Anthony Cooke

Sir Anthony Cooke [1] (1504 – 11 June 1576) was an English humanist scholar. He was tutor to Edward VI.


Anthony Cooke
BornJune 1505
Died11 June 1576
Resting placeChurch of St Edward the Confessor, Romford
Known forPromoting education for girls
OfficeHigh Sheriff of Essex
Spouse(s)Anne Fitzwilliam
ChildrenAnthony Cooke (c.1535–1604)

Sir Richard Cooke
William Cooke (-1589)
Mildred Cooke (1526–89)
Elizabeth Cooke (1527–1609)
Anne Cooke (c.1528–1610)
Catherine Cooke (c.1530–1583)
Margaret Cooke (-1558)

Edward Cooke (1557–1584)
AwardsKnight of the Bath


Anthony Cooke was the only son of John Cooke (died 10 October 1516), 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.[1][2] His paternal grandparents were Sir Philip Cooke (died 7 December 1503) and Elizabeth Belknap (died c. 6 March 1504).[3] 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.[1][3]


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."[4] 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..."[5]

Of his preceptors, Edward is reputed to have said,

"Randolph the German spoke honestly, Sir John Cheke talked merrily, Dr. Coxe solidly, and Sir Anthony Cooke weighingly."[6]

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.[7]

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.[7]

Memorial to Cooke at the Church of St Edward the Confessor, in Romford

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.[8] 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.[9] This notes his "exceptional learning, prudence and piety".[10] However, Marjorie McIntosh describes him as "a strong protestant of a dark and unforgiving colour".[11]

He was one of the co-owners of Burton Dassett in Warwickshire and conducted a lengthy, but ultimately unsuccessful legal campaign to block the sale of part of the estate to Peter Temple.[12]

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.[7] While he left plate to all of his children, the five girls were also allowed to select three books (two Latin and one Greek) from his library.[13]

Marriage and issueEdit

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:[3][14]


  1. ^ a b c d Calkins 2004.
  2. ^ Richardson IV 2011, p. 144.
  3. ^ a b c Richardson IV 2011, pp. 144–5.
  4. ^ De Pronuntiatione Graecae potissimum linguae disputationes cum Stephano Vuintoniensi episcopo, septem contrariis epistolis comprehensae (N. Episcopium iuniorem, Basel 1555), (at sect. a 4, ff.).
  5. ^ (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.
  6. ^ '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.
  7. ^ a b c Lee 1887.
  8. ^ Ram, Ronald (2010). The Thread of Identity. Amberley. p. 175.
  9. ^ Parish Church of St Edward the Confessor, Havering, British Listed Buildings, accessed 10 July 2016.
  10. ^ quoted in Marjorie Keniston McIntosh, Sir Anthony Cooke: Tudor Humanist, Educator and Religious Reformer (in Proceedings, American Philosophical Society; vol. 119, No. 2, 1975)
  11. ^ Marjorie Keniston McIntosh, A Community Transformed (Cambridge University Press, 2002)
  12. ^ N. W. Alcock, Warwickshire Grazier and London Skinner 1532-1555 (OUP, 1981)
  13. ^ "Cooke, Sir Anthony". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 23 September 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/6155. Retrieved 1 January 2021. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  14. ^ Richardson II 2011, pp. 218–19.
  15. ^ Cooke, Richard (by 1530-79) of Gidea Hall, Essex, History of Parliament Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  16. ^; PROB 11/48/663
  17. ^ "Elizabeth: November 1566 | British History Online".
  18. ^ Cooke, William I (died 1589), of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Middlesex, History of Parliament Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  19. ^ Cooke, William II (1572–1619), of Gray's Inn and Highnam Court, Gloucestershire, History of Parliament Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  20. ^ Burke 1838, p. 99.
  21. ^ Hartley 2003, pp. 55–6.
  22. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Killigrew, Catherine" . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 31. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 106.
  23. ^ Rowlett, Sir Ralph (by 1513-71), of Holywell House, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, History of Parliament Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  24. ^ 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.




Political offices
Preceded by Custos Rotulorum of Essex
c. 1573–1576
Succeeded by