Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lok, William

LOK, Sir WILLIAM (1480–1550), London merchant, was son of Thomas Lok, mercer of London, and grandson of John Lok, sheriff of London in 1400 (cf. will of Zachary Lok, 1603, in Somerset House). From the grandfather also descended John Locke, mayor of Bristol in 1642, who was 'a sort of cousin' of the father of John Locke [q. v.] the philosopher. William was, like his father, brought up as a mercer, and became sworn mercer and agent to Henry VIII beyond the seas. In May 1520 he supplied much cloth of silver for the queen's use (Henry VIII's Letters and Papers, vol. iii. pt. i. p. 852). In 1521 he figured among the Duke of Buckingham's creditors (ib.vol. iii. pt. i. p. 1285). On 7 March 1526-7 he received a license to import cloth of gold and silver, silks, and jewels for the king, and in November 1527 supplied stuffs for the court revels. In 1529 and the following years he spent some time on business at Bergen-op-Zoom and from that town and from Antwerp sent many interesting letters of intelligence to Cromwell or the king between 1532 and 1537. While on business at Dunkirk in December 1533 he pulled down the papal bull excommunicating Henry VIII, a service which the king acknowledged by giving him 100l. a year, and making him a gentleman of the privy chamber (Grafton, Chron. p. 1222; Brampton, Autobiography, pp. 8-9), Henry also showed his regard for him by dining with him at his house. In 1536 he resided 'in Cheapside, at the sign of the Padlock.' On 29 Dec. 1537 he was granted by Henry part of the possessions of 'Elayng Spittell.' He became an alderman of the city, and was elected sheriff in 1548, when he was knighted. On 10 Oct. 1549 he rode in the procession conveying the Duke- of Somerset to the Tower (Wriothesley, Chronicle, ii, 27). He died in his house in Bow Lane on 24 Aug, 1550, and was buried on the 27th in the Mercers' Chapel in the church of St. Thomas Acres (Machyn, Diary, i. 313). He married four times: (1) Alice Spencer (d. 1522); (2) Catherine, daughter of William Cooke of Salisbury {d. 14 Oct. 1537, and buried at St. Martin Abbey, Surrey}; (3) Elinor, widow of Walter Marsh (d. 1540); and (4) Elizabeth (d. 1551), widow of one Hatton and of Robert Meredith successively. His fourth, like his first, wife was buried in Mercers' Chapel (cf. Machyn, Diary, pp. 12, 323). He left issue by his first two wives: by the first, eight sons and one daughter, and by the second five sons and five daughters. Michael Lok [q. v.] and Henry Lok, father of Henry Lok [q. v.] the poet, were sons of the second marriage.

[Carew's Survey of Cornwall; Fox Bourne's Life of John Locke; Gent. Mag. 1792, p. 799; King's Life of Locke; Letters and Papers of Henry VIII; Dr. Grosart's Memoir of Henry Lok in Fuller Worthies' Miscellanies, vol. ii.]

S. L.