COOKE, William I (d.1589), of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Mdx.

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

2nd surv. s. of Sir Anthony Cooke and bro. of Richard. educ. ?Peterhouse, Camb. 1553, ?Trinity Hall, Camb. 1554; ?G. Inn 1554. m. Frances, da. of Lord John Grey of Pirgo, Essex, 4s. inc. William Cooke II 3da.

Offices Held

Clerk of the faculties 1560; clerk of the liveries in ct. of wards from 3 Oct. 1562; escheator, Essex and Herts. 1574-5; j.p.q. Mdx. from c.1583.1


Cooke’s early career is difficult to distinguish from those of his many namesakes. Possibly instead of receiving a formal education in England he accompanied his father into exile during the reign of Queen Mary. He owed his seats in Elizabeth’s first two Parliaments to his brother-in-law Sir William Cecil, who was no doubt anxious to reinforce the radical protestant group in the House of Commons. Cecil also obtained for him a lucrative office in the court of wards, partly to provide for Sir Anthony Cooke in his old age; Cooke secured the reversion for his own son shortly before his death. He accompanied the Queen on her progress to Cambridge in 1564 and was made an MA of the university. In 1569 he was granted the wardship of Thomas, son of Walter Strickland. He resided mainly in London, though he had lands also in Essex, Warwickshire, Devon and Kent. His will, made 6 Mar. 1588 and proved 9 Dec. 1589, is that of a wealthy man. He left £1,000 each to his elder daughters, £800 to the youngest, and smaller legacies to his three sons upon whom he entailed his lands. ‘The afflicted French and Dutch church’ received £10. Henry Killigrew, Sir Henry Grey, Francis Bacon, James Morice and Francis Rome were executors, and Lord Burghley was overseer. Thomas Windebank and Vincent Skinner were among the witnesses. This ‘most zealous and virtuous gent.’ died 14 May 1589 and was buried at St. Martin-in-the-Fields on the 19th.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), i. 39; PCC 97 Leicester; CPR, 1558-60, p. 281; 1560-3, p. 250.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 208; 1581-90, p. 336; Nichols, Progresses Eliz. i. 180; CPR, 1566-9, p. 338; HMC Hatfield, iv. 193; PCC 10 Daughtry, 97 Leicester; Par. Reg. St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Had. Soc. Reg. XXV), 17, 131, 133.