BROOKE, Sir Basil (-d.1612), of Lubenham, Leics.
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Family and Education
1st s. of Andrew Brooke of Monks Kirby, Warws. and w. Mary. m. by 1588, Goodeth (d.1614), da. of Sir William Feilding of Newnham Paddox, Warws., 3s. suc. fa. 1569; kntd. 23 Apr. 1603. d. 12 Nov. 1612.1
Brooke came from a cadet branch of a long-established Cheshire family which produced a successful Tudor lawyer, Richard Broke†, who was recorder of London in the early part of the reign of Henry VIII, when he was twice returned to Parliament.7 Another younger son in the next generation, Henry Broke†, entered the service of John Dudley, duke of Northumberland, and acquired the manor of Lubenham, in south Leicestershire close to the border with Northamptonshire, from his stepson in 1553.8 Henry Broke was childless, and by the terms of his will Lubenham passed to Brooke’s father, who was gentleman usher to Queen Mary towards the end of her reign and a friend of Adrian Stokes†, who married the widow of Henry Grey, duke of Suffolk.9
By the time of his death in 1569 Brooke’s father was residing in Warwickshire as a neighbour of the Feildings, an important Midlands family.10 Brooke himself may have been named after the head of the family, whose granddaughter he later married. His property was far from equal to the alliance, however, bringing him in only £300 per annum. He improved this by one-third after an agreement with the freeholders in 1600-1 for enclosing three of the holdings and converting them to pasture. He was knighted at the accession of James I, a few months ahead of his namesake, a Shropshire Catholic. Another namesake, founder of a distinguished Anglo-Irish family, had to wait for the honour till 1617.11
Given Brooke’s limited estate his election in 1607 as knight of the shire for Leicestershire in place of Sir Henry Beaumont I*, whom he had returned the previous year while serving as sheriff, is mysterious. Possibly his father’s friendship with Stokes meant that he had the support of Henry, 1st Lord Grey of Groby (Sir Henry Grey†). He left no trace on the records of the third session of Parliament. The following year he was prosecuted in Star Chamber for converting arable land to pasture. In his defence he could only claim necessity, ‘living in a very chargeable course of life, having many children ... and sundry offices of charge in the county’. In March of that year he entered into a bond to return the lands to their original state, presumably to settle the case, but by February 1610 the bond was forfeit for non-compliance.12 Nevertheless he took his seat in the fourth session and was appointed to three bill committees. The first dealt with the prevention of disorders in the enclosing of commons (19 Feb.), while the other two concerned the statute of highways (30 Mar.) and the restitution of (Sir) William Brooke* (31 March). This last-named individual was no relative, but the bill did contain a clause relating to the Leicestershire property of Birdnest Park. Nothing is known of Brooke’s activity in the ill-recorded fifth session.13
Brooke died on 12 Nov. 1612 and was buried at Lubenham. In his will, dated three years earlier, he required his wife’s brothers to sell land to pay debts and to provide a portion of £1,000 for a younger son. His overseers included Sir Richard Brooke of the Cheshire branch and his ‘brother’ Sir Henry Goodyer*, with whom he had presumably been raised at Monks Kirby, where his father lived. His son Sir Thomas sold Lubenham to (Sir) Ranulphe Crewe* in 1623.14 Nothing further is known of this branch of the family.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Paula Watson
- 1. Nichols, County of Leicester ii. 698; PROB 11/51, f. 149; 11/121, f. 212; 11/124, f. 299; C142/338/70; Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 103.
- 2. List of Escheators comp. A.C. Wood (L. and I. Soc. lxxii), 175.
- 3. C231/1, f. 116; SP14/33, f. 36v.
- 4. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 75.
- 5. E179/283/4.
- 6. SP14/31/1.
- 7. Ormerod, Hist. Cheshire (1882), iii. 452-3; HP Commons, 1509-58, i. 503-4.
- 8. VCH Leics. v. 223; HP Commons, 1509-58, i. 501-2.
- 9. G.F. Farnham, Leics. Medieval Village Notes, iii. 208; HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 449.
- 10. PROB 11/51, f. 149.
- 11. STAC 8/16/13; Shaw, ii. 132, 160; Oxford DNB sub Brooke [Brook], Sir Basil (1576-1646).
- 12. STAC 8/16/13; VCH Leics. ii. 207; C66/1829/4.
- 13. CJ, i. 396b, 416b, 417a
- 14. Farnham, iii. 211; PROB 11/121, f. 212; VCH Leics. v. 223.