COKER, Robert (c.1617-98), of Mappowder, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. c.1617, 1st s. of William Coker of Mappowder by Jane, da. of William Williams of Herringston. educ. Magdalen Hall, Oxf. 1635; M. Temple 1638. m. (1) 6 Jan. 1642, Joan (d. 29 Oct. 1653), da. of John Browne of Frampton, 1da.; (2) Mary, da. of Edward Hooper of Boveridge, wid. of John Brune of Athelhampton, 5s. 1da. suc. fa. 1656.1

Offices Held

Capt. of ft. (parliamentary) 1643, lt.-col. 1645; gov. Weymouth 1645-7; commr. for sequestration, Dorset by 1646-50, j.p. by 1646-July 1688, Nov. 1688-d., sheriff 1646-7; freeman, Weymouth 1648, commr. for militia, Dorset 1648, 1649, 1655, 1659, Mar. 1660, assessment 1649, 1657, Jan. 1660-80, 1689-90, oyer and terminer, Western circuit July 1660; pressing seamen, Dorset 1665, capt. of militia horse 1667-at least 1678, dep. lt. 1672-June 1688, Oct. 1688-d., commr. for recusants 1675.2


Coker’s ancestors had resided at Mappowder since the reign of Henry V, but their parliamentary record was limited to providing an MP for Shaftesbury in 1559. Coker’s father, a royalist commissioner, was fined £280 on an estate valued at £220 p.a.; but Coker himself, perhaps under the influence of his first wife’s family, took the other side; hence most of his father’s fine was appropriated to his own arrears of pay.3

Coker was returned for the county at the general election of 1660, but in the Convention he served only on the committees for confirming the privileges of Parliament and for the prevention of profanity. He obtained leave to go down to the country on 29 Aug. and showed no further interest in Parliament, though he remained very active as j.p. and militia officer, not without an acid comment on the inconvenience caused by the absence of so many deputy lieutenants in Parliament time. With