COKE, Thomas I (by 1458-1523), of Salisbury, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1458. m. Catherine, 1s. 4da.4

Offices Held

Member of the Twenty-Four Salisbury 1479, auditor for special acct. 1483, for city 1491, 1494-5, 1497-1500, 1502, 1506-9, 1511, 1513-14, 1515-17, 1520, assessor for Market ward 1488, 1498, for city 1497, 1512, mayor 1491-2, 1510-11; commr. subsidy, Wilts. and Salisbury 1495, 1512, 1514, 1515.5


The most active years of Thomas Coke’s career were passed under Henry VII, when he rose to become one of the leaders of a group of rich Salisbury merchants with international trading interests. In 1500 or earlier he joined Richard Bartholomew, who was three times his colleague in Parliament, and other unnamed plaintiffs in a chancery suit before Cardinal Morton concerning attempts by the mayor and sheriffs of London to impose scavage on goods from Salisbury. He traded in tin and in 1523 he was assessed on goods worth £2,433 in the Market ward.6

Coke performed many special duties for the corporation and in these he was often associated with Richard Bartholomew. On 16 Jan. 1512 Bartholomew seems to have been originally elected with a local gentleman Henry Pauncefoot, whose name is struck through in the corporation ledger and replaced by that of Coke. The ledger book throws no further light on the matter, but immediately after the election Coke and Bartholomew as Members-elect were instructed to bring back from London a number of standard measures, ranging from a bushel downwards, for which the city would pay. Coke usually received 12d. a day for his own costs at Parliament, but on 3 Apr. 1514 he absolved the city from paying his parliamentary expenses in return for his exemption from all civic offices for life. On being re-elected in 1515 in accordance with the general directive for the return of the previous Members, he was promised 20d. a day. If he and Bartholomew were reluctant to serve in the Parliament of 1515 this could explain why they were discharged on 4 Oct., five weeks before the opening of the second session; they may have felt that their attendance at the first session had satisfied the King’s request. Coke’s expenses for this, his last, attendance in Parliament were still outstanding on 17 June 1517, for he then renounced them, to a total of £5 8s.4d., this time in return for exemption from a tenth and fifteenth.7

Coke made his will on 8 May 1523, asking to be buried in St. Thomas’s, Salisbury. After leaving sums to all three parish churches in the city, as well as to those at Fisherton Anger and Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, he provided for his family and named his son-in-law Thomas Chaffyn I and John Stowe executors and John Erneley overseer. Coke died on 9 June 1523 and was succeeded by his 18 year-old grandson and namesake.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. F.T. Baker


  • 1. Salisbury corp. ledger B, f. 220v.
  • 2. Ibid. f. 225.
  • 3. Ibid. f. 232v; Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 4. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Ledger B, f. 133v; CPR, 1494-1509, p. 392; PCC 10 Bodfelde; Wilts. Vis. Peds. (Harl. Soc. cv, cvi), 56.
  • 5. Ledger B, ff. 133v-244v passim; Statutes, ii. 647; iii. 80, 113, 170.
  • 6. VCH Wilts. vi. 128; C1/224/76; G. D. Ramsay, Wilts. Woollen Industry in the 16th and 17th Cents. 21; CPR, 1494-1509, p. 526; E179/259/16.
  • 7. Ledger B, ff. 153-232v passim.
  • 8. PCC 10 Bodfelde; C142/40/21, 86, 91.