Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 11.djvu/230

This page has been validated.

piece of property. These are carefully indexed, and are followed by copies of royal charters, papal bulls, and episcopal compositions, by a chronological record of the masters, a short dictionary of legal terms, a copy of the title deeds of each property, a copy of many wills of benefactors, and finally a very short chronicle of the kings of England, obviously abridged by Cok from some longer history. The writing of this book is beautiful throughout; the Latin is occasionally erroneous, but there are few mistakes of penmanship. There is one highly finished illumination representing the exaltation of the Cross, in honour of which the hospital was founded, and this, with all the rubrications, seems to have been done by Cok himself, who has worked his own shield, argent between three cocks a chevron sable, into the ornamentation. The book took many years to write, and at the end of a long bull of Pope Nicholas V is written, 'scriptum per fratrem Johannem Cok in etate declinata, cujus animam propitietur Deus: amen.' Cok survived his beloved master, and Dr. John Needham, Wakeryng's successor, is the last master whom he records. Needham was succeeded by William Bought in 1470, so that Cok's death no doubt took place before that year. In the Cottonian Collection in the British Museum is a small manuscript (Plut. clxviii. c) in the handwriting of Cok, and written by him in 1432 (fol. 1 b). It is in Latin and contains extracts from St. Augustine and several theologians of the Augustinian order and others, hymns, prayers, litanies, a long poem on the theological and moral condition of England, and at the end some curious diagrams of what may be called theological palmistry, or an arrangement of the virtues and vices upon the hands. At the end of almost every section is Cok's signature in several forms, as 'Amen quod Johannes Cok qui scripsit istum librum,' 'amen quod John Cok,' 'scriptum a fratre Johanne Cok.' The sole original work of this laborious scribe's only known by his mention of it, and is a history of the famous actions of John Wakeryng, master of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Stow had seen a finely illuminated Bible, written by Brother John Cok in 1466, and in Stow's time in the possession of Mr. Walter Cope (Stow, Survey, ed. 1633, p. 415). In all probability the hospital library, dispersed in the reign of Henry VIII, contained other manuscripts in his hand. Cok is no doubt buried within the hospital, but his grave is unknown, and his chartulary, to the faithfulness of which a great chest full of the original charters bears testimony, remains his only monument in the foundation to which he gave so many years' service. The manuscripts of Cok are the only authorities for his life. The four which are known are:

  1. Theological MS. [Cok's MSS.], 1432, Brit. Mus.
  2. 'Acts of John Wakeryng,' before 1456, at present lost.
  3. 'Chartulary of St. Bartholomew's, with abstract of Chronicle,' 1456, St. Bartholomew's Hospital.
  4. Bible, 1466, seen by Stow, at present lost.

N. M.

COKAYNE, Sir ASTON (1608–1684), poet, was the representative of an ancient family long seated at Ashbourne in Derbyshire, which by marriage, temp. Henry IV, with the heiress of the family of Herthull, had acquired large estates in several midland counties, including the lordship of Pooley (in Polesworth), Warwickshire. He was son and heir of Thomas Cokayne [q. v.] and Ann, half-sister of Philip, first earl of Chesterfield, daughter of Sir John Stanhope of Elvaston, Derbyshire, by his second wife, Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Trentham of Rocester, Staffordshire; his father being son and heir of Sir Edward Cokayne, the youngest son, but eventually heir of Sir Thomas Cokayne [q. v.] Cokayne's life can, in a great measure, be compiled from his ' poems.' He was born at Elvaston (Poems, 184), and baptised 20 Dec. 1608, at Ashbourne. He was educated at 'Chenie school' (ib. 138), doubtless 'Chenies,' Buckinghamshire, of which Peter Allibond [q. v.] was rector. He proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge, as a fellow commoner (ib. 11, line 3, 194), being under Robert Creyghton, D.D., orator and Greek professor (ib. 237). He entered one of the Inns of Court in London ' for fashion's sake,' and about 1642 was created M.A. at Oxford, 'but neglected to be registered.'

On 16 July 1632, when aged 24, he started, with a 'Mr. Maurice La Meir, alias Ardenville' (ib. 192), on a tour to France and Italy, of which he gives an elaborate account in a poem (ib. 93-7) to his son,' Mr. Thomas Cokaine.' Soon afterwards he married Mary, daughter of Sir Gilbert Knyveton, bart., of Mercaston, Derbyshire, the ' My Mall ' of the epigram to his wife (ib. 188). His son was born on 8 May 1636. On 26 Jan. 1638-9 he succeeded, by his father's death, to Pooley Hall, &c., but not to the estate of Ashbourne, which was held by his mother till her death there on 29 Aug. 1664.

Between these dates most of his writings were undertaken, the earliest being (1) a translation into English of 'Dianea, an excellent new romance written in Italian by Gio. Francisco Loredano, a noble Venetian,' to whom 'The Author's Epistle 'is inscribed, being dated 'from Venice, 25 Oct. 1635,' though.