Yorkshire 16-20th Centuries
Despite the much better preservation of records, Yorkshire Broket numbers declined dramatically during the 16th 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.
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.
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
3. my will In the ‘first’ parte I bekeyn my saule to god almyghty and
4. to our lady saynt mary and to all the holy company of heven’ and
5. my body to be beryd in the kyrk garthe of bolton peyrsy Also I
6. gyffe my best beyste to be my mortuary Also I gyff to the he
7. alter for my tethys forgottyn xijd Also I gyffe to the iiij orders
8. of freers in the cytye of york ylke on of thayme a boshell of qweytte
9. Also I gyffe to the kyrk warke of bolton’ percy xxd Also I gyff
10. to John Brokett my son ij bosheles of qwheit And ij of Ry Also
11. I gyfe to sir Thomas Landisdale pariche prest of bolton’ xijd
12. Also I gyffe to Thomas Brokett and William all my geyre
13. that be longes to my body Also the Residew of goodes not bequest
14. be at the orderynge and disposynge of thaes men beyng my
15. sektors here foloyng Robert Brokett Thomas Morton’ Charles
16. Hedon’ And Master Fairfax sariand at the law and he to be
17. subvior and to se that my sektors performe my Will and thes men
18. as heir foloyinge berynge witnes sir Thomas Lonesdall Christofer
19. Smyth’ John Bilton’ and Rychard Bew
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.
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.
Thomas Brokett is known only as a legatee in his brother William‘s Will of 1508.
Isabella Brokete was admitted a member of the Corpus Christi Guild in 1522.4
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.
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.
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
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 1583:10Read more
Resignation, at the reading, interposition, giving up, surrender and renunciation and other things
specified above all and singular, as is specified above, in the years of the Lord and the reign of the Queen who now is
on the day and place above were done and performed, Along with the aforesaid witnesses personally present
I was, And all these things thus being done I saw, knew and heard. Therefore [I have] by this present
public instrument in another’s hand (because I was busy elsewhere) faithfully written
and thus completed, written down and published and in this public and authentic format
issued [it] and have signed my ordinary and accustomed name and surname in faith and
witness of all these aforesaid things, having been asked and requested.
“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
francis Brocket, buried, son of John Brocket, 17 Dec 1569—f70v.
Johanne Brocket, buried, daughter of John Brocket, 2 Aug 1573—f71r.
Elizabeth Brocket, married Thomas Spragon sadler, 4 Sep 1582—f47v.
Elizabeth Broket, baptised, daughter of John Broket younger, 13 Sep 1583—f5r.
Thomas Brocket, baptised, son of John Brocket younger, 12 Sep 1586—f7v.
John Brocket, baptised, son of John Brocket younger, 14 Aug 1588—f7r.
John Brocket, buried, son of John Brocket proctor, 12 May 1589—f78v.
John Brocket, buried, son of John Brocket younger, 1 Aug 1590—f78r.
John Brocket, baptised, son of John Brocket younger, 24 Sep 1591—f9r.
Anne Brocket, baptised, daughter of John Brocket younger, 25 Dec 1592—f10r.
William Brocket, baptised, son of John Brocket younger, 8 Dec 1594—f11v.
Francis Brocket, baptised, son of John Brocket younger, 14 Jun 1596—f12v.
Anne Brocket, buried, daughter of John Brocket younger, 21 Aug 1604—f84r.
Isabell Brockett, buried, w/o John Brockett notary publiq, 30 Aug 1604—f85v.
John Brockett, buried, notrey publiq, 3 Sep 1604—f85r.
- 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.
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
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:
- Elizabeth aged 21
- Thomas aged 18
- John aged 13
- William aged 10
- Francis aged 8.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
7. you with my eyes. which for many time have bean imbraised
8. in my armes. in your infanti. When caling to Remembranc
9. with weaping teares. to my great Los of that worthy gentel man
10. your Honered father. and that vartuous Lady your Loving mother.
11. and my dear mistris. which for your sake. I so carfully Sarveded
12. pray, give my humble sarvis to that Lady your Loving sister. which
13. I suppos are at London. as I hear. pray pardon my Bouldnes if
14. more wilful then wise in acquenting you with these lines.
15. the which I have bean these 2 ar 3 years for writing to you.
16. but I coud not hear In what plais you remaind in London.
17. until this priscent. by my son who was weaned when I came to
18. Chopwells. to nurs you he sarving a contry gentel man. and having
19. a mind to come up to London. to take his chanse as many conttry yong men
20. doth. though contrary to my mind. having but him who subscrib
21. and one douter I being a widdow. about these 10 years but finding his
22. Risalution so. I must content my self if for his advancement I
23. should not be against. and so in concluding with weiping tears. I sease your Loving
24. nurs and humble saarvant to comand whil I am Jane Brocket/
25. If it please your Ladyship to acquent his honer Lord Couper I who
26. hear subscrib if he plaase and have any accaition for a sarvant I
27. I shal Refar my self to you in what plais soever you pleas
28. to ranck me in for contry men are not capable of many things which
29. belong to the sittysans gentery but doing my indevour Like a faithful
30. sarvant I may in time. Lik a mindful boy at scoul get my
31. Lesen parfict as for grom or cabber I have bean used to both
32. in the contry I should have come about half a year ago
33. but my mother being unwilling caused me to mis that oppertunity but Resolving now to take my
34. fortun if by gods assistance I may obtain a plais and if not must rest myself containt and be contint with
35. Such a plais as fal in my Lot or if it plais you to do me that favour to help me to a plais
36. I shal think my sellf so much oblidg to you as never lik to Requit you but with all rivernance of a
37. faitful sarvant you or any in whose priscetes I may be admited this is all at prisent pray pardon
38. my bouldness myself your faithful & humble sarvant Willm Brocket
39. If you pleas to command one of your sarvants to writ me an ansur as shortly as you Caan
40. and to deirect in my naime to moulton Near Richmond in Yorkshier
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.
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:
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
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