Brooke, Sir Robert

, lord chief justice of the common pleas in the reign of queen Mary, and author of several books in the law, was son of Thomas Brooke of Claverly in Shropshire, by Margaret his wife, daughter of Hugh Grosvenor of Farmot in that county. He was born at Claverly, and studied in the university of Oxford, which was of great advantage to him when he studied the law in the Middle Temple, according to Mr. Wood, though Mr. Stow, in his Annals under the year | 1552, says he was of Gray’s-inn. By his prodigous application and judgment he became the greatest lawyer of his time. In 1542 he was elected autumn or summer reader of the Middle Temple, and in Lent, 1550, he was chosen double reader. In 1552 he was by 'writ called to be serj ear* at law; and in 1553, which was the first of queen Mary’s reign, he was appointed lord chief justice of the common pleas, and not of the king’s bench, as some have affirmed; and about that time he received the honour of knighthood from the queen, in whose reign he was highly ^valued for his profound skill in the law, and his integrity in all points relating to the profession of it. Mr. Wood mentions a manuscript in the Ashmolean library at Oxford, which informs us, that he had likewise been common serjeant and recorder of the city of London, and speaker of the house of commons; and that he died as he was visiting his friends in the country, September 5, 1558, and was interred in the chancel of Claverly church, with a monument erected to him. In his last will, proved October 12 the same year, he remembers the church and poor of Putney near London. He left his posterity a good estate at Madeley in Shropshire, and at one or two places in Suffolk. He wrote “La Graunde Abridgement,” which contains, according to Mr. Wood, an abstract of the Yearbooks to the reign of queen Mary; and Nicolson, in his “English Historical Library,” tells us, that in this work he followed the example of Nicholas Statham, one of the barons of the exchequer in the time of Edward IV. who t abridged the larger arguments and tedious reports of the Year-books into a short system under proper heads and common places to the reign of king Henry VI.; and that our author, sir Robert Brooke, made in his “Graunde Abridgement,” an alphabetical abstract of all the choice matters in our law, as contained in such commentaries, records, readings, &c. and that this work is a general epitome of all that could be had upon the several heads’ there treated upon. It has had several editions, particularly in London in a small folio, 1573, 1576, 1586, &c. amongst which editions, says Nicolson, (as it commonly fares with the authors of that professsion) the eldest are still reckoned the best. He collected likewise the most remarkable cases adjudged in.*the court of common pleas from the sixth year of king Henry VIII. to the fourth of queen Mary, which book is entitled “Ascuns novelCases, c.” and frequently printed, | particularly at London, 1578, 1604, 1625, Sac. in 8vo. He wrote also “A Reading on the Statute of Limitations 32 Henry VIII. cap. 2,London, 1647, 8vo. Mr. Wood supposes that it had been printed likewise before that time.1


Gen. Dict. vol. X. p. 547.—Ath. Ox. vol. I.—Tanner.