BROKE, Sir Robert, 1st Bt. (1622-94), of Nacton, Suff.
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Family and Education
b. 23 Nov. 1622, 1st s. of Sir Richard Broke of Nacton by Mary, da. of Sir John Pakington of Hampton Lovett, Worcs. educ. St. Catherine’s, Camb. 1637; travelled abroad 1639-42. m. (1) 13 Dec. 1642, Anne, da. of Sir Lionel Tollemache, 2nd Bt., of Helmingham, Suff, 3da.; (2) 26 May 1685 (with, £5,000), Martha, da. of Oliver Pleydell of Shrivenham, Berks., wid. of Christopher Tomlinson, merchant, of London, s.p. suc. fa. 1640; cr. Bt. 21 May 1661.1
Commr. for militia, Suff. Mar. 1660, j.p. Mar. 1660-?d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-?d., commr. for assessment 1661-80, 1689-90, loyal and indigent officers 1662, commr. for recusants 1675, sheriff 1679-80; recorder and portman, Ipswich 1684-July 1688.2
Lt.-col. of ft., regt. of William Alington, Lord Alington, 1667.
Broke was descended from Sir Richard Broke, chief baron of the Exchequer and recorder of London, who bought a manor in Nacton under Henry VIII. Broke’s father died before the outbreak of the Civil War and Broke himself seems to have taken no part in the fighting. He remained inactive in local affairs until 1660 when he was appointed to the militia commission.3
Broke owned property in Ipswich, five miles from his home, and stood for the borough in 1661 as a court supporter. He was not successful, but was created a baronet, perhaps as a reward. During the following years he was active in local affairs, holding a number of offices and serving in the militia and the commission of the peace. Although not in Parliament he presumably opposed exclusion since he remained on the commission of the peace in 1680, and in 1681 he presented a loyal address. The King, having had long experience of his ‘fidelity and zeal in his service’, commissioned him to report on infractions of the charters and of the Corporations Act in Ipswich. On 4 Feb. 1683 Broke recommended a new charter, under which the right of election should be confined to the corporation, with the freemen excluded. Although his recommendation was not accepted he was appointed recorder. He also helped the Tories at Orford to dislodge the interest of Sir John Duke.4
In February 1685 Broke presented a loyal address to James II from Ipswich, and Sunderland urged him to use his influence to secure the election of Tories. He himself was returned for Suffolk. A moderately active Member, he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges and that to consider the bill to prevent the export of wool. After the recess he was added to the committee for the reform of the bankruptcy law. The King’s electoral agents in Suffolk reported in April 1688 that he would probably be returned for Ipswich and was ‘very right’, but he was removed from municipal office in July and did not stand at the general election, he took no further part in public life, perhaps as a consequence of a disastrous second marriage to the widow of a rich London merchant, some 30 years younger than himself. By 1690 they had separated, but litigation ensued, and Lady Broke’s claims were not finally dismissed by the House of Lords until shortly before his death on 25 Feb. 1694. He was buried at Nacton. The next member of the family to sit was his great-nephew Philip, who was returned for Ipswich as a Tory in 1730.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Paula Watson
- 1. Add. 19120, f. 296; Wards 7/94/266; Burke, Gentry (1952), 269; PC Reg. vii. 628.
- 2. Add. 39246, ff. 4, 5; R. Canning, Principal Charters of lpswich 52, 57.
- 3. Copinger, Suff. Manors, iii. 68.
- 4. Add. 32324, f. 53; London Gazette 1 Aug. 1681; CSP Dom. 1683-4, pp. 143, 258-9, 307-8, 398; SP29/43/11; SP44/64/149; Canning, 50-65; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 225.
- 5. London Gazette, 12 Feb. 1685; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 21; PC2/72/703; HMC Lords, n.s. i. 326-8.