CHOCKE, Alexander II (1593/4-1625), of Shalbourne, Wilts.; later of Hungerford Park, Berks.
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Family and Education
b.1593/4, 2nd s. of Francis Chocke (d.1640)1 of Yatton, Som. and Mary, da. of Thomas Swift of London.2 educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1609, aged 15.3 m. (1) 5 Oct. 1612, Bridget, da. of Sir Anthony Hungerford* of Black Bourton, Oxon., s.p.;4 (2) Mary (with £2,500),5 da. of Sir William Pitt* of Old Palace Yard, Westminster and Hartley Wespall, Hants,6 s.p. suc. uncle Alexander Chocke I* 1607. d. 5 Feb. 1625.7
Chocke succeeded to his uncle’s estates in Wiltshire, Somerset and Berkshire in 1607, having been adopted as the latter’s heir some years before, and during his minority his aunt Joan served as his governess.8 Related to the leading local families, the St. Johns of Lydiard Tregoze and the Hungerfords of Farleigh Hungerford, his local status was underlined by a visit from Anne of Denmark during her progress of the county in September 1612.9 In the following month he married into the Black Bourton branch of the Hungerfords.
Chocke’s inheritance, however, was threatened by his aunt’s second marriage, to Sir Gabriel Dowse, which resulted in an acrimonious dispute over the manor of Avington, Berkshire. After attaining his majority, Chocke claimed Avington as part of his inheritance under the terms of his uncle’s will, only to find that Dowse refused to relinquish the property on the grounds that it formed part of his wife’s jointure. By 1623 the dispute had reached the courts. Chocke claimed to have spent more than £1,500 on improving the property, erecting outbuildings, planting orchards and ‘plentifully furnish[ing] his house with a great store of rich good plate, beds, linen, hangings, pewter, brass and other furniture’.10 In her defence Joan asserted that Avington, taxed at £20, was an inviolable part of her jointure and a just reward for having raised and educated Chocke, the expense of which she intended to recoup from rents.11 Chocke eventually succeeded in establishing his claim to the manor, and although he did not live there he settled the reversion of it on his wife, Mary, who duly inherited it at his death.12
In December 1620 Chocke was elected to Parliament for Ludgershall, eight miles south-west of his residence at Shalbourne; he may have appealed for a seat as a neighbour, or perhaps been recommended by his cousin, Charles Danvers*, who had represented the borough in the previous Parliament. Chocke made little impression upon the work of the House. He was not named to any committees, and made only one recorded speech, on 3 Mar. 1621, when, during inquiries into (Sir) Giles Mompesson’s* escape from custody, he sheepishly apologized that the occasion of his first speech should be to excuse himself from suspicion. His wife and Mompesson’s were half-sisters, but since the discovery of Mompesson’s misdemeanours, he protested that ‘he hated and detested him’ and looked forward to his censure.13
In his last years Chocke was involved in further legal suits relating to his various properties.14 In July 1623 he was given a passport to travel abroad with three servants,15 perhaps with the intention of recovering his health, but it is not known whether he left England. He was aged only 30 when he made his will on 24 July 1624, in which he detailed the state of his affairs. He had obtained Kintbury manor, Berkshire, from Sir John Darrell for £2,500, but as he needed £600 to complete the purchase of Hungerford Park, he had arranged for Darrell to buy back Kintbury at the original price.16 If Darrell defaulted, Chocke’s father was to receive Kintbury, and pay Chocke’s widow the remaining £1,500 due from her father as her marriage portion. Chocke also left his books to his brother, Francis, and money to the poor of Hungerford and Kintbury. Naming ‘my fathers-in-law’ Sir Anthony Hungerford and Sir William Pitt as his executors, he asked to be buried ‘by my ancestors’ in Avington church.17 His widow re-married, taking as successive husbands John Rudhale* and John Vaughan, a Herefordshire Catholic.18 No subsequent member of Chocke’s family served in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Henry Lancaster
- 1. PROB 11/184, f. 320.
- 2. F. Brown, Chocke Fam. Genealogy, 1.
- 3. Al. Ox.
- 4. Coll. Top. and Gen. v. 30.
- 5. PROB 11/145, f. 476.
- 6. Add. 29974, f. 201.
- 7. VCH Berks. iv. 160.
- 8. PROB 11/111, f. 387v.
- 9. E179/75/344; HMC 6th Rep. 450.
- 10. STAC 8/110/18; C2/Jas.I/C30/21; PROB 11/111, f. 387v.
- 11. C2/Chas.I/C121/34, 98; 2/Chas.I/D63/30.
- 12. C142/417/48; Wilts. RO, 1883/2/1199.
- 13. CJ, i. 535b; CD 1621, ii. 157.
- 14. C2/Jas.I/C7/3, 8, 18; 2/Chas.I/D63/30; 2/Chas.I/A49/21; 2/Chas.I/C25/45.
- 15. APC, 1623-1625, p. 63.
- 16. Add. 29974, f. 103.
- 17. PROB 11/145, f. 476; WARD 7/74/34.
- 18. Brown, 14.