LUKE, Sir Samuel (1603-70), of Woodend, Cople, Beds.

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



6 Aug. 1641

Family and Education

bap. 27 Mar. 1603, 1st s. of Sir Oliver Luke of Woodend by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir Valentine Knightley of Fawsley, Northants. educ. Eton 1617-19; travelled abroad 1623. m. 2 Feb. 1624, Elizabeth, da. of William Freeman, Haberdasher and merchant, of London, 6s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. Kntd. 20 July 1624; suc. fa. c.1651.2

Offices Held

Freeman, Bedford 1625, commr. for sewers, Beds. 1636; j.p. Bedford 1640, Sept. 1660, Beds. Mar. 1660-6; commr. for midland assoc. Beds. 1642, assessment 1643-8, Aug. 1660-3, sequestrations 1643, levying of money 1643, new model ordinance 1645, militia 1648, Mar. 1660, col. of militia ft. Apr. 1660.3

Capt. of horse (parliamentary) 1642; col. of dgns. 1643; scoutmaster-gen. 1643-5; gov. Newport Pagnell 1643-5.4

Commr. for scandalous offences 1646, indemnity 1647-8, exclusion from sacrament 1648.


Luke was descended from a Tudor judge who acquired Woodend by marriage. His father represented either the county or the borough almost continuously from 1597 to Pride’s Purge, but the family fortunes were in decline before the Civil War. Father and son were both Presbyterians, and as scoutmaster-general for the parliamentary forces Luke achieved distinction for his diligence and skill in espionage. As one of the tellers for the treaty of Newport, he was imprisoned for a few days after Pride’s Purge, and ‘refused all public employment ever since till the sitting of the secluded Members’.5

Luke was returned in 1660 for Bedford, three miles from his residence, together with Humphrey Winch, his tenant and kinsman. He was listed as one of Lord Wharton’s friends, but made no recorded speeches in the Convention, and was appointed to only six committees, of which the most important were for the confirmation of parliamentary privileges and for settling the establishment of Dunkirk. After the recess he was named to the committee on the bill for the sale of the lands of Lord Cleveland, who recommended him as deputy lieutenant with the implication that he had been involved with Richard Browne I in a royalist conspiracy so secret that it was unknown even to Edward Massey; but nothing is known of this, and the recommendation failed. Luke lost his seat to John Kelyng in 1661. He has usually been identified with the principal character in Butler’s Cavalier satire Hudibras, which appeared in the following years with enormous success. He was obliged to alienate Hawnes, one of his principal estates, to Sir George Carteret, and was buried at Cople on 30 Aug. 1670, the last of the family to sit in Parliament.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Secluded at Pride’s Purge, 6 Dec. 1648, readmitted 21 Feb. 1660.
  • 2. Beds. N. and Q. i. 353; Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 180; APC 1621-3, p. 468; Coll. Top. et Gen. iii. 85; v. 363; St. Michael’s Cornhill (Harl. Soc. Reg. vii), 224.
  • 3. Beds. N. and Q. iii. 94; Min. Bk. Bedford Corporation (Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc. xxvi), 1, 3, 17; C181/5/74, 373; LJ, v. 493; Merc. Pub. 12 Apr. 1660.
  • 4. Jnl. of Sir Samuel Luke (Oxon. Rec. Soc. xxix), pp. v-vi; CJ, iii. 156.
  • 5. VCH Beds. iii. 239; Keeler, Long Parl. 261-2; Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc. xviii. 29; xxvii. 39, 43; D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 147; Jnl. of Sir Samuel Luke, p. v; SP29/11/142.
  • 6. SP29/11/142; CJ, viii. 250; VCH Beds. 340-1; Beds. RO, CRT 110/35/14; Pepys Diary, 17 May 1667; Coll. Top. et Gen. v. 363.