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Victorian study of North Mymms

Chapter Four - Brookmans

Taken from "The Victoria History of Hertfordshire"
edited by W. Page - 1908.

Brookmans in the 19th century
Brookmans in the 19th century
The manor of Brookmans (Bruckmans or Mymmeshall) was held as of the honour of Clare in socage (1). In 1388 Nicholas de Mymmes sued Walter atte More of London and Katherine his wife for the manor of North Mimms called Mymmeshall. Nicholas claimed the manor by descent from his grandfather John de Mymmes who was living in the reign of Edward II.

It was held in 1400 by John Brookman, whose widow Elizabeth, afterwards wife of John Chamberlain, evidently settled the manor on her second husband for her lifetime in 1437-8. Thomas Betley, one of the trustees to whom the manor had been given by John Brookman, had already enfeoffed (2) Richard Swaynesey and John Chamberlain.

Fortescue.  Asure a bend engrailed argent between two cotises or.
Fortescue. Asure a bend engrailed argent between two cotises or. translation
A memorandum at the end of the suit states that John Twyer and Peter Aumener constituted themselves sureties for John Chamberlain and Elizabeth, and undertook to pay the expenses of Thomas Betley and Richard Swaynesey if the case was decided in their favour.

In 1455-6 John Twyer sold the manor to John Fortescue, who died seised of half the manor of North Mimms in 1500-1, and was succeeded by his son John. He died in 1517, and the manor passed to his son Henry who died seised of it in 1576, having settled it upon his son Dudley, who died in 1604. His son and heir Daniel sold it in 1617 to Robert Faldo of Gray’s Inn, who died seised of it in 1621, leaving his son Thomas his heir.

In 1638 William, Thomas, and Henry Faldo conveyed a messuage (3) and land in North Mimms, Bell Barres, and elsewhere to Paul Pinder, who died seised of Brookmans in 1643, leaving Paul his son and heir. He died without issue, and the manor came to his sister Mary wife of Sir William Dudley.

William and Mary sold it in 1666 to Andrew Fountain, who is supposed to have pulled down the old mansion and erected a new one, as the date 1680 was upon the spouting of that house, which in its turn was destroyed by fire about 1892, and has never been rebuilt. Andrew sold the manor in 1702 to George Liddell and Charles Sanderson.

Somers. Vert a fesse dancetty ermine.
Somers. Vert a fesse dancetty ermine. translation
It subsequently came to John, Lord Somers, baron of Evesham. Lord Somers had appeared as junior counsel for seven bishops in 1688, and held many high offices of state, being in turn Attorney-General in 1692, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal in 1692-3 and Lord Chancellor in 1697. He was impeached by the House of Commons in 1701 for various crimes, of which the chief was that he was supposed to be the instigator of the second Partition Treaty.

After this he retired to his Brookmans estate, and passed the rest of his days in literary pursuits. He died in 1716, without issue, and his heirs were his sisters, Mary wife of Charles Cocks of Worcester, and Elizabeth wife of Sir Joseph Jekyll, knt., Master of the Rolls. By a subsequent partition this manor came to Sir Joseph Jekyll and Elizabeth. Joseph died in 1738 without issue, and on the death of his widow in 1745 the estate came to her nephew James Cocks, son of her sister Mary.

Cocks. Sable a chevron between three pairs of harts horns argent.
Cocks. Sable a chevron between three pairs of harts horns argent. translation
He was succeeded in 1750 by his only son Charles, who with his son John Somers Cocks sold the estate in 1784 to William Strong. From him it passed to Alexander Higgingson, who sold it in 1785 to Humphrey Sibthorp, of whom it was purchased in 1786 by Samuel Robert Gaussen. On his death in 1812 it descended to his eldest son Samuel Robert Gaussen. He died in 1816 and was succeeded by his son Robert William, who married Elizabeth Christian daughter and co-heir of James Casamajor of Potterells.

Upon his death in 1880 Brookmans came to his eldest son Robert George Gaussen, who died in 1906, when the manor passed to his eldest daughter Emilia Christian wife of Mr. Herbert Loftus Tottenham, who now holds it. She has recently changed the name of Tottenham for that of Gaussen. The stables, which were untouched by the fire of 1892, have been added to and converted into a residence where Mrs Gaussen now lives.

Middle English words and definitions
1: Socage = In Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, a free tenure of land which did not require the tenant to perform military service. He might pay a rent in cash or in kind, and perform some ploughing on his lord's estates. back to text
2: Feoffment = A mode of conveying a freehold estate by a formal transfer of possession. back to text
3: Messuage = A legal term meaning a dwelling house with outbuildings and land assigned to its use. back to text


Victorian study of North Mymms - Index
Chapter One - Mimmine
Chapter Two - Manors - North Mymms
Chapter Three - Manors - Potterells
Chapter Four - Manors - Brookmans
Chapter Five - Manors - More Hall and Leggatts
Chapter Six - Churches
Chapter Seven - Advowsons
Chapter Eight - Charities

Note: The text above has been taken from "The Victoria History of Hertfordshire", edited by W. Page in 1908. It has been broken down into chapters for ease of reading and download. In all chapters the text is reproduced exactly as it is in the original document. Where words are used which are no longer in common usage, a number appears to the right of the word and a definition is offered. However people using these pages for research might need to have their own dictionary on hand to help understand the text. North Mymms is spelt North Mimms throughout, a difference explained in a feature written by Bill Killick on this site click here.

Heraldry had its own terminology dating from 13C, based on Old French. Its colours are called 'tinctures' of which there are two metals - gold (or) and silver (argent) - and five colours - blue (azure), black (sable), green (vert), purple (purpure), and red (gules). back to text


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