COLE, Anthony (by 1553-1607), of Whitefriar ward, Kingston-upon-Hull and Brantingham, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1604 - c. 20 Jan. 1607

Family and Education

b. by 1553.1 educ. appr. merchant, Hull c.1567-74.2 m. by 1581, Anne, da. of Walter Jobson†, alderman of Hull by 1557-79/82, at least 1s. 2da.3 bur. 20 Jan. 1607.4 sig. Anthonye Cole.

Offices Held

Freeman, Hull 1577, chamberlain 1584-5, sheriff 1587-8,5 commr. survey town lands 1592,6 alderman 1592-d., mayor 1593-4,7 commr. subsidy 1594, eccl. causes [Hull] 1599, sewers, Yorks. (E. Riding) 1603.8 bur. 20 Jan. 1607.9 sig. Anthonye Cole.


Of unknown origin, Cole should not be confused with Richard Cole, secretary to lord president Huntingdon.10 He married a daughter of his master, Walter Jobson, a London Clothworker who prospered as a Hull merchant, and was an indefatigable advocate of Hull’s causes at York and London. Indeed, after his death, his sister-in-law Jane Jobson, asking lord treasurer Salisbury (Robert Cecil†) to show favour to his son, ventured to remark that ‘I doubt not but your honour’s self does remember him’.11

Cole’s service as a lobbyist began in 1591, when he was one of four townsmen ordered to travel to London to obtain a lease of Thomas Wilkes’s† monopoly of Hull’s salt supply. In the event he was dropped from the delegation which concluded the deal, but his consent was still required because the loan was secured by a mortgage on the corporation manor of Newbiggin, then leased to Cole and John Aldred†.12 Elected mayor in 1593, Cole probably sponsored the alehouse regulations agreed at his first corporation meeting, a popular initiative in one of the most godly towns in the north.13 In 1596 Archbishop Hutton summoned him to York to report on the preparations that were being made to resist a new Spanish invasion threat. He was returned to Parliament in the following year, at which time he also successfully lobbied to prevent the repeal of Wilkes’s salt patent, which was then being considered by the Privy Council; the patent survived until 1601.14 Cole probably helped to lobby for a new town charter in 1598, furthered an Exchequer suit against Aldred over water rights, persuaded the Privy Council to waive the town’s contribution to the East Riding militia horse, and helped settle a dispute with John Gregorie, who had refused to serve as alderman following his election in October 1599.15 Shortly after this last incident Cole and his brother-in-law Michael Jobson fell out with the corporation over payment of £100 towards the cost of the ship the town had levied for the navy in 1596. Cole thereafter ceased to act as a lobbyist, and is unlikely to have stood for re-election to Parliament in 1601, as the corporation had by then commenced a suit for the debt, which was eventually waived by mutual agreement in 1602.16

Cole’s disagreement with the corporation was finally laid to rest in March 1604, when he delivered to the town’s governors the title deeds for an almshouse endowed by his late brother-in-law, Alderman Gee. Four days later he was again returned to Parliament.17 His activities at Westminster are sometimes difficult to distinguish from those of the Winchester MP Edward Cole. However, he was almost certainly the ‘Mr. Cole’ who was named to scrutinize the (Sir) John Hotham* jointure bill (25 Jan. 1606), as 14 other Yorkshire Members were included on this committee. As a Hull burgess, Cole was named to attend the conference at which the king presented his initial proposals for a Union with Scotland (14 Apr. 1604).18 His main interest, though, probably lay in economic affairs. ‘Mr. Cole of Hull’ was named to the committee for the bill to restrict the processing of imported spices to London garblers (30 May 1604), and he was probably the man named with Hull’s other MP, John Edmondes, to consider the bill to prevent pawnbrokers acting as fences for stolen goods (16 June 1604). Hull’s long-running dispute with the Muscovy Company over export rights to northern Norway gave their MPs a particular interest in the free trade bill, and as burgesses for a port town, both Cole and Edmondes were entitled to attend the committee appointed on 24 Apr. 1604. On the same grounds, Cole was probably the’Mr. Cole’ who was named to committees for bills concerning imported hops (18 May 1604) and the maximum length of kerseys (5 Feb. 1606).19

Cole’s chief interest in 1606 was a bill to revive an Elizabethan Privy Seal discounting the customs on cloth exports from York, Newcastle and Hull. All three towns probably co-operated to draft the bill, which was reported on 5 Mar. by the York MP Christopher Brooke. Cole was not individually named to the committee, but was entitled to sit as a burgess for a port town (17 Feb.), and he enthusiastically reported its progress in a letter to Hull on 10 Mar.:

it hath been twice read, committed and now engrossed, and if time will serve I do mean to call tomorrow [for it] to be put to the question [for the third reading]. I do make no doubt but it will pass our House, for the King’s Majesty hath willed us to set down our grievances.

Although no third reading is recorded, the bill was completed and sent up to the Lords three days later. Cole may have attended the Lords’ committee in person, as lord treasurer Dorset (Thomas Sackville†) was instructed to invite ‘such merchants or others ... meet to be heard concerning this bill’. On sending a copy of the committee list to the corporation, Cole insisted that ‘as yet we can do no more if our lives did [re]ly of [sic] it’. Objections from other ports presumably overwhelmed the bill, as it was never reported.20 In the same session Cole offered to promote a drainage bill for Hull’s hinterland, an issue which had previously caused friction with Sir Francis Barrington*, who owned some nearby land. Cole assured the mayor that Barrington now supported the bill, and that the total cost ‘will not come to £40’, but his offer was apparently not taken up.21

Cole’s letters to the corporation in 1606 included general news: he recounted how ‘we sat dismayed in the Parliament House and did nothing’ when a false report of the king’s assassination arrived on 22 March. He also relayed the vote of 18 Mar., which gave the king three subsidies and six fifteenths, omitting any mention of the closeness of the initial vote to increase the supply agreed on 10 February. Aware that the grant might be considered over-generous, he cited the magnitude of the king’s debts, observed that the first subsidy was earmarked for repayment of the Privy Seal loans of 1604-6, and resolved to seek a share of the rebate mentioned in the bill preamble: ‘I know our town is poor and hath twice been visited with the plague. If we may get certificate I hope we shall have aid’. Finally, he discussed legislation which appealed to the godly sympathies of the corporation, promising to send a copy of ‘the articles (some 22) that are agreed upon to frame two bills against the traitorous recusants’ in the aftermath of Gunpowder Plot. He also recounted ‘divers good bills put in to try against swearing, against drunkenness and against profaning the Sabbath, for a learned ministry and against good men deprived’, asking that these be mentioned to Thomas Whincop, the town preacher, and adding ‘I pray God they may take effect’.22

The ‘Mr. Cole’ named to the committee for the bill to clarify the 1604 Tanners’ Act on 9 Dec. 1606 could have been the Hull MP, but it seems likely that Cole never actually attended the third session. In his will of 13 Jan. 1607, Cole settled his property upon his wife and son, and left 20s. to Mr. Whincop. He was buried in Holy Trinity a week later. Probate was granted to his brother-in-law Walter Jobson and his nephew Sir William Gee* on 18 February. His son pursued an academic career, initially under Salisbury’s patronage. No subsequent member of the family sat in Parliament.23

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Assuming age 21 on completion of apprenticeship.
  • 2. Hull RO, Freemens’ Reg. 1396-1645, f. 91.
  • 3. Yorks. ERRO, PE158/1, pp. 321, 324; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xi. 209.
  • 4. Yorks. ERRO, 158/1, p. 402.
  • 5. Hull RO, Freemens’ Reg. 1396-1645, f. 91; Bench Bk. 4, f. 251.
  • 6. Hull RO, Bench Bk. 4, f. 271v.
  • 7. Ibid. ff. 277v, 282.
  • 8. E179/204/328; Hull RO, Bench Bk. 4, ff. 326v-7; C181/1, f. 64.
  • 9. Yorks. ERRO, PE158/1, p. 402.
  • 10. CSP Dom. 1595-7, pp. 368-9; HMC Hatfield, iv. 209; vi. 99; vii. 126-7.
  • 11. Hull RO, Freemens’ Reg. 1396-1645, f. 91; HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 379; HMC Hatfield, xxi. 156.
  • 12. E. Hughes, Studies in Admin. and Finance, 45-56; Hull RO, Bench Bk. 4, ff. 264v- 5, 269v, 172v, 274.
  • 13. Hull RO, Bench Bk. 4, ff. 277v, 283; C. Cross, Urban Magistrates.
  • 14. HMC Hatfield, vi. 203-4; Hull RO, L.128; Hughes, 64-5.
  • 15. Hull RO, Bench Bk. 4, ff. 313v-14v, 323v-5, 329-30; HMC Hatfield, ix. 139-40, 388.
  • 16. Hull RO, Bench Bk. 4, ff. 296-300, 315, 336v, 340v, 343.
  • 17. Ibid. f. 357.
  • 18. CJ, i. 172a, 260a.
  • 19. Ibid. 183b, 213b, 221b, 228b, 240a, 264a; T.S. Willan, Early Hist. of Russia Co. 137-40.
  • 20. LJ, ii. 395b-6b, 400a; Hull RO, L.160.
  • 21. LJ, ii. 394a; CJ, i. 269-70, 277b, 283b; Hull RO, L.159-60.
  • 22. CJ, i. 286, 288b; Hull RO, L.159-60; Bowyer Diary, 82-5; SR, iv. 1109.
  • 23. CJ, i. 329a; Borthwick, Reg. Test. 30, f. 245; Yorks. ERRO, PE158/1, p. 402; HMC Hatfield, xi. 149; xxi. 156; Al. Cant. (Abdias Cole).