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Sir Robert Broke.

Sir Robert Broke SL (d. 5 September 1558) was a British justice, politician and legal writer. He was the eldest son of Thomas Broke of Claverley, Shropshire and his wife Margaret. He studied at Strand Inn, and from there was admitted to Middle Temple at some point between 1525 and 1528 and studying pleading with the Prothonotary John Jenour. In 1542 he became a bencher, and read on the 1540 Statute of Limitations; the reading circulated on manuscript and was subsequently printed in 1547. His second reading was in 1551 on the subject of pleas of the crown, using chapter 18 of Magna Carta as the source, and this also circulated via manuscript before being published in 1641, almost one hundred years after his death.[1] His legal career began in 1536 when he was appointed Common Serjeant of London on the recommendation of Henry VIII; how he gained such royal favour is unknown. He was made Recorder of London in 1545 and served as a Member of Parliament for the City of London until 1555, serving as Speaker of the House of Commons of England in 1554. Holding these offices did not stop him from pursuing private practice, and his signature is found on bills in chancery in the 1530s and 1540s. During this time he was also deputy chief steward for the Duchy of Lancaster, and was created a Serjeant-at-law in 1552.

On 8 October 1554 he was appointed Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and knighted the following January. He fell out with the court's Puisne Justices when he appointed Thomas Gatacre, his wife's brother, as Chief Prothonotary in 1557. The justices rejected him, and Broke's second choice, William Wheteley, was then allowed to take office despite judicial preference for another candidate. He died on 5 September 1588 while visiting friends in Pattishall, and was buried in Claverley Church in a tomb bearing his effigy and those of his two wives. He married his first wife Anne in the 1530's, and she gave birth to his eldest son John and at least three other children before dying. In 1544 he remarried to Dorothy, and had at least four daughters and five sons including David Brooke, who later became Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. Dorothy survived after his death, and his will shows that he had seventeen children in all.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir Richard Morgan
Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Succeeded by
Sir Anthony Browne
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir John Pollard
Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Sir Clement Higham
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Roger Cholmley
John Sturgeon
Paul Withypoll
Sir Richard Gresham
Member of Parliament for the City of London
with Sir Roger Cholmley 1545–1547
John Sturgeon 1545–1547
Paul Withypoll 1545–1547
Sir Martin Bowes 1547–1553, 1554
Thomas Curteys 1547–1552
Thomas Bacon 1547–1552
John Blundell 1552–1554
John Marshe 1553–1554
Sir Rowland Hill 1553–1554

Succeeded by
Sir Martin Bowes
Ralph Cholmley
Richard Grafton
Richard Burnell


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