Cooke, Sir Anthony

, preceptor to Edward VI. was born at Giddy, or Gidding-hall, in Essex, about 1506, and descended from sir Thomas Cooke, mayor of London. He was educated probably at Cambridge, as Wood makes no mention of him. However, he was such an eminent master of the whole circle of arts, of such singular piety and goodness, of such uncommon prudence in the management of his own family, that those noble persons who had the charge of king Edward appointed him to instruct that prince in learning, and to form his manners. He lived in exile during the persecution of Mary, but after Elizabeth’s accession returned home, and spent the remainder of his days in peace and honour, at Giddy-hall, where he died in 1576. He was, if Lloyd may be credited, naturally of a reserved temper, and took more pleasure to breed up statesmen than to be one. “Contemplation was his soul, privacy his life, and discourse his element: business was his purgatory, and publicness his torment.” To which may be added what king Edward VI. used to say of his tutors, that Rodolph, the German, spake honestly, Sir John Cheke talked merrily, Dr. Cox solidly, and sir Anthony Cooke weighingly.

Several ingenious sayings of his are recorded; particularly the following: “That there were three objects, | before whom he could not do amiss; his prince, his conscience, and his children.” This facetious story is likewise related of him: “A Sussex knight, having spent a great estate at court, and reduced himself to one park and a fine house in it, was yet ambitious to entertain the king (Edward VI.) For that purpose he new painted his gates, with a coat of arms and this motto over them, in large golden letters, Oia Vanitas. Sir Anthony offering to read it, desired to know of the gentleman what he meant by Oia, who told him it stood for omnia.I wonder,“replied he,” that, having made your omnia so little as you have, you should yet make your vanitas so large."

Sir Anthony Cooke was peculiarly happy in his four daughters, who made so distinguished a figure among the literary ladies of the period in which they lived, and were otherwise so eminent in situation and character, as to require some notice in a work of this description. 1


Biog. Brit.—Ballard’s Memoirs. [this footnote is given only once for the whole Cooke family in the printed edition, and is repeated here under each entry for convenience]