Durham Brockets - The Broket Archive

The Durham City Broket clan 1640s – 1820s

Brokets are recorded in North East England further north than Durham City since the 14th C, but the origins of this clan are unknown. The widow of William 1655-1705 used the cross flory arms of the early 15th C Thomas Broket of Appleton Yorkshire, thereby claiming descent from him. Durham was the next main stage on the route north from York, however the descendants of Thomas are well documented and there is no known branch that moved up to the Durham City area. This ‘Durham City clan—-as we call it—may have descended from the earlier Northumberland clan, but in that case also would have had no actual right to use the arms. Their entitlement to them isn’t recorded in the records of the College of Arms, so they appear to have assumed them themselves for social status, somewhat similarly to Gateshead clan, see the separate page. Be that as it may, the Headlam descendants of William 1655-1705’s youngest son Lawrence also used the cross flory arms in the 18th C, as can be seen from the seals on the indentures hanging on Headlam Hall Hotel wall today.

Contents of this page:

  1. William of Durham, Yeoman and Bailiff d 1688
  2. William, Plumber 1655-1705
  3. Laurence of Durham and Headlam 1665-1750
  4. Ralph ?Bookseller/Printer bap 1777

William Brockett b by 1624 d 1688

William Brockett ‘Yeoman and Bailiff’ was the first recorded Durham City Brockett. By 1644 he had married Mary, who was buried in St Oswalds 13 Dec 1692.1 He would therefore have been born no later than 1623 or 4. His birth and marriage were not recorded in St Oswalds registers, which date from 1538, so he would have been an incomer. ‘Of Elvett’ in daughter Isabella’s marriage entry. Buried in St Oswalds 26 Jun 1688. Bond of Administration of William of North Bailey, Plumber, proved 1688.2 The March 1693 inventory of William, the elder, of North Baily3 would have been drawn up following Mary’s death—actual total £19 5s 1d (with discharge of £33 2s 11d) including some goods valued at sale price. Children (order of daughters after Margaret not known):

  1. Margaret, bap 7 Dec 1644 St Oswalds. No more is known.
  2. John, born 26 Feb 1645/6, bap 1 Mar 1645/6 St Oswalds, buried 6 Aug 1699 St Mary le Bow.
  3. Mary, buried 3 Apr 1657 St Oswalds.
  4. Elizabeth, buried St Oswalds 15 Mar 1659/60
  5. Thomas, born 21 Dec 1653. No more is known.
  6. William, born 25 Aug 1655, bap St Oswalds.
  7. Anne, m 3 Jun 1675 St Oswalds Charles MAN of Darlington, with licence.
  8. Isabella, m 22 Oct 1667 Elvett Church Mr Francis HANBY, Proctor, with licence.
  9. Lawrence born 10 Aug, bap 17 Aug 1665 St Oswalds. Became Attorney of Hilton in Staindrop parish then owner of Headlam Hall.

William Brockett 1655-1705

Son of William. Plumber, perhaps to the Cathedral, buried 30 Jun 1705. Administration of William Brockett, Plumber, of South Bayly, proved 18 Jul 1707.4 Lived on the North and South Bailey with his wife Elizabeth d/o Cuthbert and Elizabeth COULSON, whom he married 30 Jun 1679.5 Elizabeth ‘innkeeper of the South Bailey’ was buried 25 Jul 1724 St Oswalds. Will of Elizabeth Brockett, Widow, of South Bailey proved 9 Sep 1724.6 The seal on her Will shows that she at least used the cross flory arms. Their gravestone still stands in St Oswalds churchyard. Children:

  1. Elizabeth, born 19 Jun, bap 28 Jun 1680, married as ‘Mrs of the South Bailey’ 5 Sep 1702 St Oswalds Mr Patrick ROSS, Schoolmaster.
  2. William, Plumber, bap 10 Apr 1682 St Oswalds, buried 12 Sep 1727 St Oswalds (as ‘Mr’). Will of William Brockett of North Bayley, proved 25 Feb 1728.7
  3. Cuthbert, bap 23 Sep 1684 St Mary le Bow, d bef 1724.
  4. Thomas bap 21 Jun St Mary le Bow 1687, buried there 8 Nov 1687.
  5. John, bap 30 Oct 1688 St Mary le Bow, buried there 4 Nov 1688.
  6. Mary, bap 24 Jan 1689 St Mary le Bow, buried there 13 Nov 1695.
  7. Francis Plumber and goaler—like his son—bap 21 Jan 1691 St Mary le Bow, buried St Oswalds 18 Sep 1742. Administration of Francis Brockett Gent of St Mary le Bow, 1742.8 Married 23 Feb 1719 St Mary le Bow Catherine TAYLOR, buried 6 Mar 1767 St Nicholas. Children:
    1. William bap 28 Nov 1720 St Mary le Bow, buried ‘goaler’ 6 Feb 1754 St Oswalds. Administration of William Brockett, Plumber, of St Mary le Bow, proved 15 Feb 1754, to John Grey of Norton Gent, principal creditor, and 2 others.9
    2. John bap 20 May 1722 St Mary le Bow. Mariner, d 1757 in poverty, as shown by two probate documents in DUASC:
      1. 18 April 1757:10 Grant of probate by the Commissary of the Bishop of London of the attached Will of John Brockett, late of Durham City, now of the ship “London”, Joseph Barker commander, of 13 February 1748, bequeathing all his estate to his cousin William Brockett, clerk of the High Court of Chancery, also named his executor. Endorsed ‘Poor’ and ‘Sworn under five pounds’.
      2. 12 May 1757,11 in which is named “William Brockett of Chancery Lane, London, gent, executor of the Will of the late John Brockett, son of the late Francis Brockett.”
    3. Elisabeth bap 22 Apr 1723 St Mary le Bow, d 15 Aug aged 77, buried “spinster of New Elvet” 18 Aug 1799 St Oswalds. Will of Elizabeth Brockett of New Elvet, Spinster, written 21 Apr 1798, proved 30 Aug 1799.12 There were two spinster Elizabeth cousins in Durham at this time.
    4. Margaret bap 23 Mar 1726 St Mary le Bow, d 28 Mar aged 73, buried “spinster of New Elvet” 30 Mar 1798 St Oswalds. Will of Margaret Brockett of Durham, Spinster, written 12 Nov 1796, proved 18 Apr 1798.13
    5. Catherine bap 3 Oct 1731 St Mary le Bow.
    6. Francis bap 28 Jan 1732 St Mary le Bow, buried there 27 Apr 1733.
  8. Ralph, Surgeon, buried ‘Mr’ 24 Mar 1772 St Nicholas. Married Mary … buried 27 Oct 1754 St Oswalds, administration of Mary Brockett of St Nicholas, proved 4 Nov 1754.14 Married 2nd? Agnes … buried as “wife Doctor” 26 Mar 1763 St Oswalds. Children:
    1. Ralph b c 1744, buried 21 Apr 1819 ‘Sen. Joiner of Dun Cow Lane, North Bailey aged 75’. Married Margaret CLEGHORN 19 Dec 1767 St Nicholas.15 Children:
      1. Ralph buried 3 Feb 1773 St Mary le Bow, presumably d before 1777.
      2. Ralph bap 25 Dec 1777 St Mary le Bow, alive 1819—when his father was buried as “Ralph Sen.” Presumed to have been the Bookseller/Printer, who married Ann … and lived for a period in the Hetton-le-Hole area, 4-6 m NE of Durham City.
    2. ?Agnes b c 1767, buried 6 Oct 1823 “of Framwellgate spinster aged 56”.

    1728: In May and June Ralph Brockett transferred a house in Ingleton, Staindrop parish, Co Durham, with garden, orchard, and 60 acres to Samuel Burton. According to the process at the time, this was done by means of a pretend law suit. For a translation and explanation of the case, see the separate page.16

  9. Simon bap 11 Jun 1694 St Mary le Bow, buried there 16 Jun 1694.
  10. Thomas, bap 21 Jun 1697 Saint Mary-Le-Bow. Was he Thomas of Guizon, d 1742?
  11. Laurence, bap 6 Aug 1699 St Mary le Bow, Durham City.17 No more is known.

Laurence Brockett Gent 1665-1750

Son of William, Yeoman and Bailiff. Attorney of Hilton in Staindrop parish then of Headlam Hall by right of his wife, d 1750 buried Gainford, Will proved York 1751.18 Married Ann CLARKE, heiress of Ralph Clarke of Headlam, Gent.19 8 children. Further details here.

Ralph Brockett ?Bookseller/Printer bap 1777

Son of Ralph and Margaret of Durham City, bap 1777 St Mary le Bow, alive 1819. Presumed to have been the Bookseller/Printer, who married Ann … and lived for a period in the mining area of Houghton-le-Spring and Hetton-le-Hole and nearby villages of West and East Rainton, 4-6 m NE of Durham City.

While 3, and probably 4, records have been found definitely connected to this couple from this area, there is a slight possibility of confusion with the Ralph, b 1797 in Earsdon, a mining area c 20 m to the N, over the Tyne. No more is known of that Ralph, his marriage or death aren’t in the GRO. The 4 records are of children:

  1. James Ralph Burn, b c 1817; m 2 May 1852 Monkwearmonth Mary Ann ROXBY, Widow, nee YOUNG, aged 28, he a Bachelor, aged 35, Engine Man, residing North Shore Monkwearmonth, s/o Ralph, Printer.20. Presumed son of Ralph and Ann because of his name ‘Burn’ like his brother. The 1861 census recorded the couple in Durham, he aged 44, she 48 with daughter:
    1. Margaret aged 3, ie b c 1858—not apparently recorded in the GRO. The 1871 census recorded her residing Suffolk, aged 13, but her parents in Durham.

    For the 1881 census James was residing Dragon Villa, aged 62, Colliery Brakesman, with wife Mary aged 64, both b Durham City, and ‘grandson’ John R LONSDALE, Joiner, aged 21, unm, b Leamside, Durham. Mary died 1888 Durham City aged 74.21 James died of cancer of the tongue, at 5 Grainger St, Wheatley Hill, c 8 m E of Durham City 9 May 1890, aged 73 years, occupation Colliery Engineman, informant: John R LONSDALE, “nephew”.22

  2. Margaret, m Matthew Henry GIBBONS 8 Dec 1838 Houghton le Spring, as a minor, therefore b after 1817.23 Father: Ralph Bookseller—although she signed with an X.
  3. William Burn, buried East Rainton 29 Aug 1823 aged 1, parents: Ralph and Ann.24
  4. William, buried Hetton 11 Sep 1825 aged 1.25 Presumed s/o Ralph and Ann.

Of the other 2 records so far found from the Houghton-le-Spring and Hetton-le-Hole area, Robert of Leamside might have been an earlier son of Ralph and Ann, and John of Hetton may have been a son of Robert. Robert wasn’t a Durham City Broket name, so he may have come from further north, like Earsdon where a Robert was baptised 1808, s/o John.

  1. Robert, b c 1814; m … …; Boiler Smith/Foreman Blacksmith. In West Rainton in 1841 on his own, aged 20, Blacksmith26—a y[es] was entered in the ‘born in the county’ column, but there was also an x in the column ‘born in Scotland, Ireland or Foreign Country’. Not apparently in the 1851 or 1861 censuses. Committed suicide 12 Jul 1869 Leamside. Robert’s DC gave cause of death ‘Hung himself whilst insane’ and referred to an inquest held 13 Jul 1869. This no longer survives, but the Durham Advertiser reported on Fri 16 Jul 1869 “Suicide of a dangerous lunatic at Leamside”:+Read more
  2. John, Coal Miner, ?s/o Robert of Leamside. Married Mary ATKINSON by 1871—not apparently recorded in the GRO. Resided Downs Lane, Hetton-le-Hole 1871. Not apparently in the 1871 or 1881 censuses. DaughterSarah, b 31 July 1871 Hetton-le-Hole.27 Not apparently in the 1881 census.

Around the same time as the 3 generations of Earsdon Ralph Brocketts—not a common name—there were by coincidence these 3 generations of Ralph Brockett in Durham City.

Page Last Updated: February 23, 2021


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


[1] 'Bracket' in the published index. Parish Registers researched: Durham St Oswalds Parish Registers 1538-1751 indexed and published 1891 Durham by A W Headlam, Durham St Mary le Bow Parish Registers 1571-1812 indexed and published 1912 Newcastle by H M Wood.

[2] DPRI/3/1688/B154.

[3] DPRI/1/1693/B6/1-2.

[4] DPRI/3/1707/B86/1-2.

[5] St Mary le Bow and Cathedral.

[6] DPRI/1/1724/B16/1-2, DPRI/2/11 p231, DPRI/3/1724/B147.

[7] DPRI/1/1728/B10/1-2, DPRI/2/12 p460-461, DPRI/3/1728/B74.

[8] DPRI/3/1742/A115.

[9] DPRI/3/1754/A8/1 and 2.

[10] UND/F3/C3/A4/25.

[11] UND/F3/C3/A4/26.

[12] DPRI/1/1799/B8/1-2.

[13] DPRI/1/1798/B14/1-2.

[14] DPRI/3/1754/A80/1.

[15] IGI.

[16] Durham University mss DU 80/3 and 81/3. For the original Latin contact the Archivist of this website.

[17] Walbran 1846 p 106.

[18] Ebor 95/140.

[19] Walbran 1846 p 106.

[20] Marriage certificate.

[21] GRO qtr 3.

[22] Death certificate.

[23] Marriage certificate.

[24] Parish Register.

[25] Parish Register.

[26] Census.

[27] Birth certificate.

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