William Brocket 1677-1745

From Book Owners Online

William BROCKET 1677-1745

Brocket's bookplate (from a copy of The Works of Virgil, London, 1721, private collection)

Biographical Note

Son of John Brocket of London and Willingale Spain, Essex, lawyer. Admitted at the Middle Temple 1697, after which he developed his own legal career; Clerk of Christ's Hospital 1711-45. In 1744 he inherited the estate of Spains Hall, Essex from his elder brother John.


Brocket used an engraved armorial bookplate (Franks 3790). The extent of his library is not known; in his will, he directed that all the residue of his estate "except such English books as my wife and daughter shall have a mind to" be inherited by his eldest son William (1719-91), who was also a lawyer.

This bookplate is found in one of the Shakespeare First Folios in the Folger Library, where (following West) it is attributed to the younger William, 1719-91. If he did use the plate, it seems more likely (on date/design grounds) to have been used originally by his father. The Folio has inscriptions of "Elizabeth Brocket" dating between 1695 and 1712; she was William's sister (1681-1759) and it seems reasonable to speculate that its first Brocket owner may have been John, 1649-1704, that it was in his household when first inscribed by Elizabeth, and it then stayed in the family over many generations.