Thomas Broket of Wheathampstead - The Broket Archive

Thomas Broket of Wheathampstead Esq
b by 1396 d 1477

Thomas probably spent his childhood in Appleton in Bolton Percy, Yorkshire. As a young teenager he would have been sent for schooling to London—probably Westminster where from 1398 his father worked as an attorney and from 1410 as Remembrancer to the Treasurer. A senior Justice of the Peace himself later, Thomas must have had good early schooling.

Contents of this page:

  1. 1419-22
  2. Marriage
  3. Member of Parliament
  4. Manors
  5. Pleas and legal work
  6. Inquisitions on his death

The plentiful surviving records of Thomas Broket of Appleton, Yorkshire, Remembrancer to the Treasurer, and of Thomas Broket Esq of Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, from the next generation, coupled with the lack of records of another contemporary Broket family of similar standing are good indirect proof that the two were father and son. Direct proof can be found in Glover‘s Broket pedigree, and in a 1458 release by “Thomas Broket Esq, son and heir of Thomas Broket and Dionisia” of land in Nether Acaster, just across the river Ouse from Acaster Selby in Yorkshire:   Read More


As an adult this Thomas the son would have spent much of his time on the estates in Hertfordshire, largely inherited through his marriage to Elizabeth Asshe, heiress to the FitzSimon estates. A prominent Hertfordshire landowner, Thomas was one of its two knights coming to Parliament in 1435. He therefore had the title ‘Sir’ but in documents is styled ‘Esq’. He was long lived, like his brother Edward, and probably their father before them.

Thomas was a man of some standing in Hertfordshire by the 1450s, shown by a number of references to him sitting as a working Justice of the Peace.2 He may well have sat in Essex also. As a working justice he would probably have been regarded as a ‘man learned in the law’, since in one or two cases he seemed to be acting as the senior figure on the bench—indicated by the phrase that the indictment was taken ‘before Thomas Broket and his associates, justices of the king’s peace’.

1419-22

Property in Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Between 1419-22 ‘Thomas Broket the younger’ submitted a complaint to Chancery concerning 2 properties and 90 acres of land in Wycombe Buckinghamshire, some 25 miles WSW of Wheathampstead and Hatfield. It is in Anglo-Norman, so is interesting to quote in full. The right hand end was reproduced on the homepage of the earlier version of this Archive.3   Read More


The complaint was undated and addressed to the Chancellor, the Bishop of Durham. This dates it between July 23 1417 and July 6, 1424, the period of the Chancellorship of Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham.

Line 5 mentions the last of a series of journeys by the King to Normandy, refining the date to 1419-22.

  • Henry V (reigned 1413-1422) invaded Normandy in 1415, defeating the French at Agincourt.
  • His second and last invasion was 1417-19, capturing Rouen.
  • His son and successor, Henry VI, was opposed to continuing the war with France and made no Normandy incursions.

The three complainants had held the land before the last campaign to Normandy in 1417 and Thomas Broket the younger would have been at least 21 to do so. This provides a latest birth date for him of 1396. To be able at that age to co-hold a sizeable estate with three citizens of London, is fairly conclusive proof that he was the son of Thomas of Appleton near York, Remembrancer to the Treasurer in Westminster 1410-35. No other comparable land-owning Brokets are known from that time. Moreover, a later document about these properties makes the link explicitly.

This Thomas the father was probably also the son of a Thomas. But in none of the many surviving documents concerning him is he referred to as ‘the younger’. Moreover, by 1420 he was in his 50s with an adult son Thomas of his own. It is not possible that Thomas the Remembrancer was the ‘Thomas the younger’ of the document above.
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It’s possible that before he married and moved to Hertfordshire Thomas son of Thomas and Dionesia, may have spent time on the Yorkshire estates. On 10 Oct “1419 Thomas Brokett of Nunappilton”—the next township south of Appleton—was a witness to a deed concerning land in neighbouring Acaster Selby. It is not known what land he held in Nunappilton to be dubbed ‘of Nunappilton’, but Thomas the father—then Lord in Appleton—would not have been referred to as ‘of Nunappilton’.4 However, Glover gave Thomas and Dionice two sons called Thomas, and if that was correct, then this record could feasibly refer to the other one as opposed to Thomas, later of Wheathampstead.+Read More


As mentioned above, Thomas later released land in Nether Acaster—just a few miles from Nun Appleton—to John Styllyngton’s son.
His earlier ownership was referred to 25 years later in 1483 when it was given away by Robert Stillyngton:6   Read More
According to YASRS some or all of this land was called Northfeld or Northwaites.7

Marriage

Thomas married Elizabeth ASSHE, daughter and sole heiress of William Asshe, heir through marriage to half the FitzSimon estates. The date of the marriage is not known, but they are first recorded together in 1432 when Roger Megur, the new Rector of Chivesfield, presented to them as holders of the advowson.8 To marry an heiress the groom’s family had to be well established and the marriage would have required a major financial investment from Thomas’ father, made possible from his work at the Exchequer in Westminster. It was what established Thomas in Hertfordshire as lord of the FitzSimon estates.

Harley 807 gave Thomas and Elizabeth Asche 2 children: Edward who married Elizabeth Thwaites andElizabeth who married Haselrige. But these were an Elizabethan reconstruction and both were actually siblings of Thomas, rather than children. Thomas and Elizabeth Ash had no surviving issue.

Member of Parliament

Thomas was one of Hertfordshire’s 2 Knights coming to Parliament in 1435:9   Read More

Manors

Almshoe or Allmysho

A FitzSimon manor, now a farm called Almshoe Bury, lying about 3 miles south of Hitchin in Hertfordshire.10

Bengeo

Originally a FitzSimon manor and coupled with Simonside.

Brondsych

In 1477 Thomas and Elizabeth had an interest in the Manor of Brondsych and land in Fobbyng and Fang, previously owned by her first cousin John Moseley Esq.11 It passed to Elizabeth after Thomas’ death. She was the plaintiff in a case in 1480 regarding the same Manor of Brandysshe and land in Fobbing and Fange.12

Haghams

In a case from 1483-5 Thomas and Elizabeth had jointly held the Manor of Haghams and lands in Lamborne, Chigewell, Theydon Boyes, Rothyng St Botall and Stapelford Abbot.13

Herons

Thomas bought Herons 1448 from the Cressys of Rothamstead and probably then built Wheathampstead Place as its manor house.14

Simonside

Simonside was the main FitzSimon manor15 and Thomas’ principal inheritance from his marriage to Elizabeth Ash. It included Waterships, later called Brocket Hall.

St Clere and East Tilbury16

Edward was named as Thomas’ heir in the manors of St Clere and East Tilbury.17 The IPM into Thomas’ Essex lands held in chief in 1477 listed East and West Tilbury, Fenge (i.e. Vang), Fobbing, Corringham and Stanford le Hope.18

Thebrigge

Originally a FitzSimon manor, Thomas and Elizabeth bought Thebrigg with the manors of Symondeshide and Bengeo in May 1438 from Nicholas Girlington and Richard Weltden.19 If Thomas and Elizabeth had no issue it would remain to Elizabeth’s heirs (ll 11-13). After Thomas’ death Elizabeth granted Thebrigg to Richard Pigot, Edward Brockett and others (her IPM) and by 1532 it was in John of Swaffham Bulbeck’s possession (his IPM), from whom it passed to his grandson Sir John I.

Pleas and legal work

1450: On 14 Jun 1450 Thomas Broket, representing himself, made a plea at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster against William Chave of Kympton, Wheelwright, and William Elnore late of Bishop’s Hatfeld, Milner, for debts of 8 marks and 40s respectively, which he alleged they owed him. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the Hertfordshire sheriff to pursue them and take them and bring them to court on 27 Jan 1451:20   Read More


1450: In the Trinity term of 1450 William Venour, Thomas Broket and Thomas Bensewe made a plea at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster against Richard Pratte of Stopysley in county Bedford Husbandman and William Saunder of Northmymmes in the same county Loder, alleging that they forcibly broke into a close of theirs at Great Offley, and reaped their corn to the value of £10. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the Hertfordshire sheriff to take them and bring them to court on 13 Oct 1450:21   Read More
Thomas therefore held land in Great Offley at this time, where later generations of the clan farmed.

1455: Thomas was one of 3 Justices of the Peace presiding over a Court of Common Pleas case on 9 January 1455 at Hitchin concerning Assault, Breach of Statute and Taking of goods at North Mimms. The other two JPs were Ralph Grey and Robert Knolles—see also their 1460 pleas below regarding their right to the manor of Northmymmes.22   Read More


1460: In the Hilary term of 1460 Thomas Broket Esquire, Edmund Peryent Esquire and Ralph Grey made a series of pleas at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster against Robert Knolles esquire regarding their right to the manor of Northmymmes. The court reinstated the plaintiffs’ right to the manor:23   Read More
Notes: a writ of the lord king de recto precipe in capite = …

1465-8: Thomas was presiding Justice of the Peace over a series of cases in 1465-6 where Richard Wayte ‘mynstrel’ was accused of aiding and abetting the murderers of John Warner, as well as stealing the parish plate of Braughing from the house of the parish wardens.24 Richard escaped from Hertford gaol with a fellow convict, a woman who was awaiting trial for murder having pleaded her belly to delay the process against her. The original indictments also survive25 probably because the crown was anxious to follow up an escape from the royal prison and called the JP’s record into the King’s Bench for examination.26

In 1468 he presided over a group of JPs assessing aliens for tax in Hertfordshire and Essex. Here is a translation of the Hertfordshire inquisition:27   Read More

Inquisitions on Thomas’ death

Thomas and Elizabeth were probably buried in the Brocket Chapel, Wheathampstead. Thomas’ Will is lost.28

There were two separate IPMs on his death in 1477,29 one each for his land held direct from the king in Essex (pdf file) and Hertfordshire (pdf file). Compare the IPMs of wife Elizabeth (pdf file) and brother Edward (pdf file).

The Essex one was was held at Stratford Langthorn in the county of Essex on 31 Oct 1477 (“vltimo die Octobris Anno regni Regis Edwardi quarti decimo septimo”), and at the end it said he died on 22 May that year: “the Thursday next before the feast of Pentecost last past” (obijt die Iouis proximo Ante festum pentecost vltimo preterito).

The Essex one mentioned land in East Tilbury, West Tilbury, Feng, Fobbyng, Coryngham and Stanford in le Hope.30 The Hertfordshire one mentioned 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.

No inquisition is recorded for Thomas from Yorkshire, nor for brother Edward.

Page Last Updated: December 12, 2018

Footnotes

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

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[1] Brown 1907 p 5; M J Harrison 2003 p 21

[2] KB9 Ancient Indictments

[3] TNA C1/5. D M Smith (1984) was useful for deciphering C1/5, especially his no 5, an Inventory from 1403. Line numbers have been added for ease of comparison between versions.

[4] Communication from Marjorie Harrison, historian of Appleton

[5] Hall 1914 p 24 no 256; M J Harrison 2003 p 20

[6] TNA C54/336 no 116 (Calendar of Close Rolls1476-85 pp 342-3 summarised); Rotuli Parliamentorum vi pp 256-7; M J Harrison 2003 p 33.

[7] vol 33 p 90

[8] Chauncy 1826 vol 2 p 125

[9] 1436 Calendar of Fine Rolls pp 282, 290

[10] Chauncy 1826 vol 2 p 183; VCH Herts vol 3 p 26; Rance pp 85ff

[11] TNA C1/51/12 at goo.gl/nkAGnJ and the following four scans (accessed 4 Oct 2018).

[12] TNA C1/54/379 at goo.gl/BdqXaJ and the following two scans (accessed 4 Oct 2018).

[13] TNA C1/66/400

[14] Munby 1974 pp 61-2

[15] Chauncy 1826 vol 2 p 16

[16] TNA CP25/1/72/288 no 96

[17] Morant 1763-8 vol 1 p 234

[18] TNA C140/62; Calendarium vol 4 p 385

[19] TNA CP25/1/91/113; VCH vol 2 p 434 n 32

[20] TNA CP 40/758 f483. Trinity term 28 Henry VI. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[21] TNA CP 40/758 f498. Trinity 28 Henry VI. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[22] TNA CP 40/799 from Michaelmas 1460, rot. 337d. Source: Jonathan Mackman and Matthew Stevens, goo.gl/Q5EmvQ (accessed 12 Aug 2018), originally published by Centre for Metropolitan History, London, 2010.

[23] TNA CP 40/796. Hilary 38 Henry VI. If you require a transcription of the original Latin, please contact the Archivist of this website.

[24] Calendar of Patent Rolls 1461-7, pp 455-6

[25] TNA KB9/308 mm 11, 12

[26] Communication from Neil Coates 2003

[27] TNA E 179/235/115

[28] VCH Herts vol 3 p 26

[29] TNA C140/62

[30] Lines 10-12.