The Coke Family
Sir Edward Coke
One of the great Norfolk families, Sir Edward Coke established the family fortune. He was born at Burghwood Manor in the adjacent parish of Mileham, on the site of which Burghwood Hall now stands. Whilst imprisoned in the tower, he prayed that he would be able to spend his last days at Godwick Manor, and he directed that on his death his libraries and heirlooms should be kept there.
Together with his wife Bridget (d.1598), he is buried in Tittleshall Chuch in the brick mausoleum where there is a remarkable series of monuments to the Coke family, including those to Robert Coke (d.1629); Thomas Coke, first Earl of Leicester (d.1759) who built Holkham Hall in north Norfolk; and Thomas Coke known as "Coke of Norfolk" as a result of his famous agricultural improvements. He died in 1842 and was the last Coke to be buried in Tittleshall.
Coke Family TV Documentaries Sep 2015
During the summer we had a Canadian presenter here, making a film about Sir Edward Coke, who is buried in our church here. This film describes how Edward Coke upheld the terms of Magna Carta against any erosion by the king and gives a fascinating and informative description of the rights of the common man.Please follow the following links to see some Canadian made Coke family history:
Edward Coke is a Canadian hero, who is largely forgotten today.
His writings are available but specialized and in antiquated style.
Start with Catherine Drinker Bowen’s 1956 biography The Lion and the Throne
Coke unites theory and practice
He served as solicitor general, speaker of the Commons, attorney general, chief justice of the civil and criminal courts, was imprisoned in the Tower and became an MP
As a lawyer and judge he applied the principles of liberty
As a writer and thinker he persuaded others to apply them
As a statesmen he defended them when they were threatened
Coke insisted that English law came from the people
The Common Law arose from popular consent not legislation
Magna Carta codified the basic liberties protected by the Common Law including that the king was subject to the law not its master
Laws that infringed those liberties were invalid regardless of the formalities observed in creating them
Coke’s legal reasoning deserves careful attention
In the details of cases he discusses he discerns the rational and just basis of common law, including in such maxims as “That the house of every one is to him as his Castle and Fortress as well for defence against injury and violence, as for his repose”
In the general principles he outlines he explains basic rules such as judges should not make up law and legislators should not endlessly fiddle and change what has worked
Liberty is for everyone as a matter of right and for the practical good of the realm
Coke should have an honorable place in our hearts and minds and a statue in front of our legislatures.
Thinkers referenced in the podcast:
Bowen, Catherine Drinker. The Lion and the Throne: the Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke 1552-1634 (Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1956) – see also AbeBooks.com
Corwin, Edward S. The “Higher Law” Background of American Constitutional Law. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007)
Coke, Sir Edward. The Selected Writings of Sir Edward Coke. Edited by Steve Sheppard.