Cooke family genealogy

Of Kilturra, Ballymote, County Sligo

Arms: Az. on a chev. ar. betw. three cinquefoils erm. two lions combatant of the field armed gu.

O’Callaghan, in his “History of the Irish Brigades,” states that this family settled in Ireland in the century after the Invasion; which inclines us to believe that the “Cookes” in other parts of Ireland are distinct from them, and that the ancestor of this family came to Ireland in the thirteenth century with Roger de Bigod, earl of Norfolk, and settled in the county Carlow. To this day, even, the sirname Cooke, is very prevalent in Norfolk—more so, than in any other part of England or Ireland.

It was a member of this family who (see Bishop Moran’s Monasticon) founded a Franciscan Abbey in their demesne, now known as “Oak Park,” near Carlow, at present (1883) the property of Mr. Bruen.

We have traced this geneaology back to John Cooke, of Carlow, who was an officer in Maxwell’s Regiment of Horse, in the Army of King James the Second. This John Cooke and his brothers took up arms “for faith and sovereign,” and so warmly espoused the cause of King James, that, in grateful recognition of their devotion to him, His Majesty granted to them the style and title for ever of The Cookes of the Cavaliers.

The family estates in Carlow and elsewhere confiscated, because of their adherence to the cause of King James, this John Cooke, after the battle of Aughrim, settled in Connaught; where he and his descendants married into some of the most respectable families of that province. One of his brothers, named Mathew, went to France as an officer in the Irish Royal Regiment of Footguards; and, most likely, was the person alluded to by O’Callaghan, in his “Irish Brigades,” pages 332 and 595, as the Mathew Cooke who there died in 1740.

1. John Cooke, of Carlow, above-mentioned: living A.D. 1691. Seeing that after the battle of Aughrim the cause of King James was lost, and wishing to escape the Williamite troopers, this John Cooke crossed into Mayo and there met and married Mary Lynch, the daughter of Dr. Patrick Lynch, of Westport; by her he had issue three sons— Charles; 2. Thomas; 3. Mathew. Thomas died early in life; and Mathew joined the French service.

2. Charles: eldest son of John; m. in 1725, Sheela Mór O’Dowda, daughter of the O’Dowda, prince of Tireragh, and by her had issue two sons—1. Thomas; 2. John. This John entered into Holy Orders, and became Parish Priest of Ballymote, co. Sligo.

3. Thomas: son of Charles; m. in 1770 Anna Irwin, dau. of A. Irwin, of Muckleta, and by her had:

  1. Charles, of whom presently.
  2. Patrick, who m. Mary White, and d.s.p.

4. Charles: son of Thomas; m. in 1798 Bridget, eldest dau. and coheir of Henry Meredyth and his wife, Celia Naper,[1] who was the only dau. of James Naper, of Tubbercurry.{n2-cooke} The issue of Charles and Bridget Cooke were:

  1. John, who m. Ellinor Brett, and d.s.p.
  2. Mark, who m. Bridget Henry, and had only one surviving son, who was in Holy Orders, and d. in 1880.
  3. Thomas.

5. Thomas: third son of Charles; m. in 1843 Katherine MacGeterick; and had:

  1. John Ormsby Cooke, of whom presently.
  2. Thomas King Cooke, born in 1846, and (in 1877) a Lieut.-Colonel in the United States Service.
  3. Francis Meredith Cooke, b. in 1848.
  4. Charles Naper Cooke, b. in 1850; living in Australia.
  5. Joseph Meredith Cooke, b. in 1851, now (1883) in America.
  6. Edward Ormsby Cooke, b. in 1862.

6. John Ormsby Cooke, J.P., of Kilturra, co. Sligo, and of Wells, in the co. Carlow: son of Thomas; b. in 1845, and living in 1887; is a Grand Juror of the co. Sligo:—For further particulars see Walford’s County Families; and De Burgh’s Landowners of Ireland.


[1] Naper: It is worthy of remark that, while Mr. Cooke, of Kilturra, is the representative in the male line of a family attainted by King William the Third, he represents the Napers, one of the few Sligo families (outside the Coopers of Markree, and Lord Collooney), attainted in the Parliament of King James the Second; a curious disclosure, and one which shows that much “Orange and Green” is fused in some Irish families. One might well look for Patriotism, in this family; for, one of the Ormsbys was Lieut.-Colonel of the Sligo Volunteers in 1782, while the Right Honourable Joshua Cooper, of Markree, M.P. for the county Sligo, was one of the Delegates to the Irish National Convention of that memorable year!

[2] Tubbercurry: This James Naper was the direct descendant of James Napper of Tober-an-choire, (anglicised “Tobercurry”), who was attainted in the Dublin Parliament of King James the Second, A.D. 1689; Celia Naper’s mother was a Cooper of Markree Castle; and Henry Meredith’s mother was an Ormsby of Willowbrook. Henry Meredith’s great-great-grandfather, Robert Meredith, was (along with John Cusack) M.P. for the borough of Boyle, A.D. 1613. They were the first M.P.’s for that borough. Afterwards, in 1639, Sir Robert King and Richard Wingfield were the Members for Boyle. At p. 416 in the Life of Mary Aikenhead, there is honourable mention made of the Cookes of Sligo, by the talented authoress of that interesting work.