The first record of the family dates from the reign of King Richard II. Lands which had become vested in the Crown on the attainder of Sir Robert Belknap, were granted to John Brokeman in the 13th year of that monarch's reign (1390), and consisted of the Manor of Pirrie, extending to Old Romney and Medley, with other lands in Stowting and Crundale, by a patent which was enrolled that year in London Tower.
Research material that has just come to hand indicates the possibility that a family connection may be able to be traced back even earlier than this, however, this material is still being reviewed and if it can be substantiated, then the family tree will be updated accordingly. Over the centuries, the Brockmanís have been recorded in Essex and then after the purchase of Beachborough by Henry Brockman in 1590, the main branch of the family has resided in and around Kent.
The 1936 family book titled 'Record of the Brockman and Drake-Brockman Family' compiled by Brig. Gen. David Henry Drake-Brockman not only contained a overall commentary on the history of the family but also three family trees; a Senior Branch, a Junior Branch, and the Australian Branch. The Senior Branch covered descendants from the earliest known relative John Brokeman (1390) to Rev. Julius Drake-Brockman. The Junior Branch covered descendants of Rev. Julius Drake-Brockman and also included whatever information could be attained at the time on those family members that immigrated to India, New Zealand and Canada. The Australian Branch had few details on descendants but this branch emanated from two sons and a grandson of Rev. Julius Drake-Brockman. This line is referred to as the Beachborough Line.
Recent research undertaken by a number of family genealogists including Patrick Brockman, David Dixon and two professional researchers at Canterbury have established a previously unknown section of the Senior Branch of the family that emanates from the one of the children of William Brockman (1475-1525). In the 1936 family book, Brig. Gen. David Henry Drake-Brockman had already traced descendants from William Brockmanís first son, Henry (Harry) Brockman (c.1500-1573) but this new research has identified previously unknown descendants from William's second son, Thomas (c.1500-1557). The descendants of Thomas Brockman appear to have been Yeoman farmers living in and around Whitfield and Dover for almost 200 years. This material is an exciting new addition to the overall family tree so well done to David Dixon, Patrick Brockman and the researchers for their great work. This line of English Brockman descendants have now become known as the Whitfield Line. This family line only ever had the surname Brockman unlike the Beachborough line.
Just a note about the use of the surname Brockman and Drake-Brockman. Even though in the 'Beachborough' descendants surname changed from Brockman to Drake-Brockman in 1761, many family members reverted back to being known as just Brockman using 'Drake' as if it were another Christian name. For example in the 1901 census, Hugh Drake-Brockman's father was cited as being Paris H.D. Brockman with the initial 'D' referring to 'Drake'. It seems Beachborough descendants who served in the army tended to use another variation, i.e. the Drake Brockman surname without the hyphen, and others like Henry John Drake-Brockman, used the hyphen. Obviously, the 'Whitfield' descendants were never known by any other surname other than Brockman. Consequently, there are three surname variations used by descendants of the family founder, John Brockman (1360).
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