JC Halbrooks 1940-1999



The earliest generations in Suffolk are descendants of the ruling Normans who came to be known as de Holbrook". meaning "of Holbrook", the farm, later becoming a small village, where they lived This did not occur as someone decided to do so; it happened gradually with the name originally being used to indicate where the person was from This is the reason "surnames" of this era are usually found in the form "de ---", the Latin "de" meaning "OF" Another form of "surname" was not a name, but a statement, and was used in the form: William, son of Adam These appear in the earliest records, but only for a short time- roughly 1170 - 1300. More common earlier than later in this time. Roughly from 1250 to- the Plague years of 1350-80, surnames, when used, are of the place type name using the 'de --" form Later records of around 1400 show another surname development, that of surnames derived from occupation or physical, characteristic. In the years lust after 1380, the occupation surnames were often combined with the location type surname as Hugh, de Norwich le Vintner. These combination surnames did not remain in use for long, for by the earlier 1500's the surnames are simplified to either Hugh Norwich, or Hugh Vintner.

I have not found any information or study to indicate if there was any preference, or adoption of one of these type names over the other.


This is the earliest Holbrook line.

The first found reference to a Holbrook is found in Feet of Fines, #338, Case 212, file 3, number 67; dated 1202 which names Richard de Holbrook as the plaintiff.

Other early Suffolk references:
Richard de Holbrook, of Suffolk. 1273 Hundred Rolls. Nicholas de Holbrook, suit, 1275. Adam de Holbrook, Alice, wife, grant land, Ipswich, 1297. Complaint by Richard de Holbrook that Benedict de Braham and others assaulted him at Tattingston, bound him to a tree and cut off his right hand. Order to arrest Sir Thomas de Holbrook; assault on John de Loudham. 1340. Suit against Thomas Holbrook and wife, Margaret. 1455.


John was admitted FELLOW on August 1, 1393; SENIOR TUTOR of Peterhouse College (one of the Colleges of Cambridge University in England) in 1418; MASTER of Peterhouse College In 1421; CHANCELLOR of the University 1439-40. He held several church positions such as serving as RECTOR of South Repps, Norfolk in 1421 and as VICAR of Hinton in 1436; additionally he was CHAPLAIN to Kings Henry V and Henry VI.

He enjoyed a high reputation as a mathematician and was the author of TABULAE ASTRONIMICAE, the manuscript is preserved in the College Library with some similar works as part of the Egerton MSS.

While there is some debate regarding his exact date of death, be is buried at Little St. Mary's where his grave is marked by a round boss. This brass has suffered great mutilation over the years and now only containes the lowermost portions of a figure in academical dress. His family tree is not known, nor are descendants. It is likely he is of the Suffolk line, probably born about 1370. This estimated date would probably place him in the generation after the most recent ones shown in the Suffolk lineage.


The origins of these lines is unknown. Holbrook are found in all three counties, although concentrated in small areas, when parish registers generally start In the mid to late 1500s. They are concentrated around Dundry in Somersetshire, Iron Acton in Gloucester, and Norton (just south of Worcester) In Worcester.

These lines are not believed to have lived in their areas for long. This is based on not finding many people of the same common names in the earliest registers. Had they lived in these areas for many generations, then certainly there would be found many cousins bearing the same given names. Since names such as John are found only rarely, my conclusion is that they have not lived in the area long.

Some early references are:
Amice de Holbrook fined 10 marks in Devon. 1230. Henry de Holbrook listed in Devon; 1272, per Testa de Neville. Isota Holbrook in Somerset; 1327, per Kirby's Quest. Richard Holbrook, will 1457, Bristol, wife named as Margaret; son, Richard Holbrook. Thomas Holbrook land rental, Berford, 38s 4d for 12 acres, 1459. John Holbrook, son of Thomas; also named John Holbrook 'atte Rode', William Brygge, and Thomas Holbrook. 1459. (Wording seems confused, this is as received.) Thomas Holbrook named in suit, Court of Bishop of Exeter, 1460. John Holbrook, of Minehead, Somerset; son Richard. Dated 1493-1500. Roger Holbrook, will 1503; wife Agnes, son Thomas. Executor was John Storowe. Will of John Storowe (sic, Grorowe), 1524, London. He gives to John Holbrook, 53s, 4d.


Holbrook are found in the southern portion of Derbyshire, around Derby, and in the adjacent areas of Staffordshire, around Marchington Woodland, in the mid-15OOs.

ROGER de HOLBROOK = EMMA de CHESTERFIELD 1272, Tax list, Derby, 1273 Roll. JOHN HOLBROOK 1327, Tax list, Pinxton, Derby. John de Holbroc, Pinxton, Derby, 40s. tax for Scot. War. WILLIAM de HOLBROOK 1273 Roll, Of Lincolnshire. ROGER HOLBROOK 1337, Juror, Kerkeby, Ashfleld, Derby. JOHN HOLBROKE 1400, Frankpledge View, Derbyshire. HENRY HOLBROOK, 1444, Juror, Lenton, Nottingham

The Derby Holbrook apparently spread westward to Warrington, Lancashire; into central Cheshire; and to northern Shropshire, for they are found in these locations in the mid to late 1500s.


One Manchester line of the 1600s which appears to be the first Holbrook line in that town, has found origins in Derbyshire. It is suspected that prior similar movements of the late 1300s to 1400s spread the name westward.

Some early references:
John Holbrook, on tax list of W. Derby (located nw of Warrington), 1332. Henry, son of Henry Holbrook of Bold rents land, 1335. Bold is about 4 miles west of Warrington. Hugh Holbrook fled for the 'said' felony (which was not stated In the record), and he had goods to the value of L100 which came to Roger, his son from his wife.

Henry and Roger Holbrook rent land in Warrington. 1465. Hamlet Holbrook refused, using physical force against the 'green wax' tax collector, to let the collector take his brass bowl in lieu of money payment of the tax. 1527. Hamlet is later (1580) found in a list of taxes due on Easter day, in Warrington, as 'of Sonkey'.

Cheshire early entries are fewer and later.
Thomas Holbrook, admitted freeman, Chester, 1549. Richard Holbrook, baker, admitted freeman, Chester, 1557. Thomas Holbrook, butcher, admitted freeman, Chester, 1568. Thomas Holbrook, butcher, had apprentice, 1585, Chester.


Holbrook have been found as early as a 1378 Poll Tax listing. Their origin and arrival time has not been determined. One possible connection is due to the unusual name of one of the three found in this early Poll Tax,
Adam. This is not a common given name and another Adam has been found in Ipswich, Suffolk, in the 1290s. A parchment containing a land transaction in Ipswich still exists. Other than speculation on the given name, no proof of a connection has been found.

One Holbrook line that lives on the Isle today has been traced back to the mid 1500s. Several of this line have moved to the general London, Kent area. The American line of Benjamin, James, and Charles of Philadelphia, and Baltimore are of this line.


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