Sir John COKE, Knight

Born: 5 Mar 1563

Died: 8 Sep 1644

Father: Richard COKE


Married 1: Mary POWELL


1. John COKE of Melbourne (Sir)

2. Thomas COKE

3. Mary COKE

4. Elizabeth COKE

5. Anne COKE

Married 2: Joan LEE

English politician, was born on the 5 Mar 1563, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. After leaving the university he entered public life as a servant of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, afterwards becoming deputy-treasurer of the navy and then a commissioner of the navy, and being specially commended for his labors on behalf of naval administration. He became Member of Parliament for Warwick in 1621 and was knighted in 1624, afterwards representing the University of Cambridge.

In the parliament of 1625 Coke acted as a secretary of state; in this and later parliaments he introduced the royal requests for money, and defended the foreign policy of Charles I and Buckingham, and afterwards the actions of the King. His actual appointment as secretary dates from Sep 1625. Disliked by the leaders of the popular party, his speeches in the House of Commons did not improve the kings position, but when Charles ruled without a parliament he found Cokes industry very useful to him. The secretary retained his post until 1639, when a scapegoat was required to expiate the humiliating treaty of Berwick with the Scots, and the scapegoat was Coke.

Dismissed from office, he retired to his estate at Melbourne in Derbyshire, and then resided in London, dying at Tottenham on the 8 Sep 1644. His son, Sir John Coke, sided with the parliament in its struggle with the King, and it is possible that in later life Cokes own sympathies were with this party, although in his earlier years he had been a defender of absolute monarchy. Coke, who greatly disliked the papacy, is described by Clarendon as a man of very narrow education and a narrower mind; and again he says, his cardinal perfection was industry and his most eminent infirmity covetousness.

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