Survey of London: Volume 28, Brooke House, Hackney. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1960.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
II. Notes on some errors and confusions contained in printed accounts of Brooke House
In 1904 the Committee for the Survey of the Memorials of Greater London published their fifth monograph, Brooke House, Hackney, by Ernest A. Mann. Research undertaken for the preparation of the present volume has revealed a number of mistakes in that account, some of which are briefly examined here.
Miss Ida Darlington, Head Librarian of the London County Council Members' Library, has pointed out that the so-called Hollar drawings reproduced on Plates 1 and 6 in the Survey Committee's monograph are the work of Peter Thompson (fl. c. 1840–50). (fn. 1) Thompson made a number of drawings and engravings purporting to be seventeenth-century views, and his 'South prospect' was no doubt based on Chatelain's view. The source for his drawings of the stone-built 'Elryngton Chappel' and tomb has not been discovered, and we have already seen that no stone was used in the construction of Brooke House. Thompson's drawings of Brooke House are in the Hackney Central Public Library.
The Thompson drawings led Ernest Mann, the author of the Survey Committee's monograph, to suppose a connexion between the Elrington family and Brooke House. Though the Elringtons owned property in Hackney, including a small part of the Brooke House estate (see pages 59, 61 n.), nothing has been found to connect any member of the family with the house itself, and 'Ralph de Elryngton' seems to be a figment of Thompson's imagination.
In his account of Brooke House, Ernest Mann incorrectly identified the Brooke House estate with the manor of Kingshold—a mistake previously made by Lysons, Robinson and others (see page 52). The list of owners of the house, which he gives on pages 12–13 of the Survey Committee's monograph, therefore contains the names of many persons who were in no way connected with Brooke House.
There is no evidence to support the view that the Vaux family ever occupied Brooke House. Indeed, at about the time when Lord Vaux is known to have had mass celebrated in his house at Hackney, Brooke House was owned either by Lord Hunsdon, the Queen's cousin, or Sir Rowland Hayward, the Lord Mayor of London.
On pages 22–24 of the Survey Committee's monograph is a transcript from an undated manuscript in the British Museum. (fn. 2) The manuscript is endorsed 'The inventory of the houshould stuffe at hackney' and 'The Inventory of the movable goods in hacknye howse'.
Printed in John Leland's Antiquarii de rebus Britannicis Collectanea, volume 1, 1715, is a letter to the publisher, dated 1 February 1714/15 from John Bagford (1650–1716), a shoemaker and 'a professional collector of books'. (fn. 3)
In his letter Bagford refers to early brick buildings and mentions 'Brooke House at Hackney (which was the Lord Shower's House).' This is the first known use of the name Brooke House. Investigation of 'Lord Shower' suggests that he may perhaps be identified with Sir John Shaa or Shaw, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1501. Shaa owned an estate in Hackney but it was still in the possession of his son Thomas on 9 October 1532, (fn. 4) four months after the Earl of Northumberland is known to have been in possession of the Brooke House estate. It is interesting to note, however, that John Shaa was one of the trustees of Sir Reginald Bray to whom William Worsley conveyed his estate in 1496. (fn. 5)