Thomas Cookes (1648-1701)

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Sir Thomas Cookes, 2nd Baronet (bap. 1648 – 8 June 1701), benefactor of Worcester College, Oxford, was the eldest son of Sir William Cookes, 1st Baronet, of Norgrove Court, Worcestershire, and his second wife, Mercy, née Dinely.Cookes began his studies at Pembroke College, Oxford in June 1667, going on to Lincoln's Inn in June 1669. Following the death of his father, he succeeded to the baronetcy in July 1672, and on 28 August 1672 he married Mary Windsor, the daughter of Thomas Hickman-Windsor, 1st Earl of Plymouth, and niece of George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax. His seat was Bentley Pauncefote at Tardebigge, Worcestershire.Cookes's wife died on 3 January 1695, and on 6 December 1695 he married Lucy Whalley. Both of Cookes's marriages were without issue, though his name was preserved through donations to educational institutions such as Bromsgrove School and Feckenham School. In his will, Cookes left £10,000 in trust to endow a new college at Oxford University or to add to an existing foundation there, at which priority for acceptance should be for students from Bromsgrove and Feckenham schools, and to Cookes's relatives.In respect of the endowment for an Oxford college, Benjamin Woodroffe, the principal of Gloucester Hall, gained a charter of incorporation and laid down statutes for the new college, but Cookes did not like its terms. John Baron, the future master of Balliol College and later Vice-chancellor of the University, then made representations for the endowment. Both parties dealt directly with Cookes and preached sermons on charity in Feckenham church (Baron in 1699, Woodroffe in 1700), as well as producing printed arguments in 1702.Cookes died on 8 June 1701 and was buried next to his first wife in Tardebigge church on 10 June. His will was proved on 9 July 1701, but the interpretation and execution of his intentions regarding the gift to Oxford took time to settle. It was initially decided that Magdalen Hall should be the recipient, but on 31 October 1712 the Lord Keeper, Simon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt, decreed in the Court of Chancery that Cookes's wishes were that the money, now totalling £15,000, should go to Gloucester Hall. The trustees agreed to this on 16 November 1713 and Gloucester Hall was incorporated as Worcester College on 29 July 1714.Cookes left a fee-simple estate of some £3000 per annum and, including the £10,000 earmarked for the Oxford college, a personal estate of £40,000.Norgrove Hall was left to his nephew Thomas Winford on condition that he adopted the additional surname of Cookes.

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