COLE, Robert (by 1478-1536/50), of Tewkesbury, Glos.
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Family and Education
b. by 1478. educ. L. Inn, adm. 20 Aug. 1502. m. Joan (d. by 1533), at least 1da.2
Escheator, L. Inn 1506-7.
The family from which Robert Cole probably came had long been established in Gloucestershire. Of its various branches one was in the service of the 3rd Duke of Buckingham while another was resident in Gloucester. If Robert Cole was a kinsman of the mercer William Cole, who was three times mayor of Gloucester before his death in 1517, this might help to explain his election in 1512. He had a more obvious patron, however, in Walter Rowdon, a lawyer of considerable local standing, who had sat for Gloucester in the Parliament of 1491 and been mayor twice. As Rowdon’s protégé Cole served with him as a deputy steward for Reginald Bray in the duchy of Lancaster, entered his master’s inn by special admission and held the escheatorship during one of his terms as treasurer. It was probably also Rowdon who obtained for Cole the minor administrative work and legal business which he undertook during the first decade of the 16th century. Rowdon bequeathed Cole 40s. on condition that he was ‘good and loving’ to his executors. The paucity of references to Cole after Rowdon’s death in 1513 is suggestive of his dependence upon his patron.4
Between the first and second sessions of the only Parliament in which he sat Cole was discharged of all offices incumbent upon outer barristers at his inn. After the last session he and William Goldsmith alias Smith, his fellow-Member, were party to the indenture appointing collectors for the subsidy.5
In his will of 26 Jan. 1533 Cole asked to be buried beside his wife near the Lady chapel in Tewkesbury abbey. After providing for repairs to the bridges at Gloucester and Tewkesbury and for masses, obits and lights, he left the residue of his estate to his grandson. Cole may not have died for another 15 years or more as his will was not proved at Gloucester until 1549-50, although the last glimpse of him in life is his stewardship of the lands of St. Oswald’s priory, Gloucester, at the time of its dissolution in 1536.6