Coke of Norfolk (1754-1842): A Biography

Overview

Thomas William Coke ("Coke of Norfolk") (1754-1842) is best known as one of the main promoters of the improved farming of the "Agricultural Revolution". He was also a county MP for over forty years between 1776 and 1832; and the owner of one of the finest palladian mansions in Britain, and by far, the largest estate in Norfolk at Holkham Hall. A friend of Charles James Fox, he moved in the highest Whig social circles and lavishly entertained distinguished friends from both political and academic fields who came ...

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Overview

Thomas William Coke ("Coke of Norfolk") (1754-1842) is best known as one of the main promoters of the improved farming of the "Agricultural Revolution". He was also a county MP for over forty years between 1776 and 1832; and the owner of one of the finest palladian mansions in Britain, and by far, the largest estate in Norfolk at Holkham Hall. A friend of Charles James Fox, he moved in the highest Whig social circles and lavishly entertained distinguished friends from both political and academic fields who came to Holkham for its splendid library, works of art and antiquities as well as the game coverts. A charismatic figure, he was an outspoken critic of Britain's war against the Americans in their fight for independence which made him friends who visited and corresponded across the Atlantic. Despite his importance, both locally and nationally, there has been no full scale biography of him for a hundred years - a gap which this book sets out to address. It sets his agricultural achievements in a wider context, and places Coke himself in his milieu, as one of a small circle of landed grandees who were of major influence during a period of political turbulence and agricultural change. The author also examines Coke's reputation as a "patriot". Dr SUSANNA WADE MARTINS is Honorary Research Fellow, School of History, University of East Anglia.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781843835318
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/18/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vi

Metric Conversions viii

Acknowledgements x

Foreword by the Earl of Leicester xi

Prologue To Begin at the End: The Final Journey 1

Chapter 1 The Making of a Patriot: Coke's Early Years 9

Chapter 2 Early Parliamentary Career, 1776-1783 24

Chapter 3 Life in Norfolk and London, 1776-c. 1800 45

Interlude: A Patriotic Festival: Celebrations for the Centenary of the Glorious Revolution 77

Chapter 4 Coke, the Patriotic Landlord 81

Chapter 5 'The fairest where many are fair': Coke, the Practical Farmer 108

Chapter 6 The Road to Reform: Coke's Later Parliamentary Career 126

Chapter 7 'Open House': Holkham and Its Visitors 154

Chapter 8 Second Marriage and Later Years, 1800-1842 169

Epilogue The Gentleman Patriot 184

Notes 188

Bibliography 200

Index 209

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