COOPER, George (1626-89), of Farley, Wilts.
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Family and Education
bap. 15 Dec. 1626, 2nd s. of Sir John Cooper, 1st Bt.†, of Rockbourne, Hants, and bro. of Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1642. m. July 1647, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of John Oldfield, Fishmonger and sugar refiner, of London, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 6da.1
Capt. (parliamentary) by 1644; maj. 1646.
Commr. for militia, Tower Hamlets 1648-9, Wilts. 1659, Mdx. and Wilts. Mar. 1660; j.p. Mdx. 1648-July 1660, Dorset by 1649-52, Wilts. 1653-bef. 1657; commr. for assessment, Mdx. 1650, 1652, Wilts. 1657, Mdx. and Wilts. Jan. 1660, Wilts. 1673-80, scandalous ministers, Wilts. 1654, oyer and terminer, Western circuit 1655; freeman, Poole Apr. 1660; treas. of prizes, Dover 1666.2
Trustee for maintenance of ministers 1649-Feb. 1660; member, high court of justice 1650, 1654; commr. of Admiralty Feb.-July 1660, revenue arrears [I] 1671.3
Cooper, in the judgment of Edmund Ludlow, was ‘an honest gentleman, though brother to Sir Anthony’, by whom he was completely overshadowed. He held office throughout the Interregnum, but his career reached its apogee with his appointment to the admiralty board by the Rump. He was returned for Poole on his brother’s interest at the general election of 1660, and marked by Lord Wharton as a friend. He may have voted with the Opposition, but he withdrew from the ballot for the delegation to The Hague, and his only known positive action in the Convention was to claim privilege to extract his servant from the Counter, and even this may have been James Cowper. His chief concern was to retain the crown lands in Clarendon Park, which he had bought for £3,000 in debentures, in which he hoped for support from the Presbyterian peers, but his petition was unsuccessful. The park was granted to the Duke of Albemarle (Gen. George Monck) in 1665, but Cooper continued to reside at Farley, in the neighbourhood.4
In any case Cooper’s growing family must have pressed on his resources. It was no doubt his brother, as treasurer of prizes, who obtained for him a post at Dover in the second Dutch war. His seat on the Irish revenue commission brought him into contact with the Earl of Ranelagh (Richard Jones), with whom he later entered into financial transactions. He was elected for Poole on 3 Feb. 1673, but his return was declared void at the instance of the indignant Giles Strangways, the writ having been issued by Cooper’s brother, then lord chancellor, during the recess without authority from the House. Cooper’s willingness to lend himself to this dubious procedure may have been induced by a loan from Shaftesbury, the interest on which was forgiven five years later.5
Cooper survived his brother, and on 25 Aug. 1683 assigned the £1,200 owed to him by Ranelagh, John Bence and others to his daughter Catherine. Having mortgaged his estate, he was described as ‘lately deceased’ in July 1689. His two sons died childless without achieving parliamentary careers, but his daughter, Lady Hanham, broke with the family political tradition, and was sent to the Tower for Jacobite activities.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / John. P. Ferris
- 1. Collins, Peerage, iii. 546; Wimborne St. Giles par. reg.
- 2. Som. and Dorset N. and Q. xiii. 67; CSP Dom. 1668-9, p. 47; Poole archives, B17; G. E. Aylmer, State’s Servants, 131-2.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1671, pp. 479-80.
- 4. Voyce from the Watch Tower, 117, 122; CJ, viii. 138, 146; CSP Dom. 1658-9, pp. 23-4; 1660-1, p. 290; Hoare, Wilts. Alderbury, 144, 147.
- 5. HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 445; PCC admon. act. bk. 1705, f. 142; PRO 30/24, bdle. 6A, no. 321.
- 6. Dorset RO, D124, box 236, bdle. 9, Trippet to Fox, 20 July 1689; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 245; Luttrell, i. 585.