South London Broket clan - The Broket Archive

The 19th C South London Broket clan
Thomas Brockett, Bricklayer

This kin group lived mainly in Lambeth and Southwark and descended from Thomas Brockett, Bricklayer, b 1809-14, d 1897 and Margaret RYAN, d 1874. The first known record of them is of their marriage by Banns on 12 Jun 1837 at the Church of England parish church Lambeth St Mary, Surrey.1 Margaret signed, as did the two witnesses James and Elizabeth RYAN, but Thomas only made his mark. He had apparently not had much schooling as a child. The couple were both recorded as “of this parish”, however the next record found is of the baptism of daughter Sara 10 months later in St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark. Records found of the baptisms of their other children were also all from St George’s and when the couple were in the Workhouse they were recorded as “RC”. The term “of this Parish” in the Lambeth St Mary Register was geographical rather than confessional; from 25 Mar 1754 to 30 Jun 1837, under Hardwicke’s Marriage Act, only Jews and Quakers were exempt from the provision that marriages must take place in Anglican churches. The assumption is that Margaret was of Irish Catholic extraction.

The children, at least, were Cockney Londoners—born and bred within earshot of the Bow Bells across the river. Some were Catholics, and until the 20th C most were bricklayers or labourers, living in impoverished circumstances. Many of their descendants had dispersed elsewhere by the mid 20th C—some emigrated, although others still lived in Kent in the late 20thC.2

Find details of other unrelated Broket individuals and families who may also have lived in South London in the 1st half and 2nd half of the 19th C.

Contents of this page:

  1. Introduction
  2. Origins
  3. Census records
  4. Thomas and Margaret’s children

Separate page: Descendants of Thomas and Margaret RYAN

1. Introduction

Thomas had a tough life as a Bricklayer in Victorian London, but although he and his family had spells in the Workhouse, he lived long. He was of the ‘working class’ strata of society and probably received little education. A labouring man, he wouldn’t have needed to write much; he signed with his mark on his second marriage certificate in 1880. Thomas gave his occupation as Bricklayer in all records apart from the 1871 census: Brickmaker, which looks like an enumerator’s mistake. Wife Margaret, however, signed the various birth certificates. After civil registration began on 1 Jul 1837 there are frequent records of Thomas and his family—although some are misleading and some of their births, marriages and deaths weren’t registered. Life wasn’t easy and censuses show the children working by 10 or early teens.

Margaret bore him 10 known children over 13 years 1838-51. She was strong—the 1851 census describes her as Laundry Keeper, while the other women in the street were Laundry Assistants. Running a laundry would have been hard physical labour. She died 2 Mar 1874 in the Workhouse Infirmary, Princes Rd, Lambeth, of asthma, aged 61.3 Six years later on 16 Aug 1880, aged about 70 Thomas married Mary Ann WEAVERS at Trinity [C of E] Church, Lambeth,4 she a Spinster aged about 40. Thomas died 30 Jan 1897 in Lambeth aged 83, ie b c 1814, although he may have been older. Mary Ann died 1909 in Lambeth aged 68, ie b c 1841.

2. Origins

No record of Thomas’ birth/baptism been found. So where was he born and who were his parents?

2.1. When and where was Thomas born?

Thomas was born c 1810-3, but where is uncertain. The IGI has no baptisms or births of a Thomas between 1718 and 1827. although of course it is incomplete; a Thomas for instance was baptised in Bromham, Beds in 1796. The 3 census entries found so far for Thomas conflict:

  1. 1851 age 38 birthplace: Bexley (?) Kent; wife Margaret’s birthplace: Chichester, Sussex.
  2. 1861 age 51 birthplace: Chichester—written by the enumerator in the empty space above his name, with ‘ditto’ written underneath in the correct space; wife Margaret’s birthplace: Camberwell. The enumerator appears to have mixed the two up. Chichester is not otherwise a Brockett place—they do not figure there at all in the IGI nor even in the whole of Sussex for the 1881 census. The IGI for Ryan—Margaret’s maiden name—records 32 Ryan baptisms or marriages for Sussex 1748-1874. Ten of these were from St Paul Chichester in the space of the 18 years 1856-74. But it’s likely that Margaret was of Irish Catholic extraction, and if so is unlikely to have been born in Chichester.
  3. 1881 age 71 birthplace: Lambeth; wife Mary Anne’s birthplace also Lambeth. Lambeth was where they were then living.5
DNA profiling hasn’t yet linked Thomas to another Broket clan. Various stories about the family are told, but only the more reliable ones are included here.
One family story—told by several members—has it that the Brocketts came from Ireland, but after William of the mid 17th C no Broket records have been found from Ireland, other than a few isolated ones. Some stories about Thomas’ family are unreliable, like one that said the name was Le Brockett and they came from France. But the Irish ancestry is more credible, in that it probably relates to Thomas’ wife Margaret, who had the well-known Irish name RYAN. She was probably the Catholic of the couple—6 of their first 7 children were baptised in St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral Southwark. But a record of her birth hasn’t yet been found either.

Thomas gave varying ages in censuses:
1841: 40, ie b c 1801
1851: 38, ie b c 1813
1861: 51, ie b c 1810
1871: 62, ie b c 1809
1881: 71, ie b c 1810

Ages were usually rounded down to the nearest 5 in 1841, but compared to the others 40 seems overestimated. Conversely the 1851 age may have been underestimated although it tallies with his death certificate. The census records in general for the family have more conflicting information than with other Broket families, prompting the suspicion that it might sometimes have been deliberate, or not known. In any case, no record of his birth or baptism has been found.

Thomas gave different birthplaces for himself and Margaret in the censuses:

Thomas Margaret Mary Ann Residence
1841 Surrey Surrey Bermondsey
1851 Kent Bexley Sussex Chichester Camden Town
1861 Chichester [sic] Camberwell Lambeth
1871 Stoke Newington Colchester Hackney
1881 Lambeth Lambeth Lambeth
1891 Lambeth Lambeth Lambeth
Notes: 1841 Bermondsey, on the south bank of the Thames and just east of Tower Bridge and Southwark, is now considered central London, but then was in Surrey. Thomas and Margaret’s 3-month-old twins had been born in Kennington, Surrey/Middlesex, c 2 m W of Bermondsey, so perhaps for simplicity they answered, ‘Yes we were born in the County’.
1851 For the x in Bexley, compare Essex 7 lines up.
1861 The enumerator wrote ‘Chichester’ in the empty cell above Thomas’ row, and ‘ditto’ underneath in the correct cell. Given that Margaret’s birthplace was recorded as Chichester in 1851 and Colchester in 1871, it looks as though the 1861 enumerator mixed Thomas and Margaret’s birthplaces up. Further mistakes were made with columns on the next page. So Thomas probably gave Camberwell as his birthplace in 1861. Chichester wasn’t a Broket town—none are recorded there at all in the IGI nor even in the whole of Sussex after the 17th C. The IGI for RYAN—Margaret’s maiden name—records 32 baptisms or marriages for the whole of Sussex in the 126 years 1748-1874; although none were of a Margaret. Ten were from Chichester St Paul in the space of the 18 years 1856-74. But it’s probable that Margaret was Irish, so she was more likely to have been born in Camberwell.
1871 Colchester for Margaret was probably an enumerator’s mistake for Chichester. No ‘Essex’ accompanied it.
1881 Lambeth. Wife Mary Anne’s birthplace was also given as Lambeth. Lambeth was where they were then living. The entry was under Bricket, reel 596.

Kent Bexley from 1851 stands out, in that—apart from the Chichester error in 1861—the birthplaces given in 1841, 71, 81 and 91 look as though they were affected by Thomas’ residence at the time. Camberwell is the next district south of Lambeth, in what was then Middlesex, south of the river, and Stoke Newington, Hackney and Camden Town are similarly in what was then Middlesex, but north of the river. Further, that Bexley wasn’t disinformation on Thomas’ part, is suggested by the 1871 census record of Sarah Brockett, an unmarried Domestic Servant in Chelsea, aged 29, ie b c 1842, born in Bexley. However Bexley St Mary’s PR recorded no Broket births or burials 1770-1812 or marriages 1813-37. Erith St John’s records are a little damaged but there were no Broket marriages 1813-37, nor Harriet baptism 1830-44 (with reference to the Harriet born in Erith c 1837). There were no Catholic churches in these areas. It is possible that the Sarah in the 1871 census was Thomas’ daughter, b 1841, who had married in 1860 but for whom no further census record has been found.

The Thomas Brockett, Laborer, who died in Lambeth 1878 aged 526 was born in Chalton, Blunham, Bedfordshire. The 1881 census recorded another unrelated Bricklayer Brockett in London: Edward, aged 54, residing Kingston on Thames, born Stockwell.

2.2. Who were Thomas’ parents?

On the 1880 certificate of the late 2nd marriage of Thomas—himself in his late 60s—he gave the name and occupation of father as: Charles Brockett Stonemason. It did not say ‘deceased’ which may simply have been omitted, but may also cast doubt on the entry. Without confirmation from further records of Charles or from Thomas’ birth, and given the incompleteness and occasional innacuracy of other records of Thomas’ own family, it is possible that this entry on Thomas’ MC is unreliable and that Charles may not have been his father, or even existed. He has not been found in censuses, nor his death in the GRO. On the other hand, William, Stonemason, may have had 3 sons, only 2 of whom are definitely known, so Charles may have been the other. So given that Thomas was born 1809-14, Charles at the latest would have married 1808-1813 and been born 1788-93 or at the earliest 1759-64. The only other known Charles records 1710-1820, however, are unsuitable:

  1. bap 16 Aug 1743 Aycliffe, Durham son of George—too early to be this Charles
  2. married 12 Dec 1774 Pickering, Yorkshire to Jane ADAMSON
  3. bap 15 Apr 1775 Pickering, son of Charles and Jane. This Charles worked on the land first as a Labourer then as a Farmer in the moors near Whitby in Yorkshire. He married Hannah HARLAND in 1804 and their children are well documented.

Thomas’ baptism may never have been registered in a parish, although some London parishes have yet to be searched. Might his parents have been Catholic and his baptism record was kept private? Or might they have been nonconformist and he wasn’t baptised as a child? Perhaps Thomas was illegitimate? If he was born in London itself—Lambeth for instance—were his parents among the many immigrants who poured into the capital every year or were they from the London area already?

Following are all the known Thomas Broket births/baptisms in the UK 1800-25 other than those for Thomas himself suggested by the censuses in section 2 below (baptisms of course were not necessarily within a year of birth):

1. 1809 Bromham, Beds, aged 27, ie b 1782. Married there and stayed till he died in 1841.
2. 1810 Radwell, Beds, son of John and Elizabeth PAIN, husband of Hannah ABRAHAMS. Lived in Kimbolton all his life.
3. 1812 Souldrop, Beds, son of William Brockett and Hannah HOLLADAY. He may died before before 1837.
4. 1815 Pontypool, Wales, son of Thomas Brockett and Cicillia WATKINS, husband of Sarah JAMES. Died in Sheffield 1884.
5. 1818 Guilden Morden, Cambridge, son of John and Martha JERMIN. Lived all his life in Guilden Morden.
A record was also once found for a Thomas born 1 Aug 1824 East Wickham, Kent, son of George and Sarah. This may have been from the IGI, however it is apparently no longer there. But unless he was baptised late it would be impossible for this Thomas to have been a father in 1838. However, East Wickham is c 2 m SE of Woolwich and c 3 m NW of Bexley, which Thomas gave as his birthplace in the 1851 census. He had children named both George and Sarah. Deaths of George and Sarah of East Wickham don’t appear in the GRO; perhaps George at least died before 1837.

Where did Thomas and family live?

Census records for Thomas and family: Read more

With Thomas in the building trade, the family moved frequently, presumably to rent accommodation near new work:

1841 Feb: 6 Henry Street, Dorset Street, Kennington, Lambeth 8
1842 Dec: 5 Edmont Street, Camberwell 9
1844 Jul: 10 Henry Street, Dorset Street, Kennington 10
1851 Mar, Aug: 2 Wants Cottages, Kings Road, Camden Town 11
1854 Oct 10: St Pancras Workhouse. Thomas Bricklayer aged 42; with Margaret, 39; Sarah,14; Robert, 13; Thomas, 11; George, 10; John, 8; James, 6; Maria, 4.5 and Edward, 3.12
1856 Jul 23: St Pancras Workhouse. Margaret aged 43; with Thomas, 13; George, 10; John, 8; James, 7; Mary Ann, 6 and Edward, 4.13
1861 Apr: 12 Mitre Place, Lambeth 14
1869 Apr 5: Princes Street Workhouse. Thomas b 1809 Bricklayer; with Margaret b 1810 and Edward b 1851, Shoe Black, admitted. On 15 Apr Thomas and Edward were discharged at their own request.15
1871 Apr: 89 Tot Rd, Beauvoir Town, Hackney 16
1880 Aug: 12 Royal Street, Lambeth 17
1881 Apr: 108 Regent Street, Lambeth 18
1891 Apr: 108 Regent Street, Lambeth 19
1897 Jan: 1 Gandulf St, Lambeth 20
1909 Oct: 21 Lollard St, Lambeth 21

4. Thomas and Margaret’s children

Thomas and Margaret did not apparently register the births of John, James, Harriett, Marie and perhaps Edward. In Surrey and Middlesex in the early decades of registration as much as 15% of births went unrecorded.22

Some sponsors were clearly from Margaret’s side; none apparently were from Thomas’. There were no children from Thomas’ late 2nd marriage.

  1. Sara Elizabeth, b 30 Apr 1838, bap 3 Jun 1838 St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral Southwark—sponsors Patrick PUNCHE and Catherine RYAN. Civil registration began on 1 Jul 1837, but Sara Elizabeth’s birth wasn’t registered officially. She must have died before the birth of her namesake on 13 Feb 1841, but there’s no record in the GRO.
  2. Sarah Elizabeth, b 13 Feb 1841 at 6 Henry Street, Dorset Street, Kennington, Lambeth,23 twin of Robert, although there’s no record of her baptism in St George’s. Working with her mother in 1851, aged 10 as Laundry Assistant, born City of London.24 Married 26 Nov 1860 Richard ILSLEY, Coal Porter, at St Paul’s Southwark, both unmarried of full age residing St Paul’s Southwark, witnesses Thomas and Margaret, surname spelt Brokett.25 They haven’t been found recorded in the 1861, 1871 or 1881 censuses, except possibly the couple, both aged 43, living in 10 Denmark Terrace, Camberwell in 1881, although Sarah’s birthplace was given as Mereworth, Kent. Deaths between 1860-70 for them haven’t been found either.
  3. Robert, b 13 Feb 1841 at 6 Henry Street, Dorset Street, Kennington, Lambeth,26 twin of Sarah Elizabeth, bap 19 Aug 1841 St George’s—sponsors Robert and Catherine RYAN. A birth certificate had been registered two days previously without name, recording that he was born at the City of London Lying-in Hospital. Bap 19 Aug 1841 St George’s—sponsors Robert and Catherine RYAN. Died 11 Nov 1855 Middlesex Hospital, All Souls, Marylebone, aged 14, occupation Hawk Boy, from a fractured bone of the right leg from an accidental fall from a ladder, according to an Inquest.27
  4. Thomas, b 22 Dec 1842 at 5 Edmont St, Camberwell,28 bap 9 Jan 1843 St George’s—sponsors Michael and Elizabeth LONG. Married Catherine Louisa MILLS 19 Aug 1861 in St Mary the Virgin, Strand. Bricklayer. He died 1922 Camberwell, aged 81.29 More details here.
  5. George, b 31 Jul 1844 at 10 Henry Street, Dorset Street, Kennington, Lambeth,30 bap 27 Dec 1844 St George’s—sponsors John and Catherine SULLIVAN. Married Elizabeth WHEELER 8 Oct 1865 Stoke Newington Parish Church. Bricklayer. He died 1900 Hackney. More details here.
  6. John Phillip, b 3 Apr 1846. No suitable record in the GRO. Bap 19 Apr 1846 St George’s—sponsors Denis SULLIVAN and Maria SCHMIDT. Died 1893 Westminster, aged 48.31 More details here.
  7. James, b 5 Sep 1848 Lambeth. No suitable birth record has been found in the GRO. Bap 14 Oct 1847 St George’s—sponsors James SULLIVAN and Maria Eva SCHMIDT. Married Sarah BANKS 13 Mar 1870 Parish Church of St James the Great, Bethnal Green, Labourer, both of full age residing Squirries St, Bachelor and Spinster,32 witness Sarah Brockett—sister? James, Labourer, signed with his mark 1871.33 He was living with his father and step-mother for the 1881 census aged 33. There is no suitable death record of wife Sarah in the GRO 1870-91, but in 1891 James was a Widower, aged 43, Labourer Bricklayer, Lodger at 85 Union St, N Lambeth, home of John and [sister] Maria SAUNDERS. Daughter:
    1. Sarah, b 17 Apr 1871 1 Adams Place, Holloway,34 died 1871 Islington.35
  8. Harriett, b c 1850—aged 1, b Camberwell.36 No apparent GRO record of her birth, baptism in St George’s, marriage or death. She wasn’t at home for the 1861 census when she would have been c 11; had she died? Or was she later called Mary?
  9. Mary/Marie. No apparent GRO record of her birth, baptism in St George’s or marriage. The 1871 census recorded her with her parents, aged 21, ie b c 1850 Stoke Newington, but she wasn’t recorded in the 1861 census. Was she previously called Harriett? Married John SAUNDERS 1877 St Saviour Southwark.37 In 1891 at 85 Union St, N Lambeth, aged 46, b Lambeth, wife of John SAUNDERS, 47, Plumber and Glazer.38 Frances JACKSON, niece, 14, b Lambeth, and brother James also there. Informant of brother John’s death in 1893, as M SAUNDERS, sister, residing 5 Gandolph St, Kennington Rd, and as daughter at father Thomas’ death in 1897, when she was residing 63 Dalberg Rd, Brixton, and he 1 Gandulf St, Lambeth. A Thomas SAUNDERS was witness to Mary’s father Thomas’ 2nd marriage in 1880.
  10. Edward Daniel, b 11 Aug 1851, 2 Wants Cottages, Kings Road, Camden Town, St Pancras39—no record of his baptism in St George’s. The 1871 census recorded him with his parents. Married Ann Phoebe JEPSON 1872 Richmond.40 He died 1915 Lambeth, aged 64.41 Annie had married again—as a Widow—17 Aug 1912 at the Register Office, Bethnal Green, to Dennis McCARTHY, Widower, aged 69, Glass Blower, both of 10E Peabody’s Buildings, Bethnal Green.42 More details here.

Thomas died 13 Jan 1897, aged 83, residing 1 Gandulf St, Lambeth, of senile decay and heart failure, informant daughter Marie SAUNDERS.43 He could have been as old as 88. Mary Ann died 15 Oct 1909 of cerebral haemorrhage and heart failure in Lambeth Infirmary, Brook St, Widow of Thomas Brockett Bricklayer, aged 68, ie b c 1841, of 21 Lollard St, Lambeth, informant the Infirmary Superintendant.44

Page Last Updated: April 8, 2020


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


[1] West Surrey Family History Society, Parish Register Transcripts, 1813-37 Slip Index, as recorded by FMP, accessed Jan 2018.

[2] In addition to the GRO and censuses, information on this clan has generously come from the extensive researches of Wendy Masterson and from Roy Brockett, and the oral recollections of Flossie, Elizabeth and Robert.

[3] Death certificate

[4] Marriage certificate

[5] The entry was under Bricket, reel 596.

[6] GRO qtr 1

[7] Reel 596, not the IGI transcript

[8] Birth certificate of son

[9] Census

[10] Birth certificate of son

[11] Census; birth certificate of son

[12] Camden St Pancras Workhouse Register 1854-1857. Thanks to Wendy Masterson for this reference.

[13] Camden St Pancras Workhouse Register 1854-1857. Thanks to Wendy Masterson for this reference.

[14] Census

[15] Princes Street Workhouse Register. Thanks to Wendy Masterson for this reference.

[16] Census

[17] Marriage certificate

[18] Census

[19] Census

[20] Death certificate

[21] Death certificate of Mary Ann

[22] Hey 1997 p v

[23] Birth certificate

[24] Census

[25] Marriage certificate

[26] Birth certificate

[27] Death certificate

[28] Birth certificate

[29] Death certificate

[30] Birth certificate

[31] Death certificate

[32] Marriage certificate

[33] Birth certificate of daughter

[34] Birth certificate

[35] GRO qtr 2

[36] 1851 census

[37] GRO qtr 3

[38] Census

[39] Birth certificate

[40] GRO qtr 2

[41] GRO qtr 4

[42] Marriage certificate

[43] Death certificate

[44] Death certificate