LOK, Zachariah (1561-1603), of St. Clement Danes, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1561, 1st s. of Michael Lok of London by his 1st w. Joan, da. of William Wilkinson. educ. Winchester scholar 1572, aged 11; Magdalen Hall, Oxf. 1577, BA 1580. m. Dorothy, da. of James Brampton of Brampton, Norf. by Maria, da. and h. of Sir Edward Boleyn, ?1s.

Offices Held


Lok, a grandson of Sir William Lok, sheriff of London in 1548, was one of the 15 children of a city merchant. During a period of recession in the family fortunes, he entered, at the age of about 22, the service of the 1st Lord Hunsdon. Little is known of Lok’s activities during this period, beyond his service with Sir John Norris in the Netherlands. His return for Ipswich can be attributed to Hunsdon, who was high steward of the borough. Lok was paid £5 for his parliamentary service in 1593.

Both his wife and his patron died in 1596, the private sorrow presumably being softened by his liaison with his ‘dearly beloved mistress’, Ursula Johnson, whom he intended ‘by God’s grace’ to make his wife. His public rehabilitation was less complete. He struggled to win the favour of Sir Robert Cecil, praying ‘a timely remembrance of me to her Majesty’s gracious consideration’, and adding ruefully that he knew Hunsdon ‘had determined an honourable recompense and stay of living’ for him. Lok’s father at the same time wrote to Burghley, pleading that he take Zachariah into his service. Possibly he did, or perhaps Lok obtained a minor court post under the chamberlain, which office Hunsdon’s son, the 2nd Baron (Sir George Carey), obtained in 1597. Lok’s London origins may have assisted his return at Southwark in 1601, or this may have been due in some way to Hunsdon, whose name occurs in connexion with another Southwark Member about this time. On 21 Nov. that year he spoke in the House on the bill for building a port at the mouth of the Severn (‘I am not against this bill, it is a commendable piece of work’), suggesting it should be committed that it ‘may have the safer passage’. But something went wrong on 3 Dec., when he began to speak on a bill to avoid double payment of debts. He ‘for very fear shook, so that he could not proceed, but stood still awhile and at length sat down’. He is recorded as a member of the committee appointed 2 Dec. to consider the reform of abuses in the office of clerk of the markets, and soon afterwards he applied to Cecil for the job.

Lok’s will, made in January and proved 4 Apr. 1603, expressed a wish to be buried with his ancestors in the Mercers’ chapel ‘without pomp or mourning and to have only some gravestone or other small monument declaring my name, calling, age and time of my death’. His ‘little worldly substance’ was shared between his father and other members of his family, his executrix Ursula Johnson (who never became his wife), the prisoners in the Fleet (where his father had once languished), the poor of Bow parish, and his ‘loving friend’ Stephen Piers of the Queen’s wardrobe. (Sir) Edward Norris received Lok’s armour in consideration of a ‘wrong which I was privy unto that was done to his brother Sir John Norris in the Low Countries. And I know not where else to make my satisfaction for the clearing of my conscience’.

Lyson, Environs of London, ii. 467-8; N. and Q. (ser. 2), Jan-June 1858, pp. 12, 297; CSP Col. ii. 63, 65, 66; Ipswich treasurers’ accts. 1594-5; HMC Hatfield, vi. 296; vii. 94; xi. 110; xii. 210; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 130; Lansd. 82, f. 190; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 237, 282; D’Ewes, 663; PCC 27 Bolein.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: H.G.O.