Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham (22 November 1564 – 24 January 1618 (Old Style)/3 February 1618 (New Style)), lord of the Manor of Cobham, Kent, was an English peer who was implicated in the Main Plot against the rule of James I of England.
The son of William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham, by second wife Frances, daughter of Sir John Newton, he was educated at King's College, Cambridge.In 1597 he succeeded his father as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports under Queen Elizabeth. Shortly after the accession of James I, he was implicated in the "Treason of the Main" in 1603. His brother George was executed, and Henry was imprisoned in the Tower of London by James I, probably in an attempt to obtain the Cobham estates for the Duke of Lennox.
He was the second husband of Lady Frances Howard, daughter of Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham and Katherine Carey, Countess of Nottingham.
He may have been the subject of a number of Elizabethan satires such as Thomas Nashe's Lenten Stuffe, Ben Jonson's Every Man in his Humour , and may have been the model of Shakespeare's Falstaff, who was originally given the name "Oldcastle". Sir John Oldcastle was an ancestor of Lord Cobham. Though Falstaff is more likely modelled on his father William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham (also descended from John Oldcastle) who was married to Frances Newton, whose family name was originally Caradock; referenced in Henry IV, Part 2 when Falstaff sings The Boy and the Mantle, a ballad in which Sir Caradoc's wife comes away with her fidelity and reputation intact (McKeen 1981). This could point to William Brooke, being married to a Caradock such as the Sir Caradoc in the ballad sung by Falstaff, as the model for Falstaff rather than Henry, being the son of a Caradock.
Contemporary accounts portray Cobham as a good natured but unintelligent man. He opposed the ascension of James I to the throne, along with Thomas Grey, 15th Baron Grey de Wilton. Cobham's dislike of James may have arisen from quarrels over religious policy, but Lord Grey was anti-Catholic. Cobham shows little political activity prior to James's time, and he seems generally to have been an uninvolved peer. His brother, Sir George Brooke, on the other hand, was involved in radical religious politics.
In 1603, the first year of James I's rule, both Brookes were involved in plots against the king. George Brooke entered into the radical and absurd Bye Plot with two Catholic priests, William Watson and William Clark, to kidnap the king and privy council, and force them to ease the political persecution of English Catholics.
At the very same time, Grey and Cobham entered into the Main Plot to raise a regiment of soldiers and force a coup d'etat. Cobham and Grey were to raise one-hundred and sixty thousand pounds (a figure that could be safely multiplied by twenty to convert to contemporary money) to bribe or hire an army. Cobham was to be the go-between with the Princely Count of Arenberg, who would do the actual negotiations with the Spanish court for the money. The conspirators, upon seizing government, would depose James and put Lady Arabella Stuart on the throne in his stead.
It is very likely that none of the offers from the Princely Count Arenberg were in good faith. It is plausible to concede that the Spanish court, already deeply in debt to banks in the Spanish Netherlands and the Dutch Republic, with the failure of the Spanish Armada years before, and having lost many of its galleons to English pirates, was in any position to offer such an astronomical sum to a somewhat improbable enterprise. However, Cobham believed the offers. He spoke with Sir Walter Raleigh about contacting Arenberg, and he was readying to set forth.
However, the Bye plot was discovered through its hireling "swordsmen," and the Bye plot conspirators were imprisoned. George Brooke may have sought to avoid a death sentence by informing on his brother. In any case, he provided information on the Main plot, and Grey, Cobham, and Raleigh were imprisoned in the Tower. During the trial, the evidence was shown to be inconsistent, especially in regard to Raleigh. The Bye plot conspirators were executed in 1603, and the Main plot conspirators were left in the Tower. In 1604 (new style), Cobham's honours in the Knights of the Garter were taken down and expelled.
Cobham, aged and sick, was released from the Tower in 1618, and died shortly after in a "dingy apartment in the Minories."
In 1601 he married Frances Howard (c.1572-1628), 2nd daughter of Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham and widow of Henry FitzGerald, Earl of Kildare. After her husband's attainder in 1603 the king granted her in 1604 a lease for her life of her husband's residence, Cobham Hall in Kent, where she lived "in solitary state" until her death in 1628, having in the meantime taken "no notice whatever of her husband after his trial".
Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character who appears in three plays by William Shakespeare and is eulogized in a fourth. His significance as a fully developed character is primarily formed in the plays Henry IV, Part 1 and Part 2, where he is a companion to Prince Hal, the future King Henry V of England. A notable eulogy for Falstaff is presented in Act II, Scene III of Henry V, where Falstaff does not appear as a character on stage, as enacted by Mistress Quickly in terms that some scholars have ascribed to Plato's description of the death of Socrates after drinking hemlock. By comparison, Falstaff is presented as the buffoonish suitor of two married women in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, was an English statesman noted for his direction of the government during the Union of the Crowns, as Tudor England gave way to Stuart rule (1603). Salisbury served as the Secretary of State of England (1596–1612) and Lord High Treasurer (1608–1612), succeeding his father as Queen Elizabeth I's Lord Privy Seal and remaining in power during the first nine years of King James I's reign until his death.
Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second play in Shakespeare's tetralogy dealing with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V. Henry IV, Part 1 depicts a span of history that begins with Hotspur's battle at Homildon in Northumberland against Douglas late in 1402 and ends with the defeat of the rebels at Shrewsbury in the middle of 1403. From the start, it has been an extremely popular play both with the public and critics.
Sir John Oldcastle was an English Lollard leader. Being a friend of Henry V, he long escaped prosecution for heresy. When convicted, he escaped from the Tower of London and then led a rebellion against the King. Eventually, he was captured and executed in London. He formed the basis for William Shakespeare's character John Falstaff, who was originally called John Oldcastle.
Baron Burgh is a title that has been created twice in the Peerage of England. The first creation was for William de Burgh in 1327.
Sir John Oldcastle is an Elizabethan play about John Oldcastle, a controversial 14th-/15th-century rebel and Lollard who was seen by some of Shakespeare's contemporaries as a proto-Protestant martyr.
William Watson was an English Roman Catholic priest and conspirator, executed for treason.
The Bye Plot of 1603 was a conspiracy, by Roman Catholic priests and Puritans aiming at tolerance for their respective denominations, to kidnap the new English King, James I of England. It is referred to as the "bye" plot, because at the time it was presented as a minor component of a larger plot.
The Main Plot was an alleged conspiracy of July 1603 by English courtiers to remove King James I from the English throne and to replace him with his cousin Lady Arabella Stuart. The plot was supposedly led by Henry Brooke, Lord Cobham, and funded by the Spanish government. In a state trial, the defendants accused of involvement in the Main Plot were tried along with those of the Bye Plot. It is referred to as the "main" plot, because at the time it was presented as the principal ("main") plot of which the secondary plot was a minor component.
Sir William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham, KG, lord of the Manor of Cobham, Kent, was Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and a Member of Parliament for Hythe. Although he was viewed by some as a religious radical during the Somerset Protectorate, he entertained Queen Elizabeth I of England at Cobham Hall in 1559, signalling his acceptance of the moderate regime.
Catherine Howard, Countess of Nottingham, was a cousin, lady-in-waiting, and close confidante of Elizabeth I of England. She was in attendance on the queen for 44 years.
George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham KG, lord of the Manor of Cobham, Kent and of Cooling Castle, Kent, was an English peer, soldier and magnate, who participated in the political turmoil following the death of King Henry VIII.
The Rev. Sir George Brooke was an English aristocrat, executed for his part in two plots against the government of King James I.
Frances Newton, Baroness Cobham was an English aristocratic woman who served Queen Elizabeth I of England as a Lady of the Bedchamber, and was one of her closest female friends. She was the second wife of William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham.
Sir William Brooke was an English soldier and politician. He was the Member of Parliament for Rochester, Kent.
Thomas Grey, 15th Baron Grey de Wilton was an English aristocrat, soldier and conspirator. He was convicted of involvement in the Bye Plot against James I of England.
Frances Howard, Countess of Kildare, courtier, and governess of Princess Elizabeth, later Queen of Bohemia.
The title Baron Cobham has been created numerous times in the Peerage of England; often multiple creations have been extant simultaneously, especially in the fourteenth century. The earliest creation was in 1313 for Henry de Cobham, 1st Baron Cobham, lord of the manors of Cobham and of Cooling, both in the county of Kent. The de Cobham family died out in the male line in 1408, with the death of the 3rd Baron Cobham, but the title continued via a female line to the Brooke family, which originated at the estate of "la Brook" near Ilchester in Somerset, and which later resided at Holditch in the parish of Thorncombe and at Weycroft in the parish of Axminster, both in Devon, both fortified manor houses. Following their inheritance, the Brooke family resided at Cobham Hall and Cooling Castle in Kent. Henry Brooke, 11th Baron Cobham, was attainted in 1603, when the peerage became abeyant instead of becoming extinct. In 1916, the attainder was removed and the abeyance terminated in favor of the fifteenth baron. The twelfth to fourteenth barons never actually held the title. This creation became abeyant again in 1951.
Cobham is an historic manor in the county of Kent, England, largely co-terminous with the ecclesiastical parish of Cobham. The surviving grade I listed manor house, known as Cobham Hall, is one of the largest and most important houses in Kent, re-built in the Tudor style by William Brooke, 10th Baron Cobham (1527–1597). The central block was rebuilt 1672–82 by Charles Stewart, 3rd Duke of Richmond, 6th Duke of Lennox (1639–1672). Today the building houses a private boarding school for girls, known as "Cobham Hall School", established there in 1962, which retains 150 acres of the ancient estate. St Mary Magdalene Church, the parish church of Cobham, contains famous monumental brasses of members of the de Cobham and Brooke families, lords of the manor, which are reputedly the finest in England. William Belcher in his Kentish Brasses (1905) stated: No church in the world possesses such a splendid series as the nineteen brasses in Cobham Church, ranging in date between 1298 and 1529. In the church also survives the sumptuous chest tomb and alabaster effigies of George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham (1497–1558) and his heiress wife Ann Bray. To the immediate south of the church is the building known as Cobham College, now an almshouse, which originally housed the five priests employed by the chantry founded in 1362 by John Cobham, 3rd Baron Cobham, who also built nearby Cooling Castle on his estate at Cooling, Kent, acquired by his ancestors in the mid-13th century. In the former deer park survives the Darnley Mausoleum, a pyramid-topped structure built in 1786 as ordered by the will of the 3rd Earl of Darnley. Several of the holders held the office of Constable of Rochester Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, the holder of the latter office being ex officio Constable of Dover Castle. The lords of the manor of Cobham were Hereditary High Stewards of nearby Gravesend and held the right to charge that town pontage in relation to the use of the landing stage, bridge or causeway on the River Thames, on the ceremonial route from the Palace of Westminster to Dover.
The Lord Cobham
| Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports |
The Earl of Northampton
| Lord Lieutenant of Kent |
The Lord Wotton
|Peerage of England|
| Baron Cobham |