Peasants to Puddles
My Family History - By Nicky Rowberry

The Brookes
Page 3

James Brooks or Brookes was one of my 4xgreat grandfathers. As yet I know very little about his early life, other than that together with his wife Ann he had at least 8 children in or around Canon Pyon, Herefordshire between 1796 and 1812. One of the youngest of these children was my 3xgreat grandfather Thomas Brookes. For a long time I didn't even know his wife Ann's maiden name for sure, but I have just recently found the details of their marriage. They married in 1795 in Canon Pyon, but James's surname was spelt Brukes which may be why it's taken me so long to find it. The marriage indicates that he was from Breinton and she was from Canon Pyon.

So far I have found baptism for 6 of their children - all baptised in Canon Pyon. But when their eldest daughter Mary Brookes died in 1818 the family was said to be living at Upper Breinton. In 1841 James & Ann were living with their son Peter Brookes at Veldiver in Breinton. The table below gives a transcription from the 1841 census (HO107/422/2 ED4 Folio 5 Page 5):

City or Borough of County of Hereford
Parish or Township of Breinton
Place Names of each Person who abode therein the preceding NightAgeProfession, Trade, Employment or of Independent MeansWhere Born in Same County
Veldiver Peter Brooks30Ag. Lab.Yes
  James Brooks70Ag. Lab.Yes
  Ann Brooks60 Yes

James Brookes was still living in Veldiver in 1845 when he died, said to be aged 71. Veldiver (or Veldivere) was a small hamlet in Breinton to the north of the Kings Acre road. So by 1851 Ann was a widow living with her eldest son Peter Brookes in Veldiver, Breinton, Herefordshire. In the same house were two of Ann's grandchildren, plus a lodger William Powis. William Powis was in fact Ann's younger brother, so Peter should really have put him down as Uncle not just lodger - if nothing else it would have meant I'd have known Ann's maiden name a long time ago! The table below gives a transcription from the 1851 census (HO107/1977 Folio 519 Page 2 schedule 8):

Parish or Township of Ecclesiastical District of City or Borough ofTown ofVillage of
No. of Schedule Name of Street, Place, or Road, and Name or No. of HouseName and Surname of each person who abode in the house, on the Night of 30th March, 1851Relation to Head of FamilyCondition AgeRank, Profession or OccupationWhere Born
8 VeldiverPeter BrookesHeadUnmar 50Ag LabourerBreinton
   Ann BrookesMotherWidow 80Formerly Ag. Lab. PauperBreinton
   William PowisLodgerUnmar70Ag LabourerCanon Pion
   John BrookesNephew 15Ag LabourerBreinton
   Ann BrookesNiece 9ScholarHope under Dinmore

Ann Brookes died in Breinton in 1852 and it looks as if her son Peter then moved in with his widowed sister Elizabeth Williams in Wellington, Herefordshire. Elizabeth had outlived two husbands - her first Joseph Evesham and second James Williams. Peter & Elizabeth were still living together in Wellington in 1871. Elizabeth died in Wellington in 1874 and Peter Brooks died in 1878 in nearby Hope-under-Dinmore. I suspect Peter was taken in after his sister died by his younger brother John Brookes who was living in Hope under Dinmore at the time.

Of James & Ann's 8 known children, all but 1 survived to adulthood - probably quite an achievement at the time. Sadly their eldest daughter Mary died aged only 22. I haven't found Mary's baptism, so the only record I have of her is her burial in Breinton in 1818 when she is said to be aged 22 and the daughter of James Brooks by Ann his wife. Two of their sons (William and James) also died before they were 40, but at least they lived long enough to get married. Their youngest son John Brookes married Charlotte Dyer and settled in Hope under Dinmore. They had 5 children together. Charlotte died in 1878 in Hope under Dinmore, but John died in Wales, having moved there to live with his widowed daughter Ann Hiles. John's grandson James Powell Brookes also settled in Wales, in Blaina, Monmouthshire. Sadly he and his 16 year old son Arthur Brookes were killed together in a mining accident at the pit where they worked. The clipping below shows part of the article in the Western Mail from 27th February 1923. (Image Reach plc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive ). His poor wife lost her husband and oldest son and was left with 5 children to raise alone.

My 3xgreat grandfather Thomas Brookes was baptised in 1809 in Canon Pyon, Herefordshire - the fourth son born to James & Ann Brookes. I don't know anything about his early life yet, but in 1836 he married Lucy Griffiths in Stretton Sugwas, Herefordshire, with his brother William & sister Elizabeth Eveson as witnesses. More information about him and his descendants can be found by clicking the following link:

The family tree below summarises what I know about the Brookes family. It is hopefully reasonably accurate, but if you spot any errors, or any relatives, please feel free to E-mail me

Please click on one of the red links on the tree to move to a different page or part of the tree.

If any of the above is of further interest, please feel free to contact me at:

If you've not found your Brooks/Brookes family on my pages, why not have a look at the Brooks One Name Study website - packed with information on the surname for families all over the country:

Nicky Rowberry 2023

Thank you for visiting my site. You are visitor number:

Peasants to Puddles - My Family History. By Nicky Rowberry