LUKE, Oliver (1574-c.1651), of Woodend, Cople and Hawnes, Beds.

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

bap. 26 Oct. 1574, 1st s. of Nicholas Luke by Margaret, da. of Oliver, 1st Baron St. John of Bletsoe. educ. King’s, Camb. 1588; M. Temple 1592. m. (1) 1599, Elizabeth (d.1607), da. and coh. of Valentine Knightley; (2) by 1616, Maud, da. of William Trenchard of ‘Cutheridge’, Wilts.; at least 3s. 1da. (at least 1s. by 1st w.). Kntd. 1603; suc. fa. 1613.

Offices Held

J.p. Beds. 1615, sheriff 1617-18; col. (parlty.) in civil war.2


Luke’s political career lies almost entirely outside the Elizabethan period. After several years at Cambridge, where he apparently took no degree, he entered the Middle Temple, being specially admitted with

no fine because Nicholas Luke his grandfather, a baron of the Exchequer and a master of the bench, lent the treasurer £20 towards the building of the Hall.

Oliver was not called to the bar, and surrendered his chamber at the Temple in June 1595. He could have been no stranger to Bedford, where his family owned property. However, he probably owed his return there to Oliver St. John II, the recorder. The burgesses for Bedford were appointed to committees concerning draining the fens (30 Dec. 1591) and maltsters (12 Jan. 1598). A friend of Sir John Eliot, John Hampden and other parliamentary leaders, Luke saw active service during the civil war, and sat for Bedfordshire almost continuously from 1614 until he was removed at Pride’s Purge. The date of his death has not been ascertained, but on 8 Nov. 1650 a lawsuit concerning a debt claimed from him by the government was deferred owing to his dangerous illness. He was still alive later in the same month, but had died by December 1651. His widow’s will, proved in 1656, asked that she should be buried near to him at Cople.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Secluded December 1648.
  • 2. M. F. Keller, Long Parlt. 261-2; Wilts N. and Q. iv. 326; Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 179; F. A. Blaydes, Gen. Bed. 84; Beds. N. and Q. iii. 59; Som. Wills, v. 41; DNB (Luke, Sir Samuel); HMC 13th Rep. I, 144.
  • 3. Gen. Bed. 84; M. T. Mins. i. 327, 353; Wards 9/138, ff. 607-9; CSP Dom. 1627-8, pp. 44, 246, 356; J. Forster, Sir John Eliot, i. 11-12, 389; iii. 373; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 346-7, 767; D’Ewes, 567, 578; Som. Wills, v. 41.