TOOKER, Giles (c.1558-1623), of Maddington and Salisbury, Wilts. and Lincoln's Inn, London

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.1558,1 1st. s. of Charles Tooker, yeoman, of Maddington, and Matilda, da. of one Nipperhead. educ. Balliol, Oxf. by 1572; Barnard’s Inn; L. Inn 1581, called 1589.2 m. 19 Sept. 1586, Elizabeth (d.1628), da. of Thomas Eyre† of Salisbury, 2s. 1da.3 suc. fa. 1571.4 d. 25 Nov. 1623.5 sig. G[iles] Tooker.

Offices Held

Member of the Forty-Eight, Salisbury 1591, of the Twenty-Four 1601;6 j.p. Wilts. and Salisbury 1601-d.;7 commr. oyer and terminer, Wilts. 1603-at least 1605, sewers, Hants and Wilts. 1605,8 subsidy, Wilts. 1608,9 Wilts. and Salisbury 1622;10 commr. aid, Wilts. 1609;11 mayor, Salisbury 1612-13,12 commr. charitable uses 1613.13

Steward (jt.), reader’s dinner, L. Inn 1595; fee’d counsel, Salisbury 1601-11; pens., L. Inn 1607-8, bencher 1608-d., Lent reader 1609; recorder, Salisbury 1611-d.;14 kpr. black bk., L. Inn 1615-16, treas. 1618-19, master of the lib. 1622-d.15


Tooker’s family had been tenants at Maddington, ten miles north of Salisbury, for at least four generations, while Thomas Tooker, mayor of Salisbury in 1493, was probably an ancestor.16 Tooker’s father, a prosperous yeoman, left considerable livestock to each of his four sons at his death in 1571.17 Tooker himself inherited the lease at Maddington, and headed the 1582 rent roll of the manorial lord, Sir Walter Hungerford†.18

Admitted to Oxford shortly after his father’s death, Tooker progressed to Lincoln’s Inn, where he was called to the bar in 1589. A bencher from 1608, he advised on improvements to the curriculum, examined a property dispute with the bishop of Chichester, and contributing towards Benevolence funds. He also filled numerous administrative posts, including those of treasurer and librarian.19 Despite his metropolitan activities, Tooker retained a close association with Salisbury. In 1586 he married the daughter of Thomas Eyre (mayor in 1587) and five years later was elected to the corporation. In 1601 he became a member of the Twenty-Four and ‘counsel for the city’s causes’, for which he received an annual retainer of 51s.; he also became one of Salisbury’s MPs.20 His election then, and again in 1604 and 1614, may have been partly influenced by financial considerations, as his chambers at Lincoln’s Inn allowed the corporation to economize on parliamentary expenses.

Tooker was not a prominent MP: he made no recorded speeches and was named to only four bill committees. Two of these concerned the sale of private estates to settle debts (both 26 Nov. 1606), while another sought to preserve woodland close to London’s iron mills (11 Mar. 1607).21 As a burgess of a cloth town he was also included on committees for bills to prevent the export of undressed cloth and to regulate the wages of spinners and weavers (24 Feb. 1606).22 His only other mention was on 3 Mar. 1607, when he was recalled to the House after it was noticed that he was absent on private legal business without permission.23 Tooker played no recorded part in debate or committee in the 1614 Parliament.24

In addition to his service at Westminster, Tooker supported Salisbury corporation’s efforts to renew its charter.25 In September 1604 he was asked to petition the king; in January 1606 he led negotiations with the bishop of Salisbury for incorporating the city’s trade guilds, outlining the corporation’s legal position; and in May and August 1609 he was sent a number of documents, including the charter of Edward I and the foundation charter of Salisbury’s Trinity House hospital, to assist his negotiations with attorney-general Sir Henry Hobart*.26 In recognition of his efforts, he was made Salisbury’s first recorder under the 1612 charter.

Tooker was on occasion accused of hard usage. Following the death of his brother-in-law John Eyre, he laid claim to Eyre’s manor at Orcheston St. Mary, neighbouring Maddington, and was sued by Eyre’s widow and daughter, to whom Tooker stood guardian. He was evidently successful, as he retained the manor at his death.27 In May 1623 he was sued by his son-in-law, Arthur Smith, for payment of a £1,200 dowry promised in 1615. He denounced Smith for being ‘ill and idle’ and neglectful of his wife, but Smith accused Tooker of consigning him to a debtors’ gaol for three years.28

Tooker made his will on 18 Apr. 1618, leaving 150 marks to his two sons, the younger of whom also received land in Charlton and Chisenbury. His wife received a life interest in Maddington and elsewhere, a house in Salisbury and a £200 annuity.29 Three manors and land in five other parishes descended to his eldest son, Edward, who was returned to the Commons for Salisbury and Hindon five times from 1654.30 A portrait of Tooker, holding the charter he had been instrumental in negotiating, hangs in the Banqueting Room at Salisbury’s Guildhall, and he was posthumously honoured by having his coat of arms set up in the west window of the chapel.31

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Henry Lancaster


  • 1. Age calculated from date of admiss. to university.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.; LI Black Bks. ii. 12.
  • 3. Wilts. RO, 1900/5; PROB 11/155, f. 27v; J. Burke, Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 529.
  • 4. PROB 11/53, f. 196v.
  • 5. Wilts. IPMs ed. G.S. and A.E. Fry (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 38.
  • 6. Wilts. RO, G23/1/3, ff. 150v, 167.
  • 7. C231/1, f. 111.
  • 8. Ibid. ff. 103v, 37.
  • 9. SP14/31/1.
  • 10. C212/22/21.
  • 11. E179/283; SP14/43/107.
  • 12. Wilts. RO, G23/1/9, ff. 7, 28; R.C. Hoare, Hist. Wilts. ‘Salisbury’, 306.
  • 13. C93/5/20.
  • 14. Wilts. RO, G23/1/9/28.
  • 15. LI Black Bks. ii. 12, 14, 108, 110, 124, 176, 207, 230.
  • 16. VCH Wilts. xv. 206; Wilts. RO, G23/1/235/1.
  • 17. PROB 11/53, f. 196v.
  • 18. Wilts. RO, 442/1, f. 18.
  • 19. LI Black Bks. ii. 142, 201, 224, 243, 450.
  • 20. VCH Wilts. vi. 99.
  • 21. CJ, i. 325a, 351b.
  • 22. Ibid. 273a.
  • 23. Ibid. 346b.
  • 24. Wilts. RO, G23/1/3, f. 238v.
  • 25. Ibid. f. 174.
  • 26. Ibid. ff. 193, 206, 207; G23/1/223/14.
  • 27. C2/Jas.I/M11/14; C142/422/39.
  • 28. C2/Jas.I/S27/15.
  • 29. PROB 11/143, f. 28v.
  • 30. Wilts. IPMs, 38.
  • 31. Wilts. RO, G23/123/248/1; LI Black Bks. ii. 450.