Brokets of Scotland - The Broket Archive

The Brokets of Scotland

Glasgow is home to the largest concentration of Brokets in Britain today, numbering up to 1081 and supporting the view that SW Scotland could have been an origin of the surname. Certainly as early as the 1st half of the 16th C records are found of 6 Brokets from that region. One at least settled in Avondale, a few miles west of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire. Lesmahagow was a town on the main route north from Carlisle and about 20 m S of Glasgow, and one of the main subsequent centres of Brokets in Scotland.

1. Introduction
2. 16th C
2. 17th C
3. 18th C (separate page)
4. 19-20th C (separate page)
5. Map of Southern Scotland (separate page)


Two 16th and 17th C placenames in Avondale and Lesmahagow appear to have been named after Brokets—rather than Brokets being named after them. But if Avondale was their origin, then modern-day descendants will be unrelated to those of early Yorkshire Brokets. More plausibly, these earliest Scottish Brokets were part of the ongoing emigration from Yorkshire up through Northumberland or perhaps Cumberland from the early 14th C. Future DNA comparison could confirm.

Records of Scottish Brokets increased during the 17th C showing 4 main parishes: Mid and West CalderLesmahagow, and Carnwath. Carnwath, on the main Ayr-Edinburgh route, is a morning’s walk from Lesmahagow. Mid Calder is a small parish a morning’s walk NE of Carnwath, separated from it by a part of West Calder. Brokets had moved on from the Calders by the end of the 17th C, but stayed in Lesmahagow and Carnwath till the 20th.

The Old Parochial Records (OPRs) show little or no increase in Scottish Broket numbers 1700-1850, but then a trebling 1850-1950, predominantly in Glasgow. With ship-building and other industry, the city’s population increased more than fivefold 1801-61 and the centre became unhealthily overcrowded with 1,000 people per acre. Most modern-day Glaswegian Brocketts stem from a clan from the south Lanarkshire hills a dozen miles SE of Lesmahagow.

1. The 16th Century

Records of 6 individuals, all of whom would have been married and probably related, have been found in the 1st half of the 16th C and 2 further families can safely be inferred in the 2nd:













c 1540













Mid Calder





Thomas and/or John take Scottish Brokets back into the 2nd half of the 15th C. They were supporters, therefore probably tenants, of the Cuninghames of Caprington near Kilmatnock.2 The Cuninghames in turn were supporters of the Earls of Lennox, one of whom had been the overlord of Edward Broket before falling out of royal favour in 1546. Sir Adam Cunynghame’s grandfather William had been a Bruce supporter, and was conferred their Earldom of Carrick for a brief period in the mid 14th C, the generation after Robert the Bruce was king. In the early 14th C Henry Percy had been granted the Earldom of Carrick, along with wardenship of Galloway, Ayrshire and the Western Marches.3 Perhaps the parents or forebears of these Brokets had come in their retinue.

Also, what might have been the relationship between the first 2 Brokets and the others?

1.1. Thomas 1505, 1506 (b c 1455-1480)

Thomas Broket was 1 of 4 witnesses to 2 separate charters transferring land in the sheriffdom of Ayr to Sir Adam Cunynghame of Caprington, one witnessed in Glasgow and the other a few miles south:4

  1. The first, witnessed in Glasgow 24 Oct 1505, concerned lands held by Alexander Cunynghame of Colzame (Culzean Castle) in Dunlophill in the baileywick of Cunynghame.
  2. The second, witnessed in Inchenane (Inchinnan, 2 m N of Renfrew) 6 Feb 1506, concerned lands held by Mathew, Lord Darnley, Earl of Lennox in le Manys de Torboltoun, close to the parish church, in the barony of Torboltoun.

To witness land transactions between knights and noblemen, Thomas would have been an established member of the community and held land himself—not necessarily in any of these places, however. He would have been aged 25-50 and born 1455-1480. It is reasonable to assume that he had been born in Scotland and was a brother of John. Their father would have been a Broket before them, surnames had long been hereditary.

1.2. John 1506? (b c 1455-1480)

John Broket was 1 of 5 witnesses to a charter transferring 80 acres of land, again held by Mathew, Lord Darnley, Earl of Lennox to Sir Adam Cunynghame of Caprington. Witnessed in Terboltoun, sheriffdom of Ayr, 18 Nov 1506?, the land was in Mosbog, Medope and Redyfald in the barony of Terboltoun.5 If Terboltoun is present-day Tarbolton, it lies 9 m SE of IrvineGeorge Brokett’s parish and 5 m E of Monkton.

It is reasonable to assume that John was a brother of Thomas, or maybe his son. Perhaps he or Thomas was the father of one or more of the 4 Brokets recorded 1524-48.

1.3. Jhon 1524 (b c 1475-1499)

John Brokat (or Jhon as in the record) was one of 13 present at a feudal inquest in the village of Carnwath, Lanarkshire 25 May 1624.6 Like Thomas, John would have been an established member of the small village community, numbering perhaps 25-30 households. He would have been married, aged 25-50 and born 1475-1499. Was John a native of Carnwath? Or had he come as a boy with his parents, or independently as a man? Was he posted to Carnwath in the service of the Hamiltons?

Carnwath is a small settlement at a cross-roads about 10 m NE of Lesmahagow. Here the roads part for Ayr—and Tarbolton and Monkton—c 44 m to the W, Glasgow c 25 m to the NW and Edinburgh c 25 m to the NE. Situated on bleak moorland, ‘a dark dingy and disagreeable place’ (Paul 1989 p 4), Carnwath was harsh in winter with few inhabitants. Cross border warfare reached this far in the 15th C and made village life insecure. Migration further up the main routes was usual. Brokets are recorded again in late 17-20th C Carnwath, but were they descendants of Jhon, 150 years before?

1.4. George (b c 1480-1500 d bef 1540-42)

A 1540-42 inventory of lands in the Royal Burgh of Irvine in Ayrshire7 shows that George, deceased, had held a tenement and land then worth 4s p a. George’s property was mentioned 3 times, twice re neighbours’ boundaries and once re its rent:8

1. 28 pence rent yearly from the tenement of John Hall in the Grip lying between the land of the late George Brokell [sic] on one side and the land of the late Alan Hay on the other.9
2. 10 shillings rent yearly from the Templar land below the said castle lying between the land of George Broket on the east side and the lane called Monkmosart on the west and the common way going to the bridge on the north side.10
3. 4 shillings yearly from the tenement of the late George Brokat, lying between the tenement of John Hall on one side and that of the laird of Adamtoun in the Grip, leading to the bridge and Makmusart Hill, on the other.11

Pont’s 1596 map and later maps show a settlement called Brokat east of Monkton near Adamtoun, c 7 m S of Irvine. This may have been George’s property, but mention of tenements, a lane, a common way and a bridge in the inventory indicate a town rather than a hamlet and his property was probably in Irvine itself, rather than Monkton.

George was most likely connected with most if not all of the Scottish Brokets of the previous generation. The question is, as with the others, was George a native of the Burgh of Irvine? Or had he come as a boy with his parents, or independently as a man? Migration was typically westward, but was he typical? He left no line in Ayrshire, at least not a landholding one—there are no Brokets recorded in the Index to the Particular Register of Sasines for Ayr 1599-1609, 1617-34, 1635-60.

1.5. Patrick 1543 (b c 1500-1520)

Patrick Broket was 1 of 6 witnesses to a charter transferring land from Gabriel Simple of Ladymure, brother of William Lord Symple, to John Spreull, vicar of Glasgow.12 Witnessed in Cathcart, a couple of miles south of the centre of Glasgow, 25 Apr 1543, the land was in Ladymur in Kilmachome in Renfrewshire—modern-day Kilmacolm c 3 m S of Port Glasgow and c 14 W of Glasgow. An uncommon first name in Scotland in those days.

1.6. Edward, adult in 1546, d by 1584

Two separate 1546 land grants cited Edward Broket as 1 of 4 tenants in Langkipe in Avanedale, Lanarkshire.13 Both grants concerned land that had been forfeited to the queen by Mathew, formerly Earl of Lennox, transfers of whose lands had been witnessed 40 years earlier by Thomas and John. Edward was clearly related to these two, and they all would have had English roots. Not just his surname suggests English ancestry, but also the first name Edward, with all its English associations in those times, was by no means a favourite Scottish first name.

In the 1st grant, dated 14 Jan 1546, Edward was recorded as occupying 1 mark’s worth of land of the old extent (survey) in the township and territory of Langkipe out of the £4 worth of land granted to David Hammiltoun of Prestoun.14

In the 2nd, dated 16 Jan 1546, he was recorded as occupying 3.5 mark’s worth of land of the old extent jointly with 4 others in Langkipe granted to Alexander Hammiltoun, Keeper of Silvertounhill.15 These 2nd lands were also recorded in 1548:16+Read more

In 1584 the same 1 mark’s-worth of land held by “the late Edward Broket” in “the township and territory of Langkyip within the barony of Ewendaill and the sheriffdom of Lanark” was recorded in an inquisition after the death of Sir David Hamyltoun of Fyngaltoun, father of George Hamyltoun of Prestoun:18+Read more
Langkipe was an earlier name of an area near present-day Kype Water, which flows round Kypes Rig and on below Castle Brocket towards Strathaven. There must have been a connection between Edward and Castle Brocket—his portion of Langkipe probably.

Were these Brokets indigenous to SW Scotland or incomers from England?

  • Their small numbers suggest immigration—as do some of their first names. True, 13-17th C records of ordinary folk from Scotland are less detailed and less well preserved than most English ones, but the isolated Broket family in Irvine or Monkton left no continuing line in the area. The only subsequent records there till the 20th C were 2 births in 1701-4 in Symington, Ayrshire and 2 in 1785-7 in Stewarton (a Lesmahagow branch). Records would have testified if the first was a continuation from the 16th C, but they didn’t. By contrast, records of Brokets in Lesmahagow and Carnwath showed lines continuing through to the 20th C. This suggests that a Broket family moved west to Monkton rather than being the source of an emigration east.
  • While Lesmahagow and Carnwath were on main routes, Langkype and Monkton were hinterland settlements. Their small numbers and lack of continuity in the hinterland suggest that they moved out from the main routes, rather than in from the hinterland.
  • Brokets are not known to have been in NW England. If they did migrate to Scotland they would probably have reached these places westward across the borders from the NE along the Tweed valley. This would have been part of the 14-17th C Broket migration northward from or through Northumberland with the Percys. The Percys were strong in Cumberland too, so unknown Brokets may always of course have moved west further south and then north.
  • No Brokets are recorded further north than Glasgow/Edinburgh until the 20th C—other than a single family unit in Alloa near Stirling 1731-40.
  • The Brokets of Scotland have no clan affiliation—exceptional for an indigenous name.

2. The 17th Century

The first Scottish Brokets traceable as families become apparent in Mid Calder from 1609. They could have been there by the 1580s, moving north from Avondale or Lesmahagow for work perhaps. By mid 17th C the Mid Calder clan had again moved on or died out. Some may be recorded 4 miles west in West Calder—where during the 2nd half of the 17th C 2 Broket marriages and 12 births were recorded—but this may simply be because the West Calder OPRs started 41 years later than Mid Calder ones in 1645.

West and Mid Calder. West Calder was the next main settlement north of Carnwath and Auchengray. Nearby Mid Calder was a coaching stop two-thirds of the way along the Glasgow-Edinburgh road. As such, like Carnwath on crossroads 15 m to the SE, neither Calder are likely to have been a Broket origin.

Other than Mid and West Calder only 17 Brokets are recorded elsewhere in 17th C Scottish OPRs. Had Lesmahagow OPRs started before 1692, however, they would have been recorded there. A series of 6 17th C Wills, one from as early as 1626, show that there was a Lesmahagow Brocket clan at this time. And a Broket record from 1699 suggests that Brokets had been in the Carnwath area since the 1650s, if not since Jhon in the 1520s.

Lesmahagow was a larger settlement than the Calders on the main route north from Carlisle and about 20 m S of Glasgow.

Contents of this section:

2.1 Mid Calder, West Lothian 1609-1644
2.2 West Calder, West Lothian 1651-1695
2.3 Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire 1626-
2.4 Carnwath, Lanarkshire 1699-
2.5 Elsewhere in Scotland 1618-1698

2.1. Mid Calder, West Lothian 1609-1644

Regularly spaced over the 35 years 1609-1644 there were 19 christenings in 3 families:

The fathers here could well have been 3 brothers, with Jhone and probably Williame born in the 1580s. They may have moved here together for work, but the marriage of Agnes Brokat—perhaps their sister—to James Auld in 1617 suggests that they may have been born there and so that Brokets may have been in Mid Calder by the 1580s. The Mid Calder OPRs date only from 1604. Agnes married again in 1622 to Laurents Brown.

In addition another 5 marriages were recorded at Mid Calder:


Christiane Broket

James Whyt


Katherin Brocket

John Weir (at Livingston)


Williame Broket – b 1613?

Barbara Ochiltry


Helisone Brokit – chr 1623?

Thomas Rob


John Brocket

Agnes Telfur

2.2. West Calder, West Lothian 1651-1695

The West Calder OPRs date from 1645. Did some of the Mid Calder Brokets migrate or were they already here? Over a 41 year span 1651-1692 there were 11 christenings, again to 3 families:


Agnes Broket


d/o James


Johne Broket


s/o James


Jeane Brockett


d/o Johne


John Brocket


s/o John, died before 1656


John Brocket


s/o John


Margrett Brocket


d/o John


Jonet Brocket


d/o Johne


Jean Brocket


d/o William & Margaret Rob


Marion Brocket


d/o William & Margaret Rob


William Brocket


Elizabeth Malenie


John Brocket


s/o William & Margaret Rob


Marie Brocket


d/o William


James Brocket


Helen Graham

2.3. Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire 17th C

Gaps in Lesmahagow records prevent drawing a continuous line—OPRs only record Brokets from the early 18th C—but Lesmahagow was a Broket centre from at least the 1580s until the deaths of Jane aged 88 in 1914 and Barbara aged 83 in 1926. The clan was relatively wealthy in the 17th C—perhaps a likely time for the hill to the east to have gained its local name of Brocketsbrae. They appear to have have been tenants then rather than proprietors, however, as no Brokets are recorded 1617-1720 in the Index to the Particular Register of Sasines for Sheriffdom of Lanark. Only 6 Broket Wills were proved in Scotland 1500-1833, all in the 60 years 1626-86: 4 from Lesmahagow and the others only 10 miles east:19





Ms no


Isobel Brockett spouse to James Porteous

Baittanes, Lesmahago

Lanark Commissary



Margaret Tweedie spouse in hir tyme to Johne Brocket


Lanark Commissary



Williame Brockett


Lanark Commissary



John Brockit

Midtoune of Blackwood, Lesmahago

Lanark Commissary



Robert Brocket

Gavehill, Lesmahago

Lanark Commissary



Thomas Brocket

Gofhill, Lesmahago

Lanark Commissary


• Isobel’s Will mentioned no other Brocketts but shows that they would have been in Lesmahagow by at least the 1580s and had connections with Glasgow.
• Margaret’s Will mentioned no other Brocketts.
• Williame’s mentioned his brother Johne living at Cultermaynes.
• John, husband of Margaret d/o Thomas Telfer, gave £5 6s 8d to Thomas Brockit of Gavehill. (Could the 1666 Mid Calder marriage of John Brocket to Agnes Telfer be of this couple? If so, it would show a [not unsurprising] connection between the Lesmahagow and Calder clans.)
• Robert gave £108 to his brother Thomas Brockit of Gavehill.
• Thomas’ Will mentioned no other Brockets.

Of the places named above:
• Baittanes is not found in Irving & Murray or on any maps.
• Cultermaynes or Culter Mains was a mansion house in the parish of Culter, about 12 m E of Lesmahagow as the crow flies. Johne would have been a tenant farmer or worker. Forrest’s 1816 map shows it on the opposite bank of the Clyde to Symington Village (Symeintoun).
• Gavehill or Gofhill are shown as a couple of houses on Forrest’s 1816 map called Golfhill, as also on the 1st Ordnance Survey map, published 1864. Both it and Mid Town (Midtoune) would have been part of the Blackwood Estate and are shown by Forrest within a mile SW of Kirkmuirhill near the road going to Strathaven passing Castle Brocket c 4 miles further along.
• Thankertoun is a couple of miles north of Symington.

2.4. Carnwath, Lanarkshire 17th C

The earliest Carnwath record other than Jhon 1524 is the 1699 burial of James Brocket, Blacksmith. The front of his gravestone has a hammer and horseshoe, the back the letters P L A O 1699.20 James was with little doubt the father of Hugh Blacksmith.

It is not known if there was a continuous line between Jhon of 1524 and James of 1699. Carnwath was a small settlement, but it was at a crossroads on a route north, and although Broket was a rare name, a 150+ years gap could have seen Brokets coming there from different origins. If they came to Carnwath in the first place, they could have done so again. However, the 17th C Carnwath and Lesmahagow clans were with little doubt related; Carnwath is only c 10 m NE of Lesmahagow.

2.5. Elsewhere in Scotland 1618-1698

The 17th C OPRs record only 8 marriages and 9 births elsewhere in Scotland:



William Brokat m Alison Penman


Glasgow (W Calton)

Margrett Brockett chr d/o John



Grissell Broket chr d/o Johne



Jean Brocket m George Anderson


Glasgow (W Calton)

Alison Brocket m John Inglis


Leith S

Isobell Broket chr d/o John


Glasgow (W Calton)

Margaret Brocket m Thomas Rob


Leith S

John Brocket chr s/o John & Margaret Euing


Leith S

Alison Brocket chr d/o John & Alison Portes



Janet Broket m James Robison



Jean Brocket m Thomas Fisher



John Brocket m Marion Purdie



Jonet Brocket m James Robinson


Leith S

Hendrie Brockett b s/o John & Alisone Porteous



Jean Brocket chr d/o John & Marion Purdie



Elizabeth Broket chr d/o John & Marion Purdie



John Brocket chr s/o John & Margaret Purdy

Lanark, Pettinain and Douglas are all within a few miles of Lesmahagow or Carnwath. And did the 2 Leith families come up from Calder?

Page Last Updated: April 6, 2020


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


[1] Burke's 1997 p 63 cites 55 households for Glasgow and 31 for London.

[2] Burke’s Landed Gentry 1937 p 535. For the Cuninghames’ Caprington castle see (accessed 4 Oct 2018).

[3] Bain 1884 pp 336-7

[4] Register of the Great Seal vol 2 pp 614, 652 nos 2892, 3053

[5] Register of the Great Seal vol 3 p 691 no 2956

[6] Dickinson 1937 pp 13-14

[7] Doby 1890-1; also Register of the Great Seal vol 3 p 521 no 2280 n 1 for 1540

[8] For the original Latin please contact the Broket Archivist.

[9] Doby vol 1 p 169. Surname wrongly written or transcribed as Brokell.

[10] Doby vol 1 p 169

[11] Doby vol 1 p 200. No Latin supplied.

[12] Register of the Great Seal vol 3 p 698 no 2981

[13] Register of the Great Seal vol 3 pp 748-9 nos 3192, 3194

[14] Register of the Great Seal vol 3 p 748 no 3192

[15] Register of the Great Seal vol 3 p 749 no 3194

[16] Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, vol 18, Appendix, p 442 (Edinburgh, 4 October)

[17] For the original Latin please contact the Broket Archivist.

[18] National Archives of Scotland C22/177 ff 283r-286r Hamilton 1584. For the original Latin please contact the Broket Archivist.

[19] (accessed 4 Oct 2018).

[20] Unpublished List of Carnwath Memorial Inscriptions, p 85, no 165

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