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.
[With my SPECULATIVE suggestions and deductions in red.]
1 Nov 1618 - Elizabeth BARROW was baptised at Lillingston Lovell, Bucks, daughter of Edward & Elizabeth BARROW.
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.]
4 Apr 1620 - Frances BARROW was baptised at Lillingston Lovell, 2nd daughter of ditto.
2 Mar 1626-27. Isaac COOKE was baptised at Leicester St Nicholas, the son of William COOKE & Ann STANFORD.
[This may have been the other or "cousin" Isaac COOKE mentioned in Rev John TWYCTON's 1657 will (see below).
William was probably the one named (as were his sons John & Abraham) in the 1655 will of his sister Anne FORRYAN (whom evidence indicates was also Isaac COOKE's sister, being the widow firstly of John LICHFIELD & then of Richard FORRYAN), and if so, an uncle of John COOKE, the Regicide.
If so, this Isaac the younger born 1626-27 was a nephew of Isaac Senior and a first cousin of John COOKE.
However, neither Isaac Senior nor Isaac Junior was named in the Ann FORRYAN will, which does present a bit of a difficulty.]
1634 - Mr Edward BARROES, deceased, had "...carried twoe loads of the like stone... from the honor howse of Grafton to Stoke lodge since Sir Francis CRANE came thither."
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.
1641 - Isaac COOKE and Thomas BARROWES witnessed the deed of sale of a house in Potterspury by John HILLIER the elder to John HILLIER the younger, citing a deed of 1577 between Thomas MEADE of Lillingston and John HILLIER of Potterspury.
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.]
3 Jan 1642 - Frances's sister Elizabeth married Nicholas BACON of Bishopsgate street, parish of St Peter Upon Cornhill, City of London. The marriage settlements were made on 27 Dec 1621 - Isaac COOKE of Potterspury, Gent, was a party to the settlements and paid the marriage portion of £100, by which a portion of the BACON family premises in Bishopsgate Street, near Leadenhall Street, St Peter Upon Cornhill, was set aside for the use of Nicholas and his wife Elizabeth - namely a shop, cellars, garrets, two sets of stairs (otherwise identified as a hallway) and several small rooms convenient to the shop.
[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.]
Aug 1642 - Mr John COOKE of Gray's Inn gave his nephew Luke CLAPHAM (Junior) a 1577 edition of the book "The firste volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande and Irelande, &c," by Raphael HOLINSHED.
St Peter Upon Cornhill parish register.
Nov 1643 - John CLAPHAM was born in Isaac COOKE's house in Baldwin's Garden, Gray's Inn Lane, London, the son of Luke CLAPHAM & his wife Elizabeth, & baptised 24th.
[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 - unless this other Isaac was the nephew born in 1626-27 (see above); and if so, then it follows that Potterspury Isaac was therefore almost certainly the father of John COOKE the Regicide.]
1645 - The date of her marriage recorded by Frances COOKE, Widow, in her 1664 petition to King Charles II.
But, unverified, and probably now unverifiable from any other source anyway, this does present a bit of an evidentiary problem.
Percival BOYD, in his "Inhabitants of London" [S.O.G. on Findmypast.co.uk] also recorded the marriage in the year 1654, but identified the bride as Frances MASSEY.
[BOYD may have had access to OLIVER's "History of the Island of Antigua" published in 1895.]
19 May 1646 - Frances BARR... married Mr John COOKE, Counsellor.
"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.
Indeed, I might cite the result of a quick & approximate estimation of the statistics involved to make my point - based on the five years between 1837 & 1847, the Statutory Registration of English births numbered 5.7 million, with 438,183 being named John, 31,911 named Frances, and 15,912 named COOK or COOKE, with the result that the chances of their being two marriages between a man named John COOK and Frances is calculated as being about 1 in 828,000 - which did actually happen in 1626 (presuming that the numerical ratios might have been similar 200 years earlier, which, of course, they may not have been, but it is s starting point). But then factor into this equation a 4th quantifier, that of the profession of Barrister for the groom (estimates of roughly 2,500 in England in the 1640's among a population of around 5.2 million, so about 1 in 2,000 for the whole, or more accurately 1 in 1,000 of the male population), and this reduces the chances of them both being barristers down to one in 0.8 billion (English reckoning - or one in 800,000,000), which is a very, very tiny number indeed - some might say so close to zero as to statistically "prove" that the other John COOKE, with the CUTLER spouse, could not have been one.
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.]
28 Jun 1648 - Elizabeth BACON was married to Peter FARREN.
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.]
1649 - John COOKE sailed for Ireland, probably in late Sep or early Oct 1649, with his wife Frances & 3 servants; they evidently arrived in Wexford "...shortly after" that city was taken by storm by troops under command of Oliver CROMWELL on 11 Oct 1649; he may have been settled by CROMWELL into confiscated premises in Waterford at this time.
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.]
1650 - Isaac COOKE, Gent, held three tenements in Potterspury by copy. Rent for them all was £3 10s., fine £7, herriot 2 s. Annual value 13s. 6d. farthing, trees worth £12. "Isaac says his copy is in Ireland with his son, by which means, no date appears."
The chances of the other (or "cousin") Isaac COOK having a son in Ireland at this time are, in my view, probably fairly remote - and, indeed, impossible, if it transpires that he was the nephew born in 1626-27.
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?]
9 Aug 1650 - Elizabeth's 2nd husband Peter FARREN, Innholder, was buried at All Saints, Northampton. Parish Register. His administration was granted on 21 Oct to Elizabeth FARREN, the relict.
24 Apr 1653 - Army Tax Assessments for Potterspury: Mr COOKE, 17s. 3d. Mr BARROW, (amount deleted and unreadable).
ca 1655 - BOYD's "Inhabitants of London" recorded the birth of John & Frances COOKE's daughter Freelove.
28 Jul 1655 - Elizabeth FARREN was married 3rdly, at All Saints, Northampton, to Robert MASSEY, Gent.
Apr 1657 - Justice John COOKE was back in London.
4 Jun 1657 - Rev John TWYCTON, Rector of Corby, Northamptonshire, made his will, mentioning his brother(-in-law) Isaac COOKE, his nephew John COOKE "...now or late Justice in Ireland... and oh what I would have given him had he not, had he not," and others, including another Isaac COOKE, identified as his cousin.
[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.
Rev John may have mis-identified the "cousin" Isaac COOKE in error for nephew - if the latter, he may have been the one born in 1626-27 (see above).]
9 Dec 1657 - John COOKE was in Northampton, having "...been all the last tearme attending his highness, in order to my return to Ireland, as he commanded me" - his letter of congratulations to Henry CROMWELL in Dublin, now Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with his stated (but unfulfilled) intention to "...attend your lordship in March."
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.]
1658 - Isaac COOKE died.
1 Feb 1658-59 - Justice John COOKE was still in London. His letter to Henry CROMWELL stated the reasons for the delay to his return, including the death of his aged father, and the consumptive illness of his wife.
[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.]
1659- Easter: John COOKE resumed duties on the Upper Bench in Ireland at the beginning of Easter Term.
16 May 1660 - John COOKE departed Dublin under close arrest; he was in Chester, 6 Jun, en route to prison and his trial in London.
15Oct 1660 - John COOKE wrote his letter to his daughter Freelove from his condemned cell, mentioning her three close blood-relations - her dear mother, her good grandmother, and her loving aunt MASSEY.
1660 - Crown Survey of Potterspury: Elizabeth COOKE, copyholder, two properties with old rents of 1 pound 13s. 4. and of 6d.; Thomas BARROW, copyholder, old rent of 1 pound 7s.
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.]
1664 - Frances COOKE, widow, made her petition to King Charles II for restitution of her own personal losses in Ireland.
13 Jun 1675 - Freelove COOKE married John GUNTHORPE. Parish Register of St Mary's, Newington, Surrey, p.114.
BOYD's "Inhabitants of London" recorded the date in error as 1678, and identified the groom as Major John GUNTHORPE, which militia rank he did not acquire until much later, and in Antigua.
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.]
5 Sep 1678 - Elizabeth's 3rd husband Robert MASSEY, Attorney, made his will (proved 18 Sep 1678), leaving his estate to his "...beloved wife Elizabeth," with "Fr: GUNTHORPE" signing as a witness. He was buried at All Saints, Northampton, on 9 Sep.
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 niece Freelove's husband John and eldest son Robert were evidently dead before 1693. See below.]
12 May 1685 - Mrs Margaret HENDERSON first made claims in the Court of Common Pleas in Antigua concerning Buck's Plantation, New North Sound, which had been originally granted in 1669 to her late brother-in-law Archibald HENDERSON. Her petition was subsequently forwarded by the Council to the Board of Trade in Apr 1687, and in her reply to the Board in Dec 1687, she claimed the property had been "usurped" by John GUNTHORPE, whom she described as "...the son-in-law to that egregious traitor John COOKE, Solicitor to the pretended High Court of Justice against King Charles the Martyr."
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 for a few years.
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.]