Edward Esq/Gent son of Edward of Letchworth
Edward’s signature in 1562:1
Possibly born c 1515-17, Edward would have enjoyed a certain status in society as eldest son of the Sheriff of Herts and Essex—1547, 54, 55. He gained special admission to Lincoln’s Inn 1544, probably through influence from his father, and was called to the bar 1560. But Edward became embroiled in financial problems, ending up an outlaw and then in prison in the late 1560s—pardoned 1569. His sister Lucie gave bequests to most of her brothers and sisters and their children in her Will of 1569, but not to Edward nor his wife nor daughter.
Edward was buried in his local parish church of Cottered, Hertfordshire, 8 Jan 1583/4, as plain Edward’ Brocket:2
Edward married Ellen daughter of William BELFELD.3 As eldest son, this would have been a strategic move by his father. The 1860 Gateshead Pedigree mistakenly made Edward son of William, his younger brother, and misspelt Ellen’s surname Bolfield. Ellen died 10 years after Edward, and was buried 5 Aug 1593 in Cottered, Herts, like him:4
- Mary, married Richard BARDOLFE Esq, heir to Bardolf of St Michaels and had issue.5
- Joanna, buried Cottered 12 Apr 1560.6.
in 1569 Lucie—Edward’s sister—left a bequest to a nephew Edward, probably b c 1555. If she used the term in its modern sense, then he was most likely the son of either of her brothers Thomas or John. It is clear from the 1583 case brought against Richard Bardolfe by William Brokett that Edward and Mary only had daughters, both in 1559 and 1583.7 The Cottered Parish Register of burials began in 1558, and of baptisms in 1563, and only show the 3 Broket events displayed on this page: the burials of Joanna, Edward and Hellena.8
The copy of the Will of Edward Brockett senior, proved in the PCC, written 31 Jul 1558, named his sons William and John as his executors. However, as mentioned in the case brought against Edward by the executors of William Broket of Hitchin, “a certayn agrement was vppon good consideracions had and made betwene [eldest son Edward jnr] and his brethren beinge executors of the said last will”,9 and Edward jnr took upon himself the execution of the Will.10
In the case Edward brought in … against Milicent Stane, he held up a document stating …. Probate of Wills and Administrations occurring during a vacancy—Sede vacante—were proved by the Dean and Chapter down in Canterbury itself, however there is no record of one being proved there then for any Brokets.11 Moreover, the vacancy was actually between … and … Another irregularity concerns the date of Edward senr’s death … Furthemore, in the probate of the Will by son William xx years later, once Edward jnr had died, says …
The whole business seems suspect, especially when coupled with Edward’s outlawry…
“Pardon of outlawry for Edward Brokett late of Letchworth, Co. Hertford, administrator of Edward Brokett late of Letchworth, deceased intestate, who was put in exigent in the Husting of London for non-appearance in the Common Pleas to satisfy William Nicolles of Eaton [Ecton], Co. Northampton, and Thomas Nicolles of the Middle Temple, London, in respect of a debt of 100 marks, and £4 4s 4d damages, recovered in the said Court and has now surrendered himself to the Fleet Prison“.12
- To be put in exigent meant to receive a sheriff’s summons to appear and answer to a complaint, or else be declared an outlaw.
- The Husting was the oldest and highest court in the City of London.
- The Court of Common Pleas—or ‘the bench’ as in l 3 below—was the highest court for civil actions at law brought by one subject against another, as opposed to Pleas of the Crown, where the Crown had a financial interest.
- 100 marks was £66 13s 4d.
- No Fleet records survive before 1690.
- It isn’t yet known why William and Thomas Nicolles sued Edward for debt. But it seems too much of a coincidence that since about 1559 Robert Nicholles and John Gaddesden, executors of William Brockett I of Hitchin, had been doing the same, and a judgment was reached on 30 Jan 1566 ordering Edward to pay them £90, with a first instalment at Easter 1556.13 The natural conclusion is that the Nicolles at least, if not their suits, were connected. But a connection between Robert and William and Thomas hasn’t yet been found.
|1. Regina Omnibus Balliuis et fidelibus suis ad quos etcetera salutem . Sciatis quod cum Willelmus
2. Nicolles de Eaton’15 in Comitatu Northampton’ et Thomas Nicolles de medio templo London’
3. nuper in Curia nostra coram Iusticiarijs nostris de banco […. …. ….] recuperauerunt versus
4. Edwardum Brokett nuper de Lechworth in Comitatu Hertford Generosum Administratorem
5. bonorum et catallorum que fuerunt Edwardi Brokett Armigeri nuper dicti Edwardi
6. Brokett de Lecheworth in Comitatis Hertford Armigeri qui obijt intestatus vt dicitur tam quoddam debitum
7. Centum marcarum quam quatuor libras quatuor solidos et quatuor denarios qui eisdem Willelmo
8. et Thome in eadem Curia nostra adiudicati fuerunt pro dampnis suis que habuerunt occasione
10. coram prefatis’ Iusticiarijs nostris prefatos Willelmum et Thomam secundum legem et consuetudinem
11. regni nostri Anglie inde satisfaciendo in exigend positus fuisset in Hustingo nostro Londoniensi
12. ad vtlagandum et ea occasione postmodum vtlagatus sicut per tenorem recordi et processus
13. vtlagarie predicte quem coram nobis in Cancellaria nostra venire fecimus plene liquet
14. Iamque idem Edwardus se reddidit prisone nostre de Flete occasione predicta et in eadem
15. moretur sicut dilectus et fidelis noster Iacobus Dyer miles Capitalis Iusticiarius noster de
16. banco predicto in Cancellariam nostram predictam ad mandatum nostrum certificauit . Nos pietate
17. moti perdonauimus eidem Edwardo vtlagariam predictam et firmam pacem nostram ei
18. inde concedimus Ita tamen quod stet rectus in Curia nostra si predicti Willelmus et Thomas versus eum
19. loqui voluerint de debito et dampnis supradictis . In cuius rei etcetera Teste Regina apud Westmonasterium secundo die
20. Iulij .
|1. The Queen to all her bailiffs and faithful men to whom etc. [these present letters shall arrive, gives] Greetings! You are to know that since William
2. Nicolles of Ecton, Co Northants and Thomas Nicolles of the Middle Temple of London
3. recently in our Court in the presence of our justices of the bench had a judgment in their favour against
4. Edward Brokett late of Letchworth, Co Herts Gentleman, administrator
5. of the goods and chattels that used to belong to Edward Brokett Esquire late of the said Edward
6. Brokett late of Letchworth Co Herts Esquire [repetition] who died intestate as it is said both a certain debt
7. of a hundred marks and four pounds four shillings & four pence which were adjudged to the same William
8. and Thomas in our same Court for their damages which they suffered on the occasion
9. of the non payment of the said debt And the same Edward because he did not come in our same Court
10. in the presence of our justices the said William and Thomas according to the law and custom
11. of our realm of England for not satisfying in that respect was put in exigent in our Husting of London
12. for the purpose of making [him] an outlaw & for that reason later on was declared an outlaw as per the tenor of the record and process
13. of outlawry aforesaid which we have abundantly clearly caused to come into our presence in our Chancery
14. And now the same Edward has offered himself up to our prison of Fleet because of the aforesaid events & in the same
15. he is to stay [or ‘let hiim stay’] as our beloved and faithful James Dyer, knight, our Chief Justice
16. of the said bench in our aforesaid Chancery according to our order has certified. We, by pity
17. moved, have pardoned the same Edward the aforesaid outlawry & our firm peace to him
18. in respect thereof we do grant On condition that he shall stand upright in our Court if the aforesaid William and Thomas against him
19. shall wish to speak about the debts and the abovesaid damages. In [witness] of which etc. the Queen being witness at Westminster 2
A draft of the Common Pleas action brought against Edward by William Nicolls of Ecton, Northamptonshire, and his son Thomas Nicolls (d 1568) of the Middle Temple, London, ordered Edward to pay 100 marks plus damages (£70 17s 8d) on 28 April 1566:16Read more
The Will of Thomas Nicolls, Gentleman of Pichelye, Northamptonshire, was written 20 Mar 1568 proved 22 October 1568.17 Pytchley is c 7 m N of Ecton, which is c 5 m NE of Northampton. Thomas was a Member of Parliament 1553, “It is not known whether Northamptonshire was Thomas Nicolls’s native or adopted county. His father [William Nicolls of Great Billing and Ecton], who was born about 1480, came from the north of England and only settled in that county towards the end of his life, perhaps after his son had married into a Northamptonshire family and had begun to purchase land there. Nicolls entered the Middle Temple, established a reputation for himself and achieved high rank within the inn before his early death.”18 A Will of the father William Nichols hasn’t yet been found.
Edward was bequeathed Bradfield/Broadfield manor in his father’s Will of 1558. It was entailed: after his heirs male it was to go to brother William and his and so on, but the Will was not proved until 1584 once this Edward the son had died. Beforehand, partly perhaps because Edward the son had no heirs male and/or because he had debts, various arrangements had been put in place, with the result that Edward Pulter gained an interest in the manor along with Edward the son’s widow Ellen. Edward and Ellen Brockett did have a surviving daughter, Mary, who had married Richard Bardolf, and in due course Richard Bardolf also gained an interest with Ellen. These two made attempts to sell their interest to Edward Pulter. Apparently he then held it solely from 1592. This is an oversimplification but the surviving records, primary and secondary, do not present a complete sequence of what happened when, let alone why. Following are three sources so far found:
4.2. The Victoria County History
4.3. Chancery hearings
Edward and his wife continued to reside at the manor until they died.
“This Edward Brocket died, Ellen surviving, whereupon his Executors conveyed this Mannor to the said Ellen, and Richard Bardolf the younger of Harpeden in this County, Gent.
“Which Ellen Brocket, Widow, and Richard Bardolf, by Deed dated the 5th of May, An. 34 Eliz.  convey’d the same to Edward Pulter of Codred …
“Queen Elizabeth by Letters, Patents dated at Westminster, Febr. 15th, 30 Regni sui , demised the same to Ellen Brocket Widow, to hold from the Feast of St. Michael then last past for twenty one Years, reserving to the Crown 3s. 4d. to be paid at the Annunciation of the Virgin mary, and St. Michael the Archangel.”19
2. Chauncy gave no date for the first deed, the effect of which was that the right to this entailed property was transferred (i.e. recovered) from the father’s heirs—in particular from eldest son Edward—to John and Ellen of Brocket Hall and their heirs. This would have been for some consideration paid (i.e. suffered) by John and Ellen of Brocket Hall, George Horsey and Thomas Docwra to John Brocket of Stow Longa—and/or perhaps to his brother Edward.
3. John Brocket of Stow Longa was the youngest brother of Edward Brocket of Bradfeild, Gent, and co-executor of his father’s Will with brother William. Although the Will wasn’t proved till 1584, once Edward had died, John must have had the authority to change his elder brother Edward’s sole right of ownership of Bradfield to one of life use. Might this have been during the period leading up to Edward’s outlawry in 1569 and a move to prevent Edward breaking the tail himself and selling the manor to pay debts?
4. Edward Brocket of Bradfeild Gent had executors, but neither a Will nor administration has been found.
5. Chauncy didn’t mention—unlike the VCH account below—that John and Ellen of Brocket Hall transferred their interest to Edward Pulter in 1580, before the death of Edward the son. He only mentioned that Edward’s Widow Ellen Brocket and Richard Bardolf transferred theirs.
6. Edward Pulter of Codered and Bradfield and great great grandson of John Pulter, friend of Edward Broket of Wheathampstead, was Sheriff of Herts 1586-7.20 He was Sir John of Brockett Hall’s 3rd cousin and brother-in-law.
7. The letters patents of Elizabeth of 1589 have not been found, nor the 1592 deed.
8. Using Feet of Fine the VCH account below presented a simpler and different account to Chauncy, but the end is the same.
4.2. The VCH account
4.3. Chancery Decrees and Orders24
Brockett v Powlter 1586-9: Seven hearings have been found in this case, but the original order of 1582 hasn’t. In each hearing, except the 1st, the Plaintiff was Ellen/Helene Brockett widow. In each one except the 7th the Defendant was Edward Powlter Esq. In the 7th he was joined by Julian Cotton widow. In the 1st hearing the Plaintiff was William Brocket Esq. This would have been Ellen’s eldest brother-in-law, William Broket of Essendon, who in most records was styled ‘Gent’, but there was no other William Broket Esq at the time.Read more
“Forasmuche as the defendant hathe not made answere accordinge to the former order Therefore attachment ys awarded agaynst the defendant to the sherif of Hertford r’ tres’ Trinits”
Comment: This means a writ of attachment was sent to the sheriff, commanding him to visit the defendant, and ‘attach’ him. r’ tres’ Trinits means “returnable three weeks from Trinity (19 June 1586)”. Although this was almost a year before Hearing 2 it has been assumed that it is the same case, pled on her behalf by Ellen’s eldest brother-in-law. It mentions the former order which has not yet been located.
Hearing 2:27 [4 May] 1587 — Helene Brocket wid pl Powlter esq def
“The defendant made othe that he cannot make answere to the plaintiff’s bill without the sight of certen evidences and wrightynges which are in the country therefore he ys respected28 to make his answeres till Cr’o trints Hubbard”
Comment: Helene must have submitted a Bill of Complaint. It hasn’t been found in TNA’s online catalogue of Chancery cases. Cr’o trints means “the morrow of Trinity (12 June 1587)”. Hubbard was the attorney.
Hearing 3:29 [17 Jun] 1587 — Ellen Brocket wid pl Edward Powlter def
“Forasmuche as the defendant hathe not made answere accordinge to the former order Therefore an attachment ys awarded agaynst the defendant to the sherif of Midd’ r’ xva trints”
Comment: It was sent to the sheriff of Middlesex this time because the plaintiff’s assumption must have been that the defendant lived or had property in Middlesex. r’ xva trints means “returnable the quindene of Trinity (25 June 1587)”.
Hearing 4:30 [11 Oct] 1587 — Brocket wid pl Powlter def
“Tres’ and mens’ Mich’is are two daies geven to the said parties to produce their witnesses by assent of the[ir] attorneyes Cordell and Hubbard”
Comment: Tres’ and mens’ Mich’is means “three weeks and a month from Michaelmas (20 and 27 October)”. Cordell and Hubbard were the attorneys of Brocket and Powlter respectively.
Hearing 5:31 [22 Feb] 1588 — Brocket widow pl Powlter defend
“If the defendant shewe no cawse for stay of publicacion by xva hill next then publicacion ys graunted.”
Comment: xva hill means “the quindene of Hilary”. Publication: “When witnesses were called upon to give evidence, they were examined separately under oath not directly by the court, but by a commission in the country, or by one of the masters of the court. The opposing party’s attorneys or solicitors could attend, and might put in questions to be answered. In this way much of the evidence was prepared outside the court. Judgment by the court could then be made, but first a date for ‘publication’ given to the parties concerned allowing them to bring in further evidence, make objections, &c. to renew the suit. So you get an order, that if nothing to the contrary is offered, publication will take place on a particular date.”32
Hearing 6:33 [19 Oct] 1588 — Ellene Brocket wid pl Edw: Powlter esq def
“Forasmuche as vpon the hearinge and longe debating of the matters in question betwene the said partyes It appeared unto this court that there was an order taken and sett downe towchinge the matters nowe in question the fyrst daye of october in the 24th year of her Majesties Raigne (1582) by Sir Thomas Bromley Knight late Lord Chauncelor of Ingland betwene Edward Brocket gentleman since deceassed and the said nowe plaintiff beinge then his wyfe and Richard Bardolf and Mary his wyfe of the one parte and the said Edward Powlter the nowe defendant on the other parte by and with the assent of all the said partyes And because bothe partyes are nowe content that the trewe meanynge of the said artycles be performed and where by the fyrst of the artycles sett downe as aforesaid A fyne was appoynted to be levyed / at the charge of the defendant by the said Edward Brocket and the said nowe plaintiff beinge then his wyfe and by the said Richard Bardolf and Mary his wyfe of the mannor of Bradfyld in the county of Hertford and of all theire landes in Bradfyld Cotterett and Rushden in the said county unto the defendant and unto Sir John Brocket Knight By which fyne the defendant and the said Sir John Brocket should Render the premisses agayne unto the said Edwarde Brocket and Helene his wyfe of lyke estate as they then had the same It ys therefore nowe ordered That in case the said fyne be not alredy levyed accordingly And that the defendant will request suche a fyne ) The same shall by oct martin next be levyed by the said plaintiff and the said Richard Bardolf & his wyfe of the premisses at the charges of the defendant unto the said Defendant and the said Sir John Brocket yf the said defendant doe Requyre the same Whereupon the defendant and the said Sir John Brocket shall render the same back agayne to the plaintiff of lyke estate as shee had the same at that tyme of the said artycles sett downe And yt ys also ordered according to two other clauses conteyned in the said artycles That the said Bardolf and the plaintiff shall before the said oct martin next become bounden to the defendant by obligacion in the some of £400 with condycion to save harmles the said defendant his heyres and assignes of all bondes and matters of Recorde wherein the said Edwarde Brocket did stande bounden or charged at the tyme of the said Artycles sett downe And yf at the tyme of the puttinge in of the same bond to the defendant he and defendant shall at the costes and charges of the plaintiff doe and suffer all suche reasonable actes for the discharge of the execucion of the Recognizaunce of £400 in controversy and for the causing of A vacat to be made thereupon As by the plaintiffs councell and at her costes and charges shalbe reasonably devysed And in the meane tyme untill the said oct martin That yt may be seene whether this order shalbe performed according to the sens and trewe meanynge thereof or not no advantage shall be taken by force or Reason of that execucion.”
Comment: oct martin next means “by the octaves of Martinmas next (18 November)”. “A recognizance is a formal acknowledgement in court of a debt owed. The vacat is when the recognizance is cancelled on payment. Clearly you do not want the recognizance to remain on the register if the money has been paid or the conditions of the bond fulfilled, hence the need for an order for not only recognizance but vacat.”34 The legal tangle set out in this 6th hearing explains why the patent grant of 15 Feb 1588 demising Bradfield manor to Ellen Brocket Widow, mentioned above by Chauncy, failed to resolve the title.
Summary of hearing 6: The court refers to an agreement of 1 Oct 1582 between Edward Brocket gentleman and his wife Helene (now a widow and the current plaintiff) and Richard Bardolf and Mary his wife (daughter of the current plaintiff) and between Edward Powlter the current defendant. At that time a fine was drawn up by Edward and Helene and Richard and Mary Bardolf of the manor of Bradfyld and other land roundabout in favour of the defendant and Sir John Brocket, according to which the defendant and Sir John Brocket should give the estate back to Edward and Helene and Richard and Mary Bardolf as it had been. This court therefore now ordered that if the fine had not already been levied (submitted) the defendant should request (and pay for) it by 18 Nov next from the plaintiff and Richard and Mary Bardolf in favour of the defendant and Sir John Brocket (if the latter wishes). When this is done the plaintiff will get the estate back as it had been. And according to the same agreement (articles) Bardolf and the plaintiff shall before 18 Nov next become bound to the defendant by a £400 obligation on condition to indemnify the defendant of any debts Edward Brocket may have had at the time of the Artycles. The plaintiff will pay reasonable defendant’s expenses in setting up the bond and executing the Recognizance of £400 and for causing an annulment (vacat) to be made on it.
Hearing 7:35 [1 Dec] 1589 — Helen Brocket vid pl Edw: Powlter and Julian Cotton vid def
“Forasmuche as this courte was this presente daie informed by Mr Heale beinge of the plaintiffs Councell that an order being hertofore taken that the plaintiff and one Richard Bardolphe should become bounden to the said Powlter in an obligation of £400 to discharge or save harmeles the said Powlters lands of all bondes of recorde wherein Edward Brocket the plaintiffs late husband was bounden to anye other person or persones and that thereupon a Vacate should be made upon the Recognisaunce in question knowledged by the same Edward Brocket to the father of the said Powlter, The said plaintiff could not possiblye procuer the said Bardolphe to become bounden with her in forme aforesaid wherefore the said plaintiff grew to a newe agreement with the said Powlter that he should take the plaintiffs owne bonde alone and wherunto the said Powlter agreed And yet now refusethe so to doe, The Right Honourable Sir Christopher Hatton knight of the most noble order of the garter Lorde Chancellor of Englande will vowchesafe therfore to wryghte to the said Powlter to attende his Lordship towchinge the premisses and to shew good cawse wherfore he should not take the plaintiffs owne bond alone accordinge to his the said Powlters owne agreement wherupon suche further order shalbe taken by his Lordship in the cause as shalbe then thought most agreeable withe equitie and Justice.”
Summary: The plaintiff was unable to get Bardolphe to join with her in the £400 bond, so she made a new agreement with Powlter that he should accept a bond from her alone, but now he refused to accept it. Sir Christopher Hatton was therefore to write to Powlter to attend and explain why he refused to accept a bond from her alone.
Which Edward?Read more
Despite this, with background knowledge most records can fairly safely be assigned to one or other Edward, as with the one below from 1543 concerning ‘Edward Brokett esquire’, where it has been assumed that Edward the father, who was Sheriff of Essex and Herts and Member of Parliament around that time, would not have been accused of murder. Similarly, the 1580 record of Edward Brockett’s admission to Lincoln’s Inn clearly referred to Edward of Wingaledoe and Sawbridgeworth, and the 1566-8 record of Edward Broket of Gray’s Inn Esq clearly referred to Edward of Wheathampstead Place. Occasionally, however, it is not so clear which Edward was involved and then cross references are usually given, as with the records of 1538 and 1545 below.
1538: Edward Brokett of Temple [Dinsley] Gent was accused of not repaying a debt of £40. Temple Dinsley was a hamlet in Preston, where Edward’s father held property 1541-5 at least, so it has been assumed that this record concerned him, rather than Edward his son. The same applies to the 1545 case below. However, both could feasibly have been early examples of Edward junior’s later record of indebtedness.
1543: Edward Esq made a plea at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster against Robert Harryson of Walden Abbots, Hertfordshire, Weaver, and his wife Anne that they had maliciously slandered him by accusing him of murdering John Lucy. They did not come to defend themselves and the court ordered the Hertfordshire sheriff to take them and bring them to court on 8 April 1543:36Read more
Edward Brokett esquire appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against Robert Harryson of Walden Abbots in the county aforesaid wever and Anne his wife, in a plea wherefore, whereas the same Edward has been since the time of his birth a good and faithful liegeman of the lord king, of good name and fame, and so had, called and reputed among both his neighbours and strangers, however, the aforesaid Robert and Anne, plotting to unfairly aggravate the aforesaid Edward and to injure, drag down and besmirch his name and estate, and to bring the said Edward into perturbation, vexation and infamy, falsely and maliciously, at Whethamsted, accused the same Edward of the crime of murder and the said Edward to be a murderer there, by these words which follow in the English language: “Thou hast murdryd and slayne John Lucye”, and they often repeated there the same scandalous and mendacious words, or to that effect, and like sentences, whereby the same Edward is much wounded and injured not only in his name, fame and his business, but also has been gravely fatigued and depressed by divers labours and expenses in his declaration of the truth in that matter, to the damage of the said Edward of £10 &c. And [the defendants] have not come; and it had been ordered the sheriff to attach them &c. And the sheriff now reports that [the defendants] have nothing [in his bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby they might be attached &c. Therefore let them be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [8 April 1543] &c.
The death might have occurred a year or two earlier than this 1543 Common Pleas case, in which case Edward would have possibly been in his mid 20s when the accusation was first made. It would not have been made against Edward’s father, who was Sheriff of Herts and Essex in 1547, 54, 55 and MP for Herts 1542 and 44—the years either side of this case.
Assuming that John Lucy was slain, and in Hertfordshire, the Hertfordshire assizes would have recorded the trial, but Hertfordshire Assize records only date from 1573, and the Quarter Sessions Rolls only go back to 1588. So records of a trial in Hertfordshire have not survived.Read more
But there is very little to go on in the plea, and the alledged crime might have taken place in London or Essex or elsewhere, or it might of course have been an accidental death.
1545: Edward Brokket or Brokkett formerly of Temple Dynnesley, Esquire, was accused of not repaying a debt of £20. As with the similar plea from 1538 above, it has been assumed that this record concerned Edward’s father, however it’s possible that it concerned this Edward jnr.
1546: ‘Edward Broket’ with no title was mentioned in the Manor Court proceedings of either the Manor of Limbury cum Biscot or of Lewsey-cum-Chalton in the Luton area. That Edward’s father’s principal taxable lands in 1541-5, at least, were in Preston, c 6 m NE of Luton suggests that this record concerned him, but it may have concerned this Edward.
1553: Sale of 9 acres of land and 2 of pasture in Hitchin by Edward and his father to William Frances.37
1555 27 Nov: A Chancery Order in an action brought by John Lawryng and his wife against Edward Brokett said, “The defendant hath taken othe that he cannot make aunswer for lacke of his euydence Wherupon he is respected to make answer octaves hillary”.38 The original complaint is unknown, also whether it concerned this Edward or his father.
1556: The Survey of the Manor of Hitchin located a stallage in the Market Place held by William Papworthe as south of John Smythe’s former stallage and north of Edward Broket gent’s:39
A stallage was: Read more
This stallage would probably not have been the one held by his father in 1538-1539, but the “shoppe” his father purchased in 1555. It was referred to again in a 1564 record that mentioned Edward Brokett.41
1558 Michaelmas: A Common Pleas action was brought by Ralph Astry Esq against 5 Hertfordshire men for various debts including for 60s from “Edward Brockett of [blank] in the county aforesaid junior gentleman son of Edward Brokett senior esquire”.42 Ralph Astry Esq of Harlington, Beds, was the grandson of Thomas Astrey Esq of Hitchin.43
1559 Easter: A Common Pleas action was brought by George Fisshe gentleman against “Edward Brokett gentleman [regarding] two messuages, a toft, two gardens, 80 acres of (arable) land, 13 acres of meadow, 14 acres of pasture, 9 acres of wood and 10s rent with appurtenances in Welwyn and Codycott”.44 Read more
Also in Easter 1559 George brought an almost identical suit against a Thomas Hale for another property in in Welwyn and Codycote, referring to a similar grant of 20 May 1530 and also including John Brockett junior among the trustees.46 John Brockett junior would have been the later Sir John II, his father Sir John I had died in April 1558.
George Fish failed to get the fine nullified on the grounds that the 13th of 16 proclamations was erroneously made on a Sunday. This point of law was discussed in Plowden,47 and was still being cited in case law in 1838.48
1559: By 27 April Edward’s father had died, see next item.
1559 Easter: Edward brought a Common Pleas action in Westminster against Milicent Stanes late of Stowe Longa Huntingdonshire widow, administratrix of the estate of John Stanes for £200 that he alleged she owed her father. Milicent may have been Edward’s sister. 49 Read more
And the aforesaid Milicent, by Richard Perewych her attorney, comes; and defends the force and injury when &c. and says that she cannot deny the action of the aforesaid Edward Brockett junior aforesaid nor but that the writing aforesaid is the deed of the aforesaid John nor but that she owes the aforesaid Edward Brockett junior the aforesaid £200 in form as the same Edward has stated against her above. Therefore it is considered that the aforesaid Edward Brockett junior may recover from the aforesaid Milicent his debt aforesaid and his damages by occasion of the detention of that debt, which are adjudged by the Court here at 6s 8d to the aforesaid Edward Brockett junior, with his assent, to be raised from the goods and chattels that were of the said John at the time of his death and are now in the hands of the aforesaid Milicent, should she have any such; and if she does not, then to be raised from the aforesaid Milicent’s own goods and chattels; and nothing in amercement because the aforesaid Milicent came on the first day after the summons &c
1559: Easter. A plea made at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster that Edward Brockett formerly of Hatfield, Gentleman, and 5 others (not gentlemen) forcibly broke into a close of Thomas Clarke at Hatfield and took grazing animals and grass to the value of 100s and also 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 Edward and the others and bring them to court on 4 June 1559:50 Read more
Thomas Clarke appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against Edward Brockett late of Hatfeld in the county aforesaid gent’ and against Roger Bygg late of Hatfield in the county aforesaid laborer and against William Porter late of Hatfeld in the county aforesaid husbandman and against Robert Flewer alias Bassetts late of Hatfield in the county aforesaid husbandman and against Thomas Bookmaster late of Hatfeld in the county aforesaid carpenter and against William Lawson late of Hatfeld in the county aforesaid yeoman, in a plea wherefore by force of arms they broke into a close of the said Thomas Clarke at Hatfield and depastured, trampled and consumed with avers his grass there lately growing, to the value of 100s, and cut down, took and carried off his trees and underwood there lately growing, to the value of 100s, and [inflicted] other [enormities upon him] &c. to grave [damage]&c. and against [the peace] &c. And [the defendants] have not come. And the sheriff had been ordered to attach them &c. And the sheriff now reports that [the defendants] have nothing [in his bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby they might be attached]&c. Therefore let them be taken, to be here on the quindene of Trinity [4 June 1559] &c
Whether Edward owned property in Hatfield is not known but this case is unlikely to have concerned any one but this Edward. His father was styled ‘of Hatfield’ when sheriff in 1547, 54 and 55, but not at this time as ‘Gentleman’.
1560: Edward was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn.
1562: Edward sold all his property in Hitchin, Offley, and Ippollitts. An indenture of bargain and sale shows that for £330 “Edward brokett of bradfylde in the cowntie of Hertf’ esquyer Sonne and Heyre of Edwarde Brokett late of letecheworth in the said cowntie of Hertf’ esquyer disceased” sold the capital messuage Boxe Busshe with all its land and buidlings in Tylers St Hitchin and all his other property in Hitchin, Offley, and 25 acres in Ippollitts, to Edward Pulter of mutche wylmeley Herts Esq, after the life interest of Edward’s mother Margerye, paying Edward Pulter an annual rent of £20 a year while she lived there out of his income from the manor of Bradfield, along with a recognisance of £400.53 Edward’s signature is at the bottom.
1564: On 24 Mar 1564 George Johnson, Clerk, was presented as Vicar of All Saints Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, sponsored by Mr Brocket. The patron of the living was Elizabeth I and its annual income was £11 3s 4d.54 “Any gentleman could act as sponsor,”55 Houghton Regis is c 5 m W of Luton, but who other than this Edward of Letchworth Gent might Mr Brocket have been? Possibly one of his brothers.
1569: Edward was steward of the readers’ dinner at Lincoln’s Inn.56
1571: John Spurling, Yeoman of Baldock, sued “Edward Brockett of Brodfyld, gent, son of Edward Brokett of Lechworthe” in the Court of Common Pleas to recover a debt.57 John Spurling was a Maltster/Vintner of Baldock, a relative of the Underwoods. “John had sued Edward for debt; in the process Edward had been outlawed; but Edward now successfully claims that he had been pardoned under the provisions of an Act of Parliament 2 April 13 Elizabeth 1571. John is given an opportunity to attend and put his case, but he does not appear. Very little detail otherwise. The suit gives neither a date nor a sum for the original debt claim against Edward. 13 Elz cap. 28 was a general pardon act, different from the Pardon of Outlawry on 2 Jul 1569, above.”58
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