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Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years ago

Henry Brooke , yeoman of Chertsey, d 1624

Page prepared by Peter Tipton, May 2008


Henry Brooke of Chertsey may play a pivotal role in our story of Borderware at the beginning of the 17th century. Herman Reynolds the Farnborough potter, who originated from the Rhineland, bequeathed £49 of cash in his will. Of this total amount the significant sum of £44 was "in the hands of Henrie Brooke of the parish of Chersey in the countie of Surry".


Who was Henry Brooke and why was he holding such a large sum of Herman Reynolds‘ total wealth in 1609?


It would be easy to speculate that Henry Brooke is our missing Mr Big‘ who organised the distribution of the pottery manufactured on the Hampshire/Surrey border; shipped it to Chertsey by cart; and transferred it there by Thames barge to London. The cargo of pottery might then have been off-loaded at Brooke‘s Wharf, just south of Lower Thames Street between Blackfriars and London Bridges at Queenhithe, for sale in the City of London.


But was what the reality? It is safe to assume that if Henry Brooke was holding such a large sum of money that we should find him in the Lay Subsidy records for Chertsey:


20 Mar 1622ChertseyHenry BrookeLand£6
8 Oct 1624Chertseyheirs of Henry BrookeLand£3
8 Oct 1624ChertseyAnne Brooke, widowLand£3
3 Oct 1628Chertseyheirs of Henry BrookeLand£3
3 Oct 1628ChertseyAnne Brooke, widowGoods£3
20 Dec 1628Chertseyheirs of Henry BrookeLand£3
20 Dec 1628ChertseyAnne Brooke, widowGoods£3
20 Dec 1628Chertseyheirs of Henry BrookeLand£3
20 Dec 1628ChertseyAnne Brooke, widowGoods£3


Henry Brooke thus appears to have died sometime between 1622 and early 1624, and his widow Anne survived until after 1628. The only will of a Henry Brooke in the West Surrey FHS wills database was proved 15 Jun 1624. Anne Brooke‘s will was proved 22 Jan 1633:


88 Henry Brooke (X) of Chertsey, yeoman, sick 6 May 1624 (to poor £1 at burial) to my daughter's son Edward Beatcham my land called Pinksbury, Chertsey from when he is 24 with successive remainders to her youngest son Thomas Beatcham, my sister's daughter's son William Otwaye at 24; to said TB all my freehold land near Chertsey Lane called Ponters Roydons when 24 with remainder to EB and WO; to my daughter Jane Beatcham all the above land for bringing up her children until her sons or WO are 24 but if she remarries then land to overseers for raising stocks for my daughter Joan Beatcham's daughters Ann Beatcham and Bridget Beatcham; residue to my wife Ann Brooke, exec. Overseers: John Fantleroy, gent.; Richard Chapman (£1 each) Witnesses: William Day, writer; John Symonds (X) Proved: 15 Jun 1624 to exec. (DW/PA/7/11 ff.55v-56r; DW/PA/5/1624/20)

164 Ann Brooke (X) of Chertsey, widow 14 Dec 1632 (to twenty poor widows 4d each); to Mercy Cooper, Ann Cooper, Sarah Fewwater and my daughter Sarah [? Sarah Brooke] all my linen equally; to William Cooper my two old oxen, two steers and four sheep; to Mercy Cooper the black garled cow, a branded heifer and four sheep; to Ann Cooper a garled cow, a dun heifer and four sheep; to Sarah Fewwater a brown cow, a brown heifer and two sheep; to my daughter Sarah a 'bulch' and a weaner; to Baptist Fewatter a sheep; William Cooper, exec.; (goodman) Chapman to govern the boy Witnesses: John Snowesman; Richard Chapman; Stephen Slarke Proved: 22 Jan 1632/3 to exec. (DW/PA/7/12 f.84r; DW/PA/5/1633/20)


From these two wills it is apparent that Henry and Anne Brooke had no male heirs but did have two daughters: Joan Beacham and Sarah, the latter probably unmarried. Joan Beacham had produced four grandchildren for Henry and Anne, named Edward, Thomas, Ann and Bridget, none of whom had yet reached 24 years of age.


The only other reference to a Henry Brooke in the West Surrey wills abstracts is in the 1597 will of John Brooke of Chertsey. husbandman. Henry Brooke was John‘s brother. William Brooke, John‘s son, may have later moved to Horsell where a William Brooke was assessed for Lay Subsidy in 1628:


231 John Brooke of Chertesey, husbandman. 27 June, 38 Eliz. All to son William Brooke Executor, Overseer, brother Henry Brooke. Witn. Henry Brooke and Danyell Wakeham. Proved 12 May, 1597. (fo.126.)


It is likely that Edward Beacham, one of the two beneficiaries of land in Henry Brooke‘s will, only survived for 4 years after Henry Brooke‘s death. Edward Beacham, who died in 1628, appointed his mother Joan Beacham as overseer of his will and guardian of his children:


780 Edward Beacham (X) of Chertsey, yeoman, sick and weak 2 Mar 1627/8 (to poor of Chertsey £3; to poor of Thorpe £2; to minister of Chertsey 10s for a sermon) my land and tenement in Chertsey called Rayburys to my daughter Agnes Beacham at 21 or if both guardians die immediately; to my wife Sarah Beacham £20, a bedstead, featherbed, bolster, pillow, blanket, coverlet, two pairs of sheets, a great brass pot, a kettle and six pewter dishes; residue of household goods to my daughter Agnes; residue to mother, exec. Overseers and guardians: my mother Joan Beacham and friend George Pery, gent. Witnesses: John Fabian, junior; Mary Thetcher (X) Proved: 18 Mar 1627/8 to exec. [DW/PA/7/11 ff.434v-435r; DW/PA/5/1627/5]


The only other reference I can find to Henry Brooke is in the West Surrey FHS Feet of Fines 1558-1602. In Chertsey in Trinity Term 17 Eliz (ie 1575) the suit Henry Brooke v Thomas Brooke‘ is recorded. A Thomas Brooke was mentioned in the will of his father Richard Brooke of Chertsey proved 28 Sep 1530.


125 Richard Brooke of Chertsey 18 Apr 1530 (to be buried in Chertsey Abbey; to high altar 1s; to mother church 4d; to light of Chertsey at my burial 6s 8d; at day of burial ten masses and at my month's mind dirge and twenty masses; for ten years wife to spend 10s p.a. at Chertsey, viz. in Amber week or Lent 5s on dirge and masses and 5s on bread and drink, and daughter and grandson to do same for ten years; to church of St James the Apostle, Horsell 10s from my lands there in the hands of Robert Edmund) to godchildren 4d each; to my servant Agnes Thacher two kine at 10s each when twelve and ten ewes (1s 4d each), a mattress, a bolster, a pair of sheets, pair of blankets and a coverlet; residue to wife Matilda Brooke, exec.; to my daughter Alice and her son Richard to whom I am godfather tenement called 'Wyars', and a tenement and pasture on backside at Guildford Street in tenure of Thomas Holand, a parcel of land called 'The Garstone' in tenure of William Gyves also land by 'Whytbroke' called 'Owtland' in hands of John Tukker also another parcel of lane beyond 'Whytbroke' (six acres) now in hands of William Warner; my son Thomas Brooke also to do 10s p.a. for ten years in the week before Christmas Overseers: William Alford (a noble) Witnesses: none given Proved: 28 Sep 1530 at Chertsey to exec. [DW/PA/7/3 ff.153v-154r]


Since Chertsey‘s parish registers do not start until 1606 I have no way of constructing a family tree for Henry Brooke except from wills. All those wills which I have so far found are abstracted above.


None of the wills cited above give any indication of Henry Brooke‘s livelihood, except that he was a yeoman . This label is likely to be interpreted by most people nowadays as indicating that he owned and cultivated a farm or small estate. During his lifetime his lay subsidy was assessed on land valuation. However the use of yeoman‘ in his will may have just been intended to signify that Henry Brooke was a freeholder under the rank of gentleman. There is no indication of any business activity which might account for his holding of £44 for Herman Reynolds. There is certainly no indication that he was a merchant, or a member of a City of London livery company. Therefore if he played a role in the distribution of Borderware, it did not involve selling pottery in the City where there were restrictions on who was licensed to sell. He may have been acting as an agent for another member of his own family, but until we get further documentary evidence Henry Brooke‘s involvement with Herman Reynolds remains obscure.


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