COPE, Walter (d.1614), of the Strand, London and Kensington, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. 1551 or later, s. of Edward Cope of Hanwell and bro. of Anthony. m. Dorothy, da. of Richard Grenville, 1da.2 Kntd. ?1603.

Offices Held

Member, Antiq. Soc. c.1591; j.p. Mdx. from c.1598; feodary for ct. of wards and duchy of Lancaster, Oxon. and Berks. from 1598, of London and Mdx. from 1601; auditor, duchy of Cornwall from c. 1603; chamberlain of the Exchequer 1608; jt. (with Earl of Salisbury) keeper of Hyde park 1610; master of ct. of wards Nov. 1612.3


Cope possibly had a minor post in the court of wards by the time he entered Parliament: when he became master in 1612 he claimed to have ‘lived under the shadow of this court almost 40 years’. He was certainly some sort of subordinate of the Cecils by the time he was returned for St. Mawes on a blank indenture, and, as it must be inferred that it was Robert Cecil who brought him in for Westminster in 1604, it is reasonable to see the Cecils behind his first two elections. In 1601 Robert Cecil would have used the good offices of the lord lieutenant of Dorset, Thomas Howard, 3rd Viscount Howard of Bindon, who obtained several Dorset borough nominations and offered them to Cecil. It has been assumed that it was Cope’s brother Anthony who was the ‘Mr. Cope’ on the subsidy committee, 11 Feb. 1589, but by 1601 Anthony was knighted, and the journals consistently refer to him as Sir Anthony. The business committee of 3 Nov. 1601 and the committee concerning painters on 24 Nov. 1601 are therefore assigned to Walter Cope. He was specifically named to two committees: on horse-stealing (3 Nov. 1601) and clothworkers (18 Nov.).4

While feodary in Berkshire and Oxfordshire Cope lived on the family estates at Hanwell. He had some property in the west country, but there is no evidence that he ever lived there. After he acquired his long-awaited appointment in London he lived in the Strand, and, by about 1607, he had a house in Kensington, afterwards Holland House, built for him by John Thorpe. Writing to Dudley Carleton in the following summer, the letter writer John Chamberlain described his visit to ‘Cope Castle’, where Sir Walter Cope ‘grows more and more into the great lord’. This ostentation brought Cope into debt by 1614 to the tune of £27,000. He died on 31 July that year.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament. Voided 11 May 1614, CJ, i. 477, 480.
  • 2. C142/145/53; Wards 9/138, f. 65; 139, f. 210; DNB.
  • 3. Harl. 247, f. 71; PRO Index 4208, f. 95; Index D.L. patents, f. 17; SP14/60; J. Hurstfield, Queen’s Wards , 234; HMC Hatfield, xi. 486; CSP Dom. 1603-10, pp. 60, 643; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 393; J. Evans, Hist. Antiq. Soc. 12.
  • 4. SP14/69/68; Chamberlain Letters, i. 177, 215, 346, 354; Roberts thesis, 214; D’Ewes, 431, 623, 624, 642, 650.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 122; 1598-1601, p. 508; 1603-10, p. 403; 1611-18, p. 246; DNB; Chamberlain Letters, passim; H. E. Bell, Court of Wards, 19; C142/374/105.