14th Century Brokets - The Broket Archive

Earliest Broket Places and Records:
14th Century

Overview of the 14th Century:

83% of the 23 were from Yorkshire, mostly from the Ainsty, York’s SW hinterland: the first sustained hereditary centre of the surname. Even disregarding the 9 payers of the 1379 poll tax for York and the Ainsty, Yorkshire Brokets comprised 63% or more of all other 14th C records, and most 15th C Broket records come from Yorkshire too.
Although not everyone had their names recorded in these times and although records have got lost, we probably know more than half the household heads from this century, since:
• the 23 were spread over the century
• at any point during it there are estimated to have been at the most 17 Broket households.

Contents of this page

1301 Walter, Philip & Alexander of Brumpton Salden, Yorkshire North Riding
c 1303 Thomas of Steeton, Yorkshire Ainsty
1315 William of Kempston, Bedfordshire
1342 Ralph of Kempston, Bedfordshire
1344 John Alfonso of Castile, Spain
1349 John of Steeton, Yorkshire Ainsty
1355-6 Philip of Hedyngham Sebely, Essex
1361- Nicholas of Steeton, Yorkshire Ainsty
1368- William, Priest of Roxton, Kempston and Elstow, Bedfordshire
1379 9 from the Yorkshire Ainsty poll tax
1382 John of Tendryng, Essex
1382 William of Yorkshire Ainsty
1387 Thomas of Yorkshire
1389 Robert of York City
1393 Richard of Yorkshire
1393- Thomas of Appleton, Yorkshire Ainsty
1396 John of Stickney, Lincolnshire
1397/8 Robert junior of York City

1. Walter, Philip and Alexander of Brumpton Salden 1301

Walter, Philip and Alexander Broget were 3 of the 38 taxpayers in Brumpton Salden 1301 (Brompton and Sawdon) in the wapentake and forest of Pickering, 20-5 miles NE of York.1

  • Three paid a lord of the manor rate: 15-18s. Two of these were William and Isabella de Vescy. Isabella (d 1334) was a Bolton Percy landowner.2 The Brokets here were probably in her or William’s retinue.
  • The next highest was Walter, paying 7s 3d—a substantial tax. The tax was a fifteenth on movables, so it could be said that Walter’s goods were worth something like £5 6s 9d.
  • Then there was 1 who paid in the 6-7 shilling bracket, 2 in the 5-6 and 1 in the 4-5.
  • Eight paid 3-4 shillings.
  • Philip—2s 6d—and Alexander—2s 1d farthing—were 2 of the 14 in the 2-3 shilling bracket.
  • The 8 remaining paid 9-23d.

The 2-3s bracket could be called middling peasants; not rich but not poor. They were established in the village with their own families. Thus the youngest of the 3 Brokets would have been born 1276 at the latest. 57 years later Alexander Broket of the Forest of Pickering was fined 6d for not appearing at the eyre 1334.3 This may have been the same Alexander, but more likely a namesake of the next generation.

It looks as though Walter was the father, or at least from the previous generation; born in the 1250s perhaps. The Bolton Percy connection means that Walter’s father was a Broket too, born by the 1230s and thus a contemporary of John of Newton Kyme. There being two Brokets in the same area means there had been one or more in the generation preceding, born by 1210—the earliest known Yorkshire Broket.

Most North Riding returns are preserved for this 1301 subsidy, but all West Riding ones are lost and the only East Riding ones are for the wapentake east of Bolton Percy. Its 1301 Brokets are therefore lost. 1301 returns for most of York City are preserved but no Brokets are recorded. The 1297 subsidy for Yorkshire is only patchily preserved and no Brokets were in those particular areas.4

2. Thomas Broket of Steeton b by 1280 or 1275

Three deeds transferring property in Bolton Percy parish witnessed by Thomas survive from c 1303 to the 1320s:5+Read More

Thomas would have been born by 1280, and if—as is likely—he was the Thomas recorded in the parish in 1299, then by 1275 at least. So he would have been too old to have been the Thomas recorded in 1387. He would have died well before 1379—no Thomas was recorded in Steeton for the poll tax that year. Perhaps he was the father of John b c 1310. Being signatories to deeds at this time indicated at least a parish-gentry status.11 Thomas, and John after him, were significant members of the local rural community. The Elizabethan Brokets considered Steton as their ancestral origin.

3. William of Kempston 1315

William Broket is recorded in tax lists 1315-1342 for the parish of Kempston, a couple of miles SW of Bedford, and so was born by 1294. He may have been the father of Ralph, below, and would have been a close relative of William, born by the 1330s and later Priest in Roxton, Kempston and Elstow.

4. Ralph of Kempston 1342

In 1342 Ralph Broket was eligible to pay tax on wool in Kempston, Bedfordshire, like William of Kempston above.

5. John Alfonso Knight 1344-5

KIng Edward III of England corresponded with this Castilian knight to use his influence in the negotiations for the marriage of his daughter Joan to Alfonso XI king of Leon and Castile’s eldest son Pedro—later dubbed Pedro the Cruel.

Castilian naval power had been growing and the English were looking for a Castilian alliance in their prolonged conflict with France, known today as the Hundred Years War. John Alfonso del Broket Knight must have had influence at the Castilian court because recent diplomatic visits had informed Edward well of the identity of the persons whose support was required to further the alliance.12

Edward III’s letters to Alfonso XI are recorded in Close Rolls for 1344-5.13 TNA E/30 for years 1323-60 has 2 letters14 giving instructions to the envoys but no details about the Castilian contacts.15

In addition to sending envoys, King Edward copied the letters to John Alfonso del Broket Knight and to:

  • the Queen of Castile
  • Master John Stephani Chancellor of the king of Castile
  • Ferand Zanccii de Valladolid Knight
  • John Martyn de Lene Knight
  • Alkar’ master of the Jennets—the Cavalry—of the king of Castile.

As it turned out, the question of the bride’s dowry prolonged the negotiations and Joan did not start her journey to Castile until 1348. The delay proved fatal to the English as it did to Joan who died of the plague on the way.16

Following are 3 examples of the letters; the third showing that John Alfonso had been communicating with Edward III:    Read More

John Alfonso del Broket’s name shows his English ancestry:

  1. The Broket element does not approximate to any Spanish or Gascon word. There is/was no similar place name in Castile or Gascony, and an indigenous surname Broket has not been found in Spain or Gascony. There was no name approximating to Broket in the list of knights at Alfonso XI’s coronation,18 nor with respect to his chivalric initiative in 1332,19 nor in the index of earlier names.20 The Royal Archives of Castile were destroyed in the 14th C, so there is no compendium or edition of the letters of Alfonso XI; those in the Archivo Historico Nacional, Seccion de Clero have no Broket entry.21 It was coincidence that John de Brocas was one of Edward III’s senior diplomats in these negotiations with Alfonso XI.22 The Brocas family is well attested in subsequent Gascon and Guyenne history23 but that the Brokets originated in Gascony24 was speculation and does not fit with the existence of earlier English records. O’Gilvy recorded no Broket.
  2. ‘del’ is further evidence of the name’s foreignness. The usual locative surname was de + the place, like de Vailhedolit ‘of Valladolid’. The added definite article in del would have been a means of indicating a foreign name.
  3. The Alfonso element is a Spanish patronymic—John’s father’s first name was Alfonso. To have borne a Spanish first name, his father must have had a Spanish parent, in this case presumably mother. The conclusion is that John’s paternal grandfather, a Broket, had married a Castilian woman. It is likely that Alfonso also married a Spanish wife.

All this points to the fact that John was a 2nd generation immigrant. 60 years earlier in 1282 Baron John de Vescy (d 1289) of Northumberland and Yorkshire had been sent to Aragon to negotiate a marriage between Edward I’s daughter Eleanor and Alfonso X.25 Perhaps a Broket in his retinue went with him and within a couple of generations one of his line held sufficient land to become minor Spanish gentry. This may have been later than 1332.

John’s English ancestry maybe made him suitable as a go-between in Edward III’s negotiations.

6. John of Steeton 1349

Four deeds have survived concerning transfers of property in Steeton and neighbouring Colton, which John witnessed:26+Read More

The other names are familiar as local landholders, placing John in their social rank. He would have been prominent in the local community c 1340-60, born perhaps c 1310. Was he the son of Thomas? Not a taxpayer in Steeton in 1379, he had presumably died by then.

7. Philip of Hedyngham Sebely 1355-56

Philip borrowed £20 and below is his bond to repay. It was recorded on the back (endorsed) of the following year’s Close Roll, 1356. Sible Hedingham is a small Essex village about 34 miles north of Tilbury down at the mouth of the Thames, where his creditors were.

Philip had some possessions in mainland Europe, but all his property was only worth a little more than £20. The Calendar translation has: “to advance his business” but this does not necessarily mean trade.27

To borrow like this Philip would have been at least in his mid to late 20s, born by 1330—maybe much earlier. No Brokets were recorded as taxpayers in Essex in 1327,28 so Philip’s father may not have come from there. The 1340s were probably too late for Philip to have received his name as a nickname.    Read More

Philip married Margaret d/o Robert MARYN of West Tilbury:    Read More

8. Nicholas 1361-99

Nicholas was long lived—born c 1324 and still able in 1399. Nicholas lived through the ravages of the Black Death 1348-50, 61-2 and 75, and would have been prominent in his local parish of Bolton Percy for half a century. Already well-off villagers were those who benefitted from the new opportunities after the Black Death.29 Might he have been the father of Thomas who became the lord of the manor? The following records have survived:

8.1. 1361-2 & 1391

As a witness to 4 deeds concerning grants of property, all given at Colton, adjacent to Steton:30+Read More

The other names are familiar as local landholders, placing Nicholas in their social rank. In the 1391 deed a co-signatory was William Sampson, probably the Lord of Southwood, father of Dionisia.

8.2. 1379 poll tax.

Aged c 51 and the Brewer (brasiator) in the township Nicholas paid the relatively high tax of 12d. Of the 30 Steeton taxpayers, only he and the firmarius, William Cerf, paid more than the standard labourer’s rate of 4d. He and his wife employed a servant. Any children would have been more than likely already set up on their own. “He would be supplying malt and possibly brewing for an inn which would provide rest and refreshment for travellers along the king’s highway”.35

8.3. 1382

At the inquisition into the proof of age of Margaret Chaumont at Bolton Percy, Nicholas, “aged 58 or more”, recalled making a sheepfold of eight posts in his tenement in Bolton Persey on 11 Oct 1368.36 This points to a birth date of c 1324.

8.4. 1399

The last known record of Nicholas is from August 1399, when he and Thomas Broketpossibly his son, and at least a kinsmanas joint executors of the Will of John Somurby, Priest, took an oath to prepare an inventory of his goods and render account to the Archbishop.37 Nicholas was c 75 years old and Thomas c 35. Given that Nicholas was still working in 1379, it’s unlikely that the 1391 and 99 records refer to an otherwise unknown son of Nicholas, called Nicholas. It is possible that Nicholas was a brother of the earlier Thomas, and/or Robert and Richard. Perhaps he was the son of Thomas of the generation before. The Brokets of York and the Ainsty were very few in number.

9. William Priest 1368-

Through most of the 2nd half of the 14th C William Broket was a Priest in the vicinity of Bedford. Bedfordshire lists of parish incumbents show him first at St Mary Magdalene, Roxton, c 7 m NE of Bedford, then at All Saints Kempston, then at Syberton, and finally at the Chantry next to the Bridge, Elstow 1 m S of Bedford. He would have been born by the 1330s and was probably a relative of William and Ralph of Kempston recorded in the 1st half of the century.

  1. Roxton.38 William Henry de Charwelton, Priest, became Vicar 1 Sep 1349 and was succeeded39 by William Broket, Deacon, who resigned 20 Mar 1368 to exchange benefices with Richard de Kempston, Priest at the Rectory of Sibesdon [Sibson or Sibstone ?Leicestershire, 55 m NW of Roxton].
  2. Kempston.40 John Unwyn resigned 22 Sep 1372 to exchange benefices with William Brocket, Priest at Syberton Rectory. Kempston’s Patron was the Abbess and Nuns of Elstow.
  3. Elstow.41 William exchanged benefices 28 Sep 1382 with Dominus William Lynne. William Broket came to the Chantry next to the Bridge, Elstow and William Lynne went to Kempston. John Wrottyng succeeded to the Elstow Chantry 28 Jul 1390 “on the death of Dominus William Broket who died at Kempston on 17 Jul 1390“.

10. The 1379 poll tax

“Lay persons of substantial means were to pay according to a scale of charges based on rank or occupation… Everyone over the age of sixteen, who did not fall into one of these categories, was to be charged a poll tax of 4d” for themselves and their wives, or just for themselves if unmarried. “Widows were to pay the same rates as their husbands would have paid”.42 4d was a third of a week’s wages for a peasant at the time.

This poll tax and graduated income tax was levied to finance Richard II’s war with France. 9 Broket heads of household were recorded for the Yorkshire West Riding.43 There were 3 parishes with 2 Broket households and 2 parishes with 1, all within a day’s ride of each other. People were mobile in these times, humble no less than rich.44

Other than the two in the parish of Bolton Percy, Brokets were in Walton about 7 miles up river, in Westfolyfayt (Follifoot) a similar distance again, in Scriven about 4 miles north of Follifoot, and also over in Settle some 58 miles to the west of York in the Pennines. Both Follifoot and Scriven were in Percy Knaresborough lands.45 Settle too?

Cecilia of Appleton—4d
William & wife Scriven—4d
John & wife of Scriven—4d
William & wife of Settle—4d
Agnes of Settle—4d
Nicholas, Brasiator (Brewer), & wife of Steton—12d
William of Walton—4d
William, son of William, of Walton—4d
Ellen, Sempstress, of Westfolyfayt—6d

The 3 single women were probably widows; it was not normal for a spinster to live on her own at that time:

  • Cecilia could have been a recent widow with an under-16 family still living with her, or she could have been an older one living on her own. If she had been in service to another family, she would have been recorded as such. To think of her as the mother of Thomas Broket who became Lord of the local manor in 1393 raises a few considerations:
    1. If Thomas was under 16 and living with her, then he would have been born 1373 at the earliest. This would have made her a recent and relatively young widow. He is more likely to have been born c 1363, however, and therefore if her son, not at home.
    2. Cecilia’s was the lowest rate of tax, and since widows paid the rate of their former husbands this means Thomas’ father would have been of modest social standing. Since Thomas went on to great social heights within 14 years, he would have had to have been taken under the wing of a much more wealthy patron or kinsman, perhaps in York City, if not Nicholas of Steton.

    If Cecilia was a much older widow she might possibly have been the mother of Nicholas, who was about 55.

  • Agnes may have been William’s mother.
  • Ellen was taxed at the trader’s rate of 6d. If she was a Widow, it could have been inherited from her husband.

Several other records of Nicholas survive and William of Walton was probably the William who fell from his horse and broke his leg in 1368. His son William would have been born before 1363. The Settle family had, or had had, a manservant: Adam Brocketman.46 Nothing more is known of the Scriven or Settle families before they died out or left. A Robert Broket was recorded in Scriven in 1483, but whether he descended form William or John is unknown.

11. John of Tendryng 1382

The second recorded Broket in Essex after Phlip in 1355, John was joint surety for the subsidy on the sale of cloth in Essex and Hertfordshire:    Read More

Tendring is about 8 miles E of Colchester and 8 SW of Harwich. The covenants referred to are described on p 93 of the Calendar. This is one of a similar set of leases to many other counties.

12. William 1382

At the inquisition into the proof of age of Margaret Chaumont at Bolton Percy on 12 Oct 1382, William Broket, aged 52, recalled falling from his horse and breaking his leg on 11 Oct 1368.47 He was therefore born c 1330 and very possibly the William recorded in the 1379 poll tax for Walton, about 7 miles from Bolton Percy. There was no other suitable William tax payer in 1379.

13. Thomas of Yorkshire 1387

Thomas stood joint surety in Westminster for orders to suspend proceedings in 1387 and 1394:    Read More

It’s possible that he was the father of Thomas Broket, husband of Dionisia Sampson, but he had married her by 1393 and from at least 1399 was working as an attorney down in Westminster. So, pending further records it is thought that he was that Thomas himself, if born c 1363.

14. Robert Broket of York 1389

The first record of a York Broket. Was he born there or in the hinterland?    Read More

Like Thomas Broket of Yorkshire in 1387 above, Robert stood joint surety down in Westminster for orders to suspend proceedings. They would in all likelihood have been related—if not cousins then possibly brothers.

The following year, 1390/1, he gained the freedom of the City of York as a Draper.48 Drapers, dealers in cloth, were a powerful group in the city. The Tailors were the largest clothing craft and the second largest of all crafts. The Drapers were much fewer in number but far more influential.49 In 1394-5 he paid ulnage on 2.5 cloths.50

His Will, proved 1429,51 refers to him as a merchant and shows his strong connection to St Leonards Hospital. Robert mentioned no wife or children in his will, but this does not mean that he had none. He was probably a widower. Robert junior, also a Draper and a freeman of York, was very possibly his son, and he may have had others.

The Black Death hit the city 5 times between 1349 and 1378 and Robert would have witnessed its horrors.52

15. Richard Chaplain 1393

Sir John Fairfax, Rector of Prestcote, bequeathed 20s to Sir Richard Broket: “lego domino Ricardo Broket capellano xxs“.53 ‘Dominus’ meaning ‘Sir’ or ‘Lord’ was the honorific title of an ordained priest. On 21 April 1405 Richard Broket Priest was instituted as Vicar of Rillington, c 20 miles NE of York.54 It is possible that Richard was a brother of Thomas, and/or Robert and possibly Nicholas.

16. Thomas 1393

Thomas became Lord of Southwood manor in Appleton near York through the right of his wife, Dionisia Sampson, whom he had married by 1393. He might have been the son of Thomas above and was recorded working with Nicholas in 1399.

17. John Broket of Stickney, Lincolnshire 1396

The Abbot of Revesby made a plea for the fourth time against John Broket of Styknay at the court of Common Pleas held at Westminster in the Easter term in the 19th year of the reign of King Richard II. According to the Abbot’s plea John Broket had forcibly imprisoned and ill-treated his servant John Stykford for a lengthy period and had not come to defend himself. The court ordered the sheriff of Lincolnshire to distrain John and bring him to court on 11 June 1396:    Read More

Mainperners were honest men who would pledge that the defendant would appear. If did not appear, the mainpernors would be ‘in mercy’, i.e. fined.

Just over a century earlier in 1277 James Broket had been recorded paying rent to the same Abbey of Revesby. John was most probably related to him.

18. Robert of York junior 1397/8

Robert Broket gained the freedom of the City of York in 1397/8.55 Probably son of Draper Robert, Robert junior went on to take charge of the subsidy and alnage of cloths for sale in Lyndesey, Lincolnshire.

Page Last Updated: October 6, 2018


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


[1] YASRS 1897 vol 21 pp 59-60

[2] M J Harrison 2000 pp 7-10, 273

[3] Turton 1897 p 25

[4] YASRS 1894 vol 16

[5] Thanks to Marjorie Harrison for these references.

[6] Brown 1913 p 81.

[7] Brown 1913 p 83.

[8] TH DLT/A42 8b.

[9] M J Harrison 2000 p 273; Brown 1913 p 82

[10] M J Harrison 2000 p 273.

[11] Communication from Marjorie Harrison, historian of the Ainsty.

[12] Russell 1955 p 8

[13] Calendar, pp 459, 465, 484, 492-3; Foedera, vol 3, pt 1, pp 19-20, 22, 25-7; Syllabus, I, 339: 16 August 1344

[14] Dipl Doc 1717, 1718

[15] Lists and Indexes: Incoming Diplomatic, vol 49, p 13

[16] Estow 1995 p 11

[17] He was Fernan Sanchez de Valledolid, one of Alfonso XI’s principal counsellors (Linehan 2002 p 126).

[18] Rosell 1919 p 235-7

[19] Linehan 2002 item VII

[20] del Rivero 1942

[21] Edited by E Gonzalez Crespo (Madrid 1985); information from Dr P Linehan 2003.

[22] Chaplais 2003 p 183

[23] e.g. O’Gilvy 1856 vol 2 pp 54-68

[24] H Andrews 1927 p 401

[25] DNB vol 20 pp 287

[26] TH DLT/1942 10c, 11c, e & f. Thanks to Marjorie Harrison for these references.

[27] Calendar of Close Rolls 1354-60 p 321 line 3

[28] Ward 1983 and 1991

[29] Razi 1986 pp 147-8

[30] Thanks to Marjorie Harrison for these references.

[31] TH DLT/A42 14a.

[32] TH DLT/A42 14c.

[33] TH DLT/A42 14e.

[34] TH DLT/A41 15e.

[35] M J Harrison 2000 p 257

[36] Cal Inq 15 p 352

[37] Swanson 1985 p 25

[38] BLARS Fasti/1/Rox

[39] No date

[40] BLARS Fasti/1/KemAllS

[41] BLARS Fasti/4/Els

[42] Jurkowski et al 1998 p 58f

[43] YATARS 1882 vol 6 p 337 & vol 7 pp 10, 157, 176-7

[44] Raftis 1964 pp 167, 208

[45] Pollard 1990 p 126-7

[46] Reaney 1995 p xlvi

[47] Cal Inq 15 p 352

[48] Register of the Freeman 1897 p 90

[49] Palliser 1979 pp 151, 163

[50] Kermode App 4 ‘Merchant Biographies’

[51] York Minster Library M2/6e f 27r

[52] VCH City of York p 85

[53] J Raine et al 1836- vol 1 p 189

[54] Swanson 1981 p 69

[55] Register of the Freeman 1897 p 99