Sir John Brockett III wife children Duncannon Fort Virginia Company

Sir John Brokett III
of Mackary End and Ireland
c 1562-1613

Signature of Sir John Brockett III 1601

John’s signature 1601

Contents of this page:

1. Introduction
2. Wife and children
3. Ireland
4. Other records


Son of Nicholas Esq and Margaret HOO, John grew up at Mackery End House1 as the only child of the Manor. He held it all his life.

Mackerye End House Wheathampstead

Mackery End House in the 19th C

The main structure of the house today is still Elizabethan, and the tulip tree in the gardens—originally one of a pair—was planted at that time and is now one of the finest in the country.”2

Mackery End Tulip Tree

Some time after 1585 John erected the memorial on the wall of the north transept in Wheathampstead Church in memory of John Heyworth, who had adopted John’s mother as his heir.

After being knighted 1599 in Ireland Sir John Brockett began a military career there as Commander of the Fort of Duncannon. But allegations of counterfeiting coins there—whether true or false—cut it short before 1606. His life ended in obscurity compared to the first and second Sir Johns—no Will or IPM has been found.—and his male line apparently died out. John was baptised in St Helen’s Wheathampstead Jan 14 1562 and buried there 20 Sep 1613 aged about 51.3 His arms were recorded in Burke’s General Armory, but there was no memorial to him in the Church. Recorders of the Wheathampstead dynasty did not refer to him as Sir, nor therefore the 1860 Gateshead Pedigree. Glover, Clutterbuck and Berry did not even include him on their pedigrees.

Wife and children

Married Mary, daughter of Thomas SNAGG, a Sergeant at Law—the highest rank of barrister.4 Thomas SNAGG was Speaker of the House in 1589.5 John and Mary had four children:

  1. Margaret, bap 29 Apr 1582.6 Married first Roger DALE Esq who died 15 Dec 1623. Married second Sir Francis LEIGH who died 1 Aug 1625. Married third Thomas LEVETT Esq. She died 1648.
  2. John ‘of Caswell’, bap 24 Jul 1583.7
  3. Thomas, bap 8 Oct 1584.8 Thomas sold Mackary End in 1628 to Thomas LEVETT Esq, perhaps by then his sister Margaret’s new husband, see the separate page. He was probably the Thomas Brockitt of St Albans Gent who married Elizabeth PILKYNGTON of the same, Widow, by marriage licence from the Archdeaconry of St Albans 7 Apr 1608,9 in another entry: “Mr Thomas Brocket gent’ and Mrs Elizabeth Pilkinton widow were maried the 7 day [April 1608]”.10 Alternatively, that was Thomas son of Nicholas of Willingale. He was also probably the gentleman Thomas recorded in 1623-4 as an Adventurer of the Virginia Company.11 His father had invested in the Virginia Company between 1609-1613 and acquired land in Virginia.
  4. Ann, bap 2 Mar 1585, bur 22 Mar 1586.12

Ireland 1599-1605

1599 31 Aug: Knighted by the Earl of Essex, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.13

1601 23 Jun: First mention as Warden of Duncannon Castle,14 in charge of a lieutenant, a canonier and 30 warders. This year a William Brockett carried letters from the Privy Council to Sussex to muster horsemen to fight the Spanish army which had landed in the South of Ireland.

1601: John wrote various letters to Secretary Cecil concerning, among other things, movement of coin out of southern Ireland.15 This one from Dublin on 23 June 1601 is in his own hand with his signature.16

Sir John Brokett to Sir Robert Cecil Dublin 23 June 1601

Transcription: +Read more

1602 23 Dec: Sir George Carew to Secretary Cecil, “…I recommend Brocket strongly… I think that he has been wronged…”17

1603 5 Apr: Sir John was interrogated about various events surrounding the alledged counterfeiting of coins in Duncannon Fort. For example, why did he imprison two goldsmiths in the fort? How did he come to have certain instruments in his desk? Did he melt divers Spanish pieces?18 Son John, Lieutenant, was implicated but not younger son Thomas.19

1605: After this year Sir John was no longer in command of the Fort of Duncannon.

Other records

1588 John Brockett of Mackerells End is said to have received £1100 for the sale of the lease of the Manor of Totteridge to Richard Pecock of Fynchold, Middlesex. But John was not the true owner according to a suit brought by Richard Pecock.20

1598 Bearer of one of the 2 standards at the heraldic funeral of Sir John II in St Etheldreda’s Hatfield.

Between 1609-1613, during Sir Thos Smyth’s treasurership, John invested in the Virginia Company and acquired land in Virginia. By 1613 at the latest it was owned by his son John.21

Page Last Updated: October 9, 2022


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


[1] Image of his signature above from TNA SP 63/208/3 f102, letter of Sir John Brokett to Sir Robert Cecil, dated June 23 1601. Reproduced by kind permission of the National Archives licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. Image below taken from 'Wheathampstead with Harpenden: Manors', in A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1908), pp. 297-309. British History Online: 24 October 2017.

[2] (accessed 14 Oct 2017) Thanks to for giving permission to reproduce it here.

[3] Parish Register, as recorded by Gough in the Bodleian Manuscript Gough Herts. 4, pp 1 and 11 (fols. 138r and 140r).

[4] Visitation of Herts.

[5] History of Parliament online.

[6] Wheathampstead Parish Records.

[7] Wheathampstead Parish Records.

[8] Wheathampstead Parish Records.

[9] Brigg 1895 p 49.

[10] Image of St Albans register accessed from FMP Record set: Hertfordshire Banns & Marriages, accessed 29 Aug 2020.

[11] Kinsbury 1906- vol 4 p 366.

[12] Wheathampstead Parish Records.

[13] Shaw 1906 vol 2 p 97

[14] Calendar of State Papers for Ireland, p 16.

[15] Calendar of State Papers for Ireland, pp 396-450.

[16] TNA SP 63/208/3 f102. Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland, of the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth, 1509-1603. Vol. 10: Nov 1600-31 July 1601, p 396. The letter and signature at the top of this webpage are reproduced by kind permission of the National Archives licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

[17] Calendar of State Papers for Ireland, pp 535-6.

[18] Calendar of State Papers for Ireland, pp 9-10.

[19] Calendar of State Papers for Ireland, p 578.

[20] TNA C3/228/2.

[21] Nugent 1934- vol 1 p 110; Virginia State Land Office Patents No. 1, 1623-1643 (v.1 & 2), p. 653 (Reel 1).

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