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COOKE, ROBERT (1550–1615), vicar of Leeds, Yorkshire, was the son of William Gale, alias Cooke, of Beeston in that parish, where he was baptised on 23 July 1550 (Thoresby, Ducatus Leodiensis, ed. 1816, p. 209). He entered as student at Brasenose College in 1567, ‘where, with unwearied diligence, travelling through the various classes of logic and philosophy, he became the most noted disputant of his time’ (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 154). On 2 Dec. 1573 he was unanimously elected probationer of his college, and three years afterwards he graduated M.A. In 1582 he was elected one of the proctors of the university (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, iii. 490). He graduated B.D. in 1584 (Wood, Fasti, i. 228), and was instituted to the vicarage of Leeds on 18 Dec. 1590, on the presentation of the parishioners. Thoresby states that the Reformation went on very slowly in Leeds, till ‘the deservedly famous Mr. Robert Cooke … revived a deep sense of true religion and piety.’ Cooke was collated by Dr. William James, bishop of Durham (to whom he dedicated his ‘Censura’), to the sixth prebend in that cathedral (Thoresby, Vicaria Leodiensis, pp. 55–60; Le Neve, Fasti, iii. 314). He died on 1 Jan. 1614–15, and was buried in the church at Leeds (Hobart, Reports, ed. 1724, p. 197). His younger brother, Alexander Cooke [q. v.], succeeded him in the vicarage.

His works are: 1. Six Latin orations delivered at Oxford, in a manuscript formerly in the possession of James Crossley. One of these orations was delivered on 10 April 1583, when he resigned the office of proctor. It gives a vivid picture of the state of Oxford at that time, and the difficulties and animosities which he had to encounter in the execution of the duties imposed upon him (Notes and Queries, 4th ser. xi. 465, 514). 2. ‘A Learned Disputation betwixt Robert Cooke, B.D., and a priest named Cuthbert Johnson, alias William Darrell, before his Majesty's Council and other learned Men at York, an. 1610.’ Manuscript formerly in Thoresby's museum at Leeds (Musæum Thoresbyanum, ed. 1816, p. 86). 3. ‘Censura quorundam Scriptorum, quæ sub nominibus Sanctorum, et veterum Auctorum, à Pontificiis passim in eorum Scriptis, sed potissimum in Quæstionibus hodie controversis citari solent,’ Lond. 1614, 1623, 4to.

[Authorities cited above.]

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