[Brief biography contributed by John O’Grady.]

September 1608 - 16 October 1660
A leading lawyer, and widely regarded in his day as a fair and humane judge.

  • Born at Husbands Bosworth, Leicester, son of Isaac & Elizabeth Cooke.
  • Educated at Wadham College Oxford [1622-24], and Gray’s Inns, to which he was called in 1631, King’s Inns, Dublin, 1634.
  • Married to Frances Cutter at St. Olave’s, September 1646.
  • On 10th January 1649, he was appointed Solicitor-General and prepared a first draft of the charge against King Charles 1st, i.e., that of waging war on his people. Between the 20th and 27 January 1649, he led the prosecution of King Charles, and secured the verdict.
  • King Charles was executed on 30 January 1649.
  • In March 1650, Cooke was appointed Chief Justice of Munster, Ireland, and in 1655 was Recorder of Waterford, where he lived.
  • On 4th May 1660, King Charles 2nd was proclaimed King of England. Cooke was arrested in Dublin shortly afterwards, and sent under guard to London.
  • In October 1660, all of the surviving regicides were committed for trial.
  • On 13th October, Cooke was tried, convicted, and sentenced.
  • On 16th October, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Charing Cross.


  1. DNB [1892 edition] ed. Leslie Stephens, Vol. X11, page 70 [He is referenced here as Cook, John]
  2. The Tyrannical Brief, the man who sent Charles 1 to the scaffold, by Geoffrey Robertson QC, Chatto & Windus, London

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.