COCKE, Henry (1538-1610), of Broxbourne, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. 1538, 1st s. of John Cocke or Cock, master of requests, by Ann, da. of Thomas Goodere of Hadley. educ. St. John’s, Camb. Easter 1553; I. Temple 1559. m. Ursula, da. and coh. of James Bury of Hampton Poyle, Oxon., 1s. d.v.p. 2da. suc. fa. 1557. Kntd. May 1577.1

Offices Held

J.p. Herts. from 1569, q. by 1577, sheriff 1574-5, dep. lt. by 1585; cofferer of the Household from June 1597.2


Cocke’s father had purchased extensive lands in Hertfordshire, and soon after his death, Cocke himself though apparently still a minor, added to them by acquiring the manor of Weston from the 1st Earl of Pembroke.3 Cocke’s mother married as her second husband Sir George Penruddock, the Earl’s servant, and it seems likely that it was Penruddock who was responsible for Cocke’s return for Downton in 1571.

In the following year Cocke found a seat at St. Albans, where he owned property, and in 1584, by which time he had been knighted and had become active in local affairs, he sought the sole available county seat, asking Charles Morison of Cassiobury for his support: ‘My own private credit is not such in the shire ... as of myself I can clearly carry away so great a matter’. In the event Morison supported Edward Denny, but Cocke was elected all the same, and again in 1586. He was not in the 1589 Parliament, and again defeated Denny in 1593. His name occurs only once in the Parliament of 1571, on a committee for the River Lea, 26 May, and not at all in the first two sessions of the 1572 Parliament. However, he served on six committees in 1581, concerning the subsidy (25 Jan.), the preservation of woods (28 Jan.), slanderous words and practices (1 Feb.), the Family of Love (16 Feb.), game (18 Feb.) and the sowing of linseed in Hertfordshire (23 Feb.). In his next Parliament he made his only recorded speech, on game (13 Mar. 1585), and he was appointed to eight committees dealing with legal matters (3 Dec. 1584, 4 Feb. 1585), ecclesiastical livings (19 Dec. 1584), the progress of the fraudulent conveyances bill (15 Feb. 1585), the subsidy (24 Feb.), Jesuits (9 Mar.), armour and weapons (16 Mar.), and timber in Sussex, Surrey and Kent (19 Mar.). On 4 Nov. 1586 he served on a committee discussing the fate of Mary Queen of Scots, and in 1587 sat on committees concerned with regrators (4 Mar.), a learned ministry (8 Mar.) and a subsidy bill (18 Mar.). In his last Parliament Cocke served on committees discussing privilege (26 Feb. 1593), recusancy (as Feb., 4 Apr.), the subsidy (1 Mar.) and the relief of the poor (12 Mar.). As knight for Hertfordshire, he would have been entitled to attend a subsidy committee on 26 Feb. and a legal committee on 9 Mar. 1593.4

By this time, Cocke was a leading figure in Hertfordshire, and deputy lieutenant first to the Earl of Leicester whose sister-in-law, the Countess of Warwick, appointed him a feoffee of some of her lands, and then to Burghley himself. Cocke was in general on good terms with his neighbours the Cecils, though it appears from the wording of a request for support addressed by him to Robert Cecil that he did not owe his post as cofferer to them. How he did get it is not clear, but he retained it under James I, who visited his house at Broxbourne on the way south in 1603 and was entertained so lavishly ‘that no man, of what condition soever, but had what his appetite desired’. Cocke died on 24 Mar. 1610. His only son had presumably already died, for the heirs were Cocke’s daughter Elizabeth, widow of Robert West, then married to Sir Robert Oxenbridge, and his grandson Henry Lucy.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. C142/111/82; CPR, 1557-8, pp. 61-2; 1558-60, p. 74; Vis. Herts. (Harl. Soc. xxii), 5.
  • 2. SP12/190/64; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 31; APC, xxvii. 296.
  • 3. CPR, 1557-8, p. 238.
  • 4. Neale, Commmons, 28-30; VCH Herts. ii. 399; Add. 40629, f. 33; HMC Hatfield, xiii. 520; D’Ewes, 189, 300, 335, 343, 346, 349, 356, 365, 367, 368, 371, 394, 412, 413, 416, 471, 474, 477, 481, 496, 499, 517; CJ, i. 93, 119, 120, 121, 127, 128, 129.
  • 5. Collins, Sidney State Pprs. i. 42; APC, xv. 254; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 573; HMC Hatfield, iv. 339, 350; vi. 96, 246; vii. 119; viii. 322; Nichols, Progresses Jas. I, i. 106-7; Fuller, Worthies, ii. 64; C142/319/200; PCC 48 Wingfield.