Cokayne, George (DNB00)

COKAYNE, GEORGE (1619–1691), independent minister, son of John and Elizabeth Cokayne, was baptised at Cople, Bedfordshire, on 16 Jan. 1619. He was educated at Sidney College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1639-40. In the civil war period he was presented to the rectory of St. Pancras, Soper Lane, London, and became a celebrated preacher among the independents. Wood speaks of him as 'a prime leader in his preachings in Oliver's time' (Athena Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 470). On 9 Nov. 1648 he was appointed to preach the monthly fast sermon before the House of Commons, in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, and was ordered to print it. Not long afterwards he became chaplain to Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke, one of Cromwell's lords. In 1658 he published 'Divine Astrologie, or a Scripture Prognostication of the sad events which ordinarily arise from the good man's fall by Death,' being a funeral sermon on Colonel William Underwood. He was ejected from his rectory in 1660, and his congregation going out with him formed an independent community in Redcross Street. Among the eminent citizens who adhered to him were Sir Robert Tichborne, Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke, Sir John Ireton, and Sir John More. He died on 21 Nov. 1691, and was buried in Tindall's Ground, afterwards called the Bunhill Fields Burial-ground. After his death the congregation removed to a building in Hare Court, called the Stated Room, which was succeeded by a more commodious building in 1772. An elaborate biography of Cokayne will be found in 'The Story of Harecourt, being the History of an Independent Church, by John B. Marsh,' 1871. That work contains a portrait of him, engraved on wood, from an oil-painting preserved in the vestry at Hare Court.

Besides the above-mentioned sermons, Cokayn wrote prefaces to T. Crisp's 'Christ alone Exalted,' 1643, to Obadiah Sedgwick's funeral sermon for Rowland Wilson, and to Bunyan's 'Acceptable Sacrifice.' It has been stated that he had some share in the 'English-Greek Lexicon,' 1658, compiled by Joseph Caryl and others (Wilson, Dissenting Churches, iii. 281); but the contributor to that work was more probably Thomas Cokayne [q. v.] (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 470, 982). Cokayne made free remarks upon the quakers, on which account he is animadverted upon by George Fox in his 'Great Mystery.'

[Authorities quoted above; also Calamy's Ejected Ministers, ii. 35; Calamy's Contin. 51; Palmer's Nonconf. Memorial, ed. 1 802, i. 175; Crowe's Cat. (1668), 74, 108.]

T. C.