Proper Noun - The Broket Archive

The history of the proper noun ‘Broket’

As well as an ordinary noun—a word—Broket is and has been a proper noun—a surname and a place-name. For more on the word, see Etymology.

Note: this Archive spells the surname as Broket when no specific variant is being referred to—as a kind of lowest common denominator. This ‘Broket’ spelling is also neutral, scarcely in use today at all.

The first record of the surname found so far is from Lincolnshire in 1207. With a first name Osbert the man would not have been Norman. Given the way nicknames, bynames and surnames first emerged, Broket was probably first being used as a name at least by 1140-60, a generation or two before Osbert.

Unlike the word, the surname didn’t evolve from an earlier Brok or anything else. At first not all children would have inherited it; the byname didn’t always become a surname. Unrelated men and women in different areas were called by it, as they are today.

Some received the surname by adoption like William Borthwick; one did so by Royal Licence: Stanes Brocket Chamberlayne; and three families are known to have  adopted it themselves: the 17th C Brothwoods of Henlow, the 18th C Brocks of Lanchester and the 20th C Nall-Cains of Brocket Hall.

Contents of this page:

Related pages:

1. Introduction

Compared with many surnames Broket has been stable and variant spellings are minor. Only 4 have been common in the UK: Broket, Brokett, Brockett and Brocket, with the 2 t spelling predominating. Brocket is more common today in New Zealand, and the spelling Brockette was adopted in the early 20th C by some members of a family in the USA, of whom there are said to be 250 living members. The 2 earliest records of the name—as of the word—were spelt Brochet. The ch was an early scribal convention for the k sound and for the rest of the 13th and 14th C the name was spelt Broket, apart from one instance of Brocket in 1372. Brokett was becoming common by the 15th and Brockett by the 16th. Spellings without a c had died out in England by the 17th C, but continued in Scotland until 1831. Brockett and Brocket were used interchangeably 16-18th C, sometimes in the same document. But by the 19th C the 1 t spelling was becoming less common and today is comparatively rare.

There have been chapels, properties, a manor, farms, fields, roads, a wood and even a castle in Britain called Brocket, but there has only been 1 actual place-name: Brocketsbrae, a hamlet of a dozen or so houses on the hillside east of Lesmahagow in Lanarkshire. The possessive s signifying ‘brae of Brocket’ suggests that the hill was named after a person or family rather than being a place-name after which inhabitants were named. The same holds true of other non-human occurrences of the name Brocket: the origin of the surname was not locative, even in Scotland. Nor was it a Viking, Domesday or Anglo-Saxon name or place-name1; it came later.

2. Origin of the surname

In order to govern the feudal system and raise revenue the king and his administrators needed to know what service each knight owed him. Unlike the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, the Normans used a small number of first names and officials needed a new way to identify men beyond dispute.2Which William, John, Roger or Richard was it?

Men therefore received bynames. Not only landowners, but tenants and others also needed to be identified for tax, so bynames arose according to:

  • father’s name
  • occupation
  • location
  • nickname.

Broket was not a first name, so it did not originate as a father’s name, nor was it an occupation—it was not a variant of Broker. It has been suggested that it was locational, but reflecting carefully on the evidence there is no doubt that Broket began as a nickname.3

2.1. Nickname

The word brocket meant a young male deer, common among the predominantly rural population at the time of surname formation. Animal bynames mostly—if not always—originated as nicknames. Some domesticated animal bynames, like Pigge or Bull, might have had an occupational origin with someone who looked after the animal, although a nickname seems more likely with these two too.

Brockets of course were wild creatures, so like Buck, Crow, Deere, Foxe, Hare, Hawke, Hind, Lovell, Roe, Stagg, Todd, Wolfe and others, the byname Broket originated as a wild-animal nickname. What occupation looked after young male deer? A man acted like a young deer perhaps, or had big ears, or had the skull of a brocket with its single-spiked antlers over the door to his house.

If a man in Yorkshire was nicknamed Fox or Crow or Broket, another man in Oxfordshire could have been too. Nicknames were not limited by place, but by usage of the word. The word brocket was not provincial in origin, it had come from France. The earliest records of the name Broket show provenances too far flung to suggest that these Brokets had moved out from one source. Some were given the nickname independently.

A Scottish Broket that didn’t come up from England might feasibly have been given the nickname there because of a spotted, streaked or black-and-white characteristic of some kind.

Before the 14th C bynames were often not hereditary and changed from father to son, but of the 4 types of bynames nicknames became hereditary most readily. The earliest Broket record in 1207 is of 2 together, implying at least 1 preceding generation, and connections between Yorkshire Brokets in 1240/50 point to forbears with the name there too. This is confirmed by relatively regular records of the name between 1260 and 1379 from a small rural area near the city of York despite the ravages of the Black Death, which hit the city 5 times between 1349-78.4

2.2. Place-name?

Although Broket was not locational in origin, the faint possibility of such an origin for perhaps some bearers of the name should not be ignored:

  • It has been suggested for the Scottish name Brocket, but it is likely there that that property was named after a person, rather than the other way round.
  • Lower guessed that the name Brockett derived from the Anglo-Saxon locative compound brochesheved meaning ‘brook’s head’.5 A Luca de Brochesheved was indeed recorded in the Pipe Rolls for the 3rd year of King John for Essex in 1201, and the author of the 1860 Gateshead pedigree cited this man at the very top as though Brochesheved were the original form of the name Broket. But for the name Broket—already hereditary in 1207—to derive from de Brochesheved of 1201 Essex is not possible. Moreover, sound and emphasis shifts from shéved to et are not elsewhere found.
  • Leland used the word brocket in 1538—no doubt pronounced with a short ‘u’ sound, —to mean streamlet and it was once apparently attested as a fieldname near Bradford, although the details are lost. That this might have been an origin of someone’s Broket byname is implausible—no Brokets have been found recorded nearby.
  • The earliest locative form of the name recorded in the vicinity of people called Brocket is Brocket Wood in Bolton Percy, with little doubt named after its owners rather than the other way round.

3. Scribal variants

Scribes often wrote names as they heard them and UK records show a number of scribal-oral variants—but none were substantial:

  1. The first syllable Brok carried the stress and its consonants and vowel remained distinct. Braket, Briket, Burkit, Boket and their variants are all different names.
  2. The k sound was interchangeably spelt k or ck, occasionally kk. Two of the earliest records spelt it ch—Brochet—and one g—Broget.
  3. The final vowel was unstressed so could be written at, et, it, ot or yt (but Brokut hasn’t been found).
  4. The final t might or might not be doubled and very occasionally an e was added at the end—without any effect on the stress.

The stability of the sound and its link to a common word have led to no oral variants as such; certainly nothing like Bolsover > Bowser,6nor indeed like the following:

  • A definite article. The 2 known instances of this—John Alfonso del Broket 1344 and Drugo le Broket 1416—were either the Europeanisation of a foreign (i.e. English) name or the common insertion of le by Latin scribes in front of a [supposed] foreign name.
  • Brocketman meant servant of Brocket—attested only in 1379 Yorkshire.
  • Names like Brocas, Brock, Brocup, Brokert, and their variants and the 19th C Brochet and Broquette are all unrelated. So too are Brocard and Priket, which although related in meaning—and which therefore probably arose as a nickname in the same way as Broket—are too distant in sound to be considered oral variants, given the stability just mentioned.

Variety in spelling the name survived longer in Scotland than in England.

Broakate: 1757 Carnwath.7This variant suggests the name may have had a slightly longer o sound in Scotland than in England, but its isolated occurrence among hundreds of other Carnwath Broket records makes this unlikely, indeed in the Sasine the name was mainly spelt Brockate. Similarly its rarity should not be taken as hinting at a different origin. See also Broocket.
Brocat: Elizabeth Ash’s IPM; Scotland 1546-.
Brocatt: 1485 Wheathampstead.
Broccket: 1569-75 Suffolk.
Brocett: 1746-57 Bedfordshire.
Brochet: 1207 and 1214 Lincolnshire; 1775 Pickering; 1901 Lanarkshire. Two 19th C occurrences were mistranscription: 1831 St Neots and 1841 London. The ch spelling was recorded in the IGI about a dozen more times between 1595 and 1834, excluding the different Walloon name. Like the 1705, 1709 occurrences, the London Brochet/ts of 1702, 1714 and 1729 may have been either Huguenot/Walloon or mistranscriptions.
Brochett: ‘In [Bolton Percy] parish stood Brochett-hall, antiently the seat of the Brochetts of this county’.8London 1844.
Brocit: 1716 Newark.
Brockat: The 19th C Carstairs and Glasgow family used this spelling consistently, and latterly BROCKATT.
Brockatt: 1598 Alton; 1864 and 1901 Hartlepool; see Brockat.
Brocked: 1593 Boston; 1589 and 1596 Hampshire; 1617 and 27 Dunton, Bedfordshire.
Brocket: Used interchangeably with Brockett 16-18th C, but by the 19th C had become less common, and now is comparatively rare; mainly found in Scotland and New Zealand.
Brockett: When the Brocketts were living at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire the name was more often spelt Brokett or Brockett, as well for the Hall. Its single t spelling became fixed long after it had passed into other hands.
Brockette: The ‘e’ at the end doesn’t signify stress on the second syllable. This spelling is found earlier very occasionally, e.g. 1571 Surrey, 1589 Beds, 1626 York, 1663 Somerset. It was adopted by some members of Marlin Luther Brockett’s family in the early 20th C in the USA, and there are said to be 250 Brockettes there currently.9 Why they adopted it isn’t known.
Brockhatt: Scotland 1787, but Brocket for the same man 1789-93.
Brockhet: An isolated record of the death of an old man in a workhouse in Cumbria 1896.
Brockit: Mostly in Scotland, except 1657-88 Suffolk; 1664-76 York; 1679 Herts; 1765 and 69 Bedfordshire; 1827 Whitby.
Brockitt: Several, e.g. 1655-79 York; 1614/5 Somerset; 1762 Bedfordshire; 1674-93 St Neots; 1913 Canada.
Brockite: 1881 census Lambeth, London.
Brockitte: 1631 York.
Brockket: 1577 and 83 Suffolk.
Brockkett: 1578 Suffolk; 1614/5 Somerset.
Brockott: Brockott of Silesia, southwestern Poland, with a deer as their arms would have been an indigenous clan whose name emerged as a separate nickname.10
Brockut: 1665-1703 Somerset.
Brockytt: 1623 Bedfordshire.
Brocot: 1720s Lindridge, Worcestershire.
Brogat: 1536 Surrey.
Broget: 3 relatives in a Yorkshire 1301 poll tax return. Subsequently spelt Broket.
Brokat: Sawbridgeworth 1294; Kirkeby Malore 1316; London 1511. Common in Scotland 1506-1743.
Broked: A dubious instance in the IGI from 1675 Devon.
Broket: The spelling in England till the 14th C, carrying through occasionally to the 16th, e.g. York 1508, and in Scotland till the 17th (once in the 19th: Renfrew 1817).
Brokete: 1522 York.
Brokett: The most common spelling 15-17th C. Earlier and later occurrences were rarer, e.g. 1320 Yorkshire; 1860 Southwark.
Brokette: 1481 and 1527-30 Herts. The final ‘e’ was an otiose scribal addition, not indicating stress on the second syllable.
Brokit: Scotland, apart from 1801 Bromham.
Brokket: 1495 Leicestershire; 1545 London; 1575 Suffolk.
Brokkett: 1545 London; 1653 Herts.
Brokytt: 1427 York.
Broocket: It is just possible that an isolated family in Alloa whose name was spelt 3 times out of 7 with oo in the OPRs 1730s, may not be a mistranscription but an example of the Scottish name having a different origin to the English one. But since records of this family were spelt more times with o and since it is otherwise unique in Scotland, it most likely simply indicates a local Scottish lengthening of the vowel, similar perhaps to the spelling Broakate. Recorded first as Brocket, the surname of John and Mary Crumbie’s children was recorded—all but nos 5 and 8 below—in Alloa, Clackmannanshire as:
+++1. Brocket – Helen bap 13 Jun 1731
+++2. Broocket – William bap 13 Jul 1733
+++3. Brooket – Janet bap 29 Dec 1734
+++4. Brocket – William bap 20 Feb 1737
+++5. Brocket – Thomas bap 18 Feb 1738 (Crawfordjohn)
+++6. Brookit – Mary bap 20 Oct 1738
+++7. Brocket – Edward bap 5 Oct 1740
+++8. Brokat – Elizabeth bap 2 May 1743 (St Cuthberts Edinburgh).
Brookat: 1618 Eastbourne, Sussex.
Brooket: 1562 Ardingley, Sussex.
Browkett: Birmingham area 1809 and 1824. The 1809 occurrence was a mistranscription of Bowkett, and the 1824 one may have been too.

More scribal variants—or errors—are found in the IGI.

4. Scribal errors

Scribes and compilers of indexes of course sometimes made errors as they copied written documents:

  • Thus for instance Braket, Bracket and Brackett—although a well-attested name in its own right, has occurred as an error for Broket, Brocket and Brockett.
  • a and o are more similar in shape than a and i; Briket has been found as a scribal error for Broket less often.
  • Similarly l can be an uncrossed t and Brockell mistakes occured.
  • Conversely, Brokett has been found in error for Brackett, Brockell and Blaket.
  • Breket has been found recorded a few times in earlier centuries, but was rare and still is.
  • Brockeff and Drokett—not otherwise names—have each been found once.

These were simply errors of transcription so couldn’t carry over to the actual people concerned, apart from the exceptional situation where the name was consciously used as an alias, when someone originally called Brackett consciously called themselves Brockett. Did this happen with John, the emigrant to New Haven?

Birchett: Mistranscription of Brockett in the 16th C Harpenden Parish Register, by FamilySearch and FindMyPast.11 See Brichett.
Blaket: 1406 Sir John Blaket mistakenly called Sir John Broket. Conversely, Broket was found in error for Blaket.
Blockett: 1863 London.
Boket: A slip of the pen resulted in John Broket, Sheriff of Herts and Essex, being recorded as Boket alias Broket in 1512, and the enrolling clerk seems to have been over-particular about recording aliases. See also Boket below as a different surname.
Braket, Bracket and Brackett, etc, see separate page.
Brechet: Mistranscription of the 1207 Curia Regis Roll in the 1931 Calendar. Brechet is not attested elsewhere as a name.
Brecket: Susan b 1863 Carnwath Lanark.
breket: Mistranscription of broket in the mid-14th century Gonville and Caius College ms 424/48 of Le Venery.
Brichett: Mistranscription of Brockett in the 16th C Harpenden Parish Register, by FamilySearch and FindMyPast.12 See Birchett.
Briket, Bricket and Brickett, etc, see separate page.
Brochet: Maggie 1901 census Scotland—a mistranscription of Brocket in the original return. Two other mistranscriptions of marriages in Ayrshire: 1783 Stewarton, 1814 Kilmarnock.
Brockell: 1540-42 Ayrshire; Thomas of South London’s marriage certificate 1861; Sarah Ann of Wandsworth 1857. Brockell is a name in its own right and ought not to be assumed to have uncrossed ts unless obviously so. Mathewe Brokell of York 1597 for instance was not a Brokett, nor Christopher Brockil of Newark 1736-7. Conversely Brocket has been found in error for Brockel: at Cambridge University in 1737; Barnard Castle in 1668 and 1757;13 and Richmond Yorkshire in 1736.
Brockeff: 1741 Durham St Oswald Parish Register Index for Elisabeth.
Brocketts: A flourish usually indicating the plural ‘es’ was added to the final t of the name of a 15th C York Constable. A Clare Margaret Brocketts was recorded in the IGI transcription of the 1881 census for Middlesex.
Brocktot: This was a double error. The original parish clerk in 1620 York wrote Brocktet and the 1935 transcriber misread the ‘e’ as an ‘o’.
Brokas: William, burgess of Edinburgh, is recorded twice as Brockas in the body of a deed dated 1569,14 but then—mistakenly—as Brokatt at the end. This is otherwise an unrelated name.
Brokel: 1422 Westminster.
Brooker: Mistranscription of Elizabeth Brooker as Brooket in 1638 Devon.
Brooket: 1612 Lancashire. The IGI has a number of Brooket misspellings in England. See also the Scottish Alloa family and the misindexing of William of Douglas 1841.
Broxhett: 1605 Hampshire.
Bruchett: 1595 Surrey. Most probably either a modern mistranscription or an original scribal error for Brockett.
Brucket: 1841 census Whitby.
Burkett: 1617/8 Dunton.
Drokett: 1530 Edward Drokett was granted a licence to alienate the manor of Este Rede, Herts.15

5. Similar but unrelated surnames

  1. Boket/Bockett. Reaney related this surname to Burchard and Hanks et al to its variant Burkett.16 See separate page Boket.
  2. Braket was recorded as early as 1214; a diminutive of brache “a hound which hunts by scent”.17 See separate page Brakets
  3. Briket. A variant of Birkett a “dweller by the birch-covered headland” 1301.18 See separate page
  4. Brocard. Recorded in England with Osbert Brochard in Hampshire 117519 and John Brocard in Cambridge as late as 1327, Brocard has only continued as an English surname extremely rarely. A search through relevant books and documents in La Bibliothèque Généalogique, rue de Turbigo, Paris showed a long-established Brocard name in various parts of France—one as early as 1350—but no Broket. Some had a stag as the motif on their arms.20
  5. De/du Brocas, Broquas, Brocquas, Broca. That the Brokets originated in 14th C Gascony where the de Brocas name is recorded is unreferenced speculation and does not fit with the existence of earlier English Brokets.21
  6. Brochet was recorded with 19th C Walloon emigrants from mainland Europe to Norwich and Canada with the t unpronounced—. The spelling k or ck had become standard for a k sound by the 15th C, so a post 16th C ch spelling after a short vowel represented —when not a scribal error.
  7. Brock was always distinct from Broket, with the Durham exception to prove the rule.
  8. Brockey. A mistranscription of this name as Brocket occurred in the Parish Register of Cowbit Lincs 1679. Otherwise the names have been unrelated.
  9. Brocklett. This name occurs only once in the whole IGI: the marriage of Thomas to Jane BLACKLEDGE 31 Jan 1853 Saint John, Preston, Lancashire. 22The MC records him living in Frank St, Preston, Bachelor, Weaver, aged 25 [ie b c 1828]. No known Thomas Broket fits these details, and the fact that both the GRO and the Parish Register record the name suggest it wasn’t an error.
  10. Brocup, Brockup, Brokup. Two mistranscriptions of this name as Broket occurred in the Parish Register and Bishop’s Transcripts of Quadring Lincs 1608 and 1613/4. Otherwise the names have been unrelated.
  11. Broker/Brocker/Brooker. An occupational name meaning “agent, purveyor”, le Brokour was recorded 1276.23
  12. Brokert and Brokart are found in Ireland, with 8 births, marriages or deaths in London 1865-1928.24
  13. Brokest. Found once in London in 1873 as a variant of Brockert.
  14. Broketod was recorded once in Suffolk 117625but this name hasn’t been considered a variant of Broket. The -od ending is typical of a place-name, comparable perhaps to Broxted.
  15. Broquet/Broquette. Recorded twice from Flanders/Holland 1680 and 96. These were isolated occurrences, most probably with the stress on the second syllable and perhaps Anglicisations of a continental name, perhaps Brocard or the like.
  16. Burkett. Hanks et al said Birkett and Burkett get confused but have different origins.26

6. The place-name Brocket

In the UK there has only been 1 Brocket place-name, as distinct from field or property names:


To the east and north east of Lesmahagow the land rises gently and half way up is a small hamlet called Brocketsbrae. The maps of Pont 1596, Ross 1773 and Forrest 1816 did not show it and while Thomson’s 1822 Map of Lanarkshire showed tiny nearby settlements like Kilslack—3 cottages—it did not show Brocketsbrae either. The 1821 census listed residences in Brocketsbrae 27and the 1841 census did too, but the 1851 census recorded none. 1858 is the earliest reference to it on a map—the 1st edition of the OS map—albeit misspelt Brecketsbrae.

Before the original Lesmahagow railway station was built on Brocketsbrae in the 1850s, there were few if any houses there. It seems that before the 1850s the hill as a whole was called Brocketsbrae and was largely uninhabited; then after the 1850s the name came to refer increasingly to the railway station and the settlement that grew up around it rather than to the hill. Now that the station has gone, Brocketsbrae refers to the remaining hamlet only.

The possessive genitive form of the name ‘brae of Brocket’ suggests that the brae—the hill—was named after an owner or inhabitant rather than the other way around. It would not originally have been namedfor being a hill frequented by animal brockets—wild brockets lived alongside older and younger deer, and roamed areas far wider than one hill. However, human Brockets lived in the parish; they held land there in the late 16th early 17th C and a clan lived on through to the 20th C.

The name is most likely to have become attached to the hill during a time when it was associated with Brockets. Perhaps it was a way in local conversation to refer to the next landmark going north from Devonburn on the old Carlisle-to-Glasgow coaching road. It may also not be a coincidence that Castle Brocket—about 5 miles to the west in the Kype valley—can be seen from the top of Broketsbrae.

7. Property, road and field names

Half a dozen counties in Britain have had Brocket property, road and field names. Most were named after people—similarly in New Zealand and the USA.

+++Elsewhere in Britain
New Zealand
Canada and USA

7.1. Yorkshire

7.1.1-4 were associated with the Broket family of Appleton, 7.1.5-7 were not.

7.1.1. Brockethall Manor house stood on the south of the eastern moat enclosure at the east end of Appleton in the Ainsty, near York. The manor house has long gone, but the moat remains as one of the best preserved in Yorkshire and—although not found on smaller modern maps—is still known as Brocket Hall.28 A 2002 Review report of Appleton Roebuck Conservation Area, for instance, refers to it as ‘Brocket Hall’.29

It was formerly called Southwood Manor30and would have been renamed Brockethall after Thomas Broket inherited it by marriage to the heiress Dionisia Sampson.

7.1.2. The Brockett Chapel is at the east end of the south aisle of Bolton Percy parish church, endowed by Thomas Broket, lord of the manor during the Church’s rebuiding (1413-23). Also called St Mary’s Choir, it is referred to as the Brockett Chapel in the Guide for the Visitor currently available in the Church.31 It was originally a Broket family chapel with an altar, probably a chantry for Thomas and Dionisia, and later a Lady Chapel.32

There have been no extensions to the outer fabric of the Church and the Broket arms emblazoned and set into the external east wall above the window of the chapel are original. See the separate page.

7.1.3. Brocket Wood was part of the Brokethall manor estate in the 16th C and probably earlier. It can be found on modern large-scale Ordnance Survey maps, about a mile north of Appleton Roebuck, on the north side of the road. On Jeffrey’s map of 1596 it was spelt Brocked-wood.33 Frances White’s map of 1783 spelt it Brockit Wood—possibly Brackit—and Robert Cooper’s map of 1832 spelt it Brocket Wood. Its size was 20 acres in an 1840 document of sale held by the East Riding of Yorkshire Archives.34 For further details see the separate page. The wood on the other side of the road was called Brocket Hagg, ‘hagg’ being a local word for ‘wood’.

As with Brocketsbrae, it is safe to say that Brocket Wood and Brocket Hagg were originally named after their 15th-16th C owners.

7.1.4. The Brocketts was a house in the centre of Appleton village by the old school house in the vicinity of the moated site and named after the site. It, and the nearby house called Brockett Willows, were on the 1965 OS map.

7.1.5. broket was a field name recorded 1334 in Elland, c 3 m NW of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.35Smith gave no source and the Place Name Society no longer have his notes. He linked it to the Early Modern English ‘brooket‘, a small brook or stream—a rare word recorded only from Leland. Assuming nonetheless that this field was named after a little stream, it and no. 6—Brocket Holes Gill—are probably the only field names not named after a human Broket.

7.1.6. Brocket Holes Gill was situated in Backgate in Ingleton in Ewcross wapentake, West Yorkshire.36Smith made no suggestion of origin, but the field name Brock Holes occured in the same area and in the West Riding another dozen or so times. Brock Holes has a clear origin in ‘badger hole’ and Brocket Holes Gill was an exceptional example of the name Brocket deriving from Brock.

For a similar exception, but with a surname rather than a field name, see Henry Brocket. However, to argue from this that the word brocket, and then the surname Broket, derived from brock meaning ‘badger’ would be to make a generality out of an all-but-unique exception.

7.1.7. Brockett Field was a small parcel of land sold among many others in 1721/2 at Aislaby, 4 miles west of Whitby. Perhaps it had had some connection with a Brockett from Whitby.37

Top of section ↑

7.2. Hertfordshire

There have been 4 or 5 property and field names in Hertfordshire associated with the Broket family of Hertfordshire:

  1. Brocket Hall and Park
  2. Brocket Chapel, Wheathampstead
  3. Brocket Chapel, Hatfield
  4. Brockets Bushes
  5. Brocket Arms

7.2.1. Brocket Hall and Brocket Park—or simply Brocket—formerly in the parish of Hatfield, lie a few miles north of Hatfield and c 40 miles north of the centre of London. See separate page. Brocket Road, Wheathampstead, leads to Brocket Hall.

Two original properties combined to form Brocket: Waterships and Durantshyde. Others like Cromerhyde were added later.38 Up until Feb 2024 it was thought that it had been called ‘Brocket Hall’ since at least 1522-3 when John Broket was mentioned in a complaint by the Abbott of Westminster.39 Munby, commenting on this referred to John as ‘of Brocket Hall’, however an inspection of the manuscript revealed that he was actually referred to as ‘Joh’n broket of Whethamsted’ and calling him ‘of Brocket Hall’ was Munby’s inaccurate interpretation. The earliest actual record I have found so far—Feb 2024—of the name ‘brokett hall’ in Hertfordshire is from 1563. Of course it may well have been called that beforehand – Brokets certainly owned the manor (Waterships) from the 1430s and presumably its manor house with it, but it was still called Waterships until at least 1532. And although at some stage and stages the family would have renovated it and probably enlarged it, it isn’t clear when they started calling it after themselves. Maybe it had both names for a period? Be that as it may, any mention of ‘Brocket Hall’ prior to 1563 may well be anachronistic and inaccurate. A problem is that many writers and published histories back-project its name earlier without actual evidence.

All that remains of the Brockett Hall of the Brocketts is the Tudor basement, and perhaps one or two of the grand old oak trees nearby. The present Hall dates from the mid 18th C. Either side of the main staircase of Brocket Hall in 2000 were two large portraits with arms, attributed to the Dutch artist Antonio More.

7.2.2 & 3. Brocket Chapels are situated in the south transept of both St Helen’s Wheathampstead and St Etheldreda’s Hatfield—in the same situation as the Brockett Chapel in Bolton Percy church, see above.

The chapel in St Helen’s Wheathampstead was originally a Lady Chapel, dedicated to Mary. In 1532 John of Wheathampsted Esq willed to be buried “in the Chapell of our Lady”.40In 1557 Sir John I willed to be buried ‘in the Chappell whereas my Auncestours be buried’. The ancestors were probably: Thomas and Elizabeth Ash, Edward and Elizabeth Thwaites, and his grandparents John and Lucy Pulter.

It may have been Sir John I and Lady Margaret’s imposing alabaster tomb altar41which fixed the name as the Brocket Chapel; soon after John’s death the Catholic revival under Mary ended.

Sir John II, whose father’s tomb altar dominated the Brocket Chapel in St Helen’s Wheathampstead, left £40 for his own tomb to be set up in the Brocket Chapel in St Etheldreda’s Hatfield in 1598, where it still stands—although in need of restoration.

“In accordance with his wishes, his tomb bears his arms on a shield of thirteen quarterings, to show his family alliances, with others on the front of the monument, and at the back those of his six daughters. Under the canopy are alternate crosses patonce (from his arms) and chained brockets (young stags) from his crest, which would have surmounted his helmet still hanging above his tomb.”42

Although Sir John II and his wives were buried in the Chapel in St Etheldreda’s, it was named after the Hall rather than after the Brockett family itself—‘it was used as a mortuary chapel by the owners of Brocket Hall for two hundred years’.43The VCH has a picture.44Daily services are held there.

Other later members of the family are buried in the Brocket Chapel with slabs in the floor listing their names, and a handsome shield has been carved in the wood of a screen and painted.

7.2.4. Brockets Bushes was a field name on Benwick Hall Estate near Stapleford, recorded on a late 17th C map but not in the Tithe Commutation Assessment of 1837.45It dated perhaps from the times when the Wheathampstead Brokets owned nearby Bengeo Manor, but changed its name to Bardon Clumps on enclosure.

7.2.5. The Brocket Arms is a pub in Ayot St Lawrence, a couple of miles north of Wheathampstead. Parts of the inn date to the 14th Century and it is said to be haunted by a phantom monk. It is near Minsden Chapel, once owned by the Brokets. Nowadays the pub’s sign is the coat of arms of the Nall-Cains. There is also a Brocket Arms Hotel at 38 Mesnes Road, Wigan, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, opened in 1998. Charles Alexander NALL-CAIN, the 1st Lord Brocket, had connections with that area.

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7.3. Lanarkshire

Castle Brocket is now a farm overlooking the Kype Water in Avondale parish about 2 m SE of Strathaven46and 5+ miles as the crow flies from Lesmahagow and Brocketsbrae. It would originally have been a 16th C tower house within the area or township then called Langkype or Meikle Kype. It probably stood where the current 60×45 ft courtyard of the farm buildings is, but there are no remains there now. The present owners, there since 1921, once dug up the courtyard with a mechanical digger to repave it but noticed no trace of a castle.

Downie,47the only modern historian of the area, mentioned it twice: on p 53 that Blaeu’s map showed pre-reformation Chapel buildings and p 301 regarding an owner Abraham Torrance 1820-45.

Working backwards with maps from 1911 it is probable that it was on the earliest one:

  1. The 1911 OS map (25″=1 mile) had ‘Castle Brocket on Site of Castle’.
  2. The 1897 OS map (25″=1 mile) showed the site of the castle in the courtyard of the farm buildings.
  3. The first OS map (6″=1 mile), surveyed 1858 and published 1864, showed it as a courtyard farm building with ‘Castle (site of)‘ in Gothic writing underneath indicating an antiquity.
  4. Forrest’s 1816 map showed ‘Castle Brocket in ruins‘ as a large building. It is surrounded on all sides on the map by names with ‘Kype’ in them: West Kype and Kype Rig to the west; Kypes Rig, Kypesrig, Kypes Water to the south; Little Kypes, High Kypeside and Nether Kypeside to the east (in Lesmahagow parish); and Kypes Water again to the north. But Forrest showed no Langkipe or Meikle Kype.
  5. Ross’s 1773 Map of Lanarkshire clearly showed ‘Castlebroket’.
  6. On Pont’s 1596 handwritten map the second part of the name is illegible, but it probably represented Broket. Blaeu’s 1654 printed version of Pont mis-deciphered it as ‘Cast. Bratwood’—it had already been recorded in 1653 as ‘Castellbrocket’. And with little doubt Brokets had been living there in the 1540s.

Blaeu was probably the source for the 1955 statement on the website of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland that ‘the ancient name was Castle Bradwude of which the present name is a corruption’.48

The index of the Register of the Great Seal does not mention Castle Brocket, however Lanarkshire Sasines recorded it—as Castellbrokat, Castellbrocket, Castellbrooket, Castellbrokett, Castlebrokit, Castlebrocket, Castlebrocate—under the following owners, most of them related:

  • Robert Hamiltoun of Milneburne 22 Mar 1653.49Robert became heir to his namesake father 1646, and yet an earlier Robert Hamiltoun of Milburne became heir to his namesake father 1581.50Whether these spanned 3 or 4 generations is not known, nor when any of them first became owner of Castle Brocket. Millburn is a small settlement c 4 m S of Kilmarnock and c 20 m SW of Castlebrocket.
  • Margaret Hamiltoun, natural sister to Robert Hamiltoun of Milneburne, 22 Mar 1653.51
  • William Porterfeild of that Ilk by right of his wife Juliana Steel.52
  • Rev John Steel of Cumnock inherited it from William Porterfeild.53Cumnock is c 9 m SE of Millburn.
  • Rev John Steel of Stair, heir of Rev John Steel of Cumnock in 1756 and of William Porterfeild in 1758.54Stair is c 4 m S of Millburn.
  • Joseph Allan of St Lawrence Chapple purchased it 1762 from Rev John Steel of Stair and Juliana Steel.55The Lanarkshire Valuation Roll of 1771 recorded James Allan as owner.56

Castelbrocket was a property within an area called Langkype or Meikle Kype. A 1653 Sasine57 specifically placed it in the meere of Langkype, and a 1762 Sasine58 described it as The ‘Thirteen Shilling four penny Land of the Lands of Meikle Kype called Castle Brocate‘.

Prior to 1617 Lanarkshire Sasines are only partially recorded, but 2 entries in the Register of the Great Seal from 1546 show Edward Broket occupying land from 2 different Hamilton overlords in the township and territory of Langkype, within which Castelbrocket lay.59Retours details for some of the landlords named show that in the century between the occupancy of Edward Broket and Robert Hamiltoun of Milneburne Langkype lands passed down 3 of the main Hamilton lines:60

  1. Edward’s 1st parcel was part of the £4 worth of Langkipe land granted by the Queen to Sir David Hammiltoun of Prestoun in 1546:61
    4 libratis terrarum antiqui extentus jacen. in villa et territorio de Langkipe, baronia de Avanedale
    —in English: £4 of land of the old extent [survey] lying in the township and territory of Langkipe, Avondale barony

    This was clearly the same land listed in the Retour of 11 May 1584 among the properties George Hamyltoun of Prestoun became heir to from his father Sir David:

    4 libratis terrarum antiqui extentus in villa et territorio de Langkyip infra baroniam de Ewendaill

    Indeed “the late Edward Broket” and his 1st parcel were mentioned in the inquisition of that date.

  2. Edward’s other parcel was part of the Langkipe land granted by the Queen to Alexander Hammiltoun Keeper of Silvertounhill in 1546.62It is not clear if this was Alexander, 1st of Silvertounhill, alive the preceding century, but in the Exchequer entry for the same property in 1548 Andrew Hammiltoun is mentioned, perhaps 4th of Silvertounhill.63
  3. Lang Kype alias Chapel-landis was one of a long list of lands that James Marquess of Hamyltoun [later 1st Duke] became heir to from his father James the 2nd Marquess 5 May 1625.

Conclusion: Castelbrocket would have acquired its name from Edward Broket of the 16th C or one of his clan. It was a small tower house rather than a great fortified stronghold—a tribal outpost rather than a centre of military control. At that period the name appears to have referred only to the tower rather than any demarcated freehold around it and was not bought or sold separately from the wider Langkype holding. But by the end of the less turbulent 17th C it could be owned as a separate farm by a Minister of the Church.

That it was originally named after owners or occupiers is further suggested by the word order. Castle Douglas, some 50 m due south in Dumfries and Galloway, for instance, was named by William Douglas of Galloway. Castles named after places normally have the castle after the place, like Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh or Douglas Castle in Douglas, Lanarkshire.


  • From whom did Robert Hamiltoun of Milneburne acquire Castlebrocket?
  • What was the relationship between his line and the other Hamilton lines?
  • If Margaret inherited it from Robert Hamiltoun, how did Juliana Steel—or rather her husband in her right—come to hold it before John Steel of Stair?

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7.4. Ayrshire

Brocketnow called Brocket Farmis a small farmhouse with an acre or 2 of land overlooking Monkton and modern-day Prestwick Airport, c 24 m W of Castle Brocket. Derelict until recently rebuilt, it adjoins the much larger Rosemount estate to the west, but doesn’t seem to have been a part of it. Adamton Mains Farm is on the east side of Rosemount.

The first record is Pont’s 1596 map as Brokat, then Blaeu’s 1654 printed version of Pont, then Armstrong’s 1775 map of Ayrshire as Brackett. It was one of a long list in a 1621 inquisition into the properties and lands of the Earl of Abercorn (as Brokat), and in another in 1662 (as Brockatt) into those of Lord Barganie.64By the time of the 1856 and 1910 Ordnance Survey maps the spelling had settled on Brocket.

Every Scottish dwelling, large or small, had its own name and maps of sparsely-populated areas of Scotland would record them all. What might seem at first glance to be a town or village often turns out to be a house or cottage. So it is with Brocket. Neither book of Scottish place-names—Johnstone 1934 nor Nicolaisen 1976—mentioned it and it does not figure in standard local histories of Ayrshire.65

Black said it was probably the origin of the surname Brocket,66followed by Burke’s Peerage World Book of Brocketts.67 But the opposite is more likely true: that this Brocket was a small farm named after a 16th C owner. Records from 1540-2 showed a George Brokett renting a tenement and land in the Burgh.

Although the earliest Scottish records of Brokets are only about a generation earlier than George, one would have to posit a 200-year-long line of unrecorded Brokets in this small homestead to plausibly suggest that it was the origin of his—and their—surname. Most English surnames emerged in the 13th C, Scottish ones not much more than a century later. Again, although the land at Brocket Farm is heavy and hard to gain a living from, it would be too much of a coincidence that a 16th C Broket lived in or near a place already called Broket on account of its boggy ground. This rare attributive usage of the word with ground was apparently Irish rather than Scottish.

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7.5. Essex

A house or hall in Tendring parish, no doubt once a residence of one of the Tendring Broket clan of the late 17th to 18th C, see the separate page. Recorded by the Essex historian Morant in the 1760s,68 and still called Brocketts Hall in 2021.

1798-9: Further brockets and Hither Brockets. Two field names in Bournes Green, near Southchurch, both areas on the east side of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. “Counterpart Lease for 21 years; at a rent of £70 for the first year, and at an annual rent of £84 thereafter. Frances Asser White of Kenton (co. Devon) to Ann Saward of Southchurch, wid., and William Saward of Southchurch, yeo. Messuage called Bournes Green With lands (75a.) called Home Field, Gravel Pit field, Butts Mead, Middle Marsh, Hither Pightle, Further, Pightle, the Marsh next to Great Thorpe, Further brockets, Hither Brockets, Webbs Hill, Hog Mead, Barn Field and Bournes Mead, in occupation of Ann Saward and William Saward, in Southchurch. 69

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7.6. Elsewhere in Britain

Bocketts Farm, sometimes wrongly called Brocketts Farm, is a contemporary working farm south of Leatherhead in Surrey. None of its early owners had the surname Bockett or Brockett.70 Gover et al suggested an etymology: ‘This estate covers the fields marked in a survey of 1629 as Great, Lower Great, Lower Bockett and Bockett Fields. The s is therefore the plural sign, not the possessive. Bocket(t) would seem to be an et-derivative of boc, ‘beech’.71

Brockett Close, Newton Aycliffe, Co Durham, is probably named after one of the Gateshead or Newcastle Brocketts.

Brocket Close, Stourton on Severn, Worcestershire.

7.7. New Zealand

Mt Brockett is a peak in the Tarurua Ranges north of Wellington, named after Frederick Brockett, a keen mountain walker, 1882-1956.

7.8. Canada and USA

7.8.1. Brocket is a village in Alberta, Canada, just inside the boundary of Indian Reserve No. 147A of the Peigan Nation, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy.72 The Virtual Crowsnest-Highway has a lengthy and informative page about Brocket and describes the construction of its railway station in 1897: “Like most prairie settlements, Brocket is a child of the Railway. There was nothing here but over-grazed grass when Canadian Pacific Railway surveyors aligned their stakes across the bald prairie in May of 1897…”73 However it doesn’t discuss the origin of the placename. For that see Place-names of Alberta which explains: “Brocket; village, 7-28-4 (C.P.R. 1897-8); after Brocket Hall, seat of Lord Mount Stephen, Hatfield, Herts, England”,74 see the separate page. 7-28-4 means Township 7, range 28, west of the 4th meridian and C.P.R. 1897-8 refers to the date of the name’s first occurrence in Canadian Pacific Railway records. George Stephen, 1st Baron Mount Stephen (1829-1921) was a Scottish Canadian financier and President of the Bank of Montreal. He was involved in the creation of the Canadian Pacific Railway and its first president. In 1893 he took out a lifetime lease of Brocket Hall from its current owner, 7th Earl Cowper. He died there in 1921.75

7.8.2. Situated on Brockett Road, near the Stone Mountain Freeway in Tucker, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, is Brockett Elementary School. On and around Brockett Rd there are various neighborhoods and associated roads like Brockett Creek Estates; Brockett Heights; Brockett Meadows; Brockett Road East; Brockett Square, Brockett Walk. The former principal of the school assumed probably correctly that Brockett Elementary is named after the road.76 And the road in all likelihood originally led to the farm owned by Clinton Thomas Brockett 1850-1929, a dentist and 4th generation member of a family from Alexandria, VA, see the separate page. Clinton was the first of the family to live in Georgia, and Atlanta City Directories recorded him as a dentist in Piedmont in 1902 and then from 1905 in Tucker. The 1910 Census shows that he owned a farmhouse without mortgage in Tucker Road, Clarkston District, Dekalb Co.

7.8.3. Similarly, the following place names may have originally been on property owned by Brocketts:

Brocket, a city in Ramsey County, North Dakota, founded in 1901.
Brockett Avenue, High Point, North Carolina
Brockett Drive, Athens, Georgia
Brockett Road, Mims, Florida
Brockett Square, Princess Anne, Maryland
Janet Brockett Elementary School, Dove Meadows Drive, Arlington, Texas.

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Page Last Updated: February 6, 2024


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


[1] Searle 1897; Björkman 1910; Keats-Rohan & Thornton 1997.

[2] Reaney 1995 p xl ff.

[3] Reaney 1995 p 66; cf Hey 1993 pp 27, 1997 p xi, 1998 pp 428-30; but Hanks et al 1988, 2002 did not mention it..

[4] VCH, City of York, p 85.

[5] 1860.

[6] Hey 1993 p 22.

[7] Sasine RS42/16 f 302v.

[8] Drake 1736 p 388, citing the name as Brocket on p 386.

[9] (accessed 2 Oct 2018).

[10] Rolland pl 324.

[11] As of 20 Jun 2019.

[12] As of 20 Jun 2019.

[13] Will of William, proved York.

[14] NAS RD1/9 p 371.

[15] Calendar of Patent Rolls vol 4 p 3052, no.6751 (28).

[16] 1995 p 51; 2002 p 75.

[17] Reaney 1995 p 59.

[18] Reaney 1995 p 64; Hanks et al 2002 p 92, 69.

[19] TNA E372/21, Calendar of the Great Roll of the Pipe 21 Hen II, London 1897 p 187.

[20] Rolland pl 323.

[21] H Andrews 1927 p 401.

[22] Extracted from St John's Parish Register 1642-1948.

[23] Reaney 1995 p 67.

[24] GRO 1837-1936.

[25] TNA E372/22, Calendar of the Great Roll of the Pipe
22 Hen II, London 1904 p 66.

[26] 2002 p 101.

[27] Devon quarter nos 687, 689.

[28] Le Patourel 1973 p 122; Ordinance Survey maps 1865, 1890—as reproduced by Selby District Council's Map of the Village of Appleton Roebuck, 1995, no 4, and in excellent detail in 1965 SE5442 and 5542.

[29] Section 2.3 at (accessed 24 Sep 2020).

[30] M J Harrison 2000 pp 70, 75, 192, 257.

[31] Also Jackson 1938 p 15.

[32] Jackson 1938 p 15; M J Harrison 2000 p 14.

[33] Borthwick Institute for Archives PR/BP/15, see (accessed 25 Sep 2020).

[34] DDGU/3/3.

[35] A H Smith 1961-2 pt 7 p 163.

[36] A H Smith 1961-2 pt 6 p 245.

[37] Durham County Record Office: Eldon Estate and Family Records, Ref No D/El 1/53, 54 from (accessed 29 Sep 2018).

[38] VCH vol 3 1912 pp 101-2; Andrews H 1927 p 398.

[39] WAM 14079; Munby 1974 pp 59-60.

[40] Line 6.

[41] VCH Herts vol 2 p 311.

[42] Rosenthal 1981 p 16.

[43] Rosenthal 1981 p 14.

[44] vol 3 1912 p 106.

[45] R T Andrews 1908-11 pp 100-1.

[46] Map reference NS 7351 4203.

[47] 1979.

[48] Sep 2003 (no longer accessible in 2016).

[49] Sasine National Archives of Scotland RS40/5 f 223v ll 29ff.

[50] Retours Indexes.

[51] Sasine RS40/5 ff 223v ll 14, 28.

[52] RS42/17 f 112v ll 28-33.

[53] RS42/17 f 112v l 27.

[54] Retours Index vol 2 p 38; RS42/17 f 112v l 26.

[55] RS42/17 f 112v l 33.

[56] SRO E106/36/7.

[57] RS40/5 f 248v ll 30, 45.

[58] RS42/17 f 112v l 60.

[59] Vol 3 pp 748-9 nos 3192, 3194.

[60] Reconstructed from documents in the Scottish
National Archives and a Hamilton website in 2006, no longer available Feb 2018.

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

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

[63] Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, vol 18, Appendix, p 442.

[64] Inquisitionum retornatum abbreviato nos 201, 525.

[65] Paterson 1852, 1864.

[66] 1962 p 104.

[67] 1997 p 2.3; New World Book of Brocketts, p 4.4.

[68] 1763-8 vol 1 p 473.

[69] Deeds of Welch Family of Southchurch and Lovibond Family of Riffhams, Danbury, ERO D/DU 560/13/14.

[70] Blair 1977 pp 3-8. Deeds relating to it 1475-1922 are in Surrey Archives reference K3/5-189.

[71] 1934 p 80.

[72] I am indebted to Dr Andrew M Brockett of Toronto for kindly supplying most of the infornation here.

[73], accessed 19 Mar 2022.

[74] Ottawa: Geographic Board of Canada. 1928. p 25, available online at, accessed 19 Mar 2022.

[75] The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

[76] Email exchange between Syrenthia Bines-Truitt and Don Brockett Nov 2015. Many thanks to Don for this and the other USA placenames listed here.

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