BROOKE, alias COBHAM, George (1533-69 or later), of London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 27 Jan. 1533, 2nd s. of George Brooke, 8th Lord Cobham, by Anne, da. of Edmund, 1st Lord Bray; bro. of Henry, John, Thomas and William. educ. Venice 1546-7. m. by 1558, Christina (d.1608) da. and h. of Richard Duke of London and Otterton Devon, 3s. 2da.1

Offices Held

Member, the Household by 1559.2


George Cobham (he used this surname, not Brooke) may have been one of the two sons whom Lord Cobham would have sent abroad in 1540 if Cromwell had not forbidden it. By January 1546 he was in Venice with Edmund Harvel, who reported to Lord Cobham on 10 Jan. that his son was being taught Latin, Greek and Italian as well as civil and virtuous habits. Cobham was to be often abroad in later life. In 1553 he was sent with letters to the English ambassadors in Brussels, his order for payment of £6 13s.4d. being dated 5 May; early in Elizabeth’s reign he arrived at Antwerp, coming from Germany, in great poverty and in fear of arrest for debt; soon afterwards he was in Spain.3

Cobham had been apprenticed to his father as a Merchant of the Staple of Calais on 31 Dec. 1552. A year later he was involved in the rebellion of his uncle Sir Thomas Wyatt II; how deep this involvement was is not clear but it was sufficient to bring him to the Tower, together with his father and two of his brothers, William and Thomas. He was eventually pardoned, as George Broke late of Cobham, Kent, on 5 May 1554. After this episode, it is not easy to account for his return to the Parliament of 1555. Hedon lay in the lordship or seignory of Holderness, which was then in the hands of the crown but which was to be granted in February 1558 to Henry Neville, 5th Earl of Westmorland. There were various connexions between the Nevilles, both the Lords Bergavenny and the earls of Westmorland, and the Brookes: thus Cobham’s elder brother married Dorothy Neville, sister of Henry Neville, 6th Lord Bergavenny, who had been one of the leading opponents of the Wyatt rebellion. Neville influence in the borough, perhaps exercised Constable family, may have predated the grant of 1558. In 1555 the names of both Members for Hedon were inserted in the indenture in a different hand from that of the document. Cobham and his elder brother Sir William opposed a government bill towards the close of the Parliament.4

In December 1558 Cobham applied, with Tomazo Chanata and others, for a patent for an ‘engine’ to dredge rivers and harbours, receiving a ‘privilege’ for ten years in 1562. At some unknown date he also interested himself in ‘new invented furnaces for ale or beer brewers.’ There is no evidence of the success of these efforts to supplement the annuity of £20 which his father had left him and the £30 which, in 1559, he had in fees. The last glimpse of Brooke is in 1569 when Cecil recommended him for a lease: three years later his widow married Gregory Sprint.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Date of birth given in Coll. Top. et Gen. vii. 352. CP, iii. 347-9; Arch. Cant. xi. 208; xii. 135; Vis. Devon (Harl. Soc. vi), 342; HMC Hatfiled, i. 147; Proc. Som. Arch. Soc. xlv(2), p. 12.
  • 2. Lansd. 3, f. 193v; EHR, xxiii. 670.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xv, xxi; APC, iv, 267; CSP For. 1547-53, p. 279; 1561-2, pp. 174, 494.
  • 4. Arch. Cant. xii. 135; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 58; Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 53, 62, 71; APC, iv. 395; CPR, 1553-4, p. 388; 1557-8, pp. 37-40; D. M. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies, 82-83, 108, 110; C219/24/60; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 119, 509; CPR, 1560-3, p. 407; Arch. Cant. xii. 125; Lansd. 3, f. 193v.