Matching family tree profiles for Sir Thomas Brockett
About Sir Thomas Brockett
Additional Curator's Notes:
This is the oldest proven ancestor of John Brockett who emigrated to the New World. He is descended from the medieval Broket line, but the exact lineage is often disputed. His ancestry is taken from the British Library's Harley 807. This manuscript is a 120-folio notebook of pedigrees 'in the hand writynge of Robert Glover Esq., Somerset Herald', according to a 17th century inscription on the front page. The book measures c 35x22 cm. For his reference and record Glover sketched numerous coats of arms in trick—with tinctures denoted by initial letters, like g for 'gules' red and az for 'azure' blue. He then passed these notes to College of Arms artists to produce illuminated paintings on parchment for clients to display. On folios 44 and 45 Glover sketched a Broket pedigree spanning 3 pages and 12 generations, the last 6 of which feature the eldest Wheathampstead line. The pedigreee has no dates, but 30-year-generation gaps would provide a birth date of c 1220 for Edward Broket of Steton at the top.
Harley 807 was a note book—professional but undated. The Catalogue of the Harleian MSS gave no date (vol 1 p 455). Glover was Somerset Herald from 1570 till his death in 1588. Although he would have worked at the College of Arms before 1570, a book like this came from his time as Somerset Herald. Generation 12 on the pedigree, where John is not yet 'Sir', dates it pre 1577 when he was knighted.
Glover would have visited John and been entertained at Brockett Hall as he gathered his information. They probably let him read or copy documents. In small, faint writing bottom left of f44 a note says 'out of an old parchemin Rolle', implying that data on the earlier Broket generations came from an older written source.
- Additional and explanatory information would have been oral.
- The Herts Brokets had only sold their estate in Yorkshire a decade previously, so their knowledge about the place of their ancestors would have been informed by visits to the area. Glover's own Visitation to Yorkshire, which included Bolton Percy, was not till 1585.
- The alabaster tomb of Sir John I with its heraldry was in Wheathampstead parish church for Glover to consult.
The heir in each generation was highlighted by the addition of the surname Broket. The right of the heir to inherit the land to the exclusion of others—primogeniture—is clear from Harley 807's narrow, vertical format. It displays the descent of Broket property through the heir in each generation and excludes all collateral lines. Children other than the heir are listed in each generation, for sure, but rather to dismiss any potential claim. Glover usually wrote that they died 'sine prole'—without children—or 'sans issu'; giving them no descendants emphasised the eldest line.
Because of the method used by Glover in creating his pedigree, it has been often challenged. There are few documents to support some of the relationships. Many children are left off, especially daughters. Still, it gives us a framework for the principle Broket ancestors.
From Thomas Brocket (the seventh generation on Harley 807) forward, the documents exist and the lineage can be proven. The Wheathampsted source cited below proves by dates and relationships who John the Immigrant's ancestors were, back to this knight. Please note, the Wheathampstead material is sometimes in conflict with a book written in 1860 about this family (also listed in the sources below)
The Brockett name has evolved over time from Broket to Brocket (used approx. 1300-1500) to the modern Brockett, in common usage by the late 1500's.
This profile is locked because of frequent incorrect merges in the Brockett line. Contact me if you need access to this profile. Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator (updated June 2012)
Thomas Brocket was born about 1363 in Yorkshire, England. He was knighted by Henry VI. He married Dionice Sampson. They had two sons, Thomas and Edward. Thomas was the builder of the original Brocket Hall in Yorkshire and is commonly referred to as "of Brockett Hall." From him down, the various Brocket lines have been traced where possible to the mid -1600’s, past the point where the immigrant John Brocket left for America.
His wife Dionice is sometimes given a Fauconberg pedigree: 'Thomas married Dionice, one of the daughters and heires to L[ord] Fauconbrege." There is a document known as Harley manuscript 807, a 120-page manuscript by Robert Glover Esq., Somerset Herald. It was fashionable in the reign of Elizabeth I to have family trees drawn and displayed as works of art. Harley 807 is not a family tree in our sense today—a comprehensive chart of the individual members of this Broket clan. Instead it is a gilded piece of art intended to show the prestigious roots of a family, illustrated with arms (both true and created) so that even the illiterate might know that they were dealing with people of stature. Only those who had a right to the estate were followed up on the pedigree.
On pages 44 and 45 Glover sketched a Broket pedigree spanning 12 generations. In this manuscript, Dionice is described as one of the daughters and heiress to Lord Fauconbrege. While Dionice did not descend from that Lord Fauconberg, she did indeed descend from a younger Fauconberg line whose heiress had married a Sampson, 4 generations before Dionice.
Thomas (or his descendants) appears to have assumed arms by modifying his wife's. Harley 807, while removing such an obvious source, perhaps retains an echo in the arms of Maude Gouer, the first heiress to marry a Broket. The Sampson name was too recent to be removed entirely and was relegated to a brother 3 generations earlier—although anonymously and without arms—'John maried one of the d of Samson'.
Both Sampsons and Fauconbergs had died out in the male line, so Glover could be a creative genealogist.
- The Sampsons had been county and city gentry, the Fauconbergs nobility.
- To gild the lily, Dionice was not just given the arms of 1 noble family—Fauconberg—but also of Neville, who were moreover related to royalty.
It is because of this Elizabethan piece of art that tracing the earliest Brokets and Brockets becomes such a challange.
Children of Sir Thomas Brocket and wife Dionece Sampson:
- Thomas Brocket, elder son ,was born about 1405 and become a Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire in 1435. He became the heir of Brocket Hall and married married Elizabeth Ashe of Hertfordshire He died in 1477 and she died, childless, in 1482. Dame Elizabeth, as she was known, wife of Thomas, was heir to the manor of Symonds Hide at Bishops Hatfield which became the Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire. They had no children. The rights to the manor passed to his brother Edward
- Edward Brocket married Elizabeth Thwaytes. They had several children. He inherited the family's estates when his brother died childless and the manor remained in the family through his descendants until it came to Sir John Brocket who married Helen, daughter of Sir Robert Lytton of Knebworth Place.
Links to additional material:
- http://books.google.com/books?id=Qz42AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA227&lpg=PA227&dq=Brockett+Hall,+Yorkshire,+England&source=bl&ots=lasYw2qxLf&sig=EbYd9oMsL30HeYYyWT8Da-jsjbM&hl=en&ei=D4WUTILII4G-sAPm_f3kCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBgQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q&f=false. This is the 1860 book mentioned in the Curator's Additional Note at the beginning of the profile.
Brocket Hall as it is known today, was built by renowned architect James Paine for the owner, Sir Mathew Lamb in 1760. However, the Hall stands on the site of two predecessors, the original of which was built in 1239.
Sir Thomas Brockett's Timeline
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Appleton, Yorkshire, England
Bolton Percy, North Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
April 13, 1435
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom