Cooke, Thomas (1722-1783) (DNB00)

COOKE, THOMAS (1722–1783), an eccentric divine, born 23 Oct. 1722, was the son of a shoemaker at Hexham in Northumberland. He received his education as king's scholar at Durham School, and afterwards entered at Queen's College, Oxford (22 Feb. 1742–3), where he never took a degree. He obtained the curacy of Embleton, Northumberland, and soon was brought into notoriety by the singularity of his religious notions. He maintained that the Jewish ceremonies were not abrogated by the christian dispensation, and insisted on the necessity of circumcision, supporting his doctrine by his own practice. At this period he assumed the names of Adam Moses Emanuel (Sykes, Local Records, ed. 1833, i. 328). On being deprived of his curacy he came to London, preached in the streets, and commenced author; but as his unintelligible jargon did not sell he was reduced to great distress. For two or three years he was confined in Bedlam (Richardson, Local Historian's Table Book, historical division, ii. 283). On his release he travelled through Scotland and Ireland. Ultimately he returned to the north of England, and until a few years before his death subsisted on a pension allowed him by the Society of the Sons of the Clergy. His last project was for establishing a grand universal church upon true evangelical principles. His death, which occurred at Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 15 Nov. 1783, is said to have been occasioned by his copying Origen too closely (Baker, Biog. Dram., ed. 1812, i. 146).

He wrote, besides a large number of published sermons: 1. ‘The King cannot err,’ a comedy, 1762. 2. ‘The Hermit converted; or the Maid of Bath married,’ a comedy, London, 1771, 8vo. No one but a lunatic could have written the dramatic pieces.

[Authorities cited above.]

T. C.