Richard Brooke (Norton)

For later members of this family, many of whom were named Richard, see Brooke of Norton, Cheshire

Richard Brooke (died 1569) bought the manor of Norton, near Runcorn, Cheshire from Henry VIII in 1545 following the dissolution of the monasteries. The manor included the former monastery of Norton Priory and also the settlements of Norton, Stockham, Acton Grange and Aston Grange in Cheshire and Cuerdley in Lancashire.[1]

Richard Brooke was the younger son of Thomas Brooke of Leighton in Nantwich Hundred. In his earlier life he had been a soldier and he was admitted as a Knight of Malta in 1531. He then became Commander of Mount St. John in Cleveland. After the suppression of the Order he was relieved of his religious vows and held the office of Vice-Admiral of England. He married Christian, daughter of John Carew of Haccombe in Devon, with whom he had three sons.[1]

Following the dissolution of the monasteries, the abbey of Norton Priory was made inhospitable.[2] Having bought the property, it seems that Brooke did not have the resources necessary to build an expensive house and therefore he modified the west range of the abbey as his residence, while the cloister became a rubbish dump.[3] The remaining buildings and the church were demolished and sold for building stone.[2]

Following the accession of Queen Mary to the throne in 1553, Brooke assisted Reginald Pole in the re-establishment of the Order of St John in England.[4] Brooke was Sheriff of Cheshire in 1563. He was succeeded at Norton Priory by his eldest son, Thomas.[1]

Richard Brooke's daughter Christiane married Richard Grosvenor of Eaton and was the mother of Sir Richard Grosvenor, 1st Baronet, the ancestor of the Dukes of Westminster.


  1. 1 2 3 Ormerod, George (1882), T. Helsby, ed., History of the County Palatine and City of Chester, i (2nd ed.), London: Routledge, p. 680, OCLC 1726839
  2. 1 2 Starkey, H. F. (1990), Old Runcorn, Halton: Halton Borough Council, p. 39
  3. Greene, Patrick (1989), Norton Priory: The archaeology of a medieval religious house, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 150–151, ISBN 0-521-33054-8
  4. Bostock, Tony (2009), "Sir Oliver Starkey, Knight of Malta", Cheshire History, Chester: Cheshire Local History Association, 49, p. 37, ISSN 0141-8696
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