John Coke

Sir John Coke (5 March 1563 – 8 September 1644) was an English office holder and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1621 and 1629.

Sir John Coke
Sir John Coke
Trusley in Derbyshire
OccupationCivil servant
Spouse(s)Mary Powell[1]
Parent(s)Richard and Mary Coke

Coke was the son of Richard and Mary Coke of Trusley, Derbyshire.[2] He was educated at Westminster School .[3] After leaving the university he entered public life as a servant of Sir Fulke Greville, later Lord Brooke, a client of Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex, afterwards becoming deputy-treasurer of the navy and then a commissioner of the navy, and being specially commended for his labours on behalf of naval administration. Coke was also acquainted with Essex from his university days.

In 1621 Coke was elected Member of Parliament for Warwick.[4] He was appointed a Master of Requests in 1622 and was knighted in 1624. In 1624 he was elected MP for St Germans and was re-elected for the seat in 1625.[4] In the parliament of 1625 Coke acted as a secretary of state; in this and later parliaments he introduced the royal requests for money, and defended the foreign policy of Charles I and Buckingham, and afterwards the actions of the king. His actual appointment as secretary dates from September 1625. He was elected MP for Cambridge University in 1626 and 1628. Disliked by the leaders of the popular party, his speeches in the House of Commons did not improve the king's position.

Melbourne Hall, Derbyshire

Coke married Marie Powell, and they set up home at Hall Court, Kynaston, Much Marcle. Several of their letters to each other survive.[5]

King Charles ruled without a parliament from 1628 and he found Coke's industry very useful to him. Coke kept his post until 1640. Dismissed from office, he retired to his estate at Melbourne in Derbyshire, which he had bought in 1628. He died at his house in Tottenham near London, on 8 September 1644.

Coke in his earlier years had been a defender of absolute monarchy and greatly disliked the papacy. He was described by Clarendon as "a man of very dumb education and a narrower mind"; and again he says, "his cardinal perfection was industry and his most eminent infirmity covetousness."

Coke's elder son, Sir John Coke was a Parliamentarian in the English Civil War, while his younger son Thomas Coke was a Royalist.

The Coke family continued to own Melbourne Hall until George Lewis Coke, an ambiguous figure who died childless in 1777. His sister married the family's lawyer and the Coke name was lost.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Coke, Sir John". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 655.
  1. Dictionary of National Biography
  3. "Cook or Coke, John (CK576J2)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 ... London. pp. 229–239.
  5. HMC 12th Report Earl Cowper, Coke MSS, vol. 1 (London, 1888).
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Greville Verney
John Townsend
Member of Parliament for Warwick
With: Sir Greville Verney
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Conway
Francis Lucy
Preceded by
Richard Tisdale
Sir Richard Buller
Member of Parliament for St Germans
With: Sir John Stradling 1624
Sir Henry Marten
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Marten
Sir John Eliot
Preceded by
Sir Robert Naunton
Sir Albert Morton
Member of Parliament for Cambridge University
With: Thomas Eden
Succeeded by
Parliament suspended until 1640
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Albertus Morton
Sir Edward Conway
Secretary of State
With: Sir Edward Conway 16251628
Dudley Carleton, 1st Viscount Dorchester 16281632
Sir Francis Windebank 16321640
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Windebank
Sir Henry Vane
Preceded by
The Earl of Worcester
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Naunton