Brokets of Yorkshire 13-15th C
Contents of this page:
- 13-14th Centuries
- 15th Century
- 16-20th Centuries (separate page)
- Map of the Ainsty in the West Riding (separate page)
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 13 individuals have been found in Yorkshire from the 13-14th Centuries (all on a separate page):
1260: John of Newton Kyme
1299: Thomas Broket, Nun Appleton.
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
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 John Broket’s claim that his ancestors had held properties in the City ‘tyme owt of mynd’ would only have meant about a century.
- 1400: Thomas
- 1405: Richard, Priest, of the County — See separate page.
- 1411-: John, Butcher, of York City.
- 1429: Robert, Merchant, of York City — See separate page.
- 1431: William of York City.
- 1444: Alice.
- 1444-: John of York City.
- 1444: Thomas of York City.
- 1450: Edward of Steeton and Wheathampstead.
- 1451: Katerine of York City.
- 1451: Alice of York City.
- 1458: Thomas Esquire of Wheathampstead— See separate page.
- 1472: John of Apylton, Ainsty.
- 1472: Alice of Apylton, Ainsty.
- 1472: Edward of Apylton, Ainsty.
- 1483: Robert of Scriven, near Knaresborough.
- c 1483-: Roberte of Appleton, Ainsty.
- 1484: William of Appleton, Ainsty.
- 1488: Robert of Jewleas, Appleton, Ainsty.
- 1491: Lucia of York City.
- 1497: John Esquire of Wheathampstead.
Note: It’s likely that Thomas b by 1366 was actually Thomas the Remembrancer.
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
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.
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
And 21s for William Broket as below
William Broket owes 21s per annum for the custody of two cottages in Munkgate in the city of York and a cottage in Bakynerset Walmegate in the city aforesaid, which Adam Osbaldwyk clerk otherwise called Adam Somondour held from the king in chief as in burgage to him and his heirs in fee simple, and (Adam) was a bastard and died seised of the cottages aforesaid without heir of his body, and which John Lincoln late one of the grooms of the chamber of lord Richard the second after the Conquest late king of England had by grant of the said late king for term of his life: to have from Michaelmas in the 10th year [29 Sep 1431], to the end of 20 years next following and fully to be complete; rendering thence to the king 20s per annum, at which the said three cottages are extended per annum, and 12d in addition per annum, at Easter and Michaelmas equally; by mainpern of Roger Byrne of county York gentilman and John Holme of the same county gentilman, as is contained in the preceding roll in the supplement to the York appendix. Of which the sheriff answers above.
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
- “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.”
- “Every commoner had to have a couple of mainpernors to act as sureties in taking up a royal lease.”
- “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
- “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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- “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.”
Son of John, Butcher and mentioned in his Will 1444. John would have been born by 1436 at the latest. Four other probable records:
1. In 1475-83 John 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.
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. 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
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
Brother of John, Butcher and mentioned in his Will 1444.
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.
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
Daughter of John Brokett, Butcher and Katerine. Mentioned in both their Wills.
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.
For his relationship to the other Brokets of Appleton see above.
Wife of John Brokett of Apylton. Mentioned in his Will. Not apparently recorded elsewhere.
Son of John Brokett of Apylton. Mentioned in his Will. Not apparently recorded elsewhere.
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
Nicholas Leventhorp appeared by his attorney for a fourth day against John Staveley (or Staneley) late of Knaresburgh in the county aforesaid yoman, Robert Broket late of Screven in the county aforesaid husbandman and Robert Hull late of Screven in the county aforesaid husbandman, in a plea that each of them render him £10 that they owe him and unjustly withhold &c. And [the defendants] have not come. And it had been ordered the sheriff to summon them &c. And the sheriff now reports that [the defendants] have nothing (in his bailiwick in lands or chattels whereby they might be attached) &c. Therefore let them be taken, to be here on the quindene of Easter [13 April 1483] &c.
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.
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
3. testament in manner and forme followinge ffirst I give my soull to god almightie to oure
4. ladie sancte marie . and to all the sanctes in heaven’ and my bodie to be buried within the
5. churche yerde of all sanctes in Bolton Percie Item I giue to the highe altare vijd Item I
6. giue to Edwarde my sonne my yonge sconed horse a fetherbede a mattres a bolster a couerlet
7. a counter and a siluer spoone Item I giue to John my sone a siluer spoone, and towe
8. oxen Item I giue to Anne my wif ij siluer spones a fetherbede a mattres a bolster a cowe
9. an oxe stirke and a mayre and a foill. The Residue of all my goodes not bequeathed my
10. dettes and legacies paide I giue to Anne my wif whome I make myne executrix of this my
11. last will and testament Thes witnesses John Goode John yngalby Guye Wright’ and John
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
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).
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
Thomas Walker of Bolton Percy in the county aforesaid yoman, Henry Barker yoman and William Broket of Appulton in the county aforesaid yoman appeared by their attorney for a fourth day against Richard Machon late of Barnby in county York yoman, in a plea that he render them 20 marks; and against Robert Worlyngton late of Kirkeby by Wharf in county York yoman, William Barker late of Tolleston in county York yoman and Richard Preston late of Morehouse in county York yoman, in a plea that each of them render them 10 marks that they owe them and unjustly withhold &c. And [the defendants] have not come &c.; and it had been ordered the sheriffs to take them &c. And the sheriffs now report that [the defendants] are not found &c. Therefore, as before, let them be taken, to be here five weeks from Easter [23 May 1484] &c. On which day here come the aforesaid plaintiffs by their attorney and appear for a fourth day against the aforesaid defendants in the plea aforesaid; and [the defendants] have not come; and, as before, it had been ordered the sheriffs to take them &c. And the sheriffs now report that [the defendants] are not found &c. Therefore, as many times, let them be taken, to be here on the octaves of Trinity [20 June 1484] &c.
William died in 1508. This plea could have been made by the William from the next generation, but less likely.
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 1480s—as co-executor he was present at the probate of his father’s Will in 1488—and the 1490s, and was buried in Wheathampstead in 1507. No other Robert BroketBrocket is known in Hertfordshire at those times. The marble and brass memorial [in Latin] to ‘Robert Broket Gentleman who died 10 Jun 1569 aged 49’ in St Margaret’s Church is to Robert Brickett—with an ‘i’—of Barley.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 jury between Thomas Trusser and Thomas Bassyngbourn esquire (who joined with the same Thomas Trusser in aid against Robert Broket) plaintiffs and the aforesaid Robert Broket, in a plea of taking and unjust keeping of avers of the said Thomas Trusser, is put in respite hence to the quindene of Easter [29 Apr 1498], unless the justices assigned by form of statute &c. to hold assizes in the county aforesaid come first to Hertford on Thursday before the feast of St Matthias the apostle [22 Feb 1498], for lack of jurors, as none came; therefore the sheriff shall have their bodies &c.
The jury between Thomas Trusser and Thomas Bassyngbourn esquire (who joined with the same Thomas Trusser in aid against Robert Broket) plaintiffs and the aforesaid Robert Broket, in a plea of taking and unjust keeping of avers of the said Thomas Trusser, is put in respite hence to the quindene of Easter [3 May 1500], for lack of jurors, as none came; therefore the sheriff shall have their bodies &c. and appoint ten such &c.
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
4. my saull to god almyghtie, to our ladie sancte marie, and to all the sanctes in hevyn
5. my bodie to be beried within the churche yerde of alsanctes in Bolton percye. Item I gif
6. to on prest to syng for me, and my moder half a yere .xls. Item to Roberte Brokett .
7. xxvjs viijd Item to Sir William’ Wright’ my curate .iijs iiijd. Item to John’ Brokett .iijs
8. iiijd Item to Edwarde Brokett .iijs iiijd. Item to William’ Brokett .iijs iiijd Item to John’
9. Hudson’ .xxd. Item to anne Brokett my fader in lawe wif .xiijs iiijd. Item to agnes dawson
10. a violett gowne. Item to John’ Hill .iiijd. Item to Edwarde Robynson’ .iiijd. Item to Isabell marche
11. viijd Item to Roberte newburghe’ .iiijd. Item to Thomas Saunder .iiijd. Item to Thomas Thomson’
12. vj li xiijs iiijd. and my parte of a certen porcion of land belongyng to me after the
13. decesse of Roberte Brokett my fader in lawe Item to the hie altar on altar clothe. The
14. residue of all my goodes my legacies and funerall expenses fulfilled I gif to Thomas
15. Thomson, whome I make my executor of this my last will and testament … witnes …
16. Georgie Godsone Richarde Peyne and John’ Hudson and Sir William’ Wright’ curate with other
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.
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: July 24, 2023