CROKE, Unton (c.1594-1671), of the Old Palace, Oxford and Marston, Oxon.; later of Serjeants' Inn, Chancery Lane, London
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Family and Education
b. c.1594, 4th s. of Sir John Croke† (d.1620) of Chilton, Bucks. j.k.b. 1607-20, and Catherine, da. of Michael Blount† of Mapledurham, Oxon.; bro. of Henry* and Sir John*.1 educ. I. Temple 1609, called 1617; Christ Church, Oxf. 2 Mar. 1610, aged 15.2 m. 8 Nov. 1617, Anne (d. 10 June 1670), da. and h. of Richard Hore of Marston, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 5da. (1 d.v.p.); 1 other ch. d. 28 Jan. 1671.3
Sub-steward, Oxf. Univ. 1620-at least 1653;4 master in Chancery ?extraordinary by 1625-at least 1636;5 bencher, I. Temple 1635, reader 1639;6 recorder, Wallingford, Berks. 1649-at least 1658;7 sjt.-at-law 1655-60;8 judge of assize, Home circ. 1655-6, 1658, Midland and Northern circs. 1657, Durham 1657;9 treas. Serjeants’ Inn, Chancery Lane, 1658-60.10
J.p. Oxon. 1621-at least 1640, 1649-at least 1658, Essex, Herts., Kent, Surr., Suss., 1655-8, Wallingford, Berks. 1656-8, Yorks. 1656, Cumb., Northumb., Westmld. 1656-7, Notts., Lincs,, Rutland, Warws. 1657;11 verderer, Shotover and Stowood forests, Oxon. by 1624-at least 1636;12 commr. subsidy, Oxon. 1624, 1641-2,13 sewers, Berks. and Oxon. 1626, 1634,14 Forced Loan, Oxon. 1626,15 oyer and terminer, Oxf. Univ. 1634, Home circ. 1655-6, 1658, Midland circ. 1657, N. circ. 1657,16 perambulation, Wychwood, Shotover and Stowood forests, Oxon. 1641,17 assessment, Oxon. 1657.18
Born into a prominent legal family, Croke owed his unusual first name to his paternal grandmother’s family, the Untons of Chequers in Buckinghamshire. His father served as Speaker of the Commons in 1601, and became a justice of King’s Bench six years later.21 Croke himself was admitted without fine to the Inner Temple at about the age of 15, during the treasurership of his uncle George Croke†. He inherited only £40 and an annuity of £20 when his father died in 1620,22 but his marriage brought him property at Marston in Oxfordshire worth £50 p.a., where he rebuilt the house.23 Having obtained from the 3rd earl of Pembroke the sub-stewardship of the university, the principal law officer of the institution, he maintained a house in Oxford.24
Croke was returned for Wallingford to the 1626 Parliament, although his connection with the borough is unknown. His only committee appointment was for a private land bill (1 Mar.) and on 5 Apr. he was excused absence from the House, being sick. On 28 Apr., on the information of John Saunders*, he was granted privilege against Sir Thomas Whorwood, a litigious Oxfordshire neighbour who had been examining witnesses in Chancery ‘concerning the inheritance of Mr. Unton Croke’. Croke himself told the Commons that Whorwood had ‘reviled him’, by accusing him of becoming ‘a Member of this House by bribery and corruption’. Whorwood was ordered to be sent for ‘to answer his contempt to the House’ and ‘the said words’, but no further proceedings are recorded and Croke left no further traces on the records of the Parliament.25
There is no evidence that Croke sought re-election in 1628, although he was returned again for Wallingford to the Short Parliament. He seems to have kept a low profile during the Civil War, when he was appointed to one royalist commission, but apparently escaped sequestration by the Roundheads. However, his sons were active parliamentarians. Indeed, one of them, Unton†, became an officer in Cromwell’s army, and perhaps as a consequence, Croke was created a serjeant-at-law by the Protector, although the appointment lapsed at the Restoration. Croke’s elder son Richard sat for Oxford in the Protectorate Parliaments and in 1661. Croke died on 28 Jan. 1671, aged 77, and was buried at Marston. No will has been found.26
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 132.
- 2. I. Temple database of admiss.; Al. Ox.
- 3. Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 280; Parochial Colls. made by Anthony à Wood and Richard Rawlinson ed. F.N. Davis (Oxon. Rec. Soc. iv), 203-5; A. Croke, Genealogical Hist. of Croke Fam. i. 514.
- 4. Reg. of Univ. of Oxford ed. A Clark (Oxf. Hist. Soc. x) ii, pt. 1, p. 242; L.H.D. Buxton and S.Gibson, Oxf. Univ. Ceremonies, 126.
- 5. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 13; SP16/405.
- 6. CITR, ii. 224, 244.
- 7. Berks. RO, W/AC a1, f. 137; C181/6, f. 329.
- 8. Order of Sjts.-at-Law ed. J.H. Baker (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. v), 190, 507.
- 9. J.S. Cockburn, Hist. Eng. Assizes, 274; C181/6, f. 242.
- 10. Order of Sjts.-at-Law, 507.
- 11. C231/4, f. 119v; 231/6, pp. 172, 314-15, 328, 359-62, 372, 389; C66/2858; C193/13/5; 193/13/6; C181/6, f. 329.
- 12. Cent. Kent. Stud., U269/1/DE200; C. Cox, Royal Forests of Eng. 263.
- 13. C212/22/23; SR, v. 65, 154.
- 14. C181/3, f. 200; 181/4, f. 179v.
- 15. C193/12/2, f. 46.
- 16. C181/4, f. 175v; 181/6, ff. 124, 170, 214, 241, 277.
- 17. C181/5, f. 210.
- 18. A. and O. ii. 1077.
- 19. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 2.
- 20. A. and O. i. 1039.
- 21. HP Commons, 1558-1603, i. 676-8.
- 22. Croke, i. 483.
- 23. Parochial Colls. 203; VCH Oxon. v. 215, 217.
- 24. M. Toynbee and P. Young, Strangers in Oxford, 138; VCH Oxon. iv. 97.
- 25. Procs. 1626, ii. 158, 431; iii. 89.
- 26. Oxford DNB; Parochial Colls. 203.