Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cokayne, William

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COKAYNE, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1626), lord mayor of London, was second son of William Cokayne of Baddesley Ensor, Warwickshire, merchant of London, sometime governor of the Eastland Company, by Elizabeth, daughter of Roger Medcalfe of Meriden, Warwickshire, being descended from William Cokayne of Sturston, Derbyshire, a younger son of Sir John Cokayne [q. v.] of Ashbourne in that county. Apprenticed, Christmas 1582, to his father, he was made free of the Skinners' Company by patrimony 28 March 1590. On his father's death, 28 Nov. 1599, he succeeded to his business. He was sheriff of London 1609, and alderman of Farringdon Without 1609–13, of Castle Baynard 1613–18, of Lime Street 1618–25, of Broad Street 1625 till death. In 1612, when the plantation of Ulster was commenced, he was the first governor of the colonists sent thither, and under his directions the city of Londonderry was established. On 8 June 1616 the king honoured him with his presence at dinner at his house in Broad Street (Cokayne House, exactly opposite St. Peter's Church), where he dubbed him a knight. During Cokayne's mayoralty (1619–20) James visited St. Paul's Cathedral with a view to raising money to complete the spire, and was received by Cokayne in great state. A pageant entitled ‘The Triumphs of Love and Antiquity’ was performed; the entertainments, which commenced at Cokayne's house on Monday and Tuesday in Easter week 1620, terminated on Saturday with service for the lords of the privy council, when ‘that noble marriage was celebrated [22 April 1620] betwixt Charles, lord Howard, baron of Effingham, and Mary, first daughter of the said Sir William Cokaine.’ The king frequently consulted with him both in council and privately, speaking most highly of his method of handling business, and of ‘his language, accent, and manner of delivering himself.’ By him and others of the Merchant Adventurers' Company the well-known William Baffin was equipped for one of his northern voyages, and in his honour a harbour in Greenland, called in the admiralty chart ‘Cockin's Sound,’ was named. He purchased large estates in several counties, more particularly Elmesthorpe, Leicestershire, and Rushton, Northamptonshire, long the residence of his descendants. He gave each of his numerous daughters 10,000l. on marriage, leaving his son a rent roll of above 12,000l. a year. He died 20 Oct. 1626, in his sixty-sixth year, at his manor house at Comb Nevill in Kingston, Surrey, and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, where a stately monument with an elaborate inscription was erected to him. His funeral sermon was preached by the celebrated Dr. Donne. His widow remarried, 6 July 1630, Henry (Carey), fourth lord Hunsdon, first earl of Dover, and, dying 24 Dec. 1648, was buried with her first husband at St. Paul's. It has been well said of him, ‘that his spreading boughs and fair branches have given both shade and shelter to some of the goodliest families of England,’ and such truly was the case. His sons-in-law were (1) Charles (Howard), second earl of Nottingham; (2) Sir Hatton Fermor, ancestor of the Earls of Pomfret; (3) John Ramsay, created Earl of Holdernesse; (4) Montagu (Bertie), second earl of Lindsey, ancestor of the dukes of Ancaster; (5) John (Carey), second earl of Dover; (6) Thomas Fanshawe, created Viscount Fanshawe; and (7) Hon. James Sheffield, son of the Earl of Mulgrave. His only surviving son and heir, Charles Cokayne, having married Lady Mary O'Brien, first daughter and coheiress of Henry, fifth earl of Thomond, was on 11 Aug. 1642 created Viscount Cullen, co. Tipperary, a dignity which became extinct (or dormant) 21 Aug. 1810, by the death of Borlase, the sixth viscount, the last heir male of his body.

[Wilford's Memorials; Barksdale's Memorials; Dugdale's St. Paul's, 2nd edit. pp. 69, 137; Payne Fisher's Tombes of St. Paul's; Lodge's Irish Peerage, edit. 1789, iv. 329; Funeral Certificates, 1599 and 1626, at College of Arms; Markham's Voyages of William Baffin, &c.]

G. E. C.