Cokayne, John (DNB00)

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COKAYNE, Sir JOHN (d. 1438), judge, son of Edmund Cokayne of Ashbourne in Derbyshire and Pooley in Warwickshire, by Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Richard de Herthull, was recorder of London in 1394, and appears as an advocate in a suit before the privy council in 1397 between two grantees by letters patent of the governorship of Rothelan Castle in Wales. Cokayne appears also in two cases (reported by Bellewe) in 1399, being still recorder of London. In 1400 he was created chief baron, was summoned to the council in the following year, and created a justice of the common pleas in 1405. In May of this year he was accused in parliament of having seized by force the manor of Baddesley Ensor in Warwickshire, and of keeping the owners out of possession, and was ordered to appear in person to answer to the charge. Of the further proceedings in this matter there is no record. The manor, however, remained in his possession, since by his will, which he made before starting for France with the military expedition sent to the aid of the Duke of Orleans in his struggle with the Duke of Burgundy in 1411–12, he entailed it upon his son John. It is not clear in what capacity he accompanied the expedition to France. On the accession of Henry V he retained the office of justice of the common pleas, but vacated that of chief baron. His patent for the former office was again renewed on the accession of Henry VI. In 1422–3, 1428–9, 1434–5, he held the office of sheriff of the combined counties of Derby and Nottingham. He is included in the list of contributors to the expenses of the French war drawn up in 1436 by the title of Sir John Cokayne, but as no fine appears to have been levied before him after the summer of 1429, it is probable that he resigned office in that year. At his death, which occurred in 1437–8, he held, besides the manor of Ashbourne in Derbyshire, extensive estates in Warwickshire and Staffordshire. He was buried in the north aisle of the parish church of Ashbourne under an alabaster monument representing him in a recumbent posture, wearing his judicial robes and the coif of a Serjeant, and with a greyhound at his feet. The monument is no longer extant, but an engraving of it is given by Dugdale (Orig. 100), and reproduced in Mr. Serjeant Pulling's 'Order of the Coif.' His wife Isabel was the daughter of Sir Hugh Shirley, who was killed at Shrewsbury fighting on the side of Henry IV. By her he had four sons, A lineal descendant of the judge, Charles-Cokayne of Rushton in Northamptonshire, was raised to the peerage of Ireland as Viscount Cullen in 1642. The peerage became extinct by the death of the sixth viscount in 1810.

[Dugdale's Warwickshire, ed. Thomas, 1120-1121; Bellewe's Ans du Roy Rich. II, pp. 2, 195; Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council, i. 72-4, 162, iv. 327; Dugdale's Chron. Ser. 55, 56, 58; Rot. Parl. iii. 561; Fuller's Worthies (Derby); Cal. Inq. P.M. iv. 182; Cussans's Hertfordshire (Half Hundred of Hitchin), p. 27; Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges, iv. 92; Burke's Extinct Peerage; Foss's Judges of England.]

J. M. R.