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Notes on William Brooke KG (1527-abt.1597)



I haven't found him in any visitations yet. I have checked Kent and Devon.

Robert Glover made a pedigree at the request of William Brooke in 1571. I haven't found an original source online but it is excerpted (and language modernized) in this document: http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com/CecilPapers/CP_225-1.pdf

Also mentioned here: http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com/Probate/PROB_11-43-628.pdf

Father George

Letter about him becoming Lord Cobham: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol4/pp2934-2945

Letter 1544, about Calais and Boulogne: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol19/no2/pp234-249


Disputed daughter Dorothy Brooke

Dorothy Brooke

Her existence seems debatable. The only source on the profile is Tudor Place. The majority of sources say that William Brooke had only one child by his first wife.

A Dorothy Brooke is mentioned as a Maid of Honour to Elizabeth I and later as a Lady of the Bedchamber here: http://elizabethan.org/compendium/81.html

That source says she was a Maid of Honour in 1565. Could she be confused with William's first wife? Not really, she died in 1559.

That source says that Dorothy Brooke was later "as Lady Cobham" a lady of the bedchamber. But that could be confusing her with William's second wife: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Newton,_Baroness_Cobham

No mention of her here but there is other interesting stuff. Sex and maids of honour in Elizabeths court: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2671290

Missing Son William

He is currently missing from the profile. He was killed in a duel.

Son Maximillian

He is not mentioned in BHO here: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-kent/vol3/pp404-442#highlight-first

He is mentioned on the Wikipedia page. The source is McKeen.

He is shown in the family portrait.

He is listed in Cambridge Alumni (Venn). This gives birth and death dates.

Son George

Letter about his execution: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/28eac3ff-b25f-4f56-a7c6-e25e1977a3a9

Uncle John Lord Brae

He doesn't have a wikitree profile yet.

Aunt Elisabeth Brooke

Mother of Sir Thomas Wyatt who led the Wyatt Rebellion


Family Portrait

There may be some disagreement over who the second woman is in the family portrait. This article says that it is William's sister: https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/the-kings-and-queens-of-england-and-other-mafiosi-1579132.html

Other Images

The wikipedia page has a portrait: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Brooke,_10th_Baron_Cobham

Cowling Castle: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/kinggeorge/c/003ktop00000018u014c0000.html


He is referred to as the 10th Baron Cobham on Wikipedia but the 5th, 7th or 9th in other sources. Is there a contemporary source to show how he was referred to in his lifetime?

TudorPlace calls him the 5th: http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/BROOKE1.htm#William%20BROOKE%20(5%C2%B0%20B.%20Cobham)

This JSTOR paper calls him the 7th: https://www.jstor.org/stable/435781?seq=2#metadata_info_tab_contents

His MP bio has his father as "George Brooke, 8th Lord Cobham" which would make William the 9th Lord Cobham.

Coat of Arms

The portrait shows 12 combined coats of arms.

BHO says he used 15 coats: " he bore for his arms fifteen coats; Brooke, Cobham, Delapole, Peverel, Braybrooke, St. Amand, Bray, Haliwell, Norbury, Butler, Sudley, Montfort, Croser, and Dabernon;" https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-kent/vol3/pp404-442

Examples of Cobham arms here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Cobham

6 quartered version from WikiPedia: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Quartered_arms_of_Sir_William_Brooke,_10th_Baron_Cobham,_KG.png

Cobham Church has a large memorial for William's parents: http://www.paginae-meae.me.uk/atrium/gravesend/cobhamchurch.html There are carvings of their children on the sides. Supposedly they show five sons and five daughters.

This PDF gives detailed blazons for these coats of arms: https://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/arch-cant/vol/62/brooke-tomb-cobham-kent

This document gives a full list of the 10 sons: http://www.middlesex-heraldry.org.uk/publications/seaxe/Seaxe55-200902.pdf The following issue lists the 4 daighters: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/13385669/the-seaxe-middlesex-heraldry-society

Falstaff/Oldcastle issue in plays


National Archives

Lawsuit mentioning William, his brother and sister: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C13447566


Cobham, Kent

Cooling Castle : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooling_Castle a.k.a. Cowling in BHO: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-kent/vol3/pp516-525

Details on the castle and the assault during Wyatt's Rebellion. http://www.cliffehistory.co.uk/cooling-castle.html

Cobham Hall: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manor_of_Cobham,_Kent

Cobham College: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobham_College

BHO: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-kent/vol3/pp404-442

Blackfriars London

Seems to have been his main residence in London

Blackfriars. This article mentions that property here was leased to Lord Cobham: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackfriars_Theatre

This BHO article mentions Lord Cobham meeting Queen Elizabeth and escorting her to a wedding in Blackfriars in 1600, so that would have been his son Henry Brooke: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol1/pp200-219

This PDF states that a mansion was transferred to Lord Cobham in 1536.

https://pure.royalholloway.ac.uk/portal/files/4629096/holder_friaries_phd_thesis.pdf "The western range of the cloister is the only friary building which, at least partly, survives today. This is largely due to the fact that the Apothecaries’ Company bought the buildings in 1632 and converted them for use as their company hall (below, ‘Lord Cobham’s property in the main cloister’). In post-Dissolution grants the northern part of this wing is described as a mansion, which had been leased before the Dissolution to Lady Jane Guildford and then transferred in 1536 to Lord Cobham."


https://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol18/no2/pp144-153 License to carry weapons "Licence granted in pursuance of the above, 12 Oct. 1543, to Mr. William Cobham, who has come to Padua to study, and Mr. John Schier."


Letter from William Paget to Lord Cobham concerning William: Sir William Paget to Lord Cobham. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol19/no2/pp158-197

1545/6: received Cobham's letters of 31 Oct. and 9 Nov. by the Italian that served the King under the Marquis Palavicino, who seems honest and discreet; and Harvel has, upon Cobham's commendation, made him "large offers." Perceives that, when Cobham wrote, Mr. William, his son, was not arrived at Callaice, where "he is now enjoying his bedfellow amorously. God send them both joy infinite!" https://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol21/no1/pp10-27 This page also mentions a Captain Cobham. The pages also says "Sor, il Sr Cobbam, Governator di Caleis, a Caleis." which may imply that George was no longer deputy but in fact governer of calais. Edmond Harvel was a diplomat in Venice: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Harvel

There is a map on this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Captains,_Lieutenants_and_Lords_Deputies_of_English_Calais

This letter refers to "master William" wanting to go to war. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/letters-papers-hen8/vol20/no2/pp233-245 It mentions "Acon" which could he the late "College of Acon" in London or somewhere else.


Wikipedia states that he attended the King's School and Queen's College Cambridge. However Venn has no record of him there (although his son Maximilian is recorded: https://venn.lib.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/search-2018.pl?sur=Brooke&suro=w&fir=William&firo=c&cit=&cito=c&c=all&z=all&tex=Cobham&sye=1530&eye=1550&col=all&maxcount=50 )

From his MP bio it appears that he left England to be educated in Padua, Italy in 1541 when he would have been 14.

Other Biographies

There is a book on him here (McKeen): https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000901279 I do not have access to it though. The Wikipedia page has many references to this book.

MP Bio: http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1509-1558/member/brooke-william-1527-97

Geni: https://www.geni.com/people/William-Brooke-10th-Baron-Cobham/6000000013313348411

The Peerage: http://www.thepeerage.com/p1182.htm#i11814


This William's will: https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/942325:5111?indiv=1&tid=&pid=&queryId=58f59899f89019e773a52a78affc09f0&usePUB=true&_phsrc=ywU4661&_phstart=successSource

His first wife's father: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/e321d185-5efa-44ab-8b0e-0cba71280f9a https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/874482:5111?indiv=1&tid=&pid=&queryId=022f6b2070b1cbd812869ad2bc97070e&usePUB=true&_phsrc=ywU4657&_phstart=successSource Transcribed here: https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Space:Will_of_Sir_George_Neville_5th_Baron_Bergavenny_KG_KB&public=1

This William father's will: Transcribed here: http://www.oxford-shakespeare.com/Probate/PROB_11-43-628.pdf

Son William: https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/945043:5111?indiv=1&tid=&pid=&queryId=a90b6346bcea1fe4c6c11a150924408b&usePUB=true&_phsrc=ywU4659&_phstart=successSource

Questions for Trailblazer

  • If I come across info on his children or siblings should I add sources and research notes to them as I go? For example Venn source for son Maximilian
  • In MP bio citations it says: "Date of birth given in CP. Arch. Cant. xi. 108; LP Hen. VIII, xviii; PCC 35 Hogen." Is this a source I can find somewhere?
  • There are cited biographies that I do not have access to such as: "Dictionary of National Biography" and "A memory of honour : the life of William Brooke, Lord Cobham by David McKeen". Does anyone in the MP team have access? Is it worth pursuing this?


William was born on 1 November 1527, probably at the family home of Cowling Castle in Cobham, Kent, England.[1] He was the fifth child and first son of George Brooke KG, Lord Cobham, and his wife Anne Bray, sister and coheir of John Lord Bray.

When he was 14 his father sent him abroad to Padua in Italy to continue his education.[1]

Research Notes

Example note. Pavey-429 20:16, 4 January 2021 (UTC) Pavey-432, 3 Jan 2021.


  1. 1.0 1.1 MP Biography: "BROOKE, alias COBHAM, William (1527-97), of of the Blackfriars, London and Cobham, Kent."
    Published in "The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982"
    History of Parliament Online (accessed 3 January 2021)

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