Henry Cooke

Henry Cooke, composer and singer, was buried in the east cloister of Westminster Abbey, near the steps to the church, on 17th July 1672. No gravestone inscription was recorded for him. He joined the Royalist army during the English Civil War and became a Captain in 1642. In 1660 he was appointed Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and became Master of the Children there. Three of his anthems were sung during the coronation of Charles II in 1661. He also wrote music for works by Sir William D'Avenant and diarist John Evelyn called him the best singer, in the Italian manner, in England. His wife Mary was buried in the cloister on 18th June 1696.

Daughter Katherine married Pelham Humphry, a pupil of Henry's and some say that Henry died of grief because Pelham played the lute better than him. Daughter Amey married first Bartholomew Tothill and secondly Arthur Browne. A daughter Mary had obviously been buried in the cloister (date not known) as in his will Henry asks to be buried beside her. But her burial is not recorded in the register.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

A biographical dictionary of English Court Musicians 1485-1714 compiled by A. Ashbee and D. Lasocki, 1998


17th July 1672


Musician; soldier; composer


East Cloister

Henry Cooke
East Cloister

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster