COOKE, Richard (by 1530-79), of Gidea Hall, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1530, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Anthony Cooke, and bro. of William. m. by 1559, Anne, da. of John Caulton, 1s. Anthony 1da. suc. fa. 11 June 1576.1

Offices Held

Groom, privy chamber by 1551-3; searcher, port of London 22 Feb. 1552-?7; j.p. Essex 1558/59, q. 1561-2, 1575-d.2


The pattern of Richard Cooke’s early life and career was set by his father’s. Reared in the same milieu as his five celebrated sisters, he 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.3

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 July 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 July 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’.4

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.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 39.
  • 2. Stowe, 571, f. 30v; LC2/4/1, f. 19; CPR, 1550-3, p. 76; 1553, pp. 39, 385; 1555-7, p. 294.
  • 3. HMC Hatfield, i. 106; Stamford hall bk. 1461-1657, f. 156.
  • 4. APC, iv. 439; CPR, 1555-7, p. 294; C. H. Garrett, Mariam Exiles, 126; HMC Hatfield, i. 140-1.
  • 5. C142/177/52, 189/45.