Richard COOKE of Gidea Hall

Born: BEF 1530, Gidea Hall, Essex, England

Died: 3 Oct 1579, Gobrons, Essex, England

Father: Anthony COOKE of Gidea Hall (Sir)


Married: Anne CAUNTON (dau. of John Caunton) BEF 1559


1. John COOKE

2. Anthony COOKE

3. Phillipa COOKE

4. Mary COOKE

5. Mildred COOKE

6. Francis COOKE

The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Born by 1530, second, but first surv. son of Sir Anthony Cooke of Gidea Hall. Married, by 1559, Anne, dau. of John Caulton. Suc. family 11 Jun 1576. Groom, privy chamber by 1551-3; searcher, port of London 22 Feb 1552-?7; j.p. Essex 1558/59, q. 1561-2, 1575-d.

Followed his father to court and served alongside him in the privy chamber. It was as a replacement for his father that he first sat in Parliament in the spring of 1553. The borough of Stamford had begun by acceding to Cecil's request to elect Sir Anthony Cooke, who was Cecil's father-in-law, as its senior Member, but when the sheriff made his return two weeks later it was Richard Cooke who occupied that position. The change can scarcely have been made save at the father's request, and the most likely explanation is that having sat through the four sessions of the previous Parliament the publicity-shunning Sir Anthony Cooke withdrew in favour of his son.

Under Mary, Cooke's path diverged from his father's. If he was the man of that name who swore allegiance to the Queen on 16 Jul 1553 he early submitted to the new regime, and although his household appointment came to an end he retained the post in the London customs which he executed through a deputy. When his father went abroad in the spring of 1554 Cooke probably remained in England: he was perhaps already a married man with responsibilities of his own to add to the care of his father's. The Master Cooke's son who saw John Brett leave Strasbourg in Jul 1556 could have been one of his younger brothers, and he was certainly in England in the following spring when his father's wish for a visit from him during his convalescence was apparently turned down by the government. Sir Anthony Cooke then wrote of him to Cecil, I have not had at all times most cause to be content with him, but now, I fear, I shall be loth to lack him.

Richard Cooke sat with his father and his brother William in the first two Elizabethan Parliaments but none of the three was destined for more than local office. Cooke died on 3 Oct 1579, little more than three years after his father.


C. H. Garrett, Mariam Exiles, 126; HMC Hatfield, i. 140-1.

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