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.
1. The 'Hollar' drawings
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). (ref. 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.
2. The Elringtons
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.
3. The manors of Hackney
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.
4. The Vaux family
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.
5. 'The inventory of the houshould stuffe at hackney'
On pages 22–24 of the Survey Committee's monograph is a transcript from an undated manuscript in
the British Museum. (ref. 2) The manuscript is endorsed 'The inventory of the houshould stuffe at hackney'
and 'The Inventory of the movable goods in hacknye howse'.
No evidence has been found to connect this document with Brooke House.
6. 'Lord Shower'
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'. (ref. 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, (ref. 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. (ref. 5)