Brokets of North East England 1300-1549
Border warfare had been a fact of life for centuries in these parts:1
1346 : Scots ruined 24 villages as far south as Tyne and Derwent.
1471-2: Revenue from the Alnham manorial accounts depreciated considerably due to Scottish raids.
1532: Scots from Teviotdale destroyed Newstead and Alnham, carrying off 200 cattle and 26 prisoners.
The first Broket record so far found regarding North East England is a purchase in Westminster on 6 May 1386, the ninth year of Richard II’s reign, by John Broket, Chaplain, and John Pace of a large property for £200—a large sum.2 It comprised the manors of Harnham (in Bolam) and Black Hedley (in Shotley) and 2 messuages, 7 tofts, 100 acres of land and 50 acres of meadow in Bradford (in Bolam), Green Leighton (in Hartburn), Shotley and moieties of the manors of Middleton (in Hartburn), Bolam, and Aydon (in Corbridge). The vendors were Robert de Clyfford and Jacoba, his wife.
1401: The second record of John dates to 1401, the second year of Henry IV’s reign, when in the Easter term John Broket, Chaplain, was recorded with reference to an order sent to the sheriff of Northumberland:3 Through his attorney, John had made a plea at the court of Common Pleas at Westminster to recover alleged debts from 5 men:Read more
Richard Trollepe for 6 marks;
Thomas Gentilman for £5;5
John Hunter of Corbrigge for 53s 4d;
John Manland for 5 marks 3s.6
The court ordered the the sheriff of Northumberland to apprehend the 5 men and bring them to court to answer the charges.
1401: He was probably the John Brokete who in the Easter term of the same year was accused in the same court of Common Pleas at Westminster, along with 9 others, of damaging the crops of Johanna de Graystok, Lady of Luce, in Middilton:7Read more
Johanna de Graystok lady of Luce appeared by her attorney for a fourth day against Robert de Ogle chivaler,8 Robert de Thornton, John de Thornton, John Brokete, Mariota Hudson, Richard Sond,9 John Russell, William Russell, Patrick Gibson and John Symson of Middilton, in a plea wherefore by force of arms they depastured, trample and consumed by grazing animals the corn and grass of the said Johanna, to the value of £20, lately growing at Middilton, and (inflicted) other enormities (upon her) &c. to grave damage &c. and against the king’s peace &c. And (the defendants) have not come; and, as before, it had been ordered the sheriff to distrain the aforesaid Robert de Ogle, and also, as before, to take all the others &c. And the sheriff now reports that the aforesaid Robert de Ogle has been distrained, by chattels to the value of 20d, and mainperned by John Est, Philip Ul… and John Est; therefore they in mercy &c. And, as many times, let him be distrained to be here on the octaves of St …; and as for all the others, the sheriff reports that they are not found &c. Therefore, as many times, let them be taken, to be here at the term aforesaid &c.
Note: There are 3 known Middletons in Northumberland: one c 9 m W of Morpeth, another c 27 m further N and c 9 m N of Alnham, and a third further NW on the coast and c 20 m from Alnham.
It seems likely that this John Broket, Chaplain, was the same man as the John Broket, Chaplain, recorded in York in 1381.
1412-13: Three pleas at the court of Common Pleas are recorded for the Easter terms of these years for alleged debts owed by John Broket of Northumberland to drapers in the City of York:
1. In the City of York by William Pountfrayt and John Thornton from Robert Feurother of York merchant, Walter Dun of Redesdale, Peter de Dalton of Kirkeby Mesperton, William Sauneby baker, for various amounts, and £16 20d from John Broket of Northumbr’.10
2. In the City of York by Richard de Santon of York draper and Thomas de Santon of York draper for £23 from John Broket of Northehumber’ merchant, and other sums from Robert Plumpton knight, and Alexander Nevyle knight.11
3. In the City of York by William Pountfrayt of York draper for £8 10s from Walter Dun of Redesdale, £16 20d from John Broket of Northumbr’ and 40s from William Gumby tailor.12
The prior of Brenkebourne14 appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against John Broket lately dwelling in the town of Newcastle upon Tyne,15 in a plea wherefore by force of arms he depastured, trampled and consumed by grazing animals the corn and grass of the said prior, to the value of 100s, lately growing at Helop, and (inflicted) other enormities (upon him) &c to grave damage and against the peace of lord Henry late king of England, father &c. And (the defendant) has not come; and, as many times, it had been ordered the sheriff to distrain him &c. And the sheriff reports that (the defendant) has nothing (in his bailiwick in lands or chattels by which he might be attached) &c. Therefore let (the defendant) be taken, to be here on the quindene of Michaelmas [13 Oct 1415] &c.
Note: Brinkburn is a 12th C Augustinian Priory c 2 m SW of Longframlington, where relatives of Robert and William Broket lived in the 1530s.16
The next Broket record so far found regarding North East England is a Plea of covenant on 3 Feb 1450, whereby Thomas Hesilrygge, Esq, Nicholas Girlyngton’ and Thomas Broket purchased the manor of Donyngton’, Northumberland, for 100 marks of silver.17 The vendors were William Ingowe and Joan, his wife. The pleas was a Northumberland one, so the place would have been what is now called Dinnington in Ponteland, and not Dinnington, South Yorkshire, nor Donnington, Berkshire. Nonetheless the Thomas Broket concerned was no doubt the son of Thomas Broket, Remembrancer, d 1435, who in 1422 had been granted all the lands late of Thomas Hesylrigg of Eslyngton Esq, until his heir—probably this Thomas here—came of age. Thomas Broket, Remembrancer, had two sons named Thomas. Little is known of the first and how long he lived, and the Thomas Broket here was most likely the more famous one who moved down to Wheathampstead and died 1477.
The Alnham Broket clan
Alnham is a tiny farming settlement with a small church opposite the site of a little fort in rolling foothills up the valley from Alnwick. Despite living in distant, wild parts, a Broket in Alnham had a good income with contacts in London, where he sent 2 sons as apprentices in the 1480s or 90s: William to a Goldsmith, Robert to a Baker. A goldsmith’s apprentice had to pay 10 marks premium for a 7 year term, £5 for 10 in 1393.18 “An act of 1406 stipulated that no one might send his son to be apprenticed except he have land or rent to the value of twenty shillings a year at the least”.19 Earlier and later records from Lincolnshire suggest that this Alnham family originally came from there.The Northumberland outpost was probably a Percy one and the Percys held minor manors in Lincolnshire within a morning’s walk of Bolingbroke and Toynton—Slothby, Claxby, Burwell and Calceby.20
Both brothers later became Citizens. Their 2 Wills mention several relatives but no surviving children of their own:
‘Cousen’ Robert the Goldsmith could have meant uncle, and being an almsman by 1536 he may have been apprenticed in London a generation before William and Robert. He was recorded with William in 1524. Other ‘cousins’ mentioned in:
Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Atkinson
Alice wife of John Hunt
Alexander Watson, Brewer of London.
the wife of Guy Crayford
the wife of the late George Wykwan.
As well as those above in London and Lincolnshire, the brothers probably had relatives who remained in Northumberland. Perhaps some were casualties when the Scots sacked Alnham in 1532. Brokets were recorded in Berwick 40 years later in 1576 and then in the 1650s and 1680s in Rothbury only 8 miles from Alnham, and Felton 16 miles away. Parish Records began in Northumberland in general in the 1560s, usually later in remote areas. Anyone visiting the tiny church of St Michael and All Angels in Alnham will be impressed that any records survived at all.
William bequeathed 10 marks “that the Renters of the Craftes or mistere of Goldsmythes shall provide and make an honest drynking for all the lyverey of the said Crafts on the day of my buriall”.21
Records of the brothers are also found in the folllowing TNA documents:
- Richard Scrope Esq son and heir of Sir John Scrope [of the Bolton line] v William Brokett of London, Goldsmith, re detention of deeds relating to the barony of Castlecombe. Wiltshire, dated between 1518-1529.22
- Robert Brokett and others, wardens of the fellowship of bakers of London v The [mayor and] aldermen of London for forcible entry on a messuage and garden.23
- Christopher Harryson of London, cordwainer v The mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs of London: Acti on by William Brokett of London, goldsmith, and Johane, his wife, formerly Sterne, on a bond for which an extension of time had been granted.24
- William Reede, cousin and heir of Bartholomew Reede, knight v Elizabeth Reede, executrix and late the wife of the said Sir Bartholomew, and … Brokett, John Tweselton, and John Dane, wardens of the fellowship of the Goldsmiths re detention of deeds.25
- William Chamberleyn v Robert Brokett of London, baker re a house with shops in the parish of St Botolph without Aldgate.26
- Harry Thorneton v Emanuel Symson and Harry Kynge: Arrears of a yearly sum payable to William Brokett or other master and warden [of the gild of the most glorious name] of Jesus.27
- Thomas Nasshe v John Atkinson and Robert Broket, wardens of the Fellowship of Bakers re a fine imposed on the plaintiff.28
Records from the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII29 show:
- Robert Broket of London, Baker, and 10 others were mentioned in the account of the second victualling in 1514 re debts in the Auditor’s books due to Henry VIII concerning the late wars against France.30
- Grant of 25 June 1524 “George Wytwom, William Esyngton, William Broket, Robert Broket, goldsmith, and Edmund Barker, vintner, of London. Pardon for having acquired, without licence, from John Prynce, a tenement at Snowrehyll, in the parish of St. Sepulchre, London”.31
- William Brokett testified as an alderman of London, with others, as to the fitness of certain coins 30 Oct 1526.32
- In Dec 1527 William Broket was one of the 16 jurors “of the quest of goldsmythes that were upon the quest”.33
- Greenwich, 8 Feb 1529. A letter from John WEST, Friar Observant, to WOLSEY, shows that [presumably William] Brokett, Goldsmith, was one of the two executors of the Will of Sir Thomas Exmew, died 6 Feb, father-in-law of John West, who complained that the executors had retained all his goods. The other executor was Thomas KYTTSON, Mercer.34
- 14 Feb 1535 William Broket was one 19 signatories to a “Petition to the lord mayor of London, aldermen and common council of London for diminution of the expenses of the shrievalty… It was proposed that henceforth the mayor and sheriffs should keep one house and household, at an expense of not less than 1,600 pounds a year, over and above the charges of their feast on the day following St. Simon and Jude, of which as heretofore the mayor shall sustain one half and the two sheriffs the other.”35
Page Last Updated: September 19, 2020