Yorkshire Brokets 16-20thC - The Broket Archive

Yorkshire 16-20th Centuries

Despite the much better preservation of records, Yorkshire Broket numbers declined dramatically during the 16th C.

1. 16-18th C
2. 19-20th C

York itself was in decay and from being the largest provincial city in Britain in 1377 with a population of c 11,000, by 1548 it was about the sixth largest with c 8,000 inhabitants.1 Hertfordshire presented better prospects.

When Fairfax took over lordship in Appleton in 1565, the Brokets there moved to York City, where a line lived on till 1720. Otherwise, apart from Walter in Hull c 1605-1666—who could have been a seafaring incomer—Broket records from 17-18th C Yorkshire comprise only 3 individuals or households, all in North Yorkshire: Malton, Whitby and Pickering. The latter grew into a small clan that flourished in and around the North York Moors 1774-1926, especially in Whitby. Some of the men were Seafarers, others Farmers, Cordwainers and Coopers.

1. 16-18th Centuries

Recorded Yorkshire Broket households

15th C: 13
16th C—1st half: 7; 2nd half: 2
17th C: 4
18th C: 3


1508: William. Bolton Percy parish. See §1.1 below.
1508: John. Bolton Percy parish. See §1.2 below.
1508: Thomas. Bolton Percy parish. See §1.3 below.
1508: William. Bolton Percy parish. See §1.4 below.
1508, 23, 30s, 43: Robert. Bolton Percy parish; Appleton. See the separate page.
1522: Isabella. City. See §1.5 below.
1532: John Esq. Wheathampstead, Herts. See the separate page.
1538: Anne. Bolton Percy parish. See §1.6 below.
1538, 48: Edwarde. Bolton Percy parish; City? See §1.7 below.
1538-: John. Bolton Percy parish; City; Appleton. See §1.8 below.
1558-: John Esq. Wheathampstead, Herts. See §1.9 below.
1561: Master John. Appleton. See §1.8 below.
1583-: John the younger. City. See §1.10 below.
c 1605-1666: Walter of Kingston upon Hull. See the separate page.
1608-: Mathew. City. See §1.11 below.
1620-95: Benedick. City. See §1.12 below.
1650-: Philip. City. See §1.13 below.
1711: Jane and William. Moulton, N Yorkshire. See §1.14 below.
1736: John Brockell. Richmond, N Yorkshire. See §1.15 below.

1.1. William d 1508

William was in all likelihood the William Broket, Yeoman of Appulton, who made a plea in 1484 at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster, see the separate page. The next record found of him is his Will, written 19 Sep 1508, proved 21 Oct 1508:2

1. In the name of god amen the xix day of september in the
2. yere of our lord ml cccccviijavo I William Brokett of a hoyll mynd makes    Read more

William worked the land of Bolton Percy. Bequeathing a bushel of wheat to each of the 4 orders of Friars in York suggests that he regularly took his produce to market in the City. A widower in 1508, he was probably born c 1450-60. Other than gifts totalling only 3s 8d, his bequests were mostly of crops. However, this does not mean he had nothing else to pass on:

  • Appointing 3 executors (one the senior Broket of the parish) plus an esquire as overseer suggests that he had.
  • This Will is in fact a testament and any real—as opposed to personal—estate he may have had was either left to the discretion of the executors to administer or had already been passed on.

In these points William’s Will was similar to that of John, d 1472, who was in all likelihood his father. Like John, William willed to be buried in the churchyard. The Brockett Chapel may have been a chantry reserved for Thomas and Dionisia. Robert did not request burial there either.

William’s Will and the other documentary evidence show that in addition to the manor house family there was only one other Broket family in Bolton Percy parish in the 2nd half of the 15th C.

1.2. John 1508

John Brokett is known only as a legatee in his father William‘s Will of 1508. To be bequeathed bushels of grain means he was an adult, therefore born at the latest 1487.

1.3. Thomas 1508

Thomas Brokett is known only as a legatee in his brother William‘s Will of 1508.

1.4. William 1508

William Brokett is known as a legatee in 3 Wills, those of: William of 1508, Elsabeth Holme of 1538 and Isabell Godson of 1546,3 by which time he would have been in his 50s or more:    Read more

1.5. Isabella 1522

Isabella Brokete was admitted a member of the Corpus Christi Guild in 1522.4

1.6. Anne 1538

The only records of Anne Brokett are in the Wills of Elsabeth Holme in 1538 and husband Robert of 1542 as sole executrix. After this she would probably have remained as Lady of Brockethall manor so long as one of her sons was under 21.

1.7. Edwarde 1538

Three records of Edwarde Brokett survive. He is mentioned in the Wills of Elsabeth Holme of 1538 and father Robert‘s of 1542. Edward may subsequently have moved to York City, where he was one of 12 legatees of the Will of William Browne, Priest of St John’s Ousebridge, pr 4 Feb 1547/8, in which he received 3s 4d and his short gowne.5

Robert named him in his Will before John, so perhaps Edward was the elder son. However John became Lord of Brockethall manor. Both would have been born in the 1520s.

1.8. Mr John, Lord of Brockethall and Notary Public b 1520s d 1604

The first records of John are in the Wills of Elsabeth Holme in 1538 and father Robert of 1542. That he was still working in 1593, aged perhaps 65-8, and died 1604, allows an estimated birth c 1525-8.

How soon after his father’s death he became Lord of Brockethall manor is not known, but it was by 1561 at the latest. In February that year Robert Cowper of Appleton bequeathed John 1 gray gelding, 1 two-year-old bay colt and 2 rials of gold on request that he be a good lord to his poor relatives.6 John’s legacy appears to have been larger than any other non-Cowper family member’s:    Read more

John was the last Broket Lord in Appleton; the manor was sold in 1565 by Sir John Brockett of Wheathampstead, his 2nd cousin once removed. After this there is no further record of Brokets in Bolton Percy parish. The first 24 years of the Parish Registers 1571-94 recorded no Broket baptisms, burials or marriages.7 If there were any surviving siblings or cousins, they had moved elsewhere.John’s descendants lived on in York for 5 generations till 1720.

Although John had been Lord of the Manor in Appleton until 1565, he would have lived in York for many years before, training to be a Proctor. Prior to that he would have studied for minor orders, probably at Cambridge matriculating at Trinity College in 1554—and therefore not marrying before late 1557. 3 years at Cambridge followed by 7 or more at York led in 1566 to being given the freedom of York City as a Notary Public.8

“In medieval York the proctors, who were almost necessarily notaries also, formed something very like a guild or collegium. The medieval notary was almost invariably in minor orders… Before becoming a proctor a man had to be articled for seven years to a senior proctor, and after that time he was admitted a notary by faculty of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and only then did he petition for admission as a proctor”9.

Among other formal legal duties, notaries confirmed and authenticated the truth of deeds or writings. John’s certification and interlacing sign with its motto veritas liberabit—‘The truth will set [you] free’—are found on late 16th C York Diocesan Court Act Books and Cause Papers, like the resignation of a vicar 26 Nov 1583:10+Read more

“In medieval York the proctors, who were almost necessarily notaries also, formed something very like a guild or collegium. The medieval notary was almost invariably in minor orders… Before becoming a proctor a man had to be articled for seven years to a senior proctor, and after that time he was admitted a notary by faculty of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and only then did he petition for admission as a proctor.”11

Notaries Public, as professional men, took precedence in ceremonies over city councillors.12 In 1571 John was one of the 4 Chamberlains of the City.13 He had servants, witnessed by the burial of an unnamed ‘servant of Mr Brocket’ in 1574.14

Throughout the period 1563-82 John lived next door to Edward Fawkes and family, one of whom was the infamous Guy, baptised in St Michael le Belfry 1570. Edward Fawkes was a Notary Public in the ecclesiastical courts too—the Exchequer Court.15 John’s children’s would have played with Guy. An indenture of 8 July 1579 continued Edward’s widow, Edith Fawkes, as the leaseholder of: “a dwellinge house or tenemente in Stayngate within the Cyttye of Yorke… Boundinge on the southe syde vpon the tenemente of John’ Brockett Publuque Notarie”.16

Stonegate was then one of the wealthiest streets in the City.17 Edward or Edith Fawkes paid taxes on goods valued at £10, while John paid taxes of between 3s and 6s 8d on goods valued at £3, rising to £4 from 1577.18 While the Fawkes’ parish church was St Michael le Belfry, the Brockets’ was St Helen’s, at the other end of Stonegate.19

St Helen’s Parish Register has 16 Broket entries spanning 35 years 1569-1604, 6 of which relate to John the Notary Public:20+Read more

  • Late 16th C York Diocesan Court Act Books confirm that John the Notary was the father of John the younger. On 25 Mar 1594 he became ‘Registrar of Deanery Court with his son John Brockett jun’.21
  • From the 1580s when John the younger and his wife were having children John the elder was distinguished in the register by his profession. For the first 3 entries he didn’t need to be.
  • Nancye and Francis bur 1569 may have been twins who died in infancy. The St Helen’s Parish Register only began in 1568 and these names are not typical eldest child names. John and Isabell had had unrecorded children before: Elizabeth—who married Thomas Spragon 1582—and John for instance. John, however, was probably the only surviving son.
  • It is not known when or where the John bur 1589 was baptised—perhaps at home. He was the second of 2 sons of John the Notary called John, the elder one an independent householder known as John the younger by then.

John the Notary was closely involved with the Minster. In 1573 he was a supervisor, along with 3 clerics, of the Will of the Vicar Choral, Robert Typpine, who bequeathed him 5s. An inventory in the same year following the Will of another Vicar Choral, Robert Mell, showed that John was owed 10s in fees.22 In 1583 John promoted a case of immorality for the Office against Gadyan Robinson of Bugthorpe.23

The last record of John at work is in the deposition given at York 1593, when he was still a Proctor in the ecclesiastical court, probably in his late 60s. Both he and his wife Isabell were buried in 1604 within a week of each other, during an outbreak of the plague in York.

1.9. John Esq  of Hertfordshire 1558-65

Deeds dated 1558, 1563 and 1565 record the sale of the Brockett estates in Bolton Percy parish by Hertfordshire John—later Sir John II—and his wife Elena. The final one included the sale of Brockethall manor to Thomas and Dorothea Fairfax.24

1.10. John the younger d 1604

Son of John Notary Public and Proctor, John was unlikely to have been born after 1560, probably nearer 1550. Between 1583-1604 John was recorded in St Helen’s Parish Register for the baptism or burial of 7 children. Marriages were recorded there from 1573 but not John’s. Perhaps he married in his wife’s parish and moved to St Helen’s some years later. Records of baptisms began in St Helen’s in 1568 and their 7 children recorded there appear not to have been their complement. They had probably had a son Mathew by then, at least.

John worked as an Ecclesiastical Lawyer in his father’s footsteps, but would have studied and trained locally, rather than at Cambridge like his father.25

A lease of closes in More Moncketon—c 6 miles NW of York—dated 20 Apr 1592 by William Gibson Gent to John Brockett the younger and John Whittacres, for 21 years at a yearly rent of £6 was witnessed by the Lord Mayor of York, the Clerk of the Peace and others, and enrolled in the common register in the Council Chamber on Ouse Bridge, York.26 The closes were sold 6 years later by John Brockett, without ‘the younger’. John the elder, the Notary Public was still nevertheless alive.

After 21 Aug 1604 there are no more records of John the younger or his family in St Helen’s. They were actually buried in nearby Holy Trinity Goodramgate a week or two later—John Brocket on 27 Aug, his wife on 7 Sep and their daughter Elizabeth on 7 Sep.27 But burial there was no doubt a symptom of the chaos caused by an outbreak of the plague. 3512 persons are said to have died from it in York in 1604, at its most virulent in August and September.28 These were the same 2 months in which Anne, another of their daughters, and both parents John the elder and Isabell died.

Apart from probable son Mathew, their other children are not again recorded. If still alive when John and his wife died in 1604, they were:

  1. Elizabeth aged 21
  2. Thomas aged 18
  3. John aged 13
  4. William aged 10
  5. Francis aged 8.

1.11. Mathew married 1608

Although there is no record of his baptism, Matthew was almost certainly a son of John the younger and his wife:

  • There was no other childbearing Broket couple in York at the time.
  • Given that men usually married aged 26 or more,29 Mathew’s marriage to Anna in 1608 would place his birth c 1582. John the younger and his wife appear to have moved to St Helen’s c 1583, which would explain Mathew’s absence from the PR.
  • St Michael le Belfry parish, next to St Helen’s, records a marriage of Matthewe Brokell and Ann Bowe on 10 Apr 1597. Since Brokell is not a name otherwise appearing in 16-17th C York parish records, it is tempting to see this 1597 entry as a scribal error for Brokett. Inspection of the original entry, however, shows that the clerk shaped double ll completely differently to double t, so this was not a case of failure to cross the ts,30 unless the clerk was copying up from earlier notes.
  • If Mathew had married first in 1597, it would push his birth back to the early 1570s, which would fit the family of neither John the younger nor John the Notary.

‘Matheus Brocket nupsit (married) Anna Thomson’ 4 Sep 1608, as recorded in All Saints Pavement registers.31 Their children were mostly recorded there:
1. Anna Brocket bap 31 Dec 161232
2. Rychard the sonne of mathewe brockett [baptised] the 26 of may’ 1615 was the only Broket entry in the York St Crux Parish Register 1539-1837.33 No further record has been found of him in the north but the Richard of Sandy in Bedfordshire in the 1630s was unlikely to have been him.
3. Jacobus Brocket bap 14 Sep 1617 bur 24 Dec 161834
4. Benedictus Brocktot [sic] bap 31 Dec 162035
5. Bryane Brockette bap 31 Dec 162636
6. ? Mary Brockett mar 16 May 1641 John Wilson by banns in St Martins Coney Street.37

Mathew and Anna were buried in All Saints Pavement: Mathew on 11 Aug 1625 and ‘Mathew Brockitte wife’ on 24 Jun 1631.38 If they survived childhood it is not known what became of children Anna, Rychard or Bryane.

1.12. Benedick 1620-95

Benedick son of Mathew was baptised in All Saints Pavement 1620 and buried there 1695.39 Jane Brocket, widow, buried there 7 Jul 1702, would in all likelihood have been his wife. Between 1647-60 their children were recorded in St Martins Coney Street Parish Registers (M), thereafter in All Saints Pavement (AS):
1. Elizabeth bap 24 Jun 1647 daughter of Benedick Brockett40
2. Phillip bap 9 Jan 1650/1 son of Benedick Brockett41
3. Mathew bap 16 Mar 1652/3 son of Benedick Brockett42
4. Infant of Benedick Brockitt bur 1 Aug 165543
5. Thomas bap 21 Jul 1658 son of Benedicke Brockitt, bur 30 Jan 165944
6. Benedick bap 18 Sep 1660 son of Benedick Brockitt45 bur 15 Apr 167046
7. Charles bur 27 Dec 1664 son of Benedick Brockit47
8. John bap 26 Aug and bur 27 Aug 1669 son of Benedick Brockit48
9. Mary bap 19 Jan 1672/3 daughter of Benidick Brockit49
10. Ann bap 1 Jul 1666 daughter of Benidick Brockitt;50 Anne Brocket, spinster bur 22 Sep 1720 .51 Anne was the last Broket in York. Perhaps she was a daughter of Phillip.

If they survived childhood it is not known what became of children Elizabeth, Mathew or Mary. The 1673 grant of the freedom of the City of York to his son Phillip describes Benedick as a ‘Translator’—a Cobbler who restored old shoes to new. There is no record of his own freedom.

1.13. Philip 1650-

Son of Benedick, Philip was a Mariner and gained freedom of the City of York by patrimony in 1673.52 Baptised 1650, he would probably only have completed his apprenticeship by 1671. Phillip’s children were recorded in 4 York parishes in 5 years, those of St John Ousebridge,53 All Saints Pavement,54 St Martin and St Gregory55 and St Mary Castlegate:56
1. Phillip Brockitt bap 9 Aug 1674;57 Phillap son of Phillap Brockit bur 30 Nov 167858
2. Christopher Brockit bap 19 Nov 1676 bur 20 Nov 167659
3. John Brockitt bap 6 Feb 1677/860
4. Phillip Brockitt bap 20 Dec 1679 bur 30 May 168161
No more is known of this family. No marriages, burials or other baptisms were recorded 1655-86 in St John Ousebridge, St Martin & St Gregory or St Mary Castlegate.

1.14. Jane and William 1711

The following quaint letters dated 14 Apr 1711 from Jane and William Brocket to Lady Couper are preserved in Hertfordshire Record Office. Jane, whose husband had died c 1701, had been her old nurse and was now living up at Moulton, 4 miles E of Richmond, with son William and a daughter.62 Did Jane’s husband descend from a cadet City branch or had Jane moved up to Moulton with her son and daughter after her husband died?

1. Honerable Lady, these with my most humble Sarvis to you. and
2. To his Honer your Lord and husband. wishing both your
3. happines \ not knowing if god have given you ares
4. or no. hoping these Lines. will find you in good health:
5. as I am at this pricsent. your old nurss and humble sarvant.
6. Jane Broket. wishing many a time. yet scars posable to behoud    Read more

1.15. John Brockell of Richmond 1736

Release of Poundale Close to Thomas Wycliffe of Gayles—4 miles NW of Richmond.63 Until July 2020 this man was indexed in the Durham County Record Office catalogue as John Brockett, and it was speculated that he might have been the surviving son of Phillip of York City. However in July 2020 a search through parish Registers and TNA records showed a number of Brockells in Richmond at this time but no Brocketts, including an Alderman John Brockell. On investigation it was found that this particular record also concerned Alderman John Brockell, and the catalogue entry was updated.

2. 19-20th Centuries

From the late 18th to the ealy 20th C a clan flourished in and around the North York Moors, especially in Whitby. The first record is of Thomas, a poor Sailor who died in Whitby workhouse 1782 aged 78. He probably would have come from elsewhere.

Between 1837-1954 the GRO recorded only the following Brokets for the huge county of Yorkshire:

  • 30 births
  • 21 marriages
  • 39 deaths,

and of these more than two thirds were in the Whitby district:

  • 24 births (1837-1911)
  • 13 marriages (1840-1913)
  • 29 deaths (1847-1926).

Some of the places they lived were:

Fylingdales: Between Whitby and Scalby
Goathland: In the moors c 5 m SW of Whitby
Hartlepool: c 25 m up the coast from Whitby
Lythe: W of Whitby
Newholm: c 4 m W of Whitby
Pickering: c 20 m S of Whitby
Robin Hoods Bay: c 4 m down the coast from Whitby
Roxby: c 8 m W of Whitby
Scalby: 7+ m from Whitby
Sleights: c 3 m SW of Whitby
Whitby: just N of the N York Moors and c 25 m down the coast from Hartlepool

An IGI patron submission recorded a Joseph marrying Alice HILL c 1770 Kirkburton, 4 m SE of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire.

The 1881 Census recorded 7 Brockett households in Yorkshire with 23 individuals. At least 4 of the households and 17 of the individuals were from Whitby or nearby.

In 1829 Messrs W and L Brockett were creditors in York to a bankrupt Dealer in Wines in Spirits,64 but they could have been from another part of the country.

Page Last Updated: November 7, 2020


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


[1] Palliser 1979 pp 201f, 224.

[2] BI Probate Register, v.7 f.60 r-v.

[3] BI Probate Register v.13, f.137.

[4] Register of the Guild 1872 p 200.

[5] Cross 1989 p 44.

[6] BI Probate Register v 17, f 5; M J Harrison 2000 p 78.

[7] BI microfilm 644.

[8] Freeman of York 1896 vol 2 p 8.

[9] Purvis 1957 pp iv, vi.

[10] BI Res 1583 (or R.IV.A.h.66, rather than BI ms R.IV.A.g.101)—Purvis 1957 p 87. For the original Latin contact the Archivist of this website.

[11] Purvis 1957 pp iv, vi.

[12] Ritchie 1956 p 51.

[13] Freeman of York 1896 vol 2 p 12.

[14] St Helen’s Parish Register f 71r.

[15] Palliser 1979 p 140.

[16] York Minster Library ms Wb—Dean and Chapter Register of Leases 1543-87—f 304r ll 22-25; A Raine 1955 p 122.

[17] Palliser 1979 p 139.

[18] York City Archives Accession no E51—City of York Royal Subsidies 1563-82—pp 20, 57, 95, 127, 158, 186, 210, 228, 261, 284, with name mainly spelt Broket.

[19] A Raine 1955 p 122.

[20] York City Library PR.Y.HEL.1—not transcribed in the YPRS series nor in the IGI.

[21] BIHR Index of Ecclesiastical Lawyers D/C AB.

[22] Cross 1984 pp 120, 123.

[23] Longley 1980 p 32.

[24] Leeds City Archives DB/65/8; YASRS, 2, Yorkshire Fines, pp 273, 274, 308, 310.

[25] BIHR index of Ecclesiastical Lawyers: 30 Mar 1593, 25 Mar 1594 D/C AB.

[26] Brown 1913 p 132.

[27] YPRS 1911 vol 41 pp 54-5).

[28] Davies n d, pp 6, 7; Drake p 131.

[29] Laslett 1983, p 82 cites mean ages of bridegrooms in the Diocese of Canterbury 1619-60 as 26.65.

[30] York Minster Archives ms DEP/P/M. Cf the marriage of Sybell Typlady in Nov 1597 and the burial of Edward Fawcett in Dec 1597.

[31] AS: YPRS 1935 vol 100 p 87.

[32] AS p 38.

[33] YPRS 1922 vol 70 p 25 and 1985 vol 149 p 241.

[34] AS pp 42, 87.

[35] AS p 44.

[36] AS p 122.

[37] YPRS 1909 vol 36 p 63.

[38] AS pp 121, 123.

[39] AS p 238.

[40] M p 30.

[41] M p 31.

[42] M p 32.

[43] M p 104.

[44] M pp 35, 107.

[45] M p 36.

[46] AS p 149.

[47] AS p 145.

[48] AS pp 73, 149.

[49] AS p 75.

[50] AS p 70.

[51] AS p 253.

[52] Freemen of York 1896 vol 2 p 145.

[53] JO: BI microfilm reel 16.

[54] AS.

[55] MG: Bulmer 1897.

[56] MC: YPRS 1897 vol 134.

[57] JO f 54v.

[58] AS p 154.

[59] MG pp 98-9.

[60] MG p 99.

[61] MC vol 1 pp 120, 122.

[62] HALS D/EPF203 18/33.

[63] Durham County Record Office: Estate and Family Records of the Cradock family of Gainford and Hartforth, Ref No D/Cr 96; goo.gl/vntgCc (accessed 4 Oct 2018).

[64] York City Archives database.