Robert Brooke Sr.

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Robert Brooke Sr. (1602–1655) was a Colonial Governor of Maryland for several months in 1652.[1]

Early life[edit]

Brooke Family coat of arms

Robert Brooke was born in Whitemarsh, Southampton on June 23, 1602, son of Hon. Thomas Brooke (1561–1612) of Whitchurch and Susan Foster, daughter of Sir Thomas Foster (1548–1612) of "Etherstone".[2] He matriculated at Wadham College, Oxford University on April 28, 1618. He received the degree of B.A. July 6, 1620; consequently, in 1624, without further study or examination, he also received a Master of Arts degree. He was admitted to Orders,[3] but it is doubtful whether he was ever the incumbent of a parish.

The Brooke family arms were recorded in the Visitation of Hampshire, 1634.[3]

First family[edit]

Brooke married first, on February 25, 1627, Mary Baker (1602–34), daughter of Thomas Baker of Battle in Sussex, England.[3] Robert and Mary (Baker) Brooke had four children:

  1. Baker, married Anne Calvert, daughter of Gov. Leonard Calvert, first Governor of Maryland
  2. Mary
  3. Thomas, married Eleanor Hatton, daughter of Richard Hatton and wife Margaret
  4. Barbara

Second family[edit]

Brooke married second, on May 11, 1635, Mary Mainwaring, daughter of Roger Mainwaring (1582–1653), Dean of Worcester and Bishop of St David's, and his wife Cecilia Proper. Robert and Mary (Mainwaring) Brooke had thirteen children:[4]

  1. Charles, never married.
  2. Roger, married:
    1. Dorothy Neale, daughter of Capt. James Neale and Anna Maria Gill
    2. Mary Wolseley, daughter of Walter Wolseley and Mary Beauchamp.
  3. Robert, married Elizabeth Thompson, daughter of William Thompson and Mary Bretton.
  4. John, married Rebecca Isaacs.
  5. Mary.
  6. William.
  7. Ann, married Christopher Beanes.
  8. Francis, never married.
  9. Basil, died in infancy.
  10. Henry, never married.
  11. Elizabeth, married Capt. Richard Smith Jr.

Emigrants to Maryland[edit]

Leonard Calvert
(Florence MacKubin, 1914)

On September 20, 1649, Brooke was issued with a commission as Commander of "one whole county" (in the province of Maryland) "to be newly set forth, erected, &c".[5] He was to receive a grant of 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) for every ten persons he transported. Brooke is said to have emigrated (June 1650) aboard his own ships and at his own expense, along with his wife, ten children, 28 servants, and a pack of hounds. On July 22, 1650, along with his two sons, Baker and Thomas Sr., he took the oath of Fidelity to the Proprietor. His sons each received separate grants of land in various counties of Maryland. Robert Brooke was constituted as Commander of newly formed Charles County in Maryland on October 30, 1650.[4]

Political activities[edit]

In 1652, under the Cromwellian Government, Brooke was made Governor,[1] and served in this capacity from March 29 to July 3, 1652. His co-operation with the Bennett-Claiborne Puritan faction brought him the displeasure of Lord Baltimore and the loss of his proprietary offices. Later he allied himself with the conservative Catholic Party.


Like most of the wealthy emigrants who came to Maryland under the patronage of the Proprietor, Brooke amassed many thousands of acres of land. He constructed three large estates, each named for himself:

By the time of his death on July 20, 1655,[8] Brooke is said to have accumulated 8,000 acres (32 km2) of land.

See also[edit]



  • Taney, Roger Brooke (1872). Memoir of Roger Brooke Taney, LL.D.: Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. John Murphy & Co. 
  • Maryland Historical Magazine. Maryland Historical Society. 1906. Retrieved 2007-10-06.