Rev Edmond Broket of Luton and Graveley
Edmund led a long life as a gentleman Vicar, 24 years in Luton, Bedfordshire and 30 plus years in Graveley, Hertfordshire. The last decade of his life was engulfed by the trauma of the Civil War, during which he was ejected from his living, like so many other priests. Here is Edmond’s signature from a deposition he gave in a case in 1599:1
Contents of this page:
- Time line
- Wife and children
- Brocas of Hampshire
- William, 1st son 1588-1655
- Edmund, 5th son 1605-77
- Samuel, 7th son 1609-74
Edmund grew up as a third son in the comfortable surroundings of the estate of his gentleman father William of Essendon, a parish neighbouring Hatfield. He never met his grandfather, but Edmund would have heard tales of him as Sheriff of the county and MP for Hertfordshire, and of the Wheathampstead dynasty and Brockett Hall. Sir John II was Lord there till Edmund was into his 30s and other cousins were esquires in Wheathampstead all his life.
His eldest brother followed their father into the Law, but as a younger son Edmund was destined for the Church. He matriculated at Peterhouse Cambridge 1581, gained a BA 1586 and MA by 1593—he was later styled ‘Dr’. His first living was in Luton where he was Vicar for 24 years. Although this was in Bedfordshire it was only c 12 m from Essendon. For the remaining 30+ years of his career he was Rector of Graveley with Chivesfield, Hertfordshire. As he probably knew before he went there, this was a parish that had been held by his ancestors.
It was presumably his father who set Edmund up in marriage to Mary of the main line of Brocas of Beaurepaire, a fine estate c 3m N of Basingstoke. She gave Edmund a large family and lifetime connections in Hampshire, further developed by two of his sons.
He was buried 8 Jan 1652/3 in Bentworth, Hampshire, where son John had become minister in 1634. A pointing finger was drawn in the Parish Register next to the entry recording Edmund’s burial, aged 88. The Civil War 1642-6 was a turbulent time for priests and while Edmund was a Royalist, son John had Puritan political connections. But it was a political revolution rather than a social one and did not prevent Edmund spending the end of his life with John. It was probably John who drew the pointing finger in the Bentworth Parish Register in 1652/3 next to the entry recording his father Edmund’s burial: “Mr. Edmund Brokett Minister of Graueley in Hartfordshire aged 88 yeares. Buryed. Jan: 8”:3
No Will of Edmund has been found—most Hampshire wills seem not to have been proved in the Bishop’s or Archdeacon’s courts at that uncertain time.
1593-1617 Vicar of Luton. The list of incumbents of Luton St Mary5 has Edmond Brockett MA appointed Vicar 22 Mar 1593 and succeeded by John Birde 2 Oct 1617. Venn and Venn said he was ordained Deacon in Lincoln 7 Oct and Priest 8 Oct 1593 and appointed to Luton 1595.6 Throughout this period Wheathampstead cousins were [absentee] Lords of East Hide—part of Luton Manor—and until 1598 of Luton Hoo Manor and other lands nearby.
1610 One of 6 signatories to a 21 year lease of an orchard in Northend that had been given to the poor of Luton in 1602.7
|‘It was at the beginning of this seventeenth century that at Luton, as in so many other parishes, the earliest permanent endowments of parochial charities were made, in the shape of almshouses and funds for doles of bread…’.8 The system of parish overseers of the poor started in Elizabeth’s reign was consolidated by the Poor Law Acts of 1597-1601.9|
1611 Publication of the landmark Authorised or King James Bible, the first to be printed in modern Roman type.
1627 Edmund requested permission from the Court of the Archdeacon of Huntingdon to move the pulpit:
|‘The minister complains that the pulpit standing on the north side, the sun was offensive to his eyes, and he desires it might be removed to the upper end of the south side of the church next the chancel.13|
1636 Edmund was assessed £1 for ship money.14
1636 Edmund was Patron of Holwell church—c 3 m W of Letchworth—at the time of the appointment of his son-in-law to be, Goddard Scourfield to Rector 22 Jan.15 For more on the Scourfield family see the separate page. The patron of Holwell when the previous Rector had been presented in 1579 was John Ivorie, yeoman. Edmund therefore acquired the patronage between then and 1636, probably during his time in Luton, c 12 m S of Holwell.
1642-51: Civil war between Puritan Parliamentarians and Royalists. The pulpit was the most effective channel for diffusing propaganda, and large numbers of established clergy—naturally predominantly Royalist—were ejected from their livings. Puritans, persecuted previously in Archbishop Laud’s time were now gaining power over the established Church.
Since the mid to late 1580s Edmund had been a close associate and advisor to his Royalist Brocas in-laws, Masters of the Royal Buckhounds. On 6 Mar 1643/4 Edmund was ejected from his living ‘as scandalous in life & unsound in doctrine’.16 He was about 79 and had been a priest for over 50 years, so it was not surprising that he did not go along with Cromwell, the Puritan leader. Son John took over as Rector of Graveley till his own resignation 4 Sep 1647.
1646: 63 Hertfordshire ministers signed a petition to the House of Lords:17
Among the 63 were the signatures of Edmund and John Brockett, one following the other. The ministers only signed their names and it was Urwick who added places for each. Erroneously, he added Graveley for Edmund and Hertingfordbury for John. By then Edmund no longer had a benefice—he had been ejected 1643/4—and it was son John in fact who was Rector of Graveley, having left Hertingfordbury a decade before.
In the mid to late 1580s Edmund was married to Mary BROCAS, 3rd daughter of Bernard Brocas of Horton, Buckingham and Beaurepaire Southampton Esq, d 1589.18 Mary died 1646—on 9 Nov ‘Mistress Brockett wife of Edm Brockett parson of Graveley [was] buried in the Chancell’ of Graveley church.19
Mary bore Edmund at least 15 children—13 are known. The couple came to Luton in 1595 with, it is said, 2 children, and then 13 were baptised there and 5 buried.20 Luton PRs date from 1602 and recorded 9 of their children’s baptisms, the first being their 5th known son. Regularly spaced pregnancies suggest that Mary could have given birth to 5 children in Luton 1595-1602.
Their first 3 surviving sons were recorded in the 1633-4 Visitation of London in a pedigree of ‘Bernard Brokett of Faringdon Without‘:21
Bernard’s arms were the cross flory differenced by a crescent, the mark of cadence of a 3rd son. From the heralds’ point of view no further children needed mention.
- William, b 1588-95. No doubt named for his paternal grandfather. Became a Colonel, and served in Ireland. Died 1655, see below.
- Edward, b 1589-95. He lived to full age—a bequest of £20 in brother William’s Will shows him alive 1655—but no other records have been found. He may not have married. As second son of a wealthy clergyman it’s unlikely that he could have been Edward of Ware, Smith.
- Bernard, b 1595-1600 Luton. No doubt named for his maternal grandfather Bernard BROCAS died 1589. Married Ciscely/Cicella/Sisilla RUSSELL. Bernard may have died of the plague 1636, Children:22
- Marie, bap 29 Apr 1634 St Bride Fleet St London
- Susan, bap 4 Aug 1635 St Bride Fleet St London.
The Visitation mentioned above suggests Bernard was living as a gentleman in London in 1633-4. Two years later, on 29 Nov 1636, Administration of the estate of Barnard BROCKETT of St Bri[des?], London, was given to Cecily Brockett, relative.23
- John, b by 1601 Luton; d by 1662; Rector of Hertingfordbury and Bentworth, see the separate page.
- Edmund, bap 22 Dec 1602 bur 23 Jul 1603. Probably Edmund and Mary’s 7th child.
- Ann, bap 22 Apr 1604. Alive in 1616, when she was mentioned in her Aunt Anne’s will: “I give vnto my Brother Edmund Brockettes eldest daughter my Goddaughter Ann Brockett Tenn Pounds”.
- Edmund, bap 7 Jul 1605; d 1677; Gentleman, see below. Cobbe also gave an Edmund bap 7 Jul 1607—perhaps in error.24
- Gifford, bap 10 Aug 1606. It’s possible that there was some connection between naming him and Rev Robert Gifford, brother-in-law of Edmund’s son John. “Jefferd Brockett & Elizab’ WEEKES married 6 Oct 1640 St Andrew Plymouth, Devon.25 An “Elizabeth da: of mychell weekes” was baptised there 12 Sep 1619. Child:
- Marie, bap 11 Mar 1607, bur 24 Mar 1607.
- Samuel, bap 2 Apr 1609 Luton; d 1674; Haberdasher and Grocer of London, see below.
- Frances, bap 16 Sep 1610; married Clergyman Goddard SCOURFIELD 1635,28 son of Winefred, see below, and Rector of Holwell, Hertfordshire, for over 50 years, 1636-87, where Frances’ father Edmund Brockett, clerk, was Patron, c 3m W of Letchworth. The IGI recorded the marriage at Graveley 12 Mar 1634 [i.e. 1635], which was the date of the licence recorded by Phillimore between “Goddard Flowerfeild [sic] & Francisse Brokett”.29 Their daughters Mary, Anne and Frances were involved with brother Rev John’s family in a suit over property in Ireland, see below. Goddard was buried 19 Oct 1687 in Holwell.30
- Thomas, bap 1 Mar 1611/2. Thomas Brokett was apprenticed to John Brinn 3 Jan 1630/1 of the Blacksmiths’ Company.31 Married Ann CHILD 8 Nov 1643 Graveley and Watton at Stone, c 6 m SE of Graveley.32 Child:
- Robert, bap 29 Sep 1616; bequeathed £10 in brother John’s Will 1657; and recorded with brother Edmund and family of brother John and sister Frances regarding property in Ireland in 1666-7, see below. Did he marry Philis and baptise a daughter Elizabeth in Walton-upon-Thames in 1639/40?
Despite this large family, no descendants from sons beyond one generation have been found, for instance among later 17th C Bedfordshire or Hertfordshire Brokets. If there were any, perhaps they went to London and emerged in records later as Craftsmen or Labourers. Rapid decline in wealth is always possible.
On the death in 1571 of Sir Richard Pexsall, his Hampshire Beaurepaire estate became subject to a series of lawsuits and settlements between his widowed second wife and the 4 daughters of his first wife and their heirs—in particular Anne’s son Pexall Brocas who was Sir Richard’s designated heir once he came of age.35 Mary—or Mercy—a daughter of Anne married the minister Edmund Brockett about a dozen years later and so began a close connection between Edmund and the affairs of the Brocas family for the rest of his life—as also of his son Edmund‘s after him.36
Edmund and Edmund were advisors and trustees of the estate during its troubles and appear as joint vendors and purchasors on deeds.37 Indeed in his capacity as surviving trustee Edmund the son was actually the sole owner, as shown by his Will in which he resolved the long-running dispute by leaving all the estates to Thomas Brocas [b 1650].38 They were ‘best trusted friends’.
|‘The truest examples of trusty friends were those to whom one handed over control of land… Once lands had been granted in an enfeoffment to use, common law could do little to recover them for their original holder… The very livelihood of one’s dependants and successors hung on the trustworthiness of feoffees and executors. Where whole estates were at stake, loyalty was hard to ensure simply by means of a reward. The only safeguard was to choose as agents people whose friendship rested not on a cold exchange of services, but on bonds of trust and affection strong enough to outweigh cupidity and outlast death itself.’39|
William was Edmund and Mary’s eldest surviving son, probably born 1588-94. A military man, he became Colonel and Governor of Kinsale in Southern Ireland for Parliament and the Puritans during the Civil War 1642-6. Kinsale was a strategically important harbour c 10 miles W of Cork. This is an example of an eldest son of a Royalist being a Parliamentarian during the English Civil War. Details of his military career are here.
“1634. William Brockett and Jane Mordant, married March 20th” in Hertingfordbury, presumably by William’s younger brother Rev John,40 for whom see the separate page. William was called an Esquire: Four months after his marriage, on 14 Jul 1634, “William Brockett, of London, Esq” presented John Brockett as Rector of Ellisfield, Hampshire.41 William probably may have bought the advowson in order to provide John with a parish. It was a Puritan strategy to buy up the rights to ordain priests and install their own men.
William married into the younger Thunderley line of the landed Mordaunt family, who held in Essex. Jane was the 4th daughter of Henry Mordaunt of Thunderley Esq “captaine of a trained band of men for the county [Essex] in 1634” and his wife Barbara.42 Henry was the eldest son and heir of Henry Esq married to Susan. No Wills have been found of Henry the son or Barbara, but the Will of Susan Mordaunt, Widow of Thundersley, Essex was proved 1623.43 She mentioned several of her children but no grandchildren. A 1647 complaint against Henry Mordent and others concerning the manor of Thundersleigh and parsonages of Littlebury, Thornbury and Saffron Walden, Essex,44 suggests how William may have inherited the house and land in Saffron Walden. That Jane’s father was a military man also suggests a connection with William Brockett. Jane had a brother Henry and sister Barbara, possibly the friends of William’s aunt Anne Brockett, see below.
1. In the name of God Amen I William Brockett
2. of Castle Parke in the County of Corke Colonell beinge of perfect
3. minde and memory (thankes bee given to God) doe make this my
4. last Will and Testament in manner and forme followinge …
9. … First I doe give and bequeath vnto my wife Jane Brockett all my
10. moneyes which I either have now in my possession or which are due
11. vnto mee by Obligacion from any man whosoeuer Item I doe give the table
12. of Armes which hath hanged and doeth still hange over the Livery
13. Cupboard in my Parlour in Saffron Walden to Sir Marmaduke Wivell
14. of Burton in yorkshiere vnto whom the bearinge of the said Armes doeth
15. of right and properly belonge if itt shall please him to accept of itt Item I
16. doe give unto my brother Edward Brockett the Summe of Twenty poundes
17. to bee payd by my Executor within Six Monethes after my decease Item
18. I Ingage my Said Executor to dispose of such my arreares for my Service
19. in Ireland due as may bee gott by her self or any whom shee shall appoynt
20. thereunto vnto my kinread respectively as shall seeme Sutable to her
21. Item I doe give vnto Thomazin Slate my maidservant the Summe of Fifty
22. shillings to buy her a Gowne to bee payd within three Monethes after
23. my decease Lastly I bequeath all the residue of my goods Cattells Lands
24. and houses either in England or Ireland vnbequeathed my debts and
25. Funeralls discharged vnto Jane Brockett my lovinge wife whom I
26. doe make Sole Executrix of this my last will and Testament …
27. whereof I have heerunto Subscribed my name the Twelfth day of
28. July In the yeare of our Lord One thousand Six hundred Fifty & fyve
29. William Brockett In witness of us Richard Boyle Edmond Brockett
Comments on the Will:
1. Calling himself “of Castle Parke in the County of Corke” suggests he owned property there—Castlepark itself is a peninsula in Kinsale harbour containing a fort and a ruined castle, so it’s unlikely he owned the whole peninsula. “my Parlour in Saffron Walden” (line 13) suggests he owned a property there. He mentioned “Lands and houses either in England or Ireland” (lines 23-4).
2. William and Jane apparently had no surviving issue, the only bequests to family members were the whole estate to his wife Jane, his sole executrix, and £20 to his brother Edward (line 16). Brother Edmond was a witness. Singling out Edward among his other siblings was strange. It suggests he was unmarried and needed support. No other records of Edward have been found.
William’s aunt Margaret had lived in Saffron Walden before him. She had married twice, both husbands styled ‘of Saffron Walden’. The second was Christopher Wyvill, eldest son of Sampson, 3rd son of Sir Marmaduke Wyvill of Little Burton, Yorkshire, MP.46 This would have been the man whose arms William mentioned in his Will that were hanging in his house in Saffron Walden. Sir Marmaduke had in fact died a century before by 1558,47 so in giving him the table of arms William probably meant his descendants. Be that as it may, that the table of arms had been hanging for some time in William’s parlour suggests he had inherited his aunt’s house in Saffron Walden.
Mrs Anne Brockett, Gent, another aunt of William’s, was buried in Saffron Walden in 1616, probably while visiting her sister Margaret.48 One of the witnesses to Anne’s Will written 5 days before she was buried and therefore probably in Saffron Walden, was H Mordaunt, perhaps a relative of William’s wife Jane Mordant, see the separate page.
The following decade brother John owned ‘Coppyhold lyeing in Essex in the parish of Saffron Walden called Wills Alley & Pottles’.49 It was probably formerly William’s.
Edmund was Edmund and Mary’s 5th surviving son, bap 7 Jul 1605, d 1677. His mother was a Brocas of Beaurepaire and Edmund would have visited Hampshire from childhood.
Edmund is known to have had dealings with the Brocas family from at least 1632. Bramley Church is only a mile or so from Beaurepaire, and c 7 m N of Ellisfield where elder brother John was Rector from 1634.
Only 4 other Edmunds are known from this period, all much younger contemporaries:
- Edmond, baptised 1625, died of the plague in London in 1665, a son of John of Caswell. He was a Merchant Tailor who completed his apprenticeship in 1653—when Edmund of Bramley was about 48.
- Son of brother John, baptised 1634, when this Edmund was about 29.
- Son of brother Gifford, baptised 1641.
- Son of brother Thomas, baptised 1644.
1632: Assignment of the lease of ‘the Greene tree’, a tenement, close and parcel of land in Little Brickhill, Buckinghamshire, by William Brockett and Edmund Brockett of London, Gents, presumably on behalf of Thomas Brocas of Beaurepaire.50
1663-9: Owner and? occupier of ‘a Lodge House and garden at the end of Beaure paire Parke, [in] the manors of Beaure paire alias Barraper and Bulsdens cum Bentworth, and land in Sherbourne St John, Panber, Bramley, and Basing’.51 Wyther’s map of 1613 showed a lodge on the lane from Bramley to Sherborne at the entrance to the main drive up to the Tudor Mansion ‘Bewrepar Hovse’.52 Edmund Brokett Gent was mentioned again in a title deed relating to these premises and others in 1678.53
1654: A writ of execution Brockett v Broias (sic) probably concerned Edmund.54
1655: Witnessed brother William’s Will.
1657: Witnessed brother John’s Will.
1666-7: Recorded with brother Robert and family of brother John and sister Frances regarding property in Ireland, see above.
In his capacity as surviving trustee of the Brocas estate, Edmund became sole owner. The residue of the estate had in fact been left to the Brocketts, on condition that they took the name of Brocas;55 which Edmund did not do. He resolved the long-running dispute by leaving all the estates to his ‘deare kinsman Thomas Brocas Esquire‘ [b 1650] whom he constituted sole Executor.56 Edmund mentioned no wife or children in his will:
|Will of Edmund Brockett of Bramley, proved PCC 8 Feb 1677/8 PROB 11/356|
|1. In the Name of God Amen I Edmund Brockett of Bramley in
2. the County of Southampton Gent‘ being somewhat weake of body … Read more
7. … Item I
8. giue and bequeath All my worldly Goods Chattells and Leases of what quality or
9. Condicion soeuer vnto my deare Kinsman Thomas Brocas of Barrover in the County
10. of Southampton Esquire And whereas I stand possessed or suppose my self to stand possessed
11. of and in certeine Lands Tenements hereditaments Leases terme of yeares yet to come and
12. vnexpired of the Mannors Lands Tenements or hereditaments which heretofore did or at
13. present doth belong to the Family of Brocas or any other within the Kingdome of
14. England whereof I stand possessed of or interessed in by vertue of any Deed or Deeds in
15. Feoffament or in Feoffaments Grant or Grants Lease or Leases trust or trusts conveyance
16. or conveyances terme of yeares yet to come or by any other wayes or meanes what-
17. soeuer whereby I stand any way interessed either in Law or Equity I giue and bequeath
18. them all and every of them and my full interest of and in them vnto my said deare
19. kinsman Thomas Brocas Esquire and to his heires foreuer together with all and
20. singular the right title power claime property and demand whatsoeuer which I
21. the said Edmund Brockett my heires executors or assignes haue may can or ought
22. to haue in and to the foresaid Mannors Lands Tenements hereditaments trusts Leases
23. terme of yeares or any other Estate within the Kingdome of England and all Deeds
24. and Evidences concerning the same And Lastly I doe nominate and appoint my said
25. deare kinsman Thomas Brocas Esquire my sole Executor of this my last Will and
26. Testament revoking all former or other Will or Wills whatsoeuer by mee made …
Edmund was buried Sherborne St John 27 Mar 1677.57 This was the last record found of this Brockett family in Hampshire.
Baptised 2 Apr 1609 Luton. Samuel, son of Edmond Brockett, Clerk, of Gravely, Hartf, was apprenticed to Cononiah Catlyn in London as a Haberdasher in 1633, and gained his freedom in 1640.58 “1641 August 10 Samuel Brokett & Anna Westley maryed att Graveley by license”, the wedding no doubt performed in the little church by his father—the Register entry was written by him.59 Samuel Brockett was recorded taking on Francis Jarrett, son of Francis Jarrett of Shipton, Worcestershire, Yeoman, as an apprentice for 7 years on 11 Mar 1641 [i.e 1642], but he only gained his freedom in 1672.60 On 25 January 1639  Samuell made a deposition in a dispute concerning the ownership of the light[house] and beacon in Dungeness, Kent. It began:61
“Samuell Brockett of the parish of St Sepulchre London Grocer by profession but free of the Company of
GrocersHaberdashers of London aged 29 yeares or thereaboutes sworne &c …”
Although he had the freedom of the Company of Haberdashers he was practising as a Grocer. “Most of the city companies acted more like fraternities than trade associations, so it is not unusual for members not actually to practise their apparent trade. Sometimes you will find a list of members of a livery company annotated with their actual trades.”62
As histories of the Dungeness lighthouse mention, a beacon to warn sailors was first erected in the early 1600s, but around 1635 the existing tower was pulled down and a more substantial brick built tower, 110 foot higher and known as Lamplough’s Tower, was built with a coal fire, nearer to Dungeness Point.63 The 1640 suit—in which Samuell was only one of many deponents—was brought by William Bullock Gent, whom Samuel knew and for whom he personally carried his Bill of Complaint from London to the Chancery court at Dover that was hearing the case. Samuell must have been a trusted associate or servant.
Samuell Brokett signed with an elaborate paraph, virtually identical to one on a second signature further down the page:64
Samuel was buried 13 Apr 1674 in St Sepulchre, Holborn, City of London.65 No definite further record is known of his wife Ann. Children:
- “Hannah dau: of Samuell Brocket Grocer” baptised 12 Feb 1644 [i.e. 1645] in St Giles, Cripplegate, City of London.66 No definite further record of her is known.
- “Samuel son of Samuel Broket Haberdasher”, “apprenticed to Thomas Allen, Citizen and Merchant Taylor, from 15 Oct  for 8 years which he completed 1668, residing Candlewick Ward, Freeman of the City of London 1669”.67 No other record of him has so far been found.68
For other contemporary Samuel Brokets see here (to follow).
Page Last Updated: May 29, 2021