Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Choke, Richard

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CHOKE, Sir RICHARD (d. 1483?), judge, son of John Choke of Stanton Drew in Somersetshire, a pears as a pleader in the ‘Yearbook’ for 1440–1, again in that for 1453–4, and thenceforth with frequency during the reign of Henry VI. He was called to the degree of serjeant in July 1453. The following year he bought the manor of Long Ashton in Somersetshire, a property worth, as Leland informs us, 600 marcs per annum, and here, according to the same authority, he ‘kept his chief house,’ having ‘great furniture of silver.’ In 1455 he was one of the commissioners then appointed to raise money for the defence of Calais. Shortly after the accession of Edward IV he was created a justice of the common pleas, his patent being dated in September 1461. His tenure of office was unbroken by the vicissitudes of the disturbed period which followed, his patent being renewed by Henry VI on his return to power in 1470, by Edward IV in the following June on the accession of Edward V in April, and on the accession of Richard III in June 1483. 'He appears to have been present at the coronation of Richard III; at any rate he received seven yards of red cloth from the royal wardrober. Probably he died soon afterwards, as there is no record of any fine levied before him, after March 1482-3. He is first described by Dugdale as knight under date 1470. At his death he held the manors of Stanton Drew, Long Ashton, and Tempilcloude in Somersetshire, and that of Randolveston in Dorsetshire. He married twice. By his first wife, Joan, daughter of William Pavey of Bristol, he had three sons and two daughters. His second wife, Margaret Morris, survived him by a year. In a pedigree given by Ashmole (Antiquities of Berkshire, iii. 318), the descent of Sir John Cheke, tutor of Edward VI, is traced to the judge who is miscalled Sir Richard Cheek. The mistake, which seems to have arisen from a confusion between the manor of Ashton in Essex, which was held for a time by Sir John Cheke, and the manor of Long Ashton in Somersetshire, held by Sir Richard Choke, is repeated by Strype in his life of Cheke. Among the most ancient of the baronies by tenure mentioned in Nicolas's 'Historic Peerage' is that of Cioches or Chokes, the estates of which lay in the several counties of Northampton, liertford, Gloucester, and Bedford. The barony became extinct early in the thirteenth century; but it is probable that the judge was descended from a junior branch of the family settled in Gloucestershire, or one of the neighbouring counties.

[Collinson's Somersetshire, ii. 291-2, 434; Yearbooks, 19 Hen. VI, Mich. f. 48, 32 Hen. VI, Trin. f. 4, Mich. ff. 4, 7. 10-12, 18, 21, 33 et seq.; Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council, vi. 234, 241; Dugdale's Chron. Ser. 66, 70, 72; Dugdale's Orig. 46; Grants from the Crown, Ed. V (Camden Soc.), xxx.; Leland's Itin. (Hearne), vii. pt. ii. f. 66 a; Col. Inq. P. M. iv. 417; The Antiquarian Repertory, i. 62; Strype's Cheke (Oxford edit.), p. 129; Baker's Northamptonshire, ii. 272-73; Foss's Judges of England.]

J. M. R.