COKE, Wenman (c.1717-76), of Longford, Derbys.
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Family and Education
b. c.1717, 1st s. of Philip Roberts by Anne, da. of Edward Coke of Holkham Norf., sis. of Thomas, 1st Earl of Leicester. m. (2) bef. 1754, Elizabeth, da. of George Chamberlayne (afterwards Denton) M.P., of Hillesden, Bucks., 2s. 3da. suc. to Longford estate of uncle Robert Coke, M.P., 1750; to Holkham, the estate of Thomas, Earl of Leicester, on d. of his wid. 28 Feb. 1775.
Gent. usher to Prince of Wales 1738-51.
In 1753 Wenman Roberts, having on the death of his cousin Edward, Viscount Coke, become heir to the estates of his uncle, Thomas, Earl of Leicester, assumed the name of Coke, and was returned in place of his cousin at Harwich. When it became clear that Coke would not be returned by the Administration for Harwich in 1761, Leicester declared that he would find another seat for him. He wrote to the Duke of Devonshire: ‘In these times of constant changes, I really think it better for him to be on his own legs than obliged to any.’1 But he got his friend the Duke of Newcastle to arrange for Coke’s return at Okehampton. In Parliament Coke followed Newcastle; voted with Opposition against Bute’s and Grenville’s Administrations, and supported Rockingham’s. Newcastle described him, 17 Oct. 1767, as ‘a particular friend of mine ... who has constantly voted with us in Parliament’.2 In 1768 Coke contested Norfolk but was defeated, and did not obtain another seat till 1772 when he was returned for Derby after a contest. He consistently voted against North’s Administration. In 1774 he was returned unopposed for both Derby and Norfolk, and elected to sit for Norfolk. There is no record of his having spoken in the House.
He died 11 Apr. 1776.