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—apart from the descendants of a possible emigrant to Virginia.
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:
|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||buried—sic, 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|
- No Broket entries were found in Wells Cathedral registers.
- None were found in the Quarter Sessions records for the Commonwealth period.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 have been the William who married Mary LEWIS that year.
- 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
- The William bap 1654 may well have emigrated to Virginia from Bristol.
- 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 wouldn’t have been baptised late—his 6 siblings were baptised at 2 or 3 year intervals. He would have been the William who had 2 hearths in Southover, Wells, but who was exempted from the Hearth Tax 1670 and 1674.5
- 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.
- 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.
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.
|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:
- 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.
- 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.
A transcription of all marriages in Wells St Cuthbert has also been made and copied online at Family history online.net.7 Broket entries from 1686-1838 are as follows:
|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.
Wells St Cuthbert Burial Inscriptions:10
|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|
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.
Three Broket entries are found in the Wells Convocation Books 1589-166511 pointing to straitened circumstances:
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.
The Somerset Archive and Record Service’s online catalogue database has only 2 Brocket entries, both for James:
- 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.
- 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’.
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 1712:14Read more
These are therefore in her Majestis Name to will and require you the Constables of Langbourne or some or one of you to convey the said Vagrants through this city to the parish of St. Andrew Holbourne in the County of Midlesex and them leave with a constable there in order to be further Conveyed to the city of Wells in Somersetshire Given unver my hand & seal This Twenty seaventh day of October Anno Domini 1712
To the Constables of St. Andrews Holbourn in the said County aforesaid, Convey the aboue Mentioned Vagarent out of this County into the Town of Egham in the County of Surrey, in order to be farther Conveyed as the Law Directs, Giuen under my hand and seale this Twenty Seventh Day of October 1712. John Metcalfe
To the Constable of Egham. Convey the within named vagrants to Yatley in the County of Southampton to be sent forward as the original pass directs. Given under my hand & seal October the 31 1712. James Tichborne.
To the Constable of Yately Convey the vagrants within mentioned to Winterslow in the County of Wiltshire to be delivered to the proper officer in order to be sent forward to the City of Wells in the County of Somerset. Given under my hand & seal the 1st. day of November 1712 J Helyer
To the tythingman of Winterslow Conuey the vagrants within mentioned to Broom in the County of Sumerset to be delivred to the proper offiser in order to be sent forward to the City of Wells in the County of Sumerset. Given under my hand and seal the third day of November. 1712 G: Mompesson
Convey the vagrants above mentioned to the Citty of Wells in this County Given under my hand & seale this sixth day of November Annoque Domini 1712 John Lansdown
9.2. 1712 John Brockett jnr, Soldier
This Examinant upon his oath saith, That he serueing her Majestie as a soldier in Flanders, married there in a Town Called Ghent to one Margaret the widdow of one James Allen, which said widdow had two Children by two former husbands, the one by the said James Allen, whose name isHenry, and the other by Alexander Markbraw ‘whose name is Archibald, one of which (vizt. the said Henry) was born in Holland, as this Examinant was informed, and the other at the Moselle ‘or thereabouts’, as he was also informed, of which he gave the like account to one Thomas Abney a Justice of the Peace in London before whom he was Examined, and this Examinant also saith that he has one Child by the said Margaret whose name is Alice, & aged about two yeares & halfe, & further saith that his wife dyed about eleven weeks since in Dunkirk, and like wise saith that he has been informed that the said James Allen the father of the said Henry, was born at Waxworth in the Peack of Darbyshire in New Street near Warmwell, & belieues the said Henry to be upwards of seuen yeares of age, & the said Archibald the son of the said Alexander Markbraw to be about Nine yeares of age
J The marke of John Brockett Junior
Capt’ & Jurat’ die & Anno supradictis Coram Robert Strode Mayor Robert Taylor
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:
And to the Churchwardens, Chapelwardens, or Overseers of the Poor of the In Parish of the said City of Wells in the County of Somerset or either of them, to receive and obey.WHEREASFanny Brocket singlewoman was this Day apprehended within the Borough of Devizes in the County of Wilts abovesaid, as a Rogue and Vagabond wandering and begging there: And upon examination taken before me James Gent Mayor, one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Borough of Devizes on the oath of the said Fanny Brocket (which Examination is here annexed) it doth appear, that her last legal Settlement was and is in the In parish in the City of Wells in the County of Somerset aforesaid and whereas I have pursuant to the late act of Parliament made in that behalf committed the said Fanny Brocket to the House of Correction for seven days
THESE are therefore to require you, the said Constables and Bayliffs to convey the said Fanny Brocket to the Tything of week in the County of Wilts aforesaid that being the first Tything in the next precinct through which she ought to pass in the direct Way to the said In parish in Wells aforesaid to which she is to be sent, and deliver her to the Constable, Tythingman, or other Officer of such first Tything in such next precinct together with this Pass, and the Duplicate of the Examination of the said Fanny Brocket taking his Receipt for the same. And the said Fanny Brocket is to be thence conveyed or in like Manner to the said In Parish of Wells aforesaid in the County of Somerset aforesaid there to be delivered to some Churchwarden, Chapelwarden, or Overseer of the Poor of the same Parish to be there provided for according to the Law; and you the said Churchwardens, Chapelwardens, and Overseers of the Poor, are hereby required to receive the said Person and provide for her as aforesaid. Given under my Hand and Seal, the Thirtieth Day of March in the Thirty fifth Year of the reign of his Majesty King George the third over Great Britain, and so forth, in the year of our Lord 1795./.
+ The mark of Fanny Brocket Fanny Brocket
Sworn at the Borough aforesaid the day and year above written before me James Gent Mayor
Somerset To the Tythingman of Road and Woolverton in the said County Convey the within named Vagrant to the said In parish in the City of Wells Given under my Hand this 31st. Day of March 1795
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: June 10, 2021