By Cliff McCarthy, 2016
Last Updated 6 May 2017
James Cooke was born in 1816 at Brigden Hill Farm in Ashburnham, Sussex, the son of James and Mary (Wright) Cooke. He was baptized on the 12 May 1816 in the Ashburnham Church. In 1841, James Cooke was enumerated with his mother at Ship Inn in Pett Level, Sussex. In Pett, on 21 January 1845, he married Dinah Davis and his occupation was given as “labourer.” At the time of the wedding, Dinah already had a son Alfred and it is not known if James was Alfred’s father, but Alfred took the Cooke surname. For a further discussion of this, see “Was Alfred H. D. Cooke’s Father Really James Cooke?”
Dinah Davis was the daughter of Thomas and Anne Davis. Thomas Davis was a publican and the Davis family ran the Ship Inn. Dinah was born there about 1815. Her son Alfred Henry Davis Cooke was also born there in 1843. It is said that the Davises were of Welsh extraction and that it was through them that red hair was introduced into the Cooke line.
According to Cooke researchers, John and Rosemary Moon, who live in Pett Level, the Cookes settled at Pett Level about 1831 on a strip of land along the shore that had been reclaimed from the sea. The Ship Inn was built in 1742 and the Cookes and/or their “to be” relatives ran the place from about 1808 to 1887 with the exception of a few years. This whole settlement was slowly taken back by the sea during the 1900s, the Ship Inn finally closed in 1931, succumbing to several storms that year. A seawall was built in 1947.
However, James Cooke was a farmer. In the 1851 & 1861 censuses he is listed as a “agricultural labourer” in Pett Level. Between 1871 and 1901, he is farming at Blackhoth Brook Farm in Guestling, Sussex, a farm of 55 acres.
Dinah (Davis) Cooke passed away at Blackhoth Farm on 4 August 1877, aged 61.
By the 1891 census, his son Joseph was farming at Blackhoth Farm, as head of the household, but James was still living there. Later, he moved to Gatehurst Farm in Pett. James died at Gatehurst Farm on 3 June 1910, aged 94. Both he and Dinah are buried in the cemetery at Pett.
“In Affectionate Remembrance of DI[A]NA, the Dearly Beloved Wife of JAMES COOKE, who died August 4th 1877, Aged 61 Years. Also of the Above JAMES COOKE, Who Died June 3rd 1910, Aged 96 Years.”
Children of James & Dinah (Davis) COOKE
JAMES COOKE was born in 1816 in Brigden Hill Farm, Ashburnham, Sussex, England. He died on 3 June 1910 in Gatehurst Farm, Pett, Sussex. He married DINAH DAVIS on 21 January 1845 in Parish Church, Pett, Sussex, England, daughter of Thomas DAVIS and Anne. She was born about 1815 in Ship Inn, Pett, Sussex, England. She died on 4 August 1877 in Blackhoth Brook Farm, Guestling, Sussex, England. James COOKE and Dinah DAVIS had the following children:
i. ALFRED HENRY DAVIS COOKE was born in 1843 in Ship Inn, Pett, Sussex, England. He died on 22 March 1928 in Cleveland Place, Winchelsea, Sussex, England. He married ANN SELINA PAINE on 9 August 1869 in Parish Church, Winchelsea, Sussex, England, daughter of Richard PAINE and Ann STOCKS. She was born on 9 August 1847 in Winchelsea, Sussex, England. She died on 24 November 1914 in Winchelsea, Sussex, England.
ii. ALBERT DAVIS COOKE was born about 1845 in Pett, Sussex, England. He died in 1908 in Place Farm, Icklesham, Susex, England. He married ANNE D. SMITH on 30 October 1869 in St. Leonard’s Chapel, Sussex, England. She was born about 1841 in St. Leonards by the Sea, Sussex, England. She died in 1915 in Coghurst, Guestling, Sussex, England.
iii. EMILY COOKE was born in 1846 in Pett, Sussex, England. She died in 1924. She married THOMAS WICKS after 1871.
iv. FREDERICK COOKE was born in 1850 in Pett, Sussex, England. He died in 1927.
v. CHARLES T. COOKE was born in 1852 in Pett, Sussex, England. He died in 1933. He married ELIZA WICKS on 13 October 1873. She was born about 1852 in Pett, Sussex, England.
vi. JOSEPH V. COOKE was born in 1855 in Pett, Sussex, England. He died in 1936. He married ANN. She was born about 1856 in Icklesham, Sussex, England.
- 1841 English Census for Mary Cooke (District #3, Pett, Sussex, England).
- 1841 English Census for Thomas Davis (District #3, Pett, Sussex, England).
- 1851 English Census for James Cooke (District #1, Pett, Sussex, England).
- 1861 British Census for James Cooke (District #1, Pett, Sussex, England).
- 1871 British Census for James Cooke (Guestling, Sussex, England).
- 1881 British Census for James Cooke (Guestling, Sussex, England).
- 1891 English Census for Joseph Cooke (District #9, Guestling, Sussex, England).
- 1901 English Census for Joseph Cooke (Guestling, Sussex East, England).
- Baptisms Solemnized in the Parish of Pett (Sussex Co., England).
- Burials in the Parish of Pett (Sussex Co., England).
- Correspondence of Rosemary Moon (dated February 2, 1998).
- England Marriages, 1538-1973 (as reproduced at http://www.FamilySearch.org).
- Garner, Patricia M., A Family History (Cappella Archive).
- Marriage Record for Alfred Henry Davis Cooke and Ann Selina Paine (Parish of Winchelsea, Sussex Co., England, dated Aug 9, 1869).
- Marriage Record for James Cooke and Dianah Davis (Parish of Pett, Sussex, England, dated 21 January 1845)