John Thurloe - Cromwell's Spy Chief
Most sources say two, but I suspect these all derive from the introduction Birch edition of the State Papers being “a lady of the Peyton family”- first name unknown (could be related to Sir Robert Peyton – of the Peyton Gang fame ?), then Ann Lytcott.

But Mark Noble’s “Memoirs of the Protectoral-House of Cromwell” (1787) gives a third – of the family of Cooke, from Chissel in Essex. I checked Wikipedia which lists a windmill at Great Chishill being owned around that time by “The Cooke family”. The Rev. Noble was been heavily criticised by his contemporaries for the inaccuracy of this work – although I not aware that this was a point at issue.

Now here’s the thing – John Thurloe died in 1668 and Ann died after 1674, and they were not divorced,(because there were only 2 divorces during the 17th century, so any third “marriage” would have been bigamous – if they were in fact married as such. Thurloe split his time between his family home in Great Milton (now Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons” and his law offices at Lincoln’s Inn/Chancery Lane. It would not be unusual for a man in his circumstances to have a secret “wifelet”.

Thurloe read everyone’s post during the Cromwell period, so it is hardly surprising that his personal correspondence is particularly sparse (we do not even have his first wife’s name nor their 2 sons dead in infancy) Can you help out here?

  • Doesn't this article 'THE LIFE OF JOHN THURLOE Esq. SECRETARY OF STATE' not answer your question? on his second wife?
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 7:08
  • Thanks Mark. This indicates 2 wives but no mention of Cooke. Was Noble just wrong - or was there another liaison? Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 15:31
  • Your question looks to be based on genealogy, which is not for this forum. However, if you could edit your question to the above comment, with claims Noble's incompetence this might be on topic.
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 15:35
  • Also, I looked into a genealogy chart of the Peytons, but I couldn't find any reference of Thurloe there. Link
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 15:39


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