The identity of Frances, the wife of John COOKE (1608-1660), the Gray's Inn Barrister turned Solicitor-General for the Commonwealth who prosecuted the case against King Charles the First, became a Justice in Ireland under CROMWELL, and who was subsequently hanged, drawn & quartered as a Regicide, remains an unsolved mystery.
Several sources have stated that she was Frances CUTLER when she was married to a John COOKE in London in 1646 [see Wilfrid PREST's on-line biography of COOKE for the Oxford D.N.B.; perhaps used as source by Geoffrey ROBERTSON in his "The Tyrannicide Brief", Vintage, London, 2006].
Detailed research over the last decade has revealed a perhaps more likely origin - among the family of BARROW living in & around Potterspury, Northamptonshire.
The road running on an angle across the bottom of the image is the old Roman road known as Watling Street.]
But proof of this potential BARROW connection remains elusive.
The following is my summary of a considerable amount of circumstantial evidence for it, much of which has been sourced from documents purchased from The National Archives in Kew (TNA) and from paid and private research conducted by the Northamptonshire Record Office (NRO). Further evidence comes from Vere Langford OLIVER's monumental "History of the Island of Antigua," published in 3 Volumes in 1894-1895.
By established convention, I have recorded pre-1752 (Julian Calendar) dates, for events occurring between 1 Jan & 24 Mar, with both Civil and Ecclesiastical year numbers - as an illustration of this convention, a year given as 1661-62 is for an event occurring between, but not including, 31 Dec 1661 and 25 Mar 1662.
Where vital date information is sourced to a Parish Register, the details will be found in the usual on-line web-sites such as ancestry.library, findmypast.com and familysearch.org, except as otherwise noted.
A CHRONOLOGY OF DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE RELATING TO THE POSSIBLE IDENTITY OF JOHN COOKE'S WIFE FRANCES, 1620 - 1693.
Lillingston Lovell parish register.
Her father was the son of John BARROW of Potterspury, Northamptonshire, by his 2nd wife Mary STANDISH; her mother was probably Elizabeth CHEYNE, a daughter of Thomas CHEYNE of Sundon, Bedfordshire, by his wife Frances BROCAS, and the widow of Samuel BRYAN (died Northampton, 1616), who married Edward BARROW at Luton parish church on 29 Mar 1617.]
NRO, Ref Ph 35288, Northampton Deposition.
1635 - Mr BARROES "pays" 3s. for Ship Money, Potterspury.
NRO, Ref YX 4393.
[There appears to be a date problem here if this was Edward BARROW, reported as dead in 1634, especially if he was "paying" the tax rather than it being an assessment prior to the collection of it. Although this may have been the first time Ship Money was collected so far from the coast, and the list used for the assessment of it may have been a residual list from an earlier taxation, corrected as the current tax was collected (see further below in connection with the ca 1660 Poll Tax list).
Alternatively, this may perhaps instead have been Thomas BARROW, his son, who would probably therefore have to have been of age, & if so, born in or before 1614, and well before his father Edward BARROW married Elizabeth BRYAN alias CHEYNE.
The answer to this is critical, therefore, as to whether Thomas may have been an older half-brother of Elizabeth & Frances.]
1640 - John COOKE was witness to the sale of three closes in Potterspury, Northamptonshire.
NRO, Ref F XIII.6.
NRO, Refs F XIII.3 & F XIII.7.
Thomas was probably the son of Edward BARROW of Potterspury, possibly by his wife Elizabeth BRYAN alias CHEYNE. But as he would probably have been of age, and therefore born in or before 1620, it appears more likely that he was instead the son of an earlier marriage.]
[The marriage may have taken place at Potterspury, for which parish the Registers, and the Bishop's Transcripts of them, do not exist, or cannot now be found, for dates before 1674.
If so, when Isaac made Elizabeth Junior's marriage settlements in 1641, he would have done so as her step-father.
I speculate that there is very likely to have been some sort of "kinship" relationship between them, and a step-father/step-daughter relationship would certainly fall within that category.]
St Peter Upon Cornhill parish register.
St Andrew's Holborn parish register.
[Isaac's relationship to CLAPHAM is not stated in the Register.
We know that John COOKE's father Isaac had a daughter Elizabeth, and that she probably married Luke CLAPHAM (Senior) in ca 1639. See above.
If this was the same Isaac as the one of Potterspury at that time, it appears likely, therefore, that he kept his residence in Gray's Inn Lane for the convenience of him and his son John.
Unless this was instead the other or cousin Isaac COOKE? And if so, this may present a bit of an evidentiary problem.]
Original manuscript petition in TNA, Kew.
But, unverified, and probably now unverifiable from any other source anyway, this does present a bit of an evidentiary problem.]
St Peter Upon Cornhill parish register.
"Counsellor" undoubtedly refers to a Barrister at Law, although "our" John COOKE may not have been the only one in town. Frances may have been residing with, or visiting, her sister Elizabeth, who was at that time known to be residing in this parish as a widow in her & her late husband's premises in Bishopsgate Street.
If, contrary to her petition evidence, Frances was indeed married in 1646, then this marriage would appear to be more likely for COOKE than the Frances CUTLER marriage.
However, I should noted that the marriage register of St Olave's, Hart Lane, which records the CUTLER marriage on 12 Sep 1646, made no mention of any of the occupations of grooms during this period. So her husband may perhaps also have been a Counsellor, although I think that is more than just a little unlikely.
As things stand at present, the "BARR" in this record is the ONLY match I find with the surname beginning BARR (otherwise BARROW of Potterspury) associated with the COOKE family. And I find no similar match with the name CUTLER or any part of it.]
St Clement Dane's, Westminster, parish register.
Peter FARREN was probably the former Baker & later Innholder of Northampton, and the widower of Sarah RO(LE)SON (the daughter of Roger HIGHAM) who had died in Northampton in 1647.
This marriage is certainly consistent, date-wise & geographically, with the BACON Court evidence of 1654.]
The COOKE party embarked in Wexford on the ship "Hector" on 1 Jan 1650, bound for Cobh harbour, near the City of Cork; but the ship was blown well off course in a severe gale, as far west as Mezne Head to the west of Cape Clere by about 5 or 6 Jan, and eventually found safe harbour back up at Kinsale on 9 Jan.
See "The Tyrannicide Brief," by Geoffrey ROBERTSON, Vintage Press, London, 2006, p.230. See also the full account of the voyage published by COOKE in Cork in Apr 1650.
If he was the son of Isaac of Potterspury, I do not know whether he still had his father's deed (see next item) with him on the voyage, or if it had been left in Waterford, or whether it had already been dispatched back to Potterspury.]
TNA, Ref E 317/Northants/40, fol.20.
The chances of the other or cousin Isaac COOK having a son in Ireland at this time are, in my view, probably fairly remote.
But why John COOKE had his father's deed in his possession is a bit of a mystery - was he a party to it, or was he assisting his father in the due legal processing of it? And was his exit for Ireland therefore a bit sudden - or was he just a bit absent-minded in relation to family matters under the pressure of National duty?]
TNA, Ref "Index of Acts of Administration in the P.C.C." 1649-1654, PROB 6/25, MS fol. 152.
NRO, Ref YZ 4395.
NRO, Parish Register.
See ROBERTSON, Op.Cit., p.253 & Chronology.
TNA - P.C.C. Probate grant with will copy.
[Rev John TWICTON was evidently a Royalist, or perceived a need to appear so. I suspect that Frances COOKE 's wider family circle may have been of a similar persuasion, and that any residual "toleration" for her husband's Commonwealth activities may well have entirely evaporated by the time of the Restoration. This may account for the lack of mention of her & her sister in BARROW and CHEYNE family wills over the period, and for the very small core of close family members to whom John COOKE committed the care of his daughter Freelove in 1660. See below.]
See "A Collection of the State Papers of John THURLOE," 1657-58, p. 666.
See "The Records of the Borough of Northampton," ed. C. COX, 1898, p. 244.
[Justice John COOKE probably made his contribution while there, in or before Dec 1657.]
See ROBERTSON, Op. Cit., Chronology.
See ROBERTSON, Op. Cit., p. 255.
[ROBERTSON presumed that Frances had also died about this time, from the consumptive illness mentioned in this letter. I believe, as some of these documents collectively show, that this presumption was in error.]
See ROBERSTON, Op. Cit., p. 263.
See ROBERTSON, Op. Cit., p. 278.
NRO, Ref G 3199.
9 Aug (ca 1660?) - Poll Tax assessment for Potterspury. Mr COOKE (£2), his wife, one daughter and 2 servants (2s.), goods £50.
NRO, Ref YZ 4397.
The Poll Tax was instituted to finance the disbanding of the New Model Army; the Bill was given its first reading in the Convention Parliament on 12 Jun 1660; a Committee was established to examine it on 6 Nov; and it seems that the final machinery may not yet have been in place for the actual collection of it until the first Parliament of Charles II had met in early 1661.
[There is an obvious problem with this year date, ca 1660, evidently attributed to it (& probably in the absence of an actual year number on the original) by the Archivist at Northamptonshire Record Office some years ago when the list was indexed.
However, if the list that was used for the assessment was a pre-existing or residual list from an earlier taxation, which was then corrected & upgraded as the tax was actually collected, then the date for that earlier list may have been 1659 or 1658 or even earlier - in which case this Mr COOKE may have been either John COOKE (1659) or Isaac (1658 or earlier).
But if the list was actually made in 1660, then I have a problem in assimilating this particular piece of "evidence" into my currently speculated BARROW saga.
However, and irrespective of the year date, if the tax was applicable to all persons aged 16 and over, and by implication to none under that age, then the "daughter" could not have been Freelove COOKE, then only aged about 4 - so this Mr COOKE is unlikely to have been John.
Further, several web-sites indicate that the Tax was assessed according to rank, ranging from £100 for a Duke, down to 6d for "anyone else" not otherwise identified in between and aged 16 or over - with Judges rated at £20, Advocates at £5, & Attornies at £3 - all clearly in excess of Mr COOKE's assessment. Anyone with property (land, &c) was assessed at 40s per £100 earned from it - so Mr COOKE, probably therefore Isaac, may have been assessed on £100 worth of assets or annual income.]
12 Feb 1661-62 - Elizabeth COOKE "...late wife of Edward BARRONES" (or BARROWS) and Thomas BARRONES (sic) "...his son" made a petition concerning a copyhold messuage in Potterspury.
See "Calendar of Treasury Books," Vol.1, 1660-1667, Historical Manuscripts Commission, London, 1904, as abstracted on British History Online.
At any rate, the name BARRONES nowhere else appears in connection with the village of Potterspury - all that do, and which bear any resemblance to it, and there are many, are for the name BARROW or BARROWES or BARROES.]
See Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, 1663-65, London, 1907, p.514.
27 Aug 1678 - Census of Antigua. Lt William PROCTOR was named as head of a household in Falmouth Division, comprising 2 men, 1 woman & 2 children (of European origin), and 4 men, 3 women & 4 children (of African origin).
See OLIVER, Op. Cit., Vol. 1, pp. lviii (PROCTOR & GUNTHORPE) & clix (MUSSENDEN).
[The European woman was probably Frances; and the two children probably her younger daughters by her presumed 2nd husband William PROCTOR - the younger child probably Frances PROCTOR, later the wife of John PIGOTT.]
Also at Falmouth Division was John GUNTHROPP, his household comprising 3 men (European).
[Probably John GUNTHORPE, the husband of Freelove COOKE, who was still in England (see below).]
At Old North Sound Division was Major MUSSENDEN, his household comprising 2 men, 1 woman & 3 children (European), and 7 men & 6 women (African).
[Probably Buck's Plantation, purchased very soon after by John GUNTHORPE. See below.]
NRO, Ref N Will 3rd Series E, 37.
17 Sep 1678 - By Deed of sale, John GUNTHORPE, of London, Goldsmith, purchased 500 acres in New North Sound, Antigua, formerly called Buck's Plantation, from Major William MUSSENDIN, for "...a valuable consideration (of which 4 negroes have been already received)..." and with "...(3 white servants and 9 negroes still to be handed over)."
The patent for the sale was granted to GUNTHORPE by Sir W. STAPLETON on 10 Jan 1681-82 at the rent of 1 ear of Indian corn every Christmas Day.
Buck's Plantation had been granted to Archibald HENDERSON in 1669, and after his banishment in 1674, was re-granted to Major William MUSSENDINE in 1677.
See OLIVER, Op. Cit., Vol. 2, p. 40.
[OLIVER also recorded that GUNTHORPE & MUSSENDIN were "partners." I speculate that this sale was not a case of MUSSENDIN acting in Antigua for an investing (or "sleeping") partner still living in London, as GUNTHORPE's title might suggest; and he does appear to have already arrived in Antigua, being recorded in the Census 12 days earlier (see previous item). Goldsmith Company records show GUNTHORPE's admission as apprentice in 1671, but do not record his Freedom.]
See OLIVER, Op. Cit., Vol. 2, p. 39.
If this was Elizabeth BARROW, she was aged 62 when she made her will, and would have been 68 if she survived until just before probate.
Her husband John and eldest son Robert were evidently dead before 1693. See below.]
See OLIVER, Op. Cit., Vol. 2, p. 40.
Jun 1690 - Admiral WRIGHT's West Indies squadron of 10 Men-of-War with 3,000 men arrived in Nevis, to protect English colonial interests against French aggression. The Squadron brought the Duke of Bolton's Regiment, now commanded by Henry HOLT, and in which was serving Captain John PIGOTT, about 22-23 years of age, a native of Queen's County, Ireland. John PIGOTT "settled" in Antigua.
The Duke of Bolton himself had accompanied Prince William of Orange on his arrival in England, and his Regiment had originally been ordered to go to Ireland with the new King in early 1690, but those orders were changed at the last minute.
[Captain John PIGOTT married Frances PROCTOR, the (probably third) daughter of Mrs Frances PROCTOR who was probably the widow of John COOKE; their first child (Elizabeth PIGOTT) was probably the one due in late 1693 or early 1694 (see below); their first-born son (Thomas PIGOTT) was born about 1695 (he came of age in Ireland in 1716); their youngest son (Captain John PIGOTT of Stradbally, my ancestor) was born in Ireland in 1704.]
17 Jul 1691 - Acquilla STOUGHTON made his will, naming his wife Frances as his sole executor; the will was proved on 21 Jun 1693. STOUGHTON was first mentioned in Antiguan records on 9 Jan 1679-80, as a Deputy Secretary "...sworn to the acts of Trade."
See OLIVER, Op. Cit., Vol. 1.
[Frances was probably the widow of William PROCTOR, and before him of John COOKE.]
See OLIVER, Op. Cit., Vol. 3, p. 25.
Major John GUNTHORPE, probably only recently deceased, was almost certainly the widower of Freelove COOKE; the grandsons John & William inevitably John & Freelove's two surviving sons, the evidence here indicating that the elder son Robert mentioned in 1681-2 had probably since died.]
Frances STOUGHTON also named her daughter, Frances PIGOTT, the wife of John PIGOTT, and made a bequest of £5 for plate for the first child she has.
[Frances PIGOTT was identified by OLIVER in his "History of the Island of Antigua" as a daughter of Lieutenant William PROCTOR of Rendezvous Bay, Antigua, and on that evidence probably the 2nd husband of the widow Frances COOKE.
The "first child she has" may well have been already on the way.]
Frances STOUGHTON made further mentioned of another grandchild, Frances KERBY.
[I speculate that her mother was yet another but unknown daughter of Frances by a husband unknown but probably William PROCTOR; her father may have been Dr Thomas KERBY of Antigua.]