Coke, Thomas William

Person Key: 
COK004
Family Name: 
Coke
First Name(s): 
Thomas William
Person Title: 
1st Earl of Leicester
Titular Place: 
Leicester
Rank In Peerage: 
Earl
Division of Peerage: 
United Kingdom
Birth Year: 
1754
Death Year: 
1842
County: 
Norfolk
Biography: 

Thomas William Coke was the eldest son of Wenman Roberts and Elizabeth Chamberlayne. When his father succeeded to the estate of his maternal uncle Thomas Coke, Earl of Leicester, both father and son assumed the surname and arms of Coke. On the death of his father, in 1776, Mr Coke was elected unopposed to his father's seat in Parliament. With an interval from 1784 to 1790 he sat for the county until 1833. In 1837, he was created Viscount Coke and Earl Leicester of Holkham. Coke was a great agricultural improver and introduced a better course of cropping, proved that wheat could profitably be grown in Norfolk, and bred new strains of livestock. At the suggestion of his friend William Roscoe, Coke had many of the manuscripts and printed books at Holkham repaired or rebound. He also bought a small number of books of first rate importance at the sale of Roscoe's library.

Seat / Residence(s): 
Holkham Hall, Norfolk
Biographical Sources: 
Dictionary of National Biography
C.W. James. `Some notes on 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).