Cookes, Thomas (DNB00)

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COOKES, Sir THOMAS (d. 1701), benefactor of Gloucester Hall, Oxford, belonged to an old Worcestershire family, and resided at Bentley Pauncefot in Worcestershire. He was a liberal patron of Bromsgrove grammar school, and endowed the school of Feckenham. By his will, dated 19 Feb. 1696, and proved in the prerogative court of Canterbury 15 Oct. 1701, he gave ‘to the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishops of Oxford, Lichfield, and Gloucester, and to the vice-chancellor and all the heads of colleges and halls in the university of Oxford, for the time being and their successors,’ the sum of 10,000l. to purchase lands, the profits whereof were to be devoted ‘either to build an ornamental pile of buildings in Oxford and endow the same with so many scholars' places and fellowships as they should think the revenue would maintain, or to endow such other college or hall in Oxford with such and so many fellowships and scholars' places as they should think fit.’ In the election to fellowships and scholarships preference was to be given to those who had been educated at Bromsgrove or Feckenham. The executors and the law courts kept the bequest unsettled till 1714, when the property was acquired by Glou- cester Hall, and (by royal letters patent, dated 14 July 1714) the hall was converted into Worcester College. It appears that Cookes had originally intended that the 10,000l. should be devoted to building a workhouse in Worcestershire, and that he had abandoned this intention at the instance of Dr. Woodroffe of Gloucester Hall. The Rev. John Baron, fellow of Balliol, in 1699 preached a sermon before Cookes at Feckenham, in the hope of diverting the stream of bounty to Balliol, but the sermon failed to produce the desired effect. Cookes died 8 June 1701.

[Nash's Worcestershire, i. 441, ii. 403; Wood's Hist. and Antiq. of Coll. of Oxford, ed. Gutch, pp. 630–1; Reliq. Hearn. ii. 274; Ballard MSS. iv. 25, vi. 37, xxi.; information from T. W. Jackson, esq., vice-provost of Worcester College.]

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