Rooke, Giles (DNB00)

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ROOKE, Sir GILES (1743–1808), judge, third son of Giles Rooke, merchant of London, a director of the East India Company, by Frances, daughter of Leonard Cropp of Southampton, was born on 3 June 1743. He was educated at Harrow and Oxford, where he matriculated from St. John's College on 26 Nov. 1759, graduated B.A. in 1763, and proceeded M.A. in 1766, being elected in the same year to a fellowship at Merton College, which he held until 1785. He was also called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1766, and went the western circuit to such profit that in 1781 he was called to the degree of serjeant-at-law, and in April 1793 was made king's serjeant. At the ensuing Exeter assizes he prosecuted to conviction one William Winterbotham, a dissenting minister at Plymouth, for preaching sermons of a revolutionary tendency; and on 13 Nov. of the same year was appointed to the puisne judgeship of the common pleas vacant by the death of John Wilson [q. v.] At the same time he was knighted. He presided at the trial at the York Lent assizes in 1795 of Henry Redhead Yorke [q. v.] for conspiracy against the government. He died on 7 March 1808. By his wife Harriet Sophia (d. 1839), daughter of Colonel William Burrard of Walhampton, Hampshire, he left a large family. Rooke was not a great judge, but he appears to have been a pious and an amiable man, with a taste for theology and polite literature. He was author of ‘Thoughts on the Propriety of fixing Easter Term,’ 1792 (anon.)

[Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Howell's State Trials, xxii. 826, xxv. 1049; Gent. Mag. 1794 i. 474, 1808 i. 277; Foss's Lives of the Judges.]

J. M. R.