The Brocketts of South Africa
In 1861 William and Amy Brockett and their young family left the tiny village of Bassingbourn in Cambridgeshire for Port Elizabeth, Cape Province, and their descendants still live in the province and elsewhere. They were the first recorded South African Brokets, and came just before the second wave of English emigration to South Africa. There was also emigration to South Africa from Scotland, which was perhaps the origin of some of the Natal Brocketts.
Contents of this page:
1. Clan of William and Amy Brockett
William Brockett, Cambridgeshire Farm Bailiff, bap 13 May 1821 Guilden Morden, and his wife Amy (nee Tookey) emigrated to South Africa on the Rajasthan and landed in Algoa Bay—adjacent to Port Elizabeth—29 June 1861.1
The Rajasthan was a three-masted sailing ship of 601 tons, 126 by 29 by 22.7 feet in dimension, built in Bombay 1837, carrying up to 320 passengers.2 The voyage to Australia from Liverpool in a sailing ship would take about 3-4 months, so London-S Africa would have taken about 1½-2. “Most emigrants travelled in the cheapest class of accommodation, known as the steerage. This was similar to a dormitory with bunks down the sides and tables in the centre. It was frequently overcrowded with poor ventilation. Emigrating in a sailing ship could be unpleasant, particularly during a storm”.3
The family then comprised: William, aged 37, Farm Bailiff, Mary [sic] 36, Edward John, 13, William, 10, Arthur, 5, and an unnamed male infant. Descendants of son Alfred James reported that his parents emigrated from London and that Alfred James was born on board ship in the Bay of Biscay 25 May 1861.4 If the family was still in England for the census that year, taken on the night of 7 April, none was recorded. The family settled in the Port Elizabeth area, Eastern Cape.
William had only been about 6 years old back in Bassingbourn when his mother died, and was presumably raised thereafter by his stepfather. The Guilden Morden Chapel records have 3 entries for William: ‘Admitted 30 Dec 1841. Departed 10 Jun 1842. Dismissed to Bassingbourn Independent Church 1 Mar 1849.’ William married Amy TOOKEY 6 Apr 1847 in Royston New Meeting House.5 Amy signed with her mark on her sons’ birth certificates in 1854 and 55, her name mistakenly given as Ann in the latter. William’s occupation: 1841 Agricultural Labourer,6 1851, 54 Farm Bailiff,7 1853 Bailiff.8 Census records for William and family:Read more
1851: In Bassingbourn, William, aged 29, Farm Bailiff [Manager], b Guilden Morden; wife Amy, 30, b Royston, Herts; Edward J, 3; Elizabeth T, 2; William, 2 months—children all born Bassingbourn.
Additional details about William in the Port Elizabeth area:9 1868 Voters’ roll: Emerald Hill. Jan 1870 insolvent. Manager of Emerald Hill Farm. Sep 1874 has hired Kragga Kamma mansion and homestead and will receive visitors from 1 Oct 1874. End of 1874 liquor licence. 1881 directory at Buffelsfontein. 1901 Lansdowne Place.
NASA10 recorded the insolvency of 1870 and another in 1876. Kraggakamma was a small community of perhaps 100 families in 1870. Amy died 1 Dec 1884 in Port Elizabeth, aged 62, buried in St George’s Park Cemetery.11 William died 1901, aged about 80, and was buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.12 Children:
- Edward John, b 1848 Bassingbourn. Married Margaret BILLSON. Edward died 1882. Margaret died 1921. 2 daughters, 2 sons.
- Elizabeth Tookey, b 1849 Bassingbourn.13 Died 8 Mar 1853 in Bassingbourn, aged 4, fever 14 days.14
- William, b 1851 Bassingbourn.15 Married Annie RUSSELL in S Africa. 4 daughters, 2 sons.
- Alfred Thomas, b 4 Sep 1854 Bassingbourn, 16 died 1854 Royston District, Herts.17
- Arthur, b 1855 Bassingbourn. Married 1st Louisa NEWTON in S Africa. Louisa died 1891. 2 sons, 1 daughter. Arthur married 2nd Eliza PEARSON. Arthur died 1895.
- Alfred James, b 25 May 1861 on board ship. Married Edith Wearing GLOVER in S Africa. Edith died 1933 and Alfred 1950. 4 sons, 4 daughters.
- Walter, b 1863. 1 son.
- Charles Thomas, b 1869. Married Blanche Elizabeth … in S Africa. Charles died 1946. I son.
- Herbert Charles, b 1872. Married Ellen Florence MORTIMER 1898 Richmond, Cape Province. He died 1939. She died 1948. 6 daughters, 2 twin sons:
1st son of William and Amy, b 1848 Bassingbourn.18 Recorded in Kragga Kama in 1876. Married 23 Jan 1872 Margaret BILLSON in Bride’s Home Baptist Church.19 Edward died 10 Feb 1882 in Port Elizabeth, aged 37, buried in St George’s Park Cemetery, occupation: Salesman, of Russell Rd.20 Margaret died 12 May 1921 in Port Elizabeth, aged 73, buried in St George’s Park Cemetery.21 The 1922 First Liquidation and Distribution Account for Margaret Brockett22 would have been for this Margaret. Children:
- Florence May Brockett, b 7 Nov 1879, one of twins, died 18 Jun 1880 aged 7 months 11 days.23
- William Edward Brockett. Was William a twin? Married Mary STUART of Uitenhage. In 1903 William Edward obtained a mortgage for a property in Uitenhage, x m NW of Port Elizabeth. 1 daughter, 2 sons.
- Ernest Evelyn Brockett, b 7 May 1880. Married 1st Victoria Rubel SMITH 2 Oct 1901 Baptist Church, Port Elizabeth.24 Victoria died 3 Oct 1902, aged 22, and was buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.25 He married 2nd Gladys IMPEY 5 Dec 1903 St Cuthbert’s Church, Port Elizabeth. Ernest and Gladys both died 24 Jul 1907, aged 27, and were buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.26 No known issue.
- Ethel Jane Brockett, b 28 Jun 1882. Married 27 Jul 1910 Percy BURGESS in Holy Trinity Church, Port Elizabeth.27 Percy was a Draper, and died 21 Apr 1942 in Port Elizabeth.28 Ethel died 29 May 1970, and was buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.29. No issue.
2nd son of William and Amy, b 1851 Bassingbourn.30 Married 30 Jun 1886 Annie RUSSELL in the Baptist Church, Port Elizabeth, both residing Buffelsfontein, Port Elizabeth.31 A widow in 1918 Annie inherited 37 Sherlock St from her sister Ellen.32 The youngest two, the sons, went to Nazareth House Orphanage, Port Elizabeth, when their father died and started work aged 12 in Port Elizabeth. Children:
- Emily Brockett. Married … WILLIAMS.
- Maud Brockett. Married … BAKER.
- Connie Brockett. Married … HEATH.
- Amy Brockett. Married … DYMOND.
- Stanley Alfred Brockett. Married Elizabeth Doris GAINFORD.
- William Brockett. Married … …. Had a large family in Ladysmith, Natal, some of whom moved to Johannesburg.
3rd surviving son of William and Amy, b 19 Sep 1855 Bassingbourn. 33 Married 7 Jun 1881 Louisa NEWTON in the Methodist Church, Port Elizabeth.34 Arthur was a Storeman with Savage and Sons, Rock St, Port Elizabeth and in 1882 in Mitchell St.35 Louisa died 3 Apr 1891, aged 35, and was buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.36 Children:
- Arthur Norman Brockett, b 1882. Married Florence Elizabeth … Arthur Norman died 12 Dec 1934, aged 52, and was buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.37 Florence Elizabeth died 30 Mar 1963, aged 77, and was buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.38
- Henry Elliott Brockett, b 3 Jan 1886, bap 14 Feb 1886. Alive 1895.
- Beatrice Louisa Brockett, b 18 Oct 1887, bap in Methodist Parish, Port Elizabeth 16 Nov 1887. Alive 1895.
Arthur married 2nd Eliza PEARSON. Arthur died 29 Apr 189539 or 16 Apr40 at 26 Rock St, Port Elizabeth, and was buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.41 Eliza widow of Arthur, was presumably the same as the Eliza widow recorded 1906 and 1920. She died 1919.42
4th surviving son of William and Amy, b 25 May 1861 on board ship,43 christened 5 Apr 1863 in the Methodist Church, Port Elizabeth.44 Married 13 Mar 1887 Edith Wearing GLOVER in the Baptist Church, Port Elizabeth.45 Alfred opened a Butcher’s shop Jun 1891 in Port Elizabeth on the corner of Lansdowne Place and Campbell St, opposite A.Baldie’s Store.46 From 1908 they were living at 76 Irvine St, and 1916-17 at 80 Irvine St.47 NASA has 3 documents concerning Alfred with his brother Charles: a mortgage bond in 189648 and an insolvent liquidation in 1907-8 and 1909.49 Edith died 29 Mar 1933 and Alfred 4 Jun 1950, aged 89, and were buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.50 Edith’s Estate Papers are dated 193351 and Alfred’s 1950.52 Children:53
- Alfred Haddon Brockett, b 18 Dec 1888.54 Secretary in the Gold Mines. Married Alice …. Alfred’s Estate is recorded from 1976 in the Pretoria Supreme Court.55 1 son, 1 daughter.
- Sidney Walter Brockett, b 18 Dec 1892; m Jessie GREEN. Sidney Walter’s Estate is recorded from 1976 in the Pretoria Supreme Court.56 3 sons.
- Edith Winifred Brockett, m Percy WISE. NASA has Edith’s Estate Papers from 1949.57 1 son, 2 daughters.
- Nellie [Ellie?] May Brockett, b 10 Mar 1895; m Albert Edward COPPIN. 2 sons, 2 daughters.
- Ada Mary Brockett, m Sydney FOWLDS. 1 daughter, 3 sons.
- Bernard Milner Brockett, b 1899, d 9 May 1901 in Port Elizabeth aged 1 year 11 months,58 buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.59
- Ruby Olive Brockett, b 3 Jun 1902; m Erroll MILDENHALL. 1 daughter.
- George Clifford Brockett, b 15 Aug 1908; m Florence ….
5th surviving son of William and Amy, b 24 Sep 1863 in Port Elizabeth, bap New Church.60 GWB gave Walter as the eldest of the 3 brothers he knew of—Walter, Alfred James and Charles Thomas—but he was not on board the ship with the rest of the family. The only suitable birth recorded in the UK,61 was Walter Andrew born 1858 Northampton and he emigrated to New Zealand with his parents c 1876. Nor have any relevant second-name Walters been found in the UK GRO. So Walter was younger than Alfred James. Perhaps GWB heard that there had been an older brother of Alfred James and assumed that Walter was he. Walter’s Estate, recorded in 1897 in the Pretoria Supreme Court62 might provide more details. Walter’s wife is not known but according to GWB, they had a son: Stanley Brockett.
6th surviving son of William and Amy, b 6 Feb 1869 in Port Elizabeth, bap New Church.63 Married Blanche Elizabeth … Charles and Blanche had an ostrich and chicken farm in the San Platz area, near Port Elizabeth, but with the slump in ostrich feathers and Newcastle Disease wiping out the chickens, they left the farm and Charles became a Butcher, and in latter years a Shoemaker. As listed under Alfred James, NASA has 3 documents concerning the brothers 1896-1909 and ‘Brockett Bros’ their Butcher’s business. Charles died 1946, aged 77, and was buried in South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth.64 Child: William ‘Bill’ Thomas Brockett, Banker; b 27 Apr 1906; d c 1983; m Edna Elizabeth …65 1 son, 1 daughter.
7th surviving son of William and Amy, b 1 Oct 1872.66 That he was another child of William and Amy TOOKEY was deduced from the fact that one of his daughters was named Amy Tooky. GWB and others did not know of him. He married Ellen Florence MORTIMER 3 Jan 1898 Richmond, Cape Province. He died Jan 1939, aged 66. She died 9 May 1948, aged 74, bur South End Cemetery, Port Elizabeth. Children 2 twin sons, 6 daughters:
- Zema Florence Brockett, b 1899
- Baden Edward Brockett, b 1900
- Ronald Mortimer Brockett, b 1900
- Lily Alexandria Brockett, b 1902
- Agnes Brockett, b 1904
- Amy Tooky Brockett, b 1906
- Ellen Margaret Brockett, b 1908
- Olive Joyce Brockett, b 1911.
Below are all entries 1800-1929 in the National Archives of South Africa online catalogue as of Sep 2005 for Brockett—and Brocket / Broket:
- 1870 William Brockett: Insolvent Liquidation and Distribution Account.67 No personal details beyond the name are provided, but this was the business of William husband of Amy, 34 rather than of their 2nd son, who would only have been 19 in 1870.
- 1876 William Brockett of Kraggakamma: Insolvent Liquidation and Distribution Accounts.68 Again, no personal details beyond the name and place are provided, but in conjunction with information from MHHD it was. MOst probably the business of William husband of Amy, rather than of their 2nd son, who would only have been 25 in 1876.
- 1876? Edward John Brockett: Insolvent Liquidation and Distribution.69 Certification of the first and final Liquidation and Distribution Account in the Insolvent Estate of Edward John Brockett of Kragga Kama in the district of Port Elizabeth, given in Cape Town 20 Jul 1877. Sequestration date 4 April 1876. Amount owing: £611 10s. Eldest son of William and Amy, aged about 28 in 1876.
- 1891 Louisa Brockett, nee NEWTON: Death Notice.70
- 1895 Arthur Brockett: Death Notice.71
Death Notice of Arthur Brockett 29 Apr 1895
Parents: William and Amy—born Tookey
Age: 42 (ie b c 1853)
Day of decease: 16 Apr 1895
Place: His residence 26 Rock St South End Port Elizabeth
Children (all minors): Arthur Norman; Henry Elliott; Beatrice Louisa
Surviving spouse: Eliza Brockett
- 1896 Alfred James and Charles Thomas Brockett: Mortgage for Alfred James and Charles Thomas Brockett trading as ‘Brockett Brothers’ 12 May 1896 from Conrad Christian Silberbauer and Johannes Sellengrebel le Sueur for £650, interest payable on 30 Jun and 31 Dec @ 6% p a for a property measuring 8 square roods and 98 square feet in Campbell Street, Port Elizabeth.
- 1897 Walter Brockett.72
- 1903 William Edward Brockett: Mortgage Bond.73 Mortgage for William Edward Brockett 3 Nov 1903 from William Henry Dalley and William Henry Phillipson for £600, interest payable ½ yearly on 30 Jun and 30 Dec @ 6% p a for a property measuring 34 square roods and 66 square feet in Baird at the Corner of Baird and Billsin Streets, Uitenhage. William Edward was the 2nd son of the 1st son of William and Amy.
- 1906 Eliza Brockett, born PEARSON: Mortgage Bond.74 Mortgage for Eliza Brockett, born Pearson, Widow, 12 Mar 1906 from Reginald Vyvyan Dix Harper for £100, interest payable on 30 Jun and 31 Dec @ 7% p a for a property measuring 34 square roods and 104 square feet in the Town of Port Elizabeth on the south side of Baakens River.
- 1907? Charles Thomas and Alfred James Brockett: Insolvent Liquidation.75 Certification of the first and final Liquidation and Distribution Account in the Insolvent Estate of Charles Thomas and Alfred James Brockett trading as ‘Brockett Brothers’ given in Cape Town 19 Aug 1907. Amount owing: £2605 8s 7d.
- 1909 Alfred James and Charles Thomas Brockett: Insolvent Liquidation.76
- 1920 Arthur Brockett: First Liquidation and Distribution Account.77
- 1920 Eliza Brockett, born PEARSON: Liquidation and Distribution Account.78
- 1922 Margaret Brockett: First Liquidation and Distribution Account.79
- 1929 Lizzie Edith Tookey WEDDELL, nee Brockett: Estate Papers.80
A 1st cousin twice removed of William of Bassingbourn, fought as a soldier at Ladysmith, Northern Natal, from 30 Sep 1899 to 15 Jul 1900 and was deafened by the big guns.
There was also emigration to South Africa from Scotland.81
English emigration to South Africa occurred in two main waves:
- The early colonisation in the 1820-30s with its rush for gold and its Dutch-English rivalry. Sponsored immigration from Britain in the second quarter of the 19C created a significantly larger European population in the Cape.
- The third quarter of the 19C when men and families from many countries came in far greater numbers and established settlements further and further from their main centres.
Page Last Updated: April 5, 2020