BROCKET, Edward (1490/91-1558/69), of Broadfield and Letchworth, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. 1490/91, 2nd s. of John Brocket by Lucy, da. of John Pulter of Hitchin. educ. ?L. Inn, adm. 8 Feb. 1511. m. Margaret Mickleford, at least 4s. 2da.3
J.p. Herts. 1521-?d., q. 1554, Beds. 1542; escheator, Essex and Herts. 1534-5, 1541-2; commr. tenths of spiritualities, Herts. 1535, relief 1550; sheriff, Essex and Herts. 1547-8, 1554-5.4
There were several Edward Brockets alive in the 1550s, but the one most likely to have sat in the Commons in 1554 and (conjecturally) in 1542 was the oldest of them, a younger son of the sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire in 1507-8, and the uncle of (Sir) John Brocket. Probably the Edward Brocket admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1511, he next appears as a party to a fine of Hertfordshire lands in 1518 and he became a justice of the peace three years later. In 1536 he was one of those commissioned to examine witnesses to alleged seditious talk by a St. Albans priest, and later in the same year, at the time of the northern rebellion, he was among the leading country gentlemen proposed as the keepers of good order in Hertfordshire. His age and experience make it possible that he was the ‘Brokett’ who sat for Hertfordshire in 1542, for his nephew, later Sir John, was about 30 years of age at the time and had but recently begun his career of service in the county. Brocket was one of those called on in 1544 to raise troops for the French war, but there is no evidence that he himself went to France. Rated at £40 for the subsidy in 1545, he was thus probably one of the wealthiest men in the half-hundred of Hitchin.5
Brocket was the first sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire pricked in Edward VI’s reign. Six months later, in June 1548, he was licensed to exercise the office during the King’s pleasure; a similar dispensation, with permission to act by deputy, is probably misdated 1549 and in fact refers to the same licence. Nothing is known of his role during the crisis of 1553, but he was re-appointed to the commission of the peace by Queen Mary and became one of the quorum on the bench for Hertfordshire. Returned as knight of the shire to the Parliament of November 1554 he became sheriff again two days after the session had begun; it was during this second term that he officiated at the burning of the Protestant George Tankerfield. Foxe says nothing to suggest that Brocket was a Catholic zealot, and the disappearance of his name from the Elizabethan commission for Hertfordshire may have been consequent on his death, the date of which is not known. He either found difficulty in, or objected to, contributing to the loan of 1557, for in November 1557 the Hertfordshire commissioners ordered him to appear before the Privy Council, which he did ‘and desired to have it so recorded’.6
Brocket made his will on 31 July 1558, but no inquisition post mortem has been found, and the will was not proved until 1584. Yet he must have died before July 1569, when his eldest son Edward, administrator of his father’s estate, obtained a pardon of outlawry. Edward had not been named an executor of his father’s will but had obtained letters of administration as next-of-kin: why this course was adopted is not clear, but it was presumably agreed upon between the testator’s sons. The executors of a relative, William Brocket, were to sue Edward Brocket the younger in Chancery for an alleged debt of £120 in connexion with some land in Kent owned by his father; the pleadings recite the will and the younger Edward’s agreement with his brothers to pay the debt claimed, so that Edward had probably agreed to pay it in return for authority to administer the will. He finally took out probate of his father’s will in October 1584. The will left a life interest in certain lands and goods to the widow and divided the testator’s principal lands in Hertfordshire and Kent between his four sons in tail; the residue of the goods and chattels went to two daughters.7
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: D. F. Coros
- 1. Only the surname remains on a damaged return, C219/18B/37.
- 2. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
- 3. Aged 56 in January 1547, C24/23. Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 360; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 30.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, iii, iv, viii, xiii, xvii, xx; CPR, 1553, pp. 316, 354; 1553-4, p. 20.
- 5. LP Hen. VIII, xi, xix; Herts. Gen. and Antiq. i. 331.
- 6. CPR, 1549-51, p. 51; 1553, p. 404; Foxe, Acts and Mons. vii. 345; APC, vi. 196.
- 7. CPR, 1566-9, p. 420; PCC 33 Watson; C3/132/103.