October 19, 2018


For full bibliographical details please see the sections Publications or Glossary.


[1] Hilary 1544 TNA CP 40/1120. For the original Latin contact the Archivist of this website.

[2] I am grateful to David Bethell for this explanation (June 2015).

[3] 2000 p 66.

[4] Proved Hitchin 7 Aug 1603. Lincolnshire Archives 1604/i/99.