The Medieval period

The Mackerel family became lords of Brook some time towards the end of the 11th century. Again, varied accounts make this period difficult to unravel. We know that one William Mackerel granted the tithes of the mill and common pasture to the Abbey of Lye in Normandy before 1189.

We also know that in around 1200, another William, his great nephew, granted the advowson (the right to appoint a priest) of the chapel at Brook to God’s House, Yarmouth  or Eremue Hospital. Importantly, this also confers the right to the tithes. Sometime towards the end of the 13th century Brook passed by marriage into the de Glamorgan family. Also at this time we know that the Passelewe family held half a knight’s fee at Hulverstone from the lords of Brook (a knight’s fee was about 12 hides or 1500 acres).  

Within two generations of acquiring Brook, a quarrel broke out between Isabel de Glamorgan, who had been left a lifetime interest in the property but tried to sell it, and Thomas Haket, the guardian of her brother, Nicholas Glamorgan, who was the male heir but ‘an idiot.’  Nicholas died without heirs and Brook was divided between his five sisters.  Isabel, the eldest, appears to have married twice, once to Godfrey Hunstan (or Hanson) and once to Geoffrey de Roucle, or Rookley. In 1370 we find Geoffrey calling himself ‘Geoffrey Roucle de la Brook.’  However, the family were not to enjoy Brook for much longer; in 1445 Geoffrey and Isabel’s son John gave Brook to John Lisle, John Stoure and Thomas Bowerman, and in 1450 Lisle and Stoure transferred their shares to Bowerman, who had married Joan, one of the daughters of John Rookley.

It wasn’t until 1566 however, that the Bowermans owned all of Brook – some portion of it had been inherited by Thomas Haket, guardian of Nicholas – and passed through several generations until one George Gilbert sold it to Thomas Bowerman.  

Most recorded history is of the great families – we have scant evidence of what was happening to the ordinary inhabitants of Brook. One can be certain that they continued to fish and to farm. We know that there were warrens at Brook and Hulverstone and rabbits were a major source of food.