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Brooks

The Brook or Brooks family have a long relationship with the area but ‘Brook’ is one of the many names that could be based on a geographic feature which gave the name to the family in earlier times. Alice the ‘relict’ or widow of William Brooke had to pay a heriot (a form of death duty) of 1 ox worth 13s 4d and 1 cow worth 8s  for land in Emborough 1479 . She was able claim tenure based on a court roll of 1449 which shows there was some consistency in the use of the name but William’s name coud have been written  ‘at Brook’ and there are several places in Embourgh parish that could be described as by a brook or stream.
 A Thomas Brook had a daughter baptised in Chewton Mendip in 1623 to hint at some continuity of the family. The examination of John Brooke of Chewton Mendip in the same year shows that some people used more than one name. John Brooke was a labourer who was accused of breaking into the house of Edward Busey of Kenn. The records state that he also used the name of Hedges and it is easy to dismiss this as an attempt to conceal his true identify but members of the Wilcox and Andrews families were also swapping names at the time. The Justice of the Peace was Francis Baber which is another local name. The source is the Somerset archive record Q/SR/46/88  dated 14th August 1623.
 The case of John Brooke also hints at a practical  link to a geographically separate  part of the Chewton hundred. Ken is close to Kingston Seymour which is  separated by over 20 miles from Chewton Mendip but formed part of the Chewton Hundred. It may be coincidence but John Brooke coud have been working in Kingston Seymour because Kenn was too far away  for a bit of oportunistic theiving for a Chewton Mendip resident.
 A Thomas Brooks was wealthy enough to be assessed on land holdings in Chewton Mendip worth £1 in the Protestation and Lay Subsidy rolls for 1641 but a John Brook was in receipt of poor relief in 1670 and that is the pattern for the until the modern era.
 There is no reference in the Brook family in the churchwardens accounts that have been transcribed so far but  there are frequent  references to them in poor books for Poor Book starting in 1730 . Records for a John Brook who suffered  burns in c1734 (file 2020a) shows that the overseers had compassion. He was paid the not inconsiderble sum for the days of four shillings and six pence (aproximatly 23p) “…in his miserey more than his pay…”
 An H E Brooks is isted as serviving in Word War One.
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