D'Ewes Coke

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D'Ewes Coke
Reverend D'Ewes CokeDaniel Coke M.P.Hannah CokePlans for the new house?Hannah's plans?'i' to enlarge or use cursor to exploreMG RevCoke and Daniel Coke M.P..jpg
About this image
D'Ewes Coke and his wife, Hannah, behind his cousin Daniel Coke in a painting by Joseph Wright (use mouse pointer to explore the image)
Died12 April 1811
EducationRepton School and St John's College, Cambridge[1]
OccupationClergyman and barrister
Spouse(s)Hannah Heywood
Childrenthree sons, D'Ewes, William and John
Parent(s)George Coke and Elizabeth, dau. of Rev. Seth Ellis

The Reverend D'Ewes Coke (1747 – 12 April 1811) was rector of Pinxton and South Normanton in Derbyshire, a colliery owner and philanthropist.

He married Hannah, heiress of George Heywood of Brimington.


Coke was born at Mansfield Woodhouse in 1747, the only son of George Coke (1725–1759) of Kirkby Hall, Nottinghamshire, and of his wife Elizabeth, daughter of the Reverend Seth Ellis. George Coke was himself the son of another D'Ewes Coke (died 1751), of Suckley, and of his first wife, Frances Coke, daughter and co-heiress of William Coke of Trusley, and was the only one of their three children to survive childhood. Coke's father died in 1759, when his son was only about twelve.[2]

The name D'Ewes came from Coke's great-grandmother Elizabeth d'Ewes, who was the mother of the first D'Ewes Coke. A daughter of Sir Willoughby d'Ewes, 2nd Baronet, of Stowlangtoft Hall, Suffolk, she was the wife of Coke's great-grandfather Heigham Coke of Suckley. Her grandfather was Sir Simonds d'Ewes, 1st Baronet.[3][4]

Coke's own family can be traced back to the 15th century and includes such notable figures as George Coke, a Bishop of Hereford just before the English Civil War, and Sir John Coke, Secretary of State to King Charles I.[2]

Coke's family owned collieries in Pinxton, where Coke later paid for a school and a schoolmaster's residence to be erected.[5]

Coke was a cousin of Daniel Coke (1745–1825), a barrister and member of parliament.[2]

Life and family[edit]

Coke was educated at Repton School and St John's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted a pensioner[6] on 13 October 1764, his father being named as George Coke, Colonel of the 3rd Dragoons, of Kirkby Hall, Nottinghamshire.[7]

Entering the ministry of the Church of England in 1770, Coke was ordained a deacon on 23 September of that year and priest on 15 December 1771, both in the Diocese of Coventry and Lichfield, and held the rectories of Pinxton and South Normanton, Derbyshire, from 1771 to 1811.[8]

He married Hannah, [died 1818] daughter of George Heywood of Brimington Hall, Nottinghamshire, where Coke spent his later years.[1] They had three sons, the eldest being another D'Ewes Coke (1774–1856), who was Coke's heir and became a barrister. The second son also went into the law and became Sir William Coke (1776–1818), a judge in Ceylon. Coke's third son was John Coke DL (died 1841), who served as High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1830.[2] John Coke was also instrumental in founding the Pinxton China factory, on land rented from his father.[9] All three sons played a role in the establishment of the Mansfield and Pinxton Railway, which opened in 1819.[10]

The family portrait on this page by Joseph Wright of Derby was painted about 1782, just after Coke and his wife had inherited Brookhill Hall, near Pinxton.[11] It shows them with Coke's cousin Daniel Coke at a table in the open air, under a large tree. The focus of the composition, and apparently the object of discussion, is a sheet of paper held by Daniel Coke, which may relate to the unseen landscape. Wright places D'Ewes Coke at the apex of a triangle, with his gaze towards his wife, while the other two look away from the small group. The meaning of the painting has been lost.[12] Coke became a member of Derby Philosophical Society which was formed when Erasmus Darwin moved to Derby.

Coke died at Bath on 12 April 1811 and was buried at Pinxton.[8]

Totley Hall, inherited by Hannah Coke in 1791 from her uncle Andrew Gillimore


In his Will, Coke established an educational charity at Pinxton, leaving five pounds a year from the profits of his collieries to buy books for poor children. In 1846, the books were generally given to children attending an unendowed school.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Manuscript text of legal precedents belonging to D'Ewes Coke (1774–1856), barrister, undated, c. 1800 accessed 13 April 2008
  2. ^ a b c d Burkes Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, Bernard Burke, 1847, retrieved 28 March 2008
  3. ^ Pedigree of Coke at stirnet.com (subscription required), accessed 14 April 2008.
  4. ^ Orchard, James (ed.), The Autobiography and Correspondence of Sir Simonds D'Ewes, Bart., page 7 of Preface online at books.google.co.uk, accessed 14 April 2008
  5. ^ White's Directory of Derbyshire, 1857
  6. ^ In the University of Cambridge, a pensioner is an undergraduate who is not a scholar or a sizar and who pays for his or her tuition and commons.
  7. ^ "Coke, D'Ewes (CK764D)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  8. ^ a b "Coke, D'Ewes (1770–1811) (CCEd Person ID 10088)". The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540–1835. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  9. ^ A Brief Chronology of the Pinxton China Factory[permanent dead link] by C. Shepherd, pub 1996
  10. ^ The Mansfield & Pinxton Railway: Promoting the railway scheme, 1813–17 Archived 3 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine at old-mansfield.org.uk, accessed 14 April 2008
  11. ^ The Rev D'Ewes Coke, his wife and a relative Archived 22 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at derby.gov.uk, accessed 14 April 2008
  12. ^ The landscape and the figure Archived 18 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine online at royalacademy.org.uk, accessed 14 April 2008
  13. ^ History, gazetteer and directory of Derbyshire p.660, accessed 30 March 2008