Brook, Basil (DNB00)

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BROOK, Sir BASIL (1576–1646?), royalist, eldest son of John Brook of Madeley, Shropshire, and Anne, eldest daughter of Francis Shirley of Staunton Harold, was born in 1576, and was knighted at Highgate on 1 May 1604. In 1615 he was one of the farmers of the ironworks in Forest of Dean, and shortly afterwards mention occurs of his manufacturing steel under a patent to Elliot and Meysey. This steel, it appears, was worthless; and on 2 July 1619 an order was made directing proceedings to be taken for revoking the patent. In 1624 Dr. William Bishop, bishop of Chalcedon died in Sir Basil Brook's house at Bishop's Court, near London. Anthony à Wood says: 'Where that place is, except in the parish of St. Sepulchre, I am yet to seek,' is described as 'a person of great account among the English catholics in the reigns of King James I and King Charles I, and of some interest with those princes.' In 1635 he was very active in supporting the cause of the regular clergy against episcopal government in England. He was treasurer of the contributions made by the English catholics towards defraying the king's charges of the war against Scotland. On 27 Jan. 1640-1 the House of Commons made an order requiring Brook and other royalists forthwith to attend the house. He, however, prudently withdrew from London, but he was apprehended at York a year later (January 1641-2). An order was made by the house in August 1642 for removing him from the custody of the serjeant to the king's bench.

Being subsequently implicated in an alleged plot to make divisions between the parliament and the city, and to prevent the advance of the Scots army into England, he was committed close prisoner to the Tower by the House of Commons on 6 Jan. 1643-4. On 6 May 1645 an order was made by the house that Brook should be removed to the king's bench, there to remain a prisoner to the parliament until the first debts by action charged upon him should be satisfied. He was apparently living in July 1646, for in certain articles of peace then framed he is named as one of the papists who, having been in arms against the parliament, were to be proceeded with and their estates disposed of as both houses should determine, and were to be incapable of the royal pardon without the consent of both houses.

Brook married Etheldreda, daughter of Sir Edmund Brudenell, knight. Sir Roger Twysden mentions him as 'a very good, trewe, and worthy person' (Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. iv. 103), and Dodd says he was 'handsome and comely.'

He published, with a dedication to Queen Henrietta Maria, 'Entertainments for Lent, written in French by the Rev. F. N. Causin, S.J., and translated into English by Sir B. B.' Lond. 1672, 12mo; Liverpool, 1755, 8vo.

[Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. iv. 81, 136; Calendars of State Papers; Panzani's Memoirs, 178, 179; Cat. of printed Books in Brit. Mus.; A cunning Plot to divide and destroy the Parliament and the city of London, 1643.]

T. C.