Brougham Hall III

All that Edwardian gothic splendor was built on earlier foundations tracing back to the actual medieval era where the trail of ownership becomes obscure. 

The de Burgham lords (who probably held it in Edward the Confessor‘s reign) were, unusually, allowed by William the Conqueror to keep their lands. The first of this family to be recorded is Wilfred de Burgham in Henry I’s reign (1100-35). The de Burghams retained their lands by drengage (military service) to the de Veteriponts, who lived at nearby Brougham Castle.

Mark Thomas. A History of Brougham Hall and High Head Castle
Brougham Hall: the 13th century gateway. Image source: Mark Thomas. A History of Brougham Hall and High Head Castle. 

The de Burgham lords ran out of male heirs in 1272 and the property was divided. 168 years later a man named Thomas Burgham bought half the property in 1440. His line ended again for lack of male heirs in 1608. From 1608 to 1726 Brougham Hall had a succession of owners (no Broughams).

Effigy of King Henry III of England on his tomb in Westminster Abbey.  Henry III died about the same time the de Burgham lords ran out of male heirs.

Then, in 1726 John Brougham of Scales (1677-1741) purchased the Brougham Estate for £5,000 from James Bird. When John Brougham died and his brother Samuel Brougham inherited the estate. And here’s where our family comes into the picture.

Samuel Brougham (1681-1745) is my 6th great grandfather. 

Professional genealogists and others have documented this family. In fact, our line of the family can reliably be traced back to Peter Brougham (1520-1581), who lived right next to Brougham Hall in the village Eamont Bridge. Peter Brougham founded our line of Broughams.

Short of some brilliant, expensive and probably impossible DNA study though, we can’t know whether we are related to the medieval or Tudor era families.

It is impossible to draw a genealogical chart linking the medieval de Burghams with the Brughams and the two Brougham families of Brougham Hall because, unfortunately, there is little information to indicate how or if successive Brougham families were related.

Mark Thomas. p. 5

Samuel Brougham’s father, Henry Brougham of Scales (1638-1698), was an interesting character. Scales is a place located about halfway between Penrith and Carlisle.

Brougham was the first of his branch of the Broughams to attain gentry rank. He transformed the farmhouse at Scales into a gentleman’s residence, Scales Hall. At the same time, his income was not great… estimated it at £300 a year in 1676. 

Henry Brougham of Scales was clearly a man of some distinction. On 11 November 1693 he was chosen to serve as sheriff of Cumberland, his tenure of office lasting until 19 December 1694…he had enlarged the family’s holdings considerably. Apart from the land at Scales, he now possessed freehold messuages, tenements and lands in Skelton, Sebergham, Carlisle, Ireby, Routhwaite and Applethwaite in Cumberland

Photo of a Map of Cumberland and Westmoreland. Mark Thomas. A History of Brougham Hall and High Head Castle, Front endpaper. Colorized.

This map shows Brougham, just south of Penrith, east of the road north to Carlisle, just below the Cumberland-Westmoreland county line. Scales Hall lies just west of the road north about half way between Brougham and Carlisle. 

Samuel’s son was Henry Brougham the Elder (1719-1782) who inherited Brougham Hall in 1756. Henry the Elder is our first ancestor in common with the Lords Brougham and Vaux.

Henry the Elder (1719-1782) was a solicitor and agent for the Duke of Norfolk’s estates in Cumberland and was the first Brougham to inhabit Brougham Hall according to an online timeline published by the Brougham Hall Charitable Trust.

Lord Brougham the famous Whig politician recalled how his grandfather Henry the Elder came to be buried.:

“Neither of his sons (Henry and John) were then in Westmorland, and Charles, Duke of Norfolk, who was an intimate friend of the family attended as chief mourner. At the funeral feast, which preceded the funeral, His Grace addressed the guests: “Friends and neighbours, before I give you the toast of the day, the memory of the deceased, I ask you to drink to the health of the family physician, Dr. Harrison, the founder of the feast.

“There were more toasts, and the funeral procession set out for Ninekirks, distance of three miles. At the church, the hearse and procession was met by the vicar – but the coffin had disappeared! On searching back it was found in the river at a place where, driven by a drunken coachman, the hearse had lurched against a rock. The outer oak coffin had broken to pieces, the lead had remained intact, too heavy to be carried away by the stream.

“The shock and the scandal produced by all this had a sobering effect on everybody, and put an end to such disgraceful orgies in the county.”

From “The Life and Times of Henry, Lord Brougham’, by himself
Welsh character actor Hugh Griffith (1912-1980). Photo from his antic performance as Squire Weston in Tony Richardson’s film Tom Jones (1963).

Thus passed my 5th great grandfather, Henry Brougham the Elder. Brougham Hall went to his oldest son Henry the Younger and John Brougham, a younger son, our ancestor, went to Ireland.

To summarize, our line of the Brougham family can reliably be traced back to Peter Brougham (1520-1581) who was 38 years old when Elizabeth I became Queen of England, but Brougham Hall did not come into our line of possession until 1726 well into the Georgian period.