Sir John Brockett, MP, of Brockett Hall

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John Brocket, MP

Nicknames: "John Brockett", "John Broket"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Brocket Hall, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, England
Death: Died in Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, England
Place of Burial: Hatfield, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir John Brocket, MP and Margaret Bensted
Husband of Helen Lytton and Elizabeth Brocket
Father of Margaret Brocket; Anne Brocket; Elizabeth Brocket; Helen Brocket; Mary Read and 1 other
Brother of Edward Brockett; Bensted Brockett; Thomas Brockett; Susan Brockett; Elizabeth Pope and 2 others

Occupation: Sheriff of Hertfordshire
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Brocket, MP

b. c.1540, 1st s. of (Sir) John Brocket of Brocket Hall by his w. Margaret Bensted. educ. Trinity Coll. Camb. matric. pens. 1554. m. (1) Helen, da. of Sir Robert Lytton of Knebworth, 5da.; (2) Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Roger Moore, wid. of Gabriel Fowler, 1da. suc. fa. 1558. Kntd. 1577.1

Offices Held

J.p. Herts from c.1561, q. by 1573; sheriff, Essex and Herts. 1566-7, Herts. 1581-2; commr. musters by 1573; dep. lt. Herts. 1589-d.2

Biography Brocket belonged to a leading Hertfordshire family established in the county since the reign of Henry VII. He inherited extensive property near Wheathampstead and a number of manors, including Water End and Robinstowe. His first marriage brought him further land, mostly in the vicinity of Hitchin. He continued to add to his Hertfordshire estates until his death, but in 1568 he disposed of valuable property in the Charterhouse district of London. Among his neighbours, Francis Walsingham proved a firm friend. Brocket’s daughters brought him further connexions through their marriages with Sir John Cutts, Sir Alexander Cave, Richard Spencer, George Carleton, Sir Thomas Read and Dudley, Lord North.3

He sat in only one Parliament, serving on one committee in 1576 on tanned leather (18 Feb.), and three in the last session on supply (25 Jan. 1581), seditious practices (1 Feb.) and the bill against the Family of Love (16 Feb.). Though he is not known to have stood again, he was involved, as a leading Hertfordshire country gentleman, in the contested county elections of 1584 and 1593, in both of which he supported the losing candidate Denny against Sir Henry Cocke. He was also at loggerheads with Cocke and his fellow deputy lieutenant Sir Philip Butler, over a favour shown to one of the Coningsby family. He devoted himself to public affairs within the county, being active on commissions to inquire into the number of recusants and to provide for corn supplies. Above all, he concerned himself with the militia and trained bands. In 1588 he was given command of a group of Hertfordshire men ordered to protect the Queen’s person. He also served on a commission to inquire into disturbances at St. Albans in 1578, and, by request of the Privy Council, investigated slanders uttered there against the Earl of Leicester in 1580. He was a trustee of the free school at Stevenage and governor of Chipping Barnet school.4

He died on 2 Oct. 1598. In his will, made 7 Aug. and proved 12 Oct., he asked to be buried near his first wife and directed that the funeral should cost not more than £200. Most of his lands and goods were left to the daughter of his second marriage, Frances. He provided legacies ranging from £100 to £600 for his other daughters and grandchildren, and made bequests of plate to his brothers and sons-in-law. Thomas Walkeden received £10, and £20 was left towards setting the poor of Bishop Hatfield to work.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603 Author: M.N. Notes 1. H. Chauncy, Herts. ii. 16-19; Vis. Herts. (Harl. Soc. xxii), 32; CPR, 1558-60, p. 361. 2. St. Albans RO misc. docs. I, i. 149. 3. St. Albans and Herts. Arch. Soc. Trans. 1889, pp. 24, 27-8; 1930-2, pp. 267-78; VCH Herts. ii. 300, 302, 311, 416, 434, 436; iii. 12, 23, 26, 64, 101, 145, 239; C142/257/42; CPR, 1558-60, p. 265; 1566-9, p. 301; HMC Hatfield, ii. 66; C. Read, Walsingham, iii. 218-19, 429; Chauncy, loc. cit.; Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 124. 4. CJ, i. 106, 119, 121, 127; D’Ewes 298; Neale, Commons, 28-30, 330; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 561; 1581-90, pp. 602-3, 605; 1591-4, p. 194; 1595-7, pp. 98, 107-8, 127, 163, 206, 307; Lansd. 46, f. 193; 56, ff. 166, 168; 66, f. 268; 73, f. 163; 75, f. 212; 80, ff. 91, 95; 83, f. 45; APC, x. 433; xi. 455; Rylands Eng. ms 211. 5. PCC 78 Lewyn.

Great stories are told of Sir John Brocket of Brocket Hall, husband of Helena Lytton and Dame Elizabeth Moore. The great Brocket Hall was situated at the extreme northern corner of Hatfield parish. This Sir John Brocket was a doughty knight, twice Sheriff for the county like his ancestors. He was “entrusted with the training and inspection of the men levied in this part of Hertfordshire at the time of the Armada.” It was “whilst Mary was on the throne, Elizabeth was kept under ‘house arrest’ at Hatfield House. She used to walk along the banks of the River Lea to visit John Brocket, probably plotting to raise an artillery to overthrow Mary. In 1558 Elizabeth was sitting under an oak tree on the far side of the lake when a horseman galloped from London bringing the news that she was the new Queen. In 1558, in recognition of their friendship, Elizabeth bestowed a knighthood on Sir John Brocket.” Sir John was buried at Hatfield in the year 1598. Sir John by his wife Helena, daughter of Sir Robert Lytton, had daughters Margaret, Anne, Elizabeth, Helen and Mary, who all married well. By Dame Elizabeth, his second wife he had Frances who married Dudley, third Lord North. Having no male issue, the estate of Brocket Hall was passed to descendants of Mary, youngest daughter of John and Helena, who married Thomas Reade.

Sir John Brocket II was the son of Sir John I and wife Margaret Bensted. He was born in 1538, probably at Brocket Hall, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, where he spent most of his life. He succeeded to the estate at about age 20, in 1558, the year Queen Elizabeth stayed there. Later he served twice as her Sheriff, once as MP and on various royal commissions. Under Sir John's lead, the dynasty maintained an influential position in Hertfordshire throughout his life. But as the second half of the century progressed he steadily sold off parts of the estate, partially to finance his daughters' dowries.

Sir John was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, matriculating in 1554. He sat in only one Parliament, serving on one committee in 1576 on tanned leather, and three in the last session on supply, seditious practices and the bill against the Family of Love. He devoted himself to public affairs within the county, being active on commissions to inquire into the number of recusants and to provide for corn supplies. Above all, he concerned himself with the militia and trained bands. In 1588 he was given command of a group of Hertfordshire men ordered to protect the Queen's person. He also served on a commission to inquire into disturbances at St. Albans in 1578, and, by request of the Privy Council, investigated slanders uttered there against the Earl of Leicester in 1580. He was a trustee of the free school at Stevenage and governor of Chipping Barnet school.

Sir John married (1) Helena, daughter of Sir Robert Lytton of Knebworth. They had five daughters. He married (2) Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Roger Moore, and the widow of Gabriel Fowler. They had one daughter. Brocket's daughters brought him further connections through their marriages with Sir John Cutts, Sir Alexander Cave, Richard Spencer, George Carleton, Sir Thomas Read and Dudley, Lord North. John's sons-in-law Dudley Lord North, Sir Richard Spencer and Sir John Cutt were all signatories to the 3rd Virginia Charter of 12 Mar 1612.

He died on 2 Oct. 1598. In his will, made 7 Aug. and proved 12 Oct., he asked to be buried near his first wife and directed that the funeral should cost not more than £200, Most of his lands and goods were left to the daughter of his second marriage, Frances. He provided legacies ranging from £100 to £600 for his other daughters and grandchildren, and made bequests of plate to his brothers and sons-in-law. Thomas Walkeden received £10, and £20 was left towards setting the poor of Bishop Halfield to work.

On his death in 1598, without a son, the Hertfordshire family seat of Brockett Hall passed with daughter Mary to the Reade family and the rest of his estate was divided between his other 5 daughters or their heirs. Although descendants of his brother Edward lived in Wheathampstead for another 78 years, and although his cousin John was knighted 1599, the death of Sir John II marked the end of Broket influence at the ruling level of the County. A large memorial to him still stands against the wall of the Brocket Chapel in St Etheldreda's Hatfield. High above hangs his helmet.

The College of Arms has a decorated certificate issued on 23 October 1598 by William Camden, Clarenceux King of Arms, and Nicholas Paddy, Lancaster Herald, for the funeral of 'Sir John Brokett of Brokett Haule' . Funeral certificates were issued in connexion with the organisation of heraldic funerals. The certificate includes a painting of 2 standards; a tabard; his arms—with 5 quarterings; arms of each of his wives; and his crest—a stag lodged proper, gorged with a gold ducal or crest coronet. Sir John died on October 2, according to this certificate and his heraldic funeral was held on October 23. No doubt he had a simple burial some time between the two events.

Children of John Brocket II and first wife Helen Lytton, listed in the order of the funeral certificate:

  • Margaret Brocket, married Sir John Cutt of Childerleigh, Cambridgeshire
  • Anne Brocket, married Alexander Cave of Bagrave
  • Elizabeth Brocket, died before 1598, married George Carleton
  • Helene Brocket, married Richard Spencer of Offley
  • Mary Brocket, married Thomas Reade. She inherited Brocket Hall, Wheathampstead.

Child of John Brocket II and second wife Elizabeth Moore Fowler:

  • Frances, born 1583, married Sir Dudley North, 3rd Lord of Kirtling.

Two sources list sons from the first marriage. These are not proven.

  • John Brocket, died 1559
  • Salathiel Brocket, died young.

Links to additional material:

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Notes

  • BROCKETT HALL. English, Country Dance Tune (cut time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Brockett Hall is a country house in Hertfordshire, England. The present structure dates from 1760, when it was built by Sir Matthew Lamb, 1st Baronet, to the designs of the architect Sir James Paine. However, it was not the first dwelling on the site; the first of which was built in 1238 and the second about 1430. The 1430 home belonged to Sir John Brockett, a wealthy spice importer and Captain of Queen Elizabeth’s personal guard.
  • Hertfordshire Brokets 17-19th C In 1598 Sir John II had died without a son and the dynasty's seat of Brocket Hall had passed through a daughter to the Reade family
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Sir John Brockett, MP, of Brockett Hall's Timeline

1526
1526
Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, England
1538
1538
Wheathampsted, Hertford, England
1540
1540
Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, England
1558
1558
Age 18
Knebworth Place, Hertfordshire, Eng
1558
- present
Age 18
Knight
1559
1559
Age 19
Brockett Hall, Hertfordshire, England
1561
1561
Age 21
Brockett Hall, Hertfordshire, England
1568
1568
Age 28
Brockett Hall, Hertfordshire, England
1574
1574
Age 34
Brockett Hall, Hertfordshire, England
1576
1576
Age 36
Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, England