Sir David BROOKE of Horton, Knight

Born: ABT 1497, Bristol and Horton, Coberley, Gloucestershire, England

Died: 1559

Father: John BROOKE

Mother: Joan AMERICK

Married 1: Catherine BRYDGES ABT 1539, Coberley, Gloucestershire, England

Married 2: Margaret BUTLER (B. North of Kirtling)


The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Third son of John Brooke of Bristol by Joan, dau. of Richard Americk of Bristol. Educ. M. Temple, adm. 1505. Married first, Catherine, dau. of Sir Giles Brydges of Coberley, wid. of Leonard Pole of Sapperton; and secondly Margaret, dau. of Richard Butler of London, wid. of Andrew Francis of London and Robert Chertsey of London. Kntd. 2 Oct 1553. Clerk of the kitchen, M. Temple 1530, Lent reader 1535, 1540, treasurer 1539-42, gov. 1540. J.p. Glos. 1531-d., Som. 1538-d., Oxon. 1540 Card., Carm., Pemb. 1541-53, Worcs. 1542-d., Mon. I-1509-501 1543, Herefs., Salop 1543-d., Cheshire, Staffs. 1543, 1547, Essex, Herts., Kent, Surr., Suss. 1554; servant of Thomas, de jure 5th Lord Berkeley by 1532; recorder, Bristol Jul 1544/45, justice, Card., Cann., Pemb. 28 Jun 1541-6 May 1551; commr. chantries S. Wales counties and Haverfordwest 1546, 1548, relief, Bristol, Glos., Som. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; serjeant-at-law 3 Feb 1547, King's serjeant 25 Nov 1551; receiver of petitions in the Lords, Parlts. of Oct 1553, Nov 1554, 1555; baron of the Exchequer 25 Aug 1554.

Brooke was a lawyer active in local affairs from the 1520s. An aphorism attributed to him was Never do anything by another that you can do by yourself. It is likely that he first entered Parliament through the influence of Thomas Cromwell, who became recorder of Bristol on the death of Thomas Jubbes in 1553, and that Brooke's membership of the House would therefore date from Jan 1534. Cromwell evidently chose Brooke as his deputy, and retained a good opinion of him despite his Catholicism, whereas a contemporary pamphleteer was to describe Brooke, when he in turn succeeded to the recordership, as the knave recorder.

Brooke's future brother-in-law Sir John Brydges was already serving as knight of the shire for Gloucestershire when Brooke first came into Parliament. The two had served together on the council of Thomas, Lord Berkeley, and both had agreed to act as Berkeley's feoffees sometime before 1533. Shortly after the dissolution of the Parliament Brooke received his wages for the last session: as these amounted to 7 4s. he had presumably attended thoughout its 70 days. he almost certainly sat for the town again during the summer of 1536 in accordance with the King's general request for the return of the previous Members.

During the 1530s Brooke is often found associated with Thomas White, as when they were chosen arbitrators, together with Sir William Kingston and his son Anthony, in a dispute between Bristol and Tewkesbury which had been referred to Cromwell: all four men were subsequently returned to the Parliament of 1539. On Cromwell's execution Brooke succeeded him as recorder, and he was returned in that capacity to the following Parliament during which he and his fellow-Member, Robert Elyot, carried out their instructions from the corporation in connexion with the purchase of former monastic property and with the elevation of Bristol to a city.

Although Brooke was succeeded by Robert Keilway as recorder by the autumn of 1545, his services continued to be in demand by the corporation until 1556; many problems were referred to him, especially after the coup d'etat of 1549 and again after the final fall of the Duke of Somerset who was the city's steward. Whether the connexion lasted after 1556 is not known, but it is of interest that Brooke's second wife may have been a kinswoman of Robert Butler. After his appointment as a serjeant Brooke took a share in the drafting of parliamentary bills. He received writs of summons to attend the Lords in the last Edwardian Parliament and the first four Marian ones.

Rewards for Brooke's services to the crown included the grants of the manors of Horton, Gloucestershire he had previously resided at Week, Somerset, or Bristol, where he owned a house on Redcliffe Street and of Canonbury, Middlesex, in 1554. These marks of favour increased noticeably during Mary's reign, probably in recognition of his orthodoxy he was to ask for a dirge to be said at his funeral if it may be suffered and because his first wife had been nurse to the Queen. Pardoned at the accession of Elizabeth, he had made his will three days after she became Queen: he added a codicil on 4 Nov 1559 and died soon afterwards, the will being proved on 29 Jan. 1560. He asked to be buried either in St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, or in Horton church. His collection of books he left to his nephew John Walshe, to John Cost and to the library of the Inner Temple. His widow took as her fourth husband Edward North, Lord North.
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