Coke Street, E1

Place Name

There are two potential contenders after whom this street could be named. The Reverend Edward F Coke was vicar of St James the Great church, on Bethnal Green Road from the 1850s. During his 40 years in the post he helped many poor people marry after realising that lots of his parishioners lived in sin because they did not have the money to wed. Local historian Chris Weavers suggests that it may also be named after Sir John Coke (March 5, 1563 – September 8, 1644), who lived in Wapping and held a number of important posts. He was the deputy-treasurer to the Navy and Attorney General under Elizabeth I; Master of Requests under James I; and Secretary of State to Charles I. Coke in his earlier years had been a defender of absolute monarchy and greatly disliked the papacy. He was described by Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, as “a man of very dumb education and a narrower mind”.

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