Sir William Brockman

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Portrait of Sir William Brockman (Courtesy of Hugh Drake-Brockman, UK)

Sir William Brockman (1595–1654) was an English military leader, politician, and land owner, and who fought for the Royalist cause in the English Civil War.

Early life[edit]

Sir William was born in 1595 in Kent, England, at Lyminge. His parents were Henry Brockman and Helen Sawking. Henry, the father has a tablet at St Nicholas Church, Newington. William earned a degree at Oxford University. He was knighted by Charles I in 1632.

Defence of the Town of Maidstone Against Fairfax[edit]

Sir William Brockman was a royalist adherent of King Charles I. Sir William was appointed High Sheriff of Kent by the King in 1642, but was almost immediately arrested and imprisoned in Winchester House, Southwark, London in a move that seems to have sought to remove potentially influential Royalist supporters from the scene. He was replaced as Sheriff by Sir John Honeywood. William remained in prison until August 1645, although after a time he was transferred from London back to Westenhanger house in Kent; only a couple of miles from his home at Beachborough.

In the second civil war period that flared up in 1648, William did indeed become directly involved in fighting for the first and only time, under the command of Sir John Mayney. Separated from the main loyalist forces, the detachment in Maidstone had to fight against Farifax's trained army unsupported.

Fairfax's elite division marched on Maidstone, which was at the time garrisoned by ~1,000 royalist horse and foot. General Fairfax passed the river at Farleigh Bridge and attacked the town with a corps of ~10,000 men. The assault began at about seven o'clock in the evening. The fighting intensified and spread into every street, which, with the houses, were lined by the royalists, whose strength had been augmented by Sir William, who had brought in a reinforcement of 800 men during the preliminary skirmishing. The resistance of the townsmen was determined, and Fairfax had to literally contend for every inch of the ground; and the conflict endured to midnight. Around midnight, the outnumbered royalists were driven into a churchyard where they took shelter and continued to resist with unabated vigour. They were eventually forced to surrender upon conditions securing their personal safety. Fairfax's report to Parliament of confirms that Sir William and the other leaders were arrested. Records show that William was still a prisoner in 1651, when he, his brother Zouch and many other royalists were declared delinquents and had heavy fines levied against them. Sir William was fined £500 and Zouch £350. It remains uncertain as to when William was released on this second occasion, but it is notable that he did not lose his estate and was able to pass it on to his son after his death in 1654.[1]

In somewhat flowery prose the 1836 edition of Burke's Commoners closes: "Few actions displayed more of that chivalric courage and devoted resolve which characterised the adherents of the King during the civil wars than this. Lord Clarendon terms it a sharp encounter very bravely fought with the general's whole strength".[2]

Letter Regarding Battle at Maidstone by Fairfax[edit]

Brockman Arms of William's father Henry 1606, presumed to be similar or the same as Sir William's
Sketch of Brockman Arms with Glydd, these are the arms of Sir William's grandson (also William) who married Anne Glydd
Beachborough, Kent, UK: Purchased by Sir William's Great-Grandfather Father Henry Brockman ca. 1500, says "William Brockman" at top, color arms thought to be Sir William's

Letter from L. Fairfax, with an Account of the Victory over the Kentish Forces at Maidstone:[3]

To the Right Honourable the Earl of Manchester, Speaker of the House of Lord, pro Tempore, at Westm'r.

My Lord,

It having pleased God to give us a Victory against those who without and against the Authority of Parliament raised an Army, I held it my Duty to give your Lordship an Account thereof (in brief), Time not permitting me at present to give the Particulars at large. The Engagement with them began the last Night, about Seven of the Clock, near Maydstone, and continued a very fierce and hot Dispute until after Twelve, before we could be Masters of the Town: The Enemy, by reason of the continued Supplies which they received from their Forces by the Passage over Alesford, were enabled to dispute every Street and Passage. The choicest of their Forces (as we understand) were appointed for this Service; and the Lord Gowring commanded them as General. There was about Two Hundred of the Enemy slain, many wounded, about Nine Hundred Prisoners, Four Hundred Horse, and Eight Pieces of Cannon, and great Store of Arms and Ammunition taken. Sir William Brockman and others of the Gentlemen are Prisoners. As God hath been pleased in Mercy to give you this Victory, so I desire that we may return all Thankfulness unto Him for it. I shall (as God shall enable me) improve this Advantage; and remain
Maidstone, a June, 1648.

Your Lordship's

Humble Servant,

T. Fairefax.

Family life[edit]

The Brockman family has a long history in Kent and possessed a number of properties in Kent at that time. William's great grandfather Henry Brockman bought Newington Manor, Cheriton Manor and Beachborough Manor. Sir William married Anne, only daughter and heiress of Simon Bunce, Esqre., of Linstead and had one son, James, his heir, and four daughters. As one of very few notable and documented Kentish Englishmen from his era, Sir William is of some interest to descendants of his relatives that now live in the US and Australia today. For example, it appears that in the aftermath of the civil war his second cousin, Henry Brockman, fled the country to Aruba and eventually to the American colonies, thus founding the English branch of the Brockman family in the United States. Later, descendants through the maternal Drake-Brockman line emigrated to Australia, several of whom were notable for their military and civic leadership.

Sir William died on and was buried on 6 December 1654.[1] James the second son, inherited the estate as the first son died in infancy.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Burke, John (1836). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, Enjoying Territorial Possessions Or High Official Rank: But Uninvested with Heritable Honours 3. R. Bentley. pp. 368,369. 

Further reading[edit]

County histories
Family histories
  • Brockman, William Everett (1952). The Brockman scrapbook: Bell, Bledsoe, Brockman, Burrus, Dickson, James, Pedan, Putman, Sims, Tatum, Woolfolk, and related families (Unknown Binding). ASIN B0007E8Y48.  (Out of Print), this information provided courtesy of Paul Brockman (Virginia)
  • Brockman, William Everett (1 January 1959). Orange County Virginia families (Unknown Binding). Volume III. W.E. Brockman. ASIN B0007G5G0Q. 
  • Drake-Brockman, David Henry (1936). Record of the Brockman and Drake-Brockman family. Privately Published. ASIN B00089U71U.  (Out of Print), provided courtesy of Hugh-Drake Brockman (UK),
  • Jackson, Alan (1994). Brockman & Drake-Brockman Family Tree: the Australian Branch 1830-1993. Menora, WA. ISBN 0-646-18200-5. 
Primary sources

External links[edit]

For further information on the Brockman & Drake-Brockman family see http://www.brockman.net.au

Preceded by
(See English Brockman Family)
Sir William Brockman of Kent
1595–1654
Succeeded by
The Squires of Beachborough