COPE, John (1690-1760).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1722 - 1727
1727 - 1734
1 Feb. 1738 - 1741

Family and Education

b. 1690, o.s. of Lt.-Col. Henry Cope of Icombe, Glos. by Dorothy Waller, wid. of an exciseman. educ. Westminister c.1700. m. (1) Jane, da. of Anthony Duncombe, M.P., sis. of Anthony Duncombe, 1st Lord Feversham, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) Elizabeth, who was executrix of his will. K.B. 12 July 1743.

Offices Held

Cornet 1 Drags. 1707; a.-d.-c. to Gen. Stanhope 1708-9; capt. 33 Ft. 1709, Peterborough’s Drags. 1709; capt. and lt.-col. 3 Ft. Gds 1710; lt.-col. Macartney’s Ft. 1712, Wynne’s Ft. 1712; brevet col. 1713 with effect 1711; half pay 1713; lt.-col. 2 Ft. Gds 1715, 1 Horse Gren. Gds. 1720; col. 39 Ft. 1730, 5 Ft. 1732; brig.-gen. 1735; col. 9 Drags. 1737; maj.-gen. 1739; col. 7 Drags 1741; lt.-gen. 1743; c.-in-c. Scotland 1745.


William Cope of Icombe, Gloucestershire, married the widow of his kinsman, Sir John Cope of Hanwell, and daughter of the 1st Earl of Westmorland. He died 1691, leaving two daughters and one son, Henry, a retired army officer, who in 1689 had married the widow of an exciseman. Presumably disapproving of this marriage, William Cope entailed his estate on the son, but with remainder to the daughters, so disinheriting Henry’s only son, the future Sir John Cope.

In 1706 John Cope was appointed page to Lord Raby, ambassador at Berlin. Raby gave him a cornetcy in his regiment, then serving in Spain under General James Stanhope, who was asked to look after him. Stanhope made him his aide-de-camp and obtained for him a company in the Foot Guards, carrying the rank of lieutenant-colonel, before he was 21. He ended the war senior to many officers who had joined the army before him.1

After the peace Cope, having married into the wealthy Duncombe family, entered Parliament for a government borough. He continued to represent government boroughs for most of Walpole’s Administration, regularly voting with the Government. In the army he rose by seniority to the rank of lieutenant-general before his career was terminated by his defeat at Prestonpans in 1745, after which, though cleared by a court martial, he was never employed again. He died 28 July 1760, predeceased by his only son James Cope, M.P.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: A. N. Newman


  • 1. I. F. Burton and A. N. Newman, 'Sir John Cope', EHR, lxxviii. 655-68.