Robert Brooke (c.1757-1829)
Robert Brooke of Great Ellingham died in March 1829. He was 73 years old, a bachelor, and a yeoman i.e. a farmer owning a reasonable amount of property and land, but not sufficient to be classed as ‘gentry’.
Variations of Name
During my research, I have found that this family’s surname ‘Brooke‘ also appears in documentation as ‘Brook’, ‘Brooks’ and ‘Brookes’. However, for ease of reference, I will use the surname ‘Brooke’ in this blog, whether or not a variation appears in the records or registers.
Church of St James, Great Ellingham. Postcard courtesy of Attleborough Heritage Group
The only son of Robert and Elizabeth Brooke, Robert was baptised in the parish church at Great Ellingham in 1757. He had an elder sister, Elizabeth (born c.1755) and a younger sister, Susanna (born c.1758).
Robert Brooke’s Father
Robert’s father, Robert, was baptised in Hingham in 1732. Robert senior’s father was Joseph Brooke, and Joseph’s father, also a Joseph Brooke.
When Robert Brooke (senior) was 9 years old, his grandfather, Joseph Brooke, died c.1741. Robert inherited all his grandfather’s land and property. This legacy included land in Great Ellingham, and I think it is reasonable to assume that it also included the house in Long Street.
Robert’s father, Joseph Brooke, was still living at this time, but for some reason (which I have yet to discover), Joseph Brooke senior did not leave his property and land to his son, Joseph.
Death of Sister
Around seven years before Robert Brooke junior died, his younger sister, Susanna, died in Hopton, Suffolk. A report of her death appeared in the Norfolk Chronicle on 11th May 1822.
Susanna Brooke was “in her 64th year” and was the “daughter of the late Mr Robert Brooke, farmer, of Great Ellingham, and sister of the present Mr Robert Brooke, of the former place.”
Robert Brooke’s Property in c.1800
Inclosures Statement of Claims c.1799
Included in the Statement of Claims for the Inclosures of Great Ellingham, was Robert Brooke’s (c.1732-1820) claim for:
One Messuage and 17 acres of land, occupied by George Cady [Caddy]. 5 acres of land occupied by Robert Barnard and 3 acres of land occupied by John Barnard.
Of this land, one acre was copyhold of Ellingham Hall, one acre and three roods were copyhold of Ellingham Rectory, two roods copyhold of Buckenham Castle and one messuage, wasted, and three acres three roods and twenty perches of land were copyhold of Buckenham Lathes.
Particulars & Valuation 1800
A Particulars & Valuation of Great Ellingham dated 1800 lists the following property and land owned by Robert Brooke (c.1732-1820) and occupied by George Caddy:
- 331 Plough’d Piece 2a 3r 27p
- 342 House, Outbuildings, Barn, Stable, Yard & Garden 0a 1r 15p
- 343 Piece Adjoining the House, Outbuildings, Barn etc. 0a 0r 36
- 344 Orchard 1a 0r 36p
- 345 Middle Piece 2a 2r 12p
- 346 Piece East of Middle Piece 3a 0r 2p
- 347 Piece against Thurstons 1a 1r 19p
- 384 Oaky 4a 1 33
- Allotment upon Town Green 4a 0r 8p
- Allotment upon Burying Ground Common 0a 3r 20p
- Allotment upon Hyrne Common 1a 0r 9p
- Allotment upon Pennell Common 2a 0r 7p
- Allotment upon Brookes Field 4a 1r 38p
Where was Robert Brooke’s Farm?
Extract from 1802 Map of Great Ellingham. Original held at Norfolk Record Office. Russell James Colman Plans. Cat. Ref. C/Ca 1/84. With kind permission of NRO
The numbering used on a map of the village of 1802 (also prepared for the Inclosures), agrees with the numbering used in the schedules of the Particulars & Valuation of 1800. Accordingly, we can see exactly where Robert Brooke’s house and land was in the village.
The black dot on the above extract from the 1802 map shows the position of the farmhouse in Long Street, which was adjacent to the land owned by the ‘Meeting House Trustees” (the Baptist Church).
Occupation of the Farm
Both the Statement of Claims c.1799 and the Particulars & Valuation of 1800, refer to Robert Brooke’s property being occupied by George Caddy. Accordingly, it seems that the Brooke family moved out of the village for a while.
By c.1817, Robert Brooke was once again occupying the house and land as described in the Particulars & Valuation. However, I do not know whether it was Robert Brooke senior or his son Robert – or both.
Robert Brooke senior died at the age of 88 in 1820.
At the Manor Court of Buckenham Lathes Outsoken held on the 28th January, 1822, Robert Brooke (c.1757-1829) was admitted a copyhold tenant of his late father’s copyhold land, as the only son and customary heir of his father, Robert Brooke (c.1732-1820).
It would follow that Robert Brooke junior inherited all his father’s property and land, including the house in Long Street.
Retirement in 1824
Just two years’ later, at the age of 67, Robert Brooke retired from his farming business. A notice of a forthcoming sale taking place in Great Ellingham, appeared in the Norwich Mercury of 18th September, 1824.
All the “valuable Live and Dead Farming Stock, Implements in Husbandry, Dairy and Brewing Utensils, with part of the Household Furniture” belonging to Mr Robert Brooke would be sold. The notice specifically says that Robert Brooke was retiring from business.
Three years later when Robert Brooke signed his will in 1827, he was occupying the property as well as a tenant named ‘Allison’.
However, when the property and land were offered for sale at auction following Robert Brooke’s death in 1829, the property was occupied by Robert Bushell.
Robert Brooke of Great Ellingham was buried in the churchyard at St James’s Church on March 11th, 1829.
Last Will & Testament
In his will of 1827, Robert Brooke appointed John Rush, a gentleman of Griston, and William Fitt, a fowl-man of Ovington as his executors. Fitt was married to Robert’s niece, Keziah.
Household Goods and Furniture
It was Robert Brooke’s will that his executors sell all his household goods and furniture. After the settlement of Robert’s debts, and the funeral and testamentary expenses, the residue of the proceeds of sale of the household goods and furniture would be shared equally between Robert’s surviving sister, widow Elizabeth Haylock, and her daughter Keziah, who was the wife of the executor, William Fitt.
Property in Great Ellingham
Robert’s executors were also instructed to sell his property in Great Ellingham, either by private contract or auction. Subsequently, the proceeds of sale were to be invested, from which Robert’s sister, Elizabeth Haylock, would receive a life income.
Following Elizabeth Haylock’s death, Robert Brooke’s nephews and niece i.e. Robert Haylock (who was said to be residing in London), Joseph Haylock (of Carbooke) and Keziah Fitt – all children of Elizabeth Haylock, would equally take a share of the investment fund.
A notice of an auction of Robert Brooke’s property and land in Great Ellingham, appeared in the Bury & Norwich Post of the 18th November, 1829. The auction would take place at the Crown Public House in Great Ellingham two days later on the 20th November. Brooke’s property (described below in five lots) was occupied by a tenant, Mr Robert Bushall (Bushell).
Lot 1. All that Freehold MESSUAGE, or FARM-HOUSE, with Barn, Stables, and all requisite Outbuildings, well-planted Orchards and Gardens, with several Inclosures of excellent Arable and Pasture Land adjoining each other, containing in the whole 11A 2R 7P part Freehold and part Copyhold
Lot 2. Three Inclosures of excellent ARABLE LAND adjoining each other called “The Home Allotment,” containing 4A 0R 8P all FREEHOLD
Lot 3. Five Inclosures of excellent ARABLE LAND adjoining each other, and called “The Oaker Closes,” containing 6A 1R 10P part Freehold and part Copyhold
Lot 4. An Inclosure of excellent ARABLE LAND called “Lady’s Land”, containing 4A 1R 38P all Freehold
Lot 5. An Inclosure of excellent ARABLE LAND called “Pennells,” containing 2A 0R 17P part Freehold and part Copyhold
Some of the names of the pieces of land tie in with the earlier schedule of Robert Brooke’s land in the Particulars & Valuation c.1800.
An ‘Estates & Occupations Collected’ of Great Ellingham dating from around 1830s-1840, suggest that Robert Grice (Robert Le Grice?) may have been the next occupier of this property’
1753-1847 Manor of Buckenham Castle, Lathes, Close and Priory. Court Book. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: MC 1833/8 -MC 1833/16. 1595-1847 also available at https://www.familysearch.org/
1802 Russell James Colman Plans. Great Ellingham. Catalogue Ref. C/Ca 1/84.
1799-1842 F W Horner, Records of the Surveyors to Commissioners for Inclosure in Parishes in Norfolk and Suffolk. Great Ellingham (Act 1799). Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: NRO, BR 90/2
1800 Inclosure Commissioner’s Particulars and Valuation, Great Ellingham. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: NRO, MC 2213/119
Great Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD609. Also available at https://www.familysearch.org/
Hingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD 575. Also available at https://www.familysearch.org/
1799 Statement of Claims. Great Ellingham Inclosure. Norfolk Record Office. Catalogue Ref: MC 2213/118
Will. Brooke, Robert, of Great Ellingham. Norfolk Record Office. ANF will register 1828-1830 fo.258 (1829 no.21). Viewed via Norfolk Sources website http://www.norfolksources.norfolk.gov.uk/DserveNS/
Norfolk Chronicle 11th May, 1822 viewed via https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ 7th March 2021
Norwich Mercury 18th September, 1824 viewed via https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ 7th March 2021
Bury & Norwich Post 18th November, 1829. Viewed via British Library Newspapers, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/R3209142320/BNCN?u=nl_earl&sid=BNCN&xid=c48618a2. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.