COOKE, Richard II (1561-c.1616).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1561, s. of William Cooke of Great Linford, Bucks. educ. All Souls, Oxf., matric. 1578; Trinity, Oxf. BA 1581, supp. MA 1584. m. Anne, da. of Christopher Peyton, auditor of Ireland, issue. Kntd. 1603.

Offices Held

Chancellor of the Exchequer [I], jt. sec. of state [I] 1603, sole 1608-16.


After leaving Oxford, Cooke entered the service of Francis Mills, a fellow-member of All Souls and secretary to Francis Walsingham. Cooke was presumably returned for the newly enfranchised borough of Lymington through the influence of his relation Lord Burghley. While Parliament was in session a subpoena was issued out of Chancery against him at the request of a certain Margery Dyke. His claim to privilege was supported by the House and, on 10 Feb. 1585, a delegation was sent to the court of Chancery to explain the position. The lord chancellor denied the claim and a search was made for precedents. The fact that Margery Dyke and her son later apologised to Cooke and to the House indicates that these were found and accepted. About 1595 Cooke was sent to Ireland, where he spent the remainder of his career, first as secretary and courier to William Russell, the lord deputy, and his successors, then, after returning to England for a brief spell on the death of Elizabeth, as chancellor of the Exchequer and joint secretary in Ireland. As sole secretary on the death of Sir Geoffrey Fenton in 1608, Cooke became a leading figure in the Irish government, and a considerable landowner in the new plantations. He was again in England in 1612 and remained there until the end of 1614, when the threat that he would be supplanted by Sir Dudley Norton, who held the reversion of his office, forced him to return to Ireland. On 13 June 1615 he wrote to Sir Ralph Winwood, complaining of misgovernment in Ireland and suggesting that either Parliament there should be dissolved or the lord deputy dismissed. The date of his death is unknown, and no will has been found. His successor was appointed in the following year.

Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 61, 194; Vis. Suff. ed. Howard, 115, 121; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 553, 573; ii. 37 n; CSP Ire. 1592-3, passim; 1596-7, p. 220; 1603-6, pp. 65, 102; 1608-10 p. 373; 1615-23, p. 67; D’Ewes, 347; Trinity, Dublin, Thos. Cromwell’s jnl. ff. 89, 92; Cal. Carew Pprs. passim.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Patricia Hyde