Anthony Cooke was the only son of John Cooke (died 10 October 1515), esquire, of Gidea Hall, Essex, and Alice Saunders (died 1510), daughter and coheiress of William Saunders of Banbury, Oxfordshire by Jane Spencer, daughter of John Spencer, esquire, of Hodnell, Warwickshire. His paternal grandparents were Sir Philip Cooke (died 7 December 1503) and Elizabeth Belknap (died c. 6 March 1504). His paternal great-grandparents were Sir Thomas Cooke, a wealthy member of the Worshipful Company of Drapers and Lord Mayor of London in 1462–3, and Elizabeth Malpas, daughter of Philip Malpas, Master of the Worshipful Company of Drapers and Sheriff of London.
Cooke served as High Sheriff of Essex in 1545.
He was never officially described as tutor to Edward VI. It is now thought he may have been more a companion and guide than a formal teacher. However, in 1555 Caelius Secundus Curio, in his dedication letter to Cooke of Sir John Cheke's De Pronuntiatione Graecae, wrote that "the boyhood of King Edward was handed over and entrusted to the two of you for instruction in letters, behaviour and religion... from you that divine boy drank in that learning, than which not Cyrus, nor Achilles, nor Alexander, nor any king ever received more wholesome and sacred." Peter Martyr, in dedicating to Cooke his Commentaries on St Paul's Epistle to the Romans (published 1558), wrote: "I for my part doubtles have, ever since that the time that I dwelt in England, borne a singular love and no smal or vulgar affection towards you, both for your singular piety and learning, and also for the worthy office which you faythfully and with great renoune executed in the Christian publike wealth, in instructing Edward, that most holy King..."
Of his preceptors, Edward is reputed to have said,
At Edward's coronation Cooke was created a Knight of the Bath. On 8 November 1547 he was returned to Parliament for Lewes, and in the same year was one of the visitors commissioned by the crown to inspect the dioceses of London, Westminster, Norwich, and Ely; the injunctions drawn up by him and his companions are printed in John Foxe's Acts and Monuments. Two years later he served on two ecclesiastical commissions, of Protestant tendencies. In November and December 1551 he attended the discussion held between Roman Catholics and Protestants at the houses of Sir William Cecil and Sir Richard Moryson, and his public services were rewarded (27 October 1552) with a grant of land. On 27 July 1553 he was committed to the Tower of London on suspicion of complicity in Lady Jane Grey's movement.
After his release he went into self-imposed exile to avoid Mary's attempt to reintroduce Catholicism. He travelled widely, spending most time in Strasbourg where he was in contact with leaders of the Reformed faith, and returned following the death of Mary and the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558.
Cooke then served on several religious commissions, and sat as a knight of the shire for Essex in parliament in 1559 and again in 1563; but he took little or no further part in national affairs. He was appointed Custos Rotulorum for Essex in 1572, but the work resulting from this post was performed by his steward, Francis Ram. He died on 11 June 1576, aged seventy-two, and was buried in St Andrew's, Romford. There is an elaborate memorial to him in St Edward the Confessor Church, Romford. This notes his "exceptional learning, prudence and piety”. However, Marjorie McIntosh describes him as “a strong protestant of a dark and unforgiving colour”.
Cooke is particularly remembered because he educated his daughters, who were taught both Latin and Greek. Anne published translations from Italian and Latin and Elizabeth a translation of a Latin treatise on the sacrament.
Marriage and issue
Cooke married Anne Fitzwilliam, the daughter of Sir William Fitzwilliam, Master of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors and Sheriff of London, by his first wife, Anne Hawes, daughter of Sir John Hawes, by whom he had four sons and five daughters:
- Anthony Cooke (c. 1535 – 1604).
- Sir Richard Cooke, who married Anne Caunton.
- Edward Cooke (1557–1584), father of Francis Cooke, a Mayflower passenger and an original settler of Plymouth Colony.
- William Cooke (died 14 May 1589), who married Frances Grey, daughter of Lord John Grey of Pirgo, by whom he had four sons, including Sir Richard Cooke, Secretary of State for Ireland, and William Cooke of Highnam, Gloucestershire, who married Joyce Lucy, granddaughter of Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, and three daughters.
- Mildred Cooke (1526–89), who in December 1545 married, as his second wife, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by whom she was the mother of Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury.
- Anne Cooke (c. 1528 – 1610), who married, as his second wife, Sir Nicholas Bacon, by whom she was the mother of Sir Francis Bacon and Anthony Bacon.
- Catherine Cooke (c. 1530 – 1583), who married Sir Henry Killigrew.
- Elizabeth Cooke (1527–1609), who married firstly Sir Thomas Hoby and secondly John, Lord Russell (c. 1553 – 1584), second son of Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford.
- Margaret Cooke (died 3 August 1558), who was a lady in waiting to Mary I, and in 1558 married, as his second wife, Sir Ralph Rowlett.
- Calkins 2004.
- Richardson IV 2011, p. 144.
- Richardson IV 2011, pp. 144-5.
- De Pronuntiatione Graecae potissimum linguae disputationes cum Stephano Vuintoniensi episcopo, septem contrariis epistolis comprehensae (N. Episcopium iuniorem, Basel 1555), (at sect. a 4).
- (Original in Latin), Epistle Dedicatory, in In Epistolam S. Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos D. Petri Martyris Vermilii Florentini (Apud Petrum Pernam, Basel 1558) (see 1613 Heidelberg edition); English translation by Sir Henry Billingsley, Most learned and fruitfull commentaries of D. Peter Martir Vermilius Florentine, Professor of divinitie in the Schole of Tigure, upon the Epistle of S. Paul to the Romanes (John Daye, cum Privilegio, London 1568): see translation in J.G. Nichols, Literary Remains of King Edward VI, Roxburgh Club, 2 vols (J.B. Nichols & Sons, London 1857), I, pp. 50-51, note.
- 'Observations on the Life of Sir Anthony Cooke', in D. Lloyd (ed. C. Whitworth), State-Worthies: Or, The Statesmen and Favourites of England from the Reformation to the Revolution (New edition) 2 vols, (J. Robson, London 1766), I, pp. 249-62, at p. 262.
- Lee 1887.
- Ram, Ronald (2010). The Thread of Identity. Amberley. p. 175.
- Parish Church of St Edward the Confessor, Havering, British Listed Buildings, accessed 10 July 2016.
- quoted in Marjorie Keniston McIntosh, Sir Anthony Cooke: Tudor Humanist, Educator and Religious Reformer (in Proceedings, American Philosophical Society; vol. 119, No. 2, 1975)
- Marjorie Keniston McIntosh, A Community Transformed (Cambridge University Press, 2002)
- N. W. Alcock, Warwickshire Grazier and London Skinner 1532-1555 (OUP, 1981)
- Richardson II 2011, pp. 218-19.
- Cooke, Richard (by 1530-79) of Gidea Hall, Essex, History of Parliament Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- Cooke, William I (died 1589), of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Middlesex, History of Parliament Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- Cooke, William II (1572–1619), of Gray's Inn and Highnam Court, Gloucestershire, History of Parliament Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Burke 1838, p. 99.
- Hartley 2003, pp. 55-6.
- Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). . Dictionary of National Biography. 31. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 106.
- Rowlett, Sir Ralph (by 1513-71), of Holywell House, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, History of Parliament Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- Margaret Cooke (1540-August 1558), A Who’s Who of Tudor Women: Cl-Cy,compiled by Kathy Lynn Emerson to update and correct Wives and Daughters: The Women of Sixteenth-Century England (1984) Archived 26 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
- Burke, John (1838). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland. III. London: Henry Colburn. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. II (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. pp. 218–19. ISBN 1449966381.
- Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. IV (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. pp. 144–5. ISBN 1460992709. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- Lee, Sidney (1887). Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 12. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 76–77. . In
- Donn L. Calkins, ‘Cooke, Sir Anthony (1505/6–1576)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004; online edn, January 2008 
Sir William Petre
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Sir Thomas Mildmay