Go to Brereton Home PageBrinton, Norfolk and the Brereton Family

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Early history of Brinton

Archaelogical finds in the village show evidence of a Roman Villa, and there evidence of a Saxon causeway which crossed marshy ground. Indeed the village is recorded as an outstation belonging to William Beaufoe's manor of Thornage located one mile to the East. In 1251 the Bishop of Norwich was the Lord until disposessed under Henry VIII, eventually passing via the Bacons to Sir Jacob Astley in 1682, that family remaining as Lords of the manor of Melton Contable until the C20.

Saxon walls were found during the restoration of Brinton Church. The earliest part of the present building dates from around 1400.

The Cooke family and Brinton Hall

Robert Cooke with his wife Mary lived at Brinton Hall. Their initials and the date 1660 are recorded high on the South Wall of the present day hall. It is not known where these Cookes came from. One family story is that they were connected to the Cokes of Holkham, the family of Lord Leicester, but independent documentary evidence has not been found for this, and it was not mentioned by researchers in the family, eg Robert Maitland Brereton's 1904 account, or in Philip Harrington Lloyd Brereton's books of family trees.

What we do know is that Robert Cooke and Mary had a daughter Cicely born in 1660, the year of construction recorded on Brinton Hall. Cicely married John Brereton of Shotesham, probably around 1685. It was through Cicely's position as heiress of her father's Brinton estate that the Hall was brought into the posession of her Brereton descendants.