Yorkshire Brokets - The Broket Archive

Brokets of Yorkshire

Only a few Brocketts—incomers—live in Yorkshire today, yet the first sustained hereditary centre of the surname in Britain was in the Ainsty, an area of only a few square miles just south of York City. Here was the source, along with the City later, of most 14th and 15th C English Broket records, few as they were.

Contents of these pages:

  1. Introduction
  2. 13-14th Centuries
  3. 15th Century
  4. 16-20th Centuries (separate page)
  5. Map of the Ainsty in the West Riding (separate page)

Introduction

A Broket had probably been born near York by at least 1210. Subsequent records are mostly, and with little doubt, of related families in the Ainsty and City—but only once or twice more than two of these at one time—plus isolated families very occasionally appearing elsewhere in the county. Many, if not all, of these medieval Yorkshire Brokets would have been in the retinue of the barons Percy and Vescy.

Then in the early 14th C they emerged as parish gentry in Bolton Percy parish, on a par with other landholders in neighbouring parishes. Cloth was then a mainstay of York’s economy and probably a means by which Brokets who moved to the City improved their status.

Although Broket numbers were tiny, the 14-16th C Yorkshire picture is of a continuing hinterland stock now and then providing an individual for York City, rather than any established City line of more than three generations. York’s population was mobile, the Ainsty’s less so. Sure, many Ainsty manors were purchased by City men, but Brokets rose locally to lordship of the manor, albeit possibly via the City and perhaps helped by the decrease in population from the Black Death.

Brokets remained lords in Appleton for 170 years but the eldest line focused its attention on territory further south, mainly Hertfordshire. They sold their last Yorkshire estates by the 1560s but one line lived on in York till 1720. Brokets then all but disappeared from Yorkshire, excepting a small 19th C clan at Whitby and in Goathland on the moors behind.

13-14th Centuries

The overall picture from the 13-14th C Yorkshire Broket records is of a small clan of a few families living and working on the lands of the Percys and Vescys to the south and west of York City. In some generations one or more moved to the City and may have acted as contacts for rural parents or brothers while having a City-bred family of their own. But in 1400, for instance, there appears to have been only a single Broket family in the City among its population of 12-15,000. None were recorded 66 years earlier in the 1334 City subsidy, although many adults were not included.1 Similarly with the 1377 poll tax, of which only about a half survives.2

Throughout the century 1250-1350 the feudal system was still in full force. It is estimated that 90% of the population in those days lived and worked outside the cities in the country. In the villages, apart from the manor, houses were often ‘long-houses’ of timber, wattle and daub, with living rooms at one end and a byre for animals at the other.3 In contrast 13th century York was described as a metropolis, and from 1298-1305 was the seat of government for the whole of England and the guardian of the heart of medieval England from northern invasion.4

From the 1390s one Thomas Broket rose to prominence through:

  • training in the law
  • marriage to the heiress of the Brokets’ Lord of the Manor in the Ainsty
  • working for members of the Scrope family in York and Westminster.

By 1399 Thomas was doing work for Richard Scrope, Archbishop of York, then in 1410 for Henry Scrope, Lord Treasurer of England, who appointed him Remembrancer. Traces of his influence remain at Bolton Percy parish church—where the quire in the south transept is called the Brockett Chapel—and at the well-preserved moated site in Appleton, which is still known as Brocket Hall.

Excluding the numerous records of this Thomas and the 13 Brokets in the 1379 poll tax, records of 12 individuals have been found in Yorkshire from the 13-14th Centuries (all on a separate page):

1260: John of Newton Kyme
1301: Walter, Philip & Alexander of Brumpton Salden
c 1335: Thomas of Steeton
1349: John of Steton
1361: Nicholas of Appleton
1382: William of the Ainsty
1387: Thomas of the County
1389: Robert of the City
1393: Richard, Chaplain, of the County
1397/8: Robert junior of the City

Note: ‘Of the County’ was just how they were styled in the document, i.e. ‘of Yorkshire’, and doesn’t mean they weren’t of the Ainsty or the City.

15th Century

Alongside the clans out in Appleton and other vills in the Ainsty, records show a Broket presence in the City of York right through this prosperous century. Some 21 individuals are recorded, 10 of whom were from the City. But this does not contradict the underlying premiss of a hinterland stock. Councillors were drawn from a larger number of families than other large provincial cities of the time—from gentry, merchants and craftsmen5—yet no Brokets were ever York councillors. In his Chancery complaint of 1475-83 Johen Broket’s claim that his ancestors had held properties in the City ‘tyme owt of mynd’ would only have meant about a century.

  1. 1400: Thomas — See §3.1 below.
  2. 1405: Richard, Priest, of the County — See separate page here.
  3. 1411-: John, Butcher, of York City — See §3.2 below.
  4. 1429: Robert, Merchant, of York City — See separate page here.
  5. 1431: William of York City — See §3.3 below.
  6. 1444: Alice — See §3.4 below.
  7. 1444-: John of York City — See §3.5 below.
  8. 1444: Thomas of York City — See §3.6 below.
  9. 1450: Edward of Steeton and Wheathampstead — See §3.7 below.
  10. 1451: Katerine of York City — See §3.8 below.
  11. 1451: Alice of York City — See §3.9 below.
  12. 1458: Thomas Esquire of Wheathampstead— See separate page here.
  13. 1472: John of Apylton, Ainsty — See §3.10 below.
  14. 1472: Alice of Apylton, Ainsty — See §3.11 below.
  15. 1472: Edward of Apylton, Ainsty — See §3.12 below.
  16. 1483: Robert of Scriven, near Knaresborough — See §3.13 below.
  17. c 1483-: Roberte of Appleton, Ainsty — See §3.14 below.
  18. 1484: William of Appleton, Ainsty — See §3.15 below.
  19. 1488: Robert of Jewleas, Appleton, Ainsty — See §3.16 below.
  20. 1491: Lucia of York City — See §3.5.4 below.
  21. 1497: John Esquire of Wheathampstead — See §3.17 below.


Note: It’s likely that Thomas b by 1366 was actually Thomas the Remembrancer.

3.1. Thomas 1400

Recorded in an inventory in York.6 This is the first of many 15th C records of Thomas Broket Lord of Brockethall manor and Treasurer’s Remembrancer 1410-35.

3.2. John Butcher 1411

The first record of John Broket ‘boucher’ is his admission as Freeman of York 1411.7 In 1421/2 he was recorded living in a tenement rented @ 5s from Sir John de Langton in le Flesshamyls—the Shambles—the Butchers’ quarter.8 Around this time he was one of 12 jurors—all butchers—in a case of debt owing to a fellow butcher.9

In 1425 he was a mainpernor for a commitment at the Exchequer:10   Read more


This was during Thomas Broket’s time as Remembrancer at the Exchequer, as were the commitments to Robert and William.

In 1427 John Brokytt and his wife were admitted as members of the Corpus Christi Guild, York’s leading religious guild.11 Founded in 1408 as the parish fraternity of Holy Trinity Micklegate, membership was related to possession of property in York and over the century included high-ranking nobility.12

John died in 1450; his Will was written 9 Jun 1444 and proved 26 Nov 1450.13 He was a working man, but of some material substance—an owner of land near the city, he willed to be buried in the choir of St Trinity.14 His Will mentioned his wife Katerine, his son John and daughter Alice. There were probably no other living children. He also gave a bequest of 6s 8d to his brother Thomas.

3.3. William 1431, d by 1452

Granted a 20 year lease of 3 cottages in Walmgate in the city of York in Aug 1431 as a burgess (i.e. a citizen):   Read more

The cottages are not indexed again in the Calendars of Fine Rolls, but appeared annually in the Pipe Rolls, despite the expiry of the twenty year term, until the original patent was annulled under the Act of Resumption in 1457-8 when they disappeared as Broket property. Here is the entry for 1431-2, almost identical to the commitment in the Fine Roll:16   Read more
Here is the termination in 1457-8:17   Read more
At a rent of 21s a year, the 3 cottages must have been substantial houses by the standards of the time—the rent for the messuage, 5 tenements and 3 cottages that was Lady Row in Goodramgate, along with 2 other tenements, totalled only 32s in 1575.18 “Everything in these texts depends on repetition. So being called cottages, they may well have been once held by cottars, farm servants, but with land for themselves to farm attached. Whether that would still have been the case at the time of the pipe roll would be irrelevant.”19 So, given the rent, although termed “cottages” in 1431 one or more of them would have been substantial houses. This and other evidence strongly suggests that William was a son of Thomas Lord of Brockethall manor. The commitment was effected during Thomas’ time as Treasurer’s Remembrancer at the Exchequer, like the grants to William’s probable cousin Robert, also initiated by bill of the Treasurer. Both used John Holme as mainpernor. William would also therefore have been the William dismissed from his post in the Exchequer for tampering with the King’s records in 1433.

Despite the lease actually continuing till 1457-8, William died within the 20 year term, since a feoffment given at York 12 Feb 1452 refers to “the tenement of the late William Broket” in Walmegate.20 Even if this particular tenement wasn’t one of the cottages, records haven’t shown another William Broket in York at the time.

Comments on the lease:21

  1. “Crown leases were not automatically entered on the pipe rolls, which were bulky enough without, but in this particular case there being an unusual title—reversion to the Crown by the death of a bastard without issue—it must have seemed the best place to record the new item of revenue.”
  2. “Every commoner had to have a couple of mainpernors to act as sureties in taking up a royal lease.”
  3. “Held … as in burgage” means “With the rights and responsibilities of being a burgess (in this case, being York, of being a citizen). Each burgess paid a set annual fee to the borough/city treasurer, who then presented the total sum as a cash payment to the Crown. This lease glosses over the question of whether this property was one or two or three burgages, which was irrelevant from the point of view of the lease.” According to Palliser, “All messuages in York were held directly of the king in free burgage, as near to freehold as might be”.22
  4. “The rent quoted in the rolls was always the ancient rent, unless a new ‘extent’ had been taken, and if in fact more was to be charged, the increase was specified. There always had to be a chain of repetition running back through the records.” In this case the ancient rent was 20s a year plus an additional 12d totalling 21s.
  5. The Fine Roll entry terminates ‘By bill of the treasurer’. “Everything in the fine, patent and close rolls had to be justified. Something novel could be authorised by the king, or king and council, but everything else had to be authorised by a department. Evidently the authorisation here came from the Treasurer” probably through the influence of Thomas Broket, Treasurer’s Remembrancer at the time, and probably William’s father.
  6. On William’s death “a widow or son would not have had to alter the contract. Doubtless the full lease was to William, his heirs and assigns. It would have been unusual for it to expect a reversion on his death.”
  7. “As Crown revenues faltered, and parliament was pressed to raise more money, there was increasing pressure from parliament to annul recent grants of royal estates by acts of resumption: equally, the courtier class that benefitted from the grants strove to water down the acts by pushing for all sorts of exemptions. A limited lease like this was not the real target of the acts, but rather the absolute grants that had been made, that had substantially reduced the total Crown rental.”

3.4. Alice 1444

Alice Brokett was recorded in an inventory in York.23 Sister of John, Butcher?

3.5. John and Lucia 1444-91

Son of John, Butcher and mentioned in his Will 1444. John would have been born by 1436 at the latest. Four other probable records:

3.5.1. In 1475-83 Johen Broket complained to Chancery about unpaid rent for his inn called the Crowned Lion in Micklegate and several other properties in the City.24 14-22 years later property was recorded held in the City by the absentee landlord John Broket Esquire of Wheathampstead, eldest son of Edward and Elizabeth Thwaites, most likely the same John.

3.5.2. In 1480 John Brokettes, Constable of the parish of St John Ousebridge paid the City Chamberlains money owed by soldiers going to Scotland:   Read more


Stell said: “14-15th C York constables were usually drawn from the mercantile elite. They were responsible for watching the City walls and lived in the parish responsible for their watch. St John Ousebridge’s watch was from the middle of Mickelgate Bar to the Toft tower opposite the Archbishop’s tithe-barn—now just to the east of the south end of platform 3 of the Railway Station. Other duties included administrative ones as above, attending on the mayor and sheriffs, settling disputes, policing, repair of pavements, removal of waste from the streets and holding the keys for the city gates.”26 On average 23 years elapsed between taking freedom of the City and becoming Constable, pointing to John’s freedom c 1457, and a birth by 1436 at the latest.

3.5.3. 1485/6 “Capias Iohannem Thomeson pro securitate pacis ad sectam Iohannis Broket” = You are to arrest John Thomeson in order to keep the peace at the suit of John Broket.27

3.5.4. In 1491 John and Lucia Brokett were admitted as members of the Corpus Christi Guild.28 By this time the guild had become “something akin to a county club’ with high ranking noble members; ‘representatives of some 55 noble and gentry families with land and other connections in the county of York were at times members 1440-90”.29

3.6. Thomas 1444

Brother of John, Butcher and mentioned in his Will 1444.

3.7. Edward Esq 1450 and 1488

In 1450 Edward Broket was married to Elizabeth Thwaites and received half of Steeton. From his father’s death in 1435 he probably deputised for his elder brother as Lord of Appleton, and then in 1477 he inherited his brother’s estates in Wheathampstead. His Will, proved 1488, left the local manor of Jewleas to son Robert.

3.8. Katerine 1451

Widow of John Brokett, butcher. Will written 28 Aug 1451, pr 30 Aug 1451.30

She willed to be buried in the cemetary of St Trinity next to her sons (l 5), rather than in the Choir next to her husband. These were perhaps not also John’s sons, but hers from a previous marriage. She mentioned their daughter Alice, but no other living children. John’s son John was perhaps from a previous marriage of his. She was living in a tenement rented from Sir John Langton.31

3.9. Alice 1451

Daughter of John Brokett, Butcher and Katerine. Mentioned in both their Wills.

3.10. John of Apylton 1472

In his testament of 1472 John Brokett called himself ‘Husbandman’ and asked to be buried in the churchyard, even though he may have been a son of the manor. Donating to different churches probably indicates that he farmed in more than one parish, suggesting that he was a relatively wealthy husbandman. The OED cites a 13th and 14th century Northumbrian and Lowland Scots connotation of ‘Husbandman’ meaning a tenant of non-demesne manorial lands, not integral to the manor. With Edward as Lord of Brokethall till 1477, John perhaps looked after some non-demesne lands.

John Brokett of Apylton 1472

For his relationship to the other Brokets of Appleton see above.

Probably among his sons were William and Thomas.

3.11. Alice 1472

Wife of John Brokett of Apylton. Mentioned in his Will. Not apparently recorded elsewhere.

3.12. Edward 1472

Son of John Brokett of Apylton. Mentioned in his Will. Not apparently recorded elsewhere.

3.13. Robert Broket late of Scriven, near Knaresborough, Husbandman 1483

The record is of a plea made in 1483 at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster before Thomas Bryan knight and his fellows, justices of the lord king de Banco, for Hilary term in the 22nd year of the reign of Edward IV. According to the plea, Robert Broket and two others owed Nicholas Leventhorp £10 but they had not paid. So the court ordered the sheriff in Yorkshire to take them and bring them to court on 13 April 1483:32   Read more

Scriven is half a mile north of Knaresborough and some 15/16 m NE of Bolton Percy and Appleton, and Robert is recorded in 1483 as a former Husbandman in the small township.33 As with John Brokett of Apylton, a ‘Husbandman’ may have been a son of the manor. No other contemporary Robert Brokets are known other than the second son of Edward Broket Esq of Appleton and Wheathampstead. On his father’s death in 1488 he was only bequeathed the small, poor manor of Jewleas, and farming in Scriven may have been his livelihood some time before that. Brokets were recorded in Scriven in the 1379 poll tax, but no record of a continuing line of descent has been found. More feasibly, Robert was of Appleton and had farmed in nearby Scriven.

Robert died in 1507. This plea could not have been made by his son who was only born c 1483.

3.14. Roberte Brockett of Appleton, Bolton Percy c 1483-1543

A deposition given at York 1593 referred to: “one Roberte brockett father to mr brockett one of the proctors in the spirituall courte of yorke who dyd about fyfty yeres agoo and was about thre score yeres of age att his deathe”34

‘fyfty yeres’ and ‘thre score yeres’ are approximations. But the first is in fact accurate, so the second may not be far out: 50 years previously would make Robert’s death c 1543 and 60 years before that his birth date c 1483. The first record is as co-executor to kinsman William Brokett’s Will in 1508.

For his son to be a Mr and a lord, Robert would have had to have been a direct descendant of the Manor family, i.e. the son of Robert the second son of Edward Broket Esq of Wheathampstead. Nonetheless, he willed to be buried in the churchyard. In his Will, written 7 Nov 1542, proved 31 Jul 1543,35 he mentioned wife Anne and sons Edwarde and John:

1. In the name of god so be it The vijth daye of Nouembre in the yere of oure Lorde god almightie ml vc xlij.
2. I Robert Brokett of Appleton of holl mynde and goode remembrance makesthis my last will and    Read more


Robert is recorded in the 1523 subsidy for Appleton township, when he paid almost a third of the township’s total of 26s 6d. He declared £16 in goods.36

George Battersby 9s 0d
Robert Broket 8s 0d
George Godson 20d
William Cowpar 2s 6d
Robert Marshall 12d
John Tomson 12d
Cristofer Bolton 4d
John Plompton 4d
John Smyth 2s
Robert Fletcher 4d
William Aynger 4d

Robert was listed first of 13 men in a Bill of Complaint brought against them before the Star Chamber in the 1530s.37 One of the others was John Engilby, a witness to Robert’s Will (l 11).

3.15. William Broket of Appleton, Yeoman 1484 (d 1508)

William and fellow Yeomen Thomas Walker of Bolton Percy and Henry Barker of Appletin, made a plea in 1484 at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster before T[homas] Bryan knight and his fellows, justices of the lord king de Banco, for Easter term in the 1st year of the reign of Richard III. According to the plea, William Broket and his co-plaintiffs were owed 20 marks by Richard Machon late of Barnby, Yeoman, and 10 marks each by Robert Worlyngton late of Kirkeby by Wharf, Yeoman, William Barker late of Tolleston, Yeoman, and Richard Preston late of Morehouse, Yeoman, but they had not paid. So the court ordered the sheriff in York to take them and bring them to court on 20 June 1484:38   Read more


William died in 1508. This plea could have been made by the William from the next generation, but less likely.

3.16. Robert 1488

Robert was the second son of Edward Broket Esq of Appleton and Wheathampstead and co-executor of his Will in 1488. His brothers were left land in Hertfordshire, but Robert was bequeathed the manor of Jewleas, near Appleton. He would probably have looked after the estates in Appleton after his father left for Wheathampstead in 1477, as his descendants were local lords of the main Broket manor there on behalf of the eldest line in Hertfordshire until they sold it in 1565. Robert was nonetheless recorded down in Hertfordshire in the late 1490s and was buried in Wheathampstead in 1507. No other Robert is known in Hertfordshire in those times. The alledged marble and brass memorial to ‘Robert gentleman died 10 June 1569 aged 49’ in St Margaret’s Church (Herts?) has not been traced and is an unreliable reference.39

The late 1490s Hertfordshire record is of a plea made twice at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster before Thomas Bryan knight and his fellows, justices of the lord king de Banco, firstly for Easter term in the 13th year of the reign of Henry VII, and secondly for Hilary term in the 15th year of the reign of Henry VII. According to the plea, Robert Broket had taken and kept grazing animals (avers) belonging to Thomas Trusser and Thomas Bassyngbourn esquire, but the case was postponed for lack of jurors:40   Read more


The Will of his daughter-in-law Elsabeth Holme of Appilton, written 20 May 1538, proved 5 Jul 153841 referred to him many years after his death (line 13):

1. In the name of god so be it. The xxti daye of the monethe of maye, in
2. the yere of our lorde god Ml Cxxxviij. I Elsabeth holme of appilton, of hoole mynd. and
3. good of memorie makes this my last will or testament in this maner foloing. ffirst I gif    Read more

Elsabeth was closely connected with the Broketts of Appleton. They were her first legatees; no other family group received legacies. Only Thomas Thomson—her brother?—was to receive more than Roberte Brokett.

  • Elsabeth Holme was a widow with no children.
  • Roberte Brokett, deceased, was her ‘fader in lawe’.
  • Anne Brokett was her ‘fader in lawe wif’. She received 13s 4d.
  • The Roberte still alive would have been the son of Roberte. He received 26s 8d.
  • John and Edwarde were sons of the Roberte still alive. They each received 3s 4d. There is a faint possibility that John could have been son of William son of John, but this isn’t borne out by further records of John.
  • William was probably son of Thomas son of John.

It seems that Elsabeth had been married to a son of the deceased Roberte Brokett. This son died and she married a Holme, who also died before her. The currently living Roberte Brokett was her brother-in-law and without surviving children of her own she left legacies to his sons Edwarde and John.

3.17. John Esq [of Wheathampstead] 1497

A 20 May 1497 deed mentioned “the tenement of John Broket Esq [in Botham, York City] in the tenure of John Kyrkeby Chaplain”.42

John was the eldest son of Edward and Elizabeth Thwaites. He died 1532 and the IPM held at Selby recorded properties held in chief in Fenton, Colton, Biggin, Wigginton, Aberford, and Castle Carrock, but not Appleton—those lands would not have been held in chief.43 There was a separate IPM for his Hertfordshire lands.44

Page Last Updated: October 6, 2018

Footnotes

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

Expand

[1] Stell & Hawkyard 1996

[2] Leggett 1971 p 131

[3] Beresford & Hurst 1990 p 40; Palliser 1979 pp 10, 11

[4] VCH City of York p 25

[5] Palliser 1979 p 93

[6] Stell & Hampson 1998

[7] Register of the Freemen 1897 p 116

[8] Tringham 1993 pp 293-4 nos 540, 541, 545; see also his wife Katerine’s Will.

[9] York City Archives E39 Lib Miscellanea vol 8 p 173

[10] 1425 Mar 8 Calendar of Fine Rolls 1425, p 96.

[11] Register of the Guild 1872 p 27

[12] Pollard 1990 pp 189-90

[13] York Registry vol 2 f 212—YASRS vol 6 p 25

[14] Will line 5; the butchers’ church in King’s Square, demolished 1937—A Raine 1955 p 41

[15] Calendar of Fine Rolls 1431, p 45.

[16] Exchequer Pipe Roll 10–11 Henry VI: City of York, Michaelmas 1431–Michaelmas 1432. TNA E372/277. For the original Latin contact the Archivist of this website.

[17] Exchequer Pipe Roll 36-7 Henry VI: City of York, Michaelmas 1457–Michaelmas 1458. TNA E372/303. For the original Latin contact the Archivist of this website.

[18] A Raine 1955 pp 47-8; Wilson 1997 p 2

[19] Communication from David Bethell Feb 2017

[20] York Memorandum Book p 200

[21] Items in quotes not otherwise referenced are from David Bethell 25 Feb 2017

[22] 1979 p 295

[23] Stell & Hampson 1998

[24] TNA C1/464/28

[25] York City Archive ms CB1a f 41v ll 1-8; A Raine 1939 p 36

[26] 1998 pp 17-20

[27] Attreed 1954- p 449, also p 363

[28] Register of the Guild 1872 p 132

[29] Pollard 1990 p 189

[30] York Registry vol 2 f 228—YASRS vol 6 p 25

[31] Will line 18

[32] 1483 Hilary TNA CP 40/883.

[33] Although the scribe wrote t, and it is indexed as Streuen or Strenen, c and t were often similar and he must have misread it from notes or another document and copied it as a t when it was originally a c. There is no Streuen or Strenen or the like in Yorkshire.

[34] BI Cause Paper CP G 2676 (4) p 2y

[35] BI Probate Register, v.11, f.692r

[36] M J Harrison 2000 p 77

[37] TNA STAC 2/23/74

[38] 1484 Easter TNA CP 40/888.

[39] E J Brockett 1905 p 227

[40] 1498 Hilary TNA CP 40/943 and 1500 Hilary TNA CP 40/951.

[41] BI Probate Register, v.11, f.311

[42] Charter SRJ/4376 in Tringham 1993 p 29 no 50

[43] TNA E150/233A

[44] TNA C142/397