LUKE, Sir John (c.1563-1638), of Annables and Flamstead, Herts.

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




Family and Education

b. c.1563, 2nd s. of John Luke (d.1566) of Woodend, Cople, Beds. and Anne, da. and coh. of John Hemming of Arlesey, Beds.; bro. of Nicholas†.1 educ. M. Temple 1581. m. (1) 1594, Joan Collett, servant to Christopher Smith† of Annables2 and wid. of his son Thomas, s.p.;3 (2) 22 July 1616,4 Mary (d. 22 Aug. 1664), da. of Sir Henry Coningsby of North Mimms, wid. of Thomas Saunders of Flamstead, 1da.5 kntd. 11 May 1603.6 bur. 31 Mar. 1638.7

Offices Held

J.p. Herts. and St. Albans liberty 1597-d.;8 commr. oyer and terminer, Herts. and St. Albans 1602-d.,9 subsidy, Herts. 1608, 1621-2, 1623, 1628,10 sewers, St. Albans, 1617,11 Forced Loan, Herts. 1627,12 limiting badgers 1630.13


Luke’s name was a late addition to the election indenture for Newton in 1604, written over an erasure that makes the return now virtually illegible.14 He obtained the seat via a distant connection to the borough’s patron, for his niece was the wife of Sir Miles Fleetwood*, whose cousin Richard Fleetwood inherited the barony of Newton in February 1604 less than two weeks before the election took place. Luke was appointed to bill committees to consider the Northamptonshire grievances propounded by Sir Edward Montagu* (23 Mar.), and the destruction of coppices (28 Apr.),15 before being granted leave to depart on 16 June.16 In the second session he complained about the seating arrangements for the trial of the Gunpowder plotters.17 He was then appointed to committees to draft a bill for the grant of two subsidies and four fifteenths (10 Feb. 1606) and to confirm the charter of Oriel College, Oxford (18 March).18 On 29 Nov. he was added to the committee to prepare for a conference on the Union with Scotland, and after the Christmas recess he was named to a Bedfordshire private estate bill committee (24 Feb. 1607).19 A Cheshire estate bill promoted by the father of William Booth* (24 Mar. 1610), the repeal of the New River Act (20 June), and amendments to the oath of allegiance (23 July), were his only appointments in the fourth session.20 He is not mentioned in the records of the fifth sitting.

Before his election to Parliament, Luke had occupied chambers in the new buildings of the Middle Temple, which for a time he shared with his nephew (Sir) Oliver*.21 He surrendered these rooms after his marriage in 1594, moving instead to Annables in Hertfordshire, where he quickly became an accepted member of the county gentry, serving as a j.p. from 1597 onwards. Though the date of his wife’s death is not known, Luke passed over the Annables estate to his stepson Sir George Smith in 1614, and two years later he made a fortunate second marriage, by which he acquired a life interest at Flamstead, seven miles north-west of St. Albans.22 The corporation of St. Albans entertained him to dinner in 1618, and in 1624 they elected him to the last Jacobean Parliament. It may have been Luke or his nephew Sir Oliver who was named to attend the conference on 1 May concerning bills for limitations and pleadings in the Exchequer.23

On 30 Apr. 1625 Luke took wine with St. Albans’s corporation to celebrate the withdrawal of the demand of the 2nd earl of Salisbury (William Cecil*) for the nomination to both seats, and six days later he was re-elected, the only Member in this period to achieve this distinction. Nevertheless he left no trace on the records of the first Caroline Parliament, and his gift of a buck to the corporation in September failed to prevent his replacement at the next election by Salisbury’s nominee, Sir Edward Goring.24 On 6 Mar. 1626 he wrote to Sir Thomas Barrington* that he was pleased ‘to hear of your good proceedings in Parliament. It much glads the hearts of us here in the country, and we humbly pray you may so go on as you may have no rub’.25 Luke was among those who were presented for failure to contribute to the Forced Loan, for which he was a commissioner.26 He gave an ambivalent response to the St. Albans collectors in December 1626, that ‘if others of his own rank lend it, he will do the like, but at this time he hath it not’.27 He also conveyed the excuses of his friend, Sir John Jennyns*, whom he doubtless supported for election in 1628. Luke died intestate and was buried at Flamstead on 31 Mar. 1638, leaving a daughter as the sole heiress of his estate.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 179-80.
  • 2. PROB 11/74, ff. 79v-80.
  • 3. VCH Herts. ii. 199.
  • 4. Flamstead par. reg. (transcript at Soc. Gen.) 107.
  • 5. R. Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 362.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 107.
  • 7. Flamstead par. reg. 150.
  • 8. C181/1, ff. 9v, 59; C181/2, ff. 35v, 82v, 87, 127, 143, 172v, 192, 240, 305, 331; C181/3, ff. 1, 72v, 140, 174, 197v, 220, 223v; C231/1, f. 42; APC, 1621-3, p. 454; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 9.
  • 9. C181/1, ff. 27, 33, 42, 59v, 101, 128v; C181/2, ff. 19, 36v, 54, 60v, 91, 121v, 136, 176, 260, 264v, 305, 339; C181/3, ff. 3, 12v, 16v, 17, 95v, 123, 174v, 197v, 212v.
  • 10. SP14/31/1; C212/22/20, 21, 23; CSP Dom. Addenda, 1625-49, p. 729.
  • 11. C181/2, f. 297v.
  • 12. Rymer, viii. pt. 2, p. 144.
  • 13. APC, 1630-1, p. 132.
  • 14. C219/35/1/53.
  • 15. CJ, i. 151b, 189b.
  • 16. Ibid. 240b.
  • 17. Bowyer Diary, 10.
  • 18. CJ, i. 266b, 286a.
  • 19. Ibid. 326b, 340a.
  • 20. Ibid. 414a, 442a, 453b; Bowyer Diary, 10.
  • 21. MTR, 299, 327, 353.
  • 22. J.E. Cussans, Hist. Herts. iii. 358; C2/Jas.I/S19/38.
  • 23. CJ, i. 695b, 780a.
  • 24. HALS, St. Albans corp. mss 157, 161.
  • 25. Eg. 2644, f. 228.
  • 26. SP16/33/8.
  • 27. SP16/44/14.