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Coke Sir Edward

Coke, Sir Edward (1552-1634), a great English lawyer, born at Mileham in Norfolk, and educated at Norwich grammar school and at Trinity College, Cambridge, and then at Clifford's Inn and the Inner Temple. In 1578 he was called to the bar, and his extensive and accurate knowledge brought him a large practice. In 1585 he became Recorder of Coventry, and entered Parliament in 1589 as member for Aldborough. In 1592 he was Solicitor-General, in 1593 Speaker, in 1594 Attorney-General, in 1606 Chief Justice of Common Pleas, and in 1613 Lord Chief Justice and Privy Councillor. In 1581 he had married a wife who brought him a fortune, and shortly after he married, as second wife, the daughter of Lord Burghley and grand-daughter of the great Cecil. In this marriage Bacon was his rival, as he was also in his professional career. Coke was harsh in his conduct of trials as Crown prosecutor, notably in the case of Raleigh, but he was a good judge as times went, and always defended the common law against the encroachments of the Court of Chancery and other interferences. In 1617 he was removed from the Bench for resisting the king's wishes, and in 1620 he entered Parliament as member for Liskeard. He became a leader of the popular party, and in 1621 was sent to the Tower for his share in the petition to the king. He was in the first and second Parliaments of Charles L, and in 1628 he had a great share in drawing up the Petition of Right. The last few years of his life were spent in retirement and in the revision of his works, the best known of which are his Institutes - one of which is called Coke upon Littleton - and his Reports.