Coke, Thomas

Person Key: 
COK005
Family Name: 
Coke
First Name(s): 
Thomas
Person Title: 
1st Earl of Leicester
Titular Place: 
Leicester
Rank In Peerage: 
Earl
Division of Peerage: 
Great Britain
Birth Year: 
1697
Death Year: 
1759
Century: 
18
County: 
Norfolk
Biography: 

Thomas Coke was the only son of Edward Coke, of Holkham, and Carey, daughter of Sir John Newton, Baronet. Member of Parliament for Norfolk 1722 1728, he was made a Knight of the Bath in 1725, created Baron Lovel of Minster Lovel in 1728 and Viscount Coke of Holkham and Earl of Leicester in 1744. He married Margaret daughter and coheir of Thomas Tufton, 6th Earl of Thanet in 1718, but their only son died before his father and the estate passed to his sister's son, Wenman Roberts, who took the name of Coke. Thomas Coke's magnificent collection of incunables and Italian books was mostly brought together during his travels on the continent in the years 1712 to 1718, though he also inherited the library of his ancestor Sir Edward Coke. There was a sale of duplicates in Norwich in 1851, and in more recent years other books have been sold to the British Library and to the Bodleian Library at Oxford, but the majority of the books remain at Holkham.

Seat / Residence(s): 
Holkham Hall, Norfolk
Biographical Sources: 
Dictionary of National Biography
C.W. James. `Some notes upon the manuscript library at Holkham'. Library 4s.ii (1922)
C.W. James. `Notes on the library of printed books at Holkham'. Library 4s.xi,435 6 (1931)
L.A. Sheppard. `A list of the printed books recently acquired by the British Museum from the Earl of Leicester, Holkham Hall'. Book Collector i,120 6
185 9
259 63 (1952)
D.M. Rogers. `The Holkham Collection'. Bodleian Library Record iv,255 67 (1953)
W.O. Hassall. `Portrait of a bibliophile II., Thomas Coke, Earl of Leicester 1697 1759'. Book Collector viii,249 61 (1959).