George BROOKE

(4th B. Cobham)

Born: ABT 1497, Cowling, Kent, England

Died: 29 Sep 1558, Cobham Hall, Cobham, Kent, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: Thomas BROOKE (3° B. Cobham)

Mother: Dorothy HEYDON (B. Cobham)

Married: Anne BRAY (B. Cobham) ABT 1517

Children:

1. Elizabeth BROOKE (M. Northampton)

2. William BROOKE (5° B. Cobham)

3. George BROOKE

4. Henry BROOKE (Sir)

5. Catherine BROOKE

6. Thomas BROOKE

7. Mary BROOKE (B. Abergavenny)

8. Dorothy BROOKE (b. 1518)

9. Anne BROOKE

10. John BROOKE (b. 1535 - d. 1594)

11. Edmund BROOKE (b. 1540)


Brooke,George(4BCobham)01.jpg (82309 bytes)

Sketch of George Brooke, Lord Cobham
by Hans Holbein the Younger

The Royal Library, Windsor Castle ©Her Majesty the Queen


Brooke was the oldest surviving son of Thomas Brooke, third baron, and Dorothy Heydon. As a teenager, he accompanied his father to the marriage of Mary Tudor to Louis XII of France. He returned to France during the 1520s, fighting with some distinction around Calais. Knighted Jul 1523 by the Earl of Surrey after capture of Morlaix, succeed to the baronetage Nov 1529. At home in Kent, he fulfilled his feudal duties, serving as justice of the peace for the county.

In 1536 he was one of the 27 peers in trial of Anne Boleyn. He had large grants of land after the dissolution of the monasteries.

Lieutenant General in Scottish campaigns 1546, under the Earl of Hertford; later that year, he was appointed commanding officer of English-controlled Calais. 

He participated in the political turmoil following the death of Henry VIII.

Brooke's family were dogged by scandal. His sister, Elizabeth Brooke was married to Thomas Wyatt but lived openly in adultery with another man. She allegedly attracted the attention of Henry VIII in 1542, and the Imperial ambassador thought that if she tried, she could become Henry's sixth wife. Brooke's daughter, Elizabeth, was also prone to scandal. She lived with William Parr, 1st marquess of Northampton from 1543, as he was separated from his adulterous wife, Anne Bourchier. They eventually married during the reign of Edward VI, but this was declared invalid by Mary I. In the reign of Elizabeth I, their marriage was again declared valid.

Brooke,George(4BCobham)03.jpg (216706 bytes)

Invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter, on 24 Apr 1549. He resigned his post in Calais in 1550 and became a member of the Privy Council of Edward VI on 23 May 1550. After Edward's death, Brooke supported Dudley's attempt to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne. He was pardoned by Mary, but subsequently fell under suspicion again. His nephew, Sir Thomas Wyatt, led a Protestant rebellion, bringing suspicion on the whole family. Brooke's daughter, Elizabeth, is thought to have been the instigator of the plot to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne instead of Mary. During Wyatt's rebellion, Wyatt besieged and took Cobham in the latter's home, Cooling Castle; Brooke claimed to have resisted, but after the rebellion failed, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for a brief period. The next year, however, he was assigned to entertain Cardinal Pole during the papal legate's visit to England during a formal reconciliation with Rome. The entertainment is recorded as having taken place at Cooling Castle in 1555.

After his release, Brooke limited himself to local affairs in Kent. He died in 1558, closely followed by his wife. Left the estates in his father's will, subject to one or two conditions.  He was succeeded in the barony by his son, William.

The 13th Century Cobham church, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. In the chancel, which is the oldest part of the church, built in 1220, is in the Early English style of architecture, and houses one of the finest collections of medieval brasses in England. In all there are 19 brasses, of which 11 are complete and full sized examples, dating between 1298 and 1529. Amongst its other features of interest are the 14th century nave and aisles, together with the tower and porch which were added by John de Cobham, who also founded Cobham College, and the alabaster and black marble table tomb dated 1558 with recumbent effigies of George Brooke, Lord Cobham and his wife, Anne Bray. The old College at Cobham was founded and endowed in 1362 as a college for priests. It has had a chequered history, which has included its dissolution in 1539/40 under King Henry VIII, and subsequently lying derelict for over 50 years, until converted into almshouses under the terms of the will of Sir William Brooke, Lord Cobham. The almshouses are still occupied by elderly local people. It is a unique quadrangular building, the outside of which the public can normally view. Cobham Hall, on the east side of the village is one of the finest houses in Kent. There has been a manor house on the site since the 13th Century but the present building is late Elizabethan, with 18th century additions. The interior features work by James Wyatt, Inigo Jones and the Adams brothers. Set in 50 acres of grounds, laid out by the famous landscape artist Humphrey Repton.

Brooke,George(4BCobham)02.jpg (78956 bytes)

Copy of the sketch of

George Brooke, Lord Cobham
by Hans Holbein the Younger

Brooke,George(4BCobham)tomb.jpg (40286 bytes)

Tomb of George Brooke, Lord Cobham and his wife, Anne Bray

to Bios Page

to Family Page

to Peerage Page to Home Page