Brokets of Somerset - The Broket Archive

Wells St Cuthbert Parish, Somerset

At least 2 Broket families lived in the Parish of St Cuthbert in Wells at the beginning of the 17th C when its registers began.

Contents of this page:

1. Suggested reconstructions
2. Registers 1607-85
3. Baptismal Index 1686-1838
4. Marriage Index 1686-1838
5. Burial Inscriptions
6. Will indexes
7. Convocation Books 1589-1665
8. Online catalogue
9. Vagrant Passes 1712 and 1795

How long the 2 families had been in Wells is difficult to tell, but probably not long—no earlier trace of them has been found in Somerset Visitations, property deeds, wills, indexes or printed sources. None were recorded in the Certificate of Musters 1569, for instance. Nor indeed were any recorded previously in the whole of the West or Wales, other than John of Cornwall 1297, who was far too long before to have been connected. It seems that they came to Wells late 16th C and stayed in the city. Were they part of a southern Grouping, coming across from Surrey or Sussex, or down from London? Wells was a centre of the woollen trade like many other large towns in the Middle Ages, but people immigrated to such a centre for a variety of economic reasons.

The records suggest 2 or 3 families at any one time during the 1650s to 80s, thereafter only 1, the last male being baptised 1731/2. They appear to have been in the poorer section of society, latterly at least. Infant mortality was high and 2 of the 3 eligible householders were exempted from the 1670s Hearth Taxes. During the 18th C most of the clan remained poor—several of the women had illegitimate children and Fanny was put under vagrancy orders. By then most of the children were females, and after the marriage of Susanna in 1770 and the sad tale of Fanny in 1795 the clan is heard of no more.

1. Suggested reconstructions

  1. Late 16th C – 1665
  2. Chart i continued to 1710
  3. Incomers or unrecorded baptisms and their descendants

Brockett of Wells late 16th C – 1665

2. Registers 1607-85

The St Cuthbert registers date from 1608. There is one earlier Bishop’s Transcript, dated 1607. The originals were all checked carefully up to 1685. The surname was mostly spelt Brocket and Brockett, and once each Brockkett and Brockitt:

Year Month Name Event
1607/8 7 Jan Sara d/o William Brockett baptised 1
1609/10 14 Jan Elizabeth d/o William Brockett baptised
1612 5 Aug Ann d/o William Brockett baptised
1612 8 Dec wife of John Brocket buried
1614/5 25 Jan William s/o William Brockkett baptised
1615 29 Nov William Brockitt buried
1615/6 8 Feb Sara Brockett buried
1620 26 Dec Giles s/o Katharin Brockett baptised
1620 28 Dec Giles Brockett buried
1628 14 Jun Catherine Brocket married John REDING
1629 6 Nov Richard Brocket married Dorothie …
1630 19 Sep John s/o Robert Brocket baptised
1632 6 Dec Richard s/o Richard Brocket baptised
1633 25 Nov Edith Brocket married Richard DALYE
1637/8 18 Feb Edward s/o Richard and Dorothie Brocket baptised
1637/8 25 Feb Edward Brocket buried
1638 7 May Richard Brocket buried
1640 12 Jul Margery d/o Richard and Susan Brocket baptised
1641 29 May William Brockett married Mary LEWIS
1641 14 Nov William s/o William and Mary Brocket baptised
1642/3 19 Mar Henrie s/o Richard and Dorothe Brockett baptised
1644 28 Oct A man childe unbaptized of William Brocket buried
1645 20 Jul Richard s/o Richard and Dorothe Brocket baptised
1645 22 Jul Richard s/o Richard and Dorothe Brocket buried
1646 2 Nov William s/o William Brockett buried
1646/7 25 Jan William (twin) s/o William and Mary Brockett baptised
1646/7 25 Jan George (twin) s/o William and Mary Brockett baptised
1649 4 May Susanna d/o William and Mary Brockett baptised
1651 15 May John Brocket married Ann STRIDE, both of this parish
1651 6 Jul George s/o William and Mary Brockett of Wet Lane buried
1651 17 July William s/o William and Mary Brockett of Wett Lane buried
1652 29 Apr Richard s/o John and Anne Brockett of Chamb[erlain] Street baptised
1652 11 Sep Mary d/o William and Mary Brockett of Wet Lane baptised
1653/4 7 Mar John s/o John Brocket of Chamberlaine Street baptised
1654 24 Sep William s/o William and Mary Brockett of Chamberlaine Street baptised
1659 24 Oct Anne d/o John and Ann Brockett baptised
1662 19 May Dorothy d/o John Brockett baptised
1662 11 Sep Joseph Brocket married Margaret BOWELL
1662 36 Dec Henry Brockett buriedsic, ie between 25 and 31 Dec
1665 18 Jun Marey d/o John and Ann Brocket baptised
1668/9 6 Feb George s/o William and Elizabeth Brocket baptised
1668/9 9 Feb Catheren Brocket Widow buried
1668 26 Oct William Brocket married Elizabeth BAKER, both of this parish, by banns
1670 20 Jun Marey d/o William and Elizabeth Brocket baptised
1671 17 Dec Jane d/o William and Elizabeth Brocket baptised
1672 24 Oct Susan Brocket married Christopher HOELL, both of this parish
1673 13 Oct Richard Brocket married Elizabeth MAN, both of this parish, by banns
1673 16 Nov Elizabeth d/o William Brocket baptised
1676 30 Dec Richard s/o Richard Brocket baptised
1678 2 Jun John s/o Richard Brocket baptised
1678 4 Aug Catherine d/o William Brocket baptised
1679 2 Apr Thomas s/o Richard Brocket baptised
1680 31 Aug Thomas child of Richard Brocket buried
1684 29 May John s/o John and Judith Brockett baptised


  1. No Broket entries were found in Wells Cathedral registers.
  2. None were found in the Quarter Sessions records for the Commonwealth period.
  3. The IGI recorded the marriage of Mary Brockett and Thomas CROCKER 21 Jan 1583 Stoke St Gregory, c 15m SW of Wells, but this was a mistranscription of the actual register which has Mary BRACKETT.
  4. The mother of Margery baptised 12 July 1640—Susan—was definitely a dittographical error for Dorothie. The entry immediately above was ‘7 [July] Thomas son of Tho: & Susan Louell’, with the Susan exactly above the Susan of Margery’s entry below. The scribe mistakenly repeated the Susan above instead of writing Dorothie.
  5. A William Brockett of Wells St Cuthbert Parish signed the Protestation return in 1641, an oath of allegiance to the Church of England.2 He was the only Brockett in Somerset to do so and would most likely have been the William who married Mary LEWIS that year.
  6. 1641 Trinity: It was presumably the William of the Protestation return who was a defendant—with John Dodderell and Alexander Holbrooke—in a suit brought by Thomas Cooke at the Kings Bench in Westminster for an alleged assault and and imprisonment in Wells.3 “This is a long text: Dodderell was already imprisoned in the Marshalsea, Cooke, a Somerset clothier, complains that Dodderell, Brockett and Holbrooke had assaulted and imprisoned him at Wells. Dodderell’s justification was that they were acting in accordance with a writ relating to a debt: there then follows a set of statements relating to a longstanding case between Dodderell and Cooke. Brockett and Holbrooke are not apparently mentioned again: it is as though they were merely bailiffs charged with seizing Cooke“.4
  7. It’s possible that the William baptised 1654 was indentured on 6 Aug 1668 to serve in the Colony of Virginia departing from Bristol, see the separate page. No further record has so far been found of him in England.
  8. The Marriage Index said that William Brocket married Mary Baker by licence 26 Oct 1668 and were both of Shepton Mallet. It was another dittography, but this time not in the original register. The Index copyist mistakenly repeated much of the previous entry: ‘John James and Mary Davies both of the parish of Shepton Mallet maried and license’. The original register in fact read: ‘William Brocket and Elizabeth BAKER, both of this parish, by banns’. So William was definitely from Wells, not Shepton Mallet and his wife was Elizabeth not Mary. But when was he born? His baptism was not apparently recorded. The William bap 1654—if he hadn’t emigrated—could hardly have married in 1668; he is unlikely to have been baptised late—his 6 siblings were baptised at 2 or 3 year intervals. He would more likely have been the William who had 2 hearths in Southover, Wells, but who was exempted from the Hearth Tax 1670 and 1674.5
  9. Before the William and ‘Mary’ Baker dittography was known about a search was made through the Shepton Mallet registers from their beginning in 1635 to 1664 but not a single Brocket was found. It can safely be said that there were no Brockets in 17th C Shepton Mallet.
  10. The John who was exempted from the Hearth Tax 1670 and 1674 for his hearth in the High Street,6 was probably the John who married Ann STRIDE 1651.

3. Baptismal Index

Wells St Cuthbert baptisms 1608-1838 were transcribed into a Baptismal Index. All the Broket baptisms found in the Parish Register up to 1685 are in it except one: the 14 Nov 1641 baptism of William.

After 1685 the following were recorded in the Baptismal Index, the surname being spelt Brocket, Brockett and once Brockut:

Year Month Name Father Mother Street
1701 6 Apr James Mary Grope Lane, b 1 Apr ‘a base child’
1702/3 31 Jan Robert Mary Prison Row, b 14 Jan ‘base born’
1703 11 Oct James James High Street, b 8 Oct
1703 1 Nov James James High Street, b 8 Oct
1706/7 17 Jan Mary James b 6 Jan, bap privately
1707 31 Aug Ambrose Mary Grope Lane, b 9 Aug ‘a bastard son’
1710 26 Mar Mary Mary Chamberlain Street, b 22 Mar ‘base child’
1710 12 Dec William Elisabeth Southover, b 7 Dec ‘base child’
1711/2 14 Feb Mary Mary Grope Lane
1716 28 Jun Joana James Sadler Street
1717 3 Sep Sarah James Sadler Street
1731/2 12 Mar John William Tucker Street
1734 10 Apr Anne William Tucker Street
1736 14 Dec Susannah William Tucker Street
1743 28 Mar Joan Margaret Tucker Street
1751 16 Jun Frances Margaret Tucker Street


  • The baptisms of Mary in 1706/7 and Sarah in 1717 were private. Sarah was also baptised in church 29 Sep 1717.
  • The duplicate baptism of James on 11 Oct and 1 Nov 1703 was either a scribal error or the first was private, although the register—which was checked—does not say so. In both entries his birth was given as 8 Oct.
  • The entry for Joan 1743 was a birth.

The IGI has 2 entries for Devon:

  1. Elizabeth d/o Robert and Mary BROOKET bap 2 Aug 1638 Ottery St Mary, c 10 m E of Exeter. Inspection of the actual registers shows that the name was in fact BROOKER; Robert married 1629.
  2. Thomasin or Tamsen BROKED mar Phillip SANDERS 14 Apr 1675 Heanton Puncharden, 5 m NW of Barnstaple and 60-70 m W of Wells. Inspection of the actual registers appears to confirm the spelling of the surname, although they are in such poor condition that it isn’t certain.

4. Marriage Index

A transcription of all marriages in Wells St Cuthbert has also been made and copied online at Family history Broket entries from 1686-1838 are as follows:

Year Month Name Spouse Parish
1698 19 Feb Richard Brockett Elizabeth LLEWELLEN
1703 6 Sep James Brocket Mary BAYLEY
1710 7 Feb Mary Brocket Leonard SPEARING
1710 27 Aug James Brocket Joan CROSS
1731 16 May James Brocket Joan MOGGERIDGE
1741 26 Jun Sarah Brocket Andrew MACHLING, a soldier
1770 5 May Susanna Brockett Robert SPURRY Bath St James

The marriage in 1698 of Richard, Woolcomber was by Bristol Marriage Licence Bond ‘to St Nicholas or Cathedral.’ The bride appears to have been from Bristol. Probably the Richard previously married in 1673, and b 1652.

A licence was granted for the marriage of “James Brockett of Wells, brushmaker, and Joan CROSS of the same, Spinster aged 30″ at the Cathedral, St Cuthbert, Glastonbury, Croscombe or Wookey 26 Aug 1710.8

On 30 Aug 1707 there was also the marriage at St Cuthbert of Jane Brocket and Richard SMITH.9 ?bap 1671.

5. Burial Inscriptions

Wells St Cuthbert Burial Inscriptions:10

Year Month Name Comment
1728 11 Sep John Brocket ?b 1654 ?m Judith
1733 26 Jun John Brockett ?b 1684
1734 24 Oct Ambrouse Brocket b 1707
1741 23 Nov Elizabeth Brockett ?b 1673 or m Richard 1698
1750 21 Mar Hannah Brockett
1750 1 Apr Elizabeth Brockett ?m Richard 1698 or b 1673
1753 16 Feb Margaret Brockett ?mother of Joan b 1743
1782 12 Jun Joan Brocket ?b 1743 or m James 1731

6. Will Indexes

The Wells clan was not well-off. Not a single Broket will or administration was found in the following indexes and lists:

  • Brown F (1887-90) Abstracts of Somersetshire Wills, first – sixth series, privately printed for Frederick Arthur Crisp
  • Fry E A (1921) (ed) Calendar of Wills and Admons in the Court of the Archdeacon of Taunton 1596-1799, London: the British Record Society Ltd
  • Moger Wills Index
  • Phipps H R (1937) Taunton Archdeaconry Probate Records, typescript
  • Phipps H R Wells Consistory Admons 1567/8-78, undated typescript
  • Phipps H R Abstracts of Bath and Wells Consistory Records, Probates and Admons vol 4 1564-1611, vol 5 1627-65, undated typescripts
  • Somerset Archive and Record Service’s card index.

7. Wells Convocation Books 1589-1665

Three Broket entries are found in the Wells Convocation Books 1589-166511 pointing to straitened circumstances:

1. ‘General convocation in the council hall 19 April 1633… The names of such persons as are fit to serve a master if the masters can be gotten… 6. Widow Brocket’s son dwelling in the house of Mr Pallmer in Chamberlane streete aged 14 years…’
2. ‘Convocation 29 May 1663… At this time one bolster, one pillow, one rug, one blanket, goods distrained of Richard Brockette for arrears of rent and one brass crock of Richard Brockette was delivered to Mr Towse to be put to sale rendering them then the overplus…’
3. ‘Convocation or common council 2 November 1663… William Brockett to pay in the remainder of his fine in arrears by Christmas next, and if he fail then to pay the same, then the ten sold to him to be re-entered and granted to another; and of this order William Brockett had full notice being here at this house then present.’

Widow Brocket’s son would probably have been William bap 1615, s/o William d 1615, although he was more like 18 years old. Richard of 1663 would have been the husband of Dorothie married 1629. William of 1663 would have been the husband of Mary LEWIS married 1641.

8. Online catalogue database

The Somerset Archive and Record Service’s online catalogue database has only 2 Brocket entries, both for James:

  1. 6 Feb 1728/9.12 James Brocket, Labourer, city of Wells, was a witness to the theft of some potatoes by Thomas Ginkins. This James, as also the James in the next entry, could either have been b 1701 or 1703.
  2. 8 Nov 1756.13 Indentured lease of a tenement and garden 46 yards by 22 feet in Southover Street by the principals, seniors and vicars choral of Wells Cathedral to James Brocket of Wells, Brewer, his son-in-law James Surbott and grandson James Surbott the younger, for 6s 8d p a. Signed with James Brocket’s mark ‘x’.

9. Vagrant Passes 1712 and 1795

The Somerset Settlement and Bastardy card index has 3 Brocket entries refering to 2 Vagrant Passes and 2 Settlement Examinations:

9.1. 1712 John Brockett, Soldier, aged about 26 (ie b c 1684)

A two-page handwritten paper Vagrant Pass comprising his apprehension as a vagrant in London and the instructions to the various constables for his transportation back to Wells through Middlesex, Surrey, Hampshire and Wiltshire between 27 Oct and 6 Nov 1712:14+Read more

9.2. 1712 John Brockett jnr, Soldier

A one-page handwritten paper Overseas Settlement Examination describing John Brockett junior’s dependants on their arrival in Wells 6 Nov 1712:15+Read more

9.3. 1795 Fanny Brocket, aged about 20 (ie b c 1775)

A three-page paper document, two being part pre-printed (in italics below) and part handwritten and the third entirely handwritten, comprising her arrest for begging in Devizes—c 40 m NE of Wells—her week’s sentence in the House of Correction, and the instructions to the various officers for her transportation back to Wells between 30-31 March 1795:

i. Vagrant Pass 179516+Read more

ii. Settlement Examination 179517+Read more

iii. Vagrant Pass 179518+Read more

The In Parish and Out Parish were both part of St Cuthbert’s covering respectively those parts of the parish that were within the city and those outlying. If her given age of about 20 was correct, neither Fanny’s birth c 1775, marriage nor burial were recorded in the Wells St Cuthbert Parish Register.

Page Last Updated: September 30, 2022


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


[1] Bishop's Transcript.

[2] A J Howard 1975 p 126.

[3] KB 27/1669 m 720, available at AALT3 C1/KB27no1669/aKB27no1669fronts image 0029 and dorses image 1393, accessed 7 Jun 2021.

[4] Email communication from David Bethell 28 Oct 2019.

[5] Dwelly.

[6] Dwelly.

[7] (accessed 4 Oct 2018).

[8] Jewers 1909 p 48—the only Broket entry.

[9] (accessed 4 Oct 2018).

[10] (accessed 4 Oct 2018).

[11] Nott and Hasler 2004 pp 607, 895, 907. The third reference (William) is also in Scrase and Hasler 2002, p 151.

[12] Q/SR 296/5.

[13] DD/CC/115619.

[14] W St C 13/3/18.2.

[15] W St C 13/3/16.2.

[16] W St C 13/3/19.15 p 1.

[17] W St C 13/3/19.15.

[18] W St C 13/3/19.15 p 2.