John Brokett of Wheathampstead - The Broket Archive

John Brokett of Wheathampstead Esq
b bef 1460 d 1532

The first Broket Sheriff of Herts—in 1506-8 and 1530-1. Born by 1460, 2nd son and heir of Edward and Elizabeth Thwaites, John would have gone down from Yorkshire to Hertfordshire early, at least for his marriage by the early 1480s to Lucy, the only daughter of John PULTER of Hitchin, wealthy merchant and Sheriff of Bedfordshire 1453.1 Uncle Thomas Broket of Wheathampstead and his wife Elizabeth, nee ASSHE, having no children, John would have been seen as the clan heir.

Contents of this page:

  1. Introduction
  2. Wife and children
  3. Sheriff of Essex and Herts 1506-8 and 1530-1
  4. Other records
  5. Will
  6. Inquisitions on his death

Introduction

John’s adult life was during the reigns of Henry VII and VIII.

Records of his time as Sheriff and before and after are plentiful. Only a few examples are cited below.

Wife and children

John had married Lucy PULTER by Easter 1484 at least. Lucy appears to have been John PULTER’s only surviving daughter. John Pulter’s Will of 1485 mentioned his wife Alice, three sons William, John and Nicholas, and Lucy.2 Presumably having already given Lucy her dowry, he itemised:

“to Luce my doughter the wyfe of Johne Brocatt A standing cupp kouerid siluer and gilt pounced with a knoppe of siluer made as of white perelle

It was followed up in the 1486 inventory of John Pulter’s goods:3

“Item to Luce Brokett a stondyng Cup with a couer pounced the knop’ made as it were white perle”4

According to the Hertfordshire inquisition on John’s death Lucy died in Whethamsted 1 May 1524, 6 years before her husband.

John and Lucy’s children:

  1. John, born by 18 Jun 1485, when his grandather John PULTER wrote in his Will: “I bequeithe to yong Johne Brocatt there sonne v marke to fynde hym to scole with“. The dates indicate that John was very young here, although the expression ‘to fynde hym to scole’ could also mean to provide for higher education. The 5 marks were itemised as £3 6s 8d in the 1486 inventory of John Pulter’s goods. John married Cambridgeshire heiress Dorothy Hughson of Swaffham Bulbeck, and moved there to raise their family. John died in his 40s in 1526, before his father, and Dorothy remarried.
  2. Elizabeth who married:
    1. Nicholas BARRINGTON of Barrington Hall, Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex, b 1485/6, knighted 1513, d 22 Jul 1515.5 Harley 807 mistakenly had HARRINGTON. Child: John b c 1507, dating Elizabeth’s marriage by 1506. Sir Nicholas bequeathed the manors of Letchworth and Weston for 17 years to his brother in law Edward Brocket, Gent, later of Letchworth Esq, and others in 1515. Son John BARRINGTON was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn 1529 sponsored by Edward Brokett [of Broadfield and Letchworth, his uncle].6
    2. William BOUGHTON Esq of Caston.7 William was Esquire of the Body to Henry VIII and Sheriff of the counties of Warwick and Leicester in 1536, dying soon after. Ralph BROUGHTON—spelt with an ‘r’, but perhaps a son—was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn 1532 to the chamber of Edward Brockett of Broadfield and Letchworth, perhaps his uncle.8 Deeds dated before 1542 referred to ‘Dame Elizabeth Barrington, widow of Sir William Boughton’.9 Susan, Elizabeth’s great niece and daughter of Sir John I, married Edward BOUGHTON or Broughton Esq of Causton, Co Warwick.

    Elizabeth was still living 1558 when brother Edward’s Will mentioned a lease in Letchworth given to him by ‘My Lady Barrington my sister’ during her life.

  3. Edward of Broadfield and Letchworth, born 1490-1
  4. Alice who married … HILL10 or HYDE of Throkinge.11 The latter was either George Hyde of Throcking, Herts, living 1529, father of Leonard HYDE of Throcking, son and heir12 or Leonard the son. Leonard was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn 1535 sponsored by Edward Brokett [of Letchworth, either his brother in law or uncle].13 The Will of Leonard HYDE was written 1549.14 Metcalfe gave the name of neither George’s nor Leonard’s wife.
  5. Lucy who had no issue.

Sheriff of Essex and Herts 1506-8 and 1530-1

Like his son Edward of Broadfield and Letchworth Esq and great grandson Sir John II of Brockett Hall after him, John had two terms as Sheriff. As the representative of Henry VII and VIII 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.”15 John’s 1st term was unusual in stretching to two years. The Sheriffs’ financial returns were recorded annually at Michaelmas in the Pipe Rolls, and John was recorded as the current Sheriff in the returns for Michaelmas–Michaelmas for both 1507-8 and 1508-9, 22-24 Henry VIII.16

1st term of office 1506-8

John’s first appointment (or commencement of account) began 27 Nov 1506; his predecessor was Roger DARCY Esq, and his successor Humphry TORELL or TYRELL Esq (of Heron in Essex) took over 15 Dec 1508.17 From Nov 1495-6 John’s eldest brother-in-law, William PULTER (of Hitchin), had been Sheriff, and from Nov 1497-8 his uncle Thomas PERYENT Esq (of Digenswell) had.18

He made a proffer of 20 marks in Michaelmas 1506.19  Read more

He appears to have cleared his account, as there is no reference to him owing anything in the returns for the following two years.20

2nd term of office 1530-1

John’s appointment (or commencement of account) began 11 Nov 1530; his predecessor was John BOLLYS Esq (of Wallington), and his successor John SMYTH Esq took over 9 Nov 1531.21

This is the return for John for the year following his term, from Michaelmas 1532–Michaelmas 1533 in which he is declared free of debt:22  Read more


Strangely, long after his death in 1549 an old debt of £7 9s 1¾d from John’s 1530-1 account was recorded in the Pipe Rolls for the year Michaelmas 1548–Michaelmas 1549.23  Read more
It was repeated almost verbatim for the year Michaelmas 1549–Michaelmas 1550.25  Read more
And it was still running in 1553-4.26

“A Sheriff was expected to come up with some cash at the first ‘proffer’ at the Exchequer, and would be fined if he failed to attend, but otherwise a Sheriff (and an Escheator) could hang on to some or all of the money for years, even decades. And, importantly, no interest was charged on the arrears. The Broketts seem (so far as we have seen) to have been strictly correct with their finances as Sheriffs. We have seen no fine for failing to deliver at the proffer.” 27

“When a debt carried on year after year so as to appear desperate, it was transferred to another set of records called the Exannual Rolls. I assume that these were the records of a separate part of the Exchequer acting as a ‘bad bank’, removing dead wood from the accounting system.”28

Other records29

1484: At the court of Common Pleas at Westminster in the 1st year of the reign of Richard III, Edward Broket esquire and Elizabeth his wife, John Broket and Lucy his wife and Alesia Twaytes widow transferred what looks like at least their half of Steeton in Yorkshire to William Fairfax.

1494: The Manor of Temple Dinsley court roll for that year contained a couple of references to John Brokett Esquire.30 He was admitted to a messuage and 52 acres of copyhold land on the surrender of John Judd. The messuage and 20 acres of the land were situated in Preston, near Hitchin. It may later have passed to his son Edward. John Brokett was also fined for not cleaning out his ditch as ordered by the previous court.

1497: York City deed. Owner of a tenement in York

1503: John Brockett Esq was presented—i.e. his offence was reported to the manor court by the homage or jury of tenants—for grazing his sheep on the field of the Ippollitts vill and was fined 3d.31 This was probably this John, rather than his son John.

1506-8: Sheriff of Essex and Herts

1508: In Hilary term (23 Henry VII) John Broket esquire sheriff of Essex made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against his bailiffs in the hundreds of Barstaple, Chafford, Benge and Thurstaple, Dunmowe, and Uttillesforde and Fresshewell to provide him their accounts. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the sheriff in Essex (himself!) to pursue them and take them and bring them to court on 7 May 1508:32   Read more


1508: On 20 Jan (23 Henry VII) John Brokett esquire sheriff of Hertfordshire made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against his bailiffs in the hundreds of Bradwath, Odsey and Edwynstre, Hertford, and Hitchyn to provide him their accounts. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the sheriff in Hertfordshire (himself again!) to pursue them and take them and bring them to court on 1 Jul 1508:33   Read more

1509
: John appears as one of a huge list of people pardoned on 9 July 1509 following the coronation of Henry VIII: ‘John Brokett or Brokkette, esq., of Walyngton, Ammesho, Symondhyde, and Whethamsted, Herts, and Appulton, Yorks’.34

1510: In Hilary term (1 Henry VIII) John Broket made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against John Akent of Southwelld in Essex Yoman for a debt of £8 and damages of 20 marks. The defendant denied he owed the debt and offered to ‘wage his law twelve-handed’, i.e. to get twelve men of substance to testify to his honesty. Such an apparently straightforward way of getting out of a debt is used rarely, and it is always enjoined upon his attorney that the defendant must appear in person,35 as here, on 21 April 1510:36   Read more

Note on fictitious names:37   Read more

1510: Also in Hilary term (1 Henry VIII) John Broket made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against a Gentleman, an Esquire and 3 Yeomen, for debts of £8 13s 4d, 100s, 4 marks, 40s and 40s respectively, which he alleged they owed him. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the sheriff in Hertfordshire to take them and bring them to court on 21 Apr 1510:38   Read more


1510: Again in Hilary term (1 Henry VIII) John Broket made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against 4 Yeomen, for debts of 100s, £4, 40s and 40s respectively, which he alleged they owed him. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the sheriff in Essex to take them and bring them to court on 21 Apr 1510:39   Read more

1511: Richard FYSSHER and Elizabeth his wife sold 300 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow, 200 acres of pasture and 200 acres of wood with appurtenances in Bishops Hatfield, Willian and Diggeswell to John Broket senior esquire, John Broket junior, Richard Druell, Edward Broket, Alfred FitzJames and John Maurice for £100, warranting them against John the Abbot of Westminster and his successors for ever.40 This may have been connected to a case brought between 1480-1500 by by Richard Battaille, cousin of Dame Elizabeth Brockett widow against Richard Fyssher Esquire.

1512: In Easter term (3 Henry VIII) John Boket, alias Broket, esquire sheriff [sic] of Hertfordshire made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against 3 Yeomen and a Husbandman, for a debt of £40, which he alleged they owed him. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the sheriff in Hertfordshire to take them and bring them to court on 20 Jun 1512:41   Read more


1512: Again in Easter term (3 Henry VIII) John Broket esquire late sheriff of Hertfordshire made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against a Widow, a Yeomen and a Labourer, and a Yeoman for debts of 100s, 40s and 60s respectively which he alleged they owed him. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the sheriff in Hertfordshire to take them and bring them to court on 20 Jun 1512:43   Read more

1522-3: In the Abbott of Westminster’s complaints of his poaching and diverting watercourses,44 i.e. challenging the Abbey’s authority over common rights, John was called ‘of Brocket Hall‘—the first to be so called in Hertfordshire. He probably built or at least extended it.

1525: Feoffment to uses.45

1527: In Trinity term (19 Henry VIII) John Broket Esq made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster against John Abbot of the monastery of St Peter of Westminster [Westminster Abbey] that the Abbot had taken 10 cows of his from a place called Robbes and 12 bullocks of his from a place called Barnardes, both in Hendon, and claimed damages of £20. This was John Brocket senior d 1532, not his son John  who had died in 1526, nor his grandson John (later Sir John I) who would only have been c 15 in 1527.  Hendon, although historically a parish in the county of Middlesex, is currently in the Borough of Barnet, bordering Hertfordshire to the north, and on the way from London to Wheathampstead.

The Abbot acknowledged taking the animals because John Broket held 8½ acres of land in Robbes and 9 acres in Barnardes from the Abbot as of his manor of Hendon by fealty and annual rents of 8s and 10 bushels of oat malt worth 3s from one and 6s and 10 bushels of oat malt worth 3s from the other, but John Broket was 6 years in arrears for both, amounting to a debt of 48s and 60 bushels of oat malt from one and 36s and 60 bushels of oat malt from the other. John Broket could not deny these debts so the court awarded him nothing from his claim abainst the Abbot, and indeed ordered him to be fined for his false claim:46   Read more


The Brokets were the main rivals of the Abbots of Westminster in Wheathampstead from the mid 15th C.47 The Abbey were wealthy landowners, ‘the clear value of the property in 1535 amounted to the enormous sum of £3,470 0s 2¼d’. 48

1529: In Hilary term (20 Henry VIII) a writ of formedon in descendere re three messuages, 300 acres of arable land, 20 acres of meadow, 40 acres of pasture, 50 acres of wood and 40s rent with appurtenances in Codicote and Welwyn was sent to the deputy sheriff in Hertfordshire from the court of Common Pleas at Westminster concerning … 6 men, including John Brokett senior esquire, Thomas Perient esquire, and William Poulter:49   Read more


1530-1: Sheriff of Essex and Herts

John’s Will, written 5 Sep, pr 6 Nov 153250

John’s Will was the last pre-Reformation Broket will. Daughters would all have previously been provided for; mention is made only of grandson John, son Edward and the other children of son John. With the latter, primogeniture came into play in that if any of them should die, half their portion was to go to John the eldest and half divided amongst the rest (ll 34-7):    Read more

For tithes and offerings forgotten and negligently paid he bequeathed the following sums to the high altar of:

  1. the church of Wheathampstead 6s 8d
  2. the church of Sandridge 3s 4d
  3. the church of Saint Ippollitts 3s 4d.

Inquisitions on his death

John held land in chief in Hertfordshire and Yorkshire, so two Inquisitions Post Mortem were held. Compare the Hertfordshire 1488 IPM of father Edward. Not mentioned in the IPM, John’s Yorkshire lands included the main Appleton manor descended down the eldest line till sold by Sir John II in 1565. Meanwhile descendants of his uncle Robert occupied it as local lords in Appleton.

In Hertfordshire:

Inquisition indentate taken at Stevenage in the aforesaid county of Hertford the 11th day of November in the 24th year of the reign of the now king Henry VIII [1532]51   Read more

In Yorkshire:

Inquisition indentate taken at Selby in the county aforesaid the 12th day of September in the 25th year of the reign of king Henry VIII [1533]52    Read more

Page Last Updated: June 4, 2019

Footnotes

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

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[1] TNA CP40/888; Clutterbuck 1827 vol 3 pp 517-8.

[2] PCC PROB 11/8, proved 24 Jul 1487

[3] PROB 2_731 and PROB 2_17. No other daughters were mentioned here either.

[4] knop: NSOED '...a small rounded (esp. ornamental) protuberance...”', to pounce: NSOD '...emboss (plate or other metalwork) by raising the surface with blows struck on the underside...'

[5] Baker 2012 p 276 citing his IPM C142/30/18 and his Will PCC 16 Maynwaryng; d c 1521 according to Betham 1801.

[6] Baker 2012 pp 276, 366.

[7] Berry and Clutterbuck.

[8] Baker 2012 pp 365, 377.

[9] Warwickshire County Record Office CR162/469.

[10] According to Berry and Clutterbuck.

[11] According to Harley 807.

[12] Metcalfe 1886, vol 22 p 67.

[13] Baker 2012 pp 365, 921.

[14] PCC 40 Populwell; pr 12 Oct 1549.

[15] goo.gl/EVGWdF (accessed 23 May 2018).

[16] AALT at goo.gl/WY96Pn and goo.gl/zBydg3 (accessed 20 May 2018). 'The High Sheriff takes up appointment, usually in April each year ... The appointment is for one year only except in the event of something untoward happening to a High Sheriff’s expected successor, when a High Sheriff must remain in Office until the appointment of a successor is completed.' (goo.gl/T2d54U (accessed 20 May 2018).

[17] PRO Lists and Indexes, vol 9, p 45; Chauncy 1826 vol 1 p 46 mistakenly had 1507-9. Chauncy said he collected the dates from the Pipe Rolls in the Exchequer (p 42), however this would have been difficult due to “the year as reckoned at the Exchequer not corresponding either with that of the Christian era, or with the regnal year of the King (PRO Lists and Indexes, vol 9, Preface). The PRO List is the definitive record.

[18] PRO Lists and Indexes, vol 9, p 45; Chauncy 1826 vol 1 p 46 had 1496-7 and 1498-9, see previous footnote.

[19] TNA E 159/285 (22 Henry VII); AALT at goo.gl/cqHXX9 (accessed 20 May 2018). NSOED “Proffer: A provisional payment of estimated dues into the Exchequer by a sheriff or other officer at certain appointed times”. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[20] Thanks to David Bethell for this information.

[21] PRO Lists and Indexes, vol 9, p 45; Chauncy 1826 vol 1 p 47 had 1531-2 for John, see earlier footnote.

[22] Exchequer Pipe Roll 24–25 Henry VIII: Essex and Hertfordshire (TNA E 372/378); goo.gl/n3MEcg (accessed 20 May 2018). If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[23] Exchequer Pipe Roll 2–3 Edward VI: Essex and Hertfordshire (TNA E 372/394), AALT at goo.gl/A1ysRS (accessed 20 May 2018). If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[24] NSOED: oblata: “Old debts to the Exchequer remaining unpaid and put in the Sheriff’s charge.

[25] Exchequer Pipe Roll 3–4 Edward VI: Essex and Hertfordshire (TNA E 372/395), AALT at goo.gl/51mD2Y AALT5/E6/E372no395 (accessed 20 May 2018). If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[26] AALT at goo.gl/heqChJ (accessed 20 May 2018).

[27] Communication from David Bethell Feb 2017.

[28] Communication from David Bethell Feb 2017.

[29] The common pleas records are incomplete; only Hilary term cases from alternate years have been indexed by AALT.

[30] HALS DE/Td/M1—thanks to Bridget Howlett for this reference.

[31] HALS 87775—the earliest Maydencroft manor court rolls, communication from Bridget Howlett, July 2015.

[32] 1508 Hilary. TNA CP 40/983 d492. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[33] 1508 20 Jan. TNA CP 40/983 d717. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[34] goo.gl/et847T (accessed 20 May 2018) item m10 on p 208 of the Pardon Roll, pt 1.

[35] Communication from David Bethell Jul 2015.

[36] 1510 Hilary. TNA CP 40/990 f376. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[37] Kindly supplied by David Bethell July 2015.

[38] 1510 Hilary. TNA CP 40/990 f379. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[39] 1510 20 Jan. TNA CP 40/990 d331. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[40] TNA CP/25/216 or CP25/2/16.

[41] 1512 20 Jun. TNA CP 40/999 m372a. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[42] Communication from David Bethell 28 Aug 2017.

[43] 1512 20 Jun. TNA CP 40/999 m372b. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[44] WAM 8967, 14079; Munby 1974 pp 59-60.

[45] HALS 26948.

[46] 1527 Trinity. TNA CP 40/1055 f887. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[47] Munby 1974 p 50.

[48] goo.gl/GWzZgd (accessed 20 May 2018).

[49] 1529 Hilary. TNA CP 40/1060 f5673. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[50] PCC PROB 11/24.

[51] C 142/54/29. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[52] TNA E 150/233A/15. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.