Cook, Mrs.Back to performers
H. E. D. Hammond visited Mrs Cook aged 86 in Quedgeley about 1908 when she sang him Robin Hood And The Widow’s Three Sons. He noted the words but not the tune.
Mrs Cook was probably born Aquila Speck in Hardwicke about 1824. She married Charles Cooke, a carpenter’s son from Standish, in Haresfield on 12 April 1846.Their surname was variously spelled Cook or Cooke and her name as Aquila, Acquella or Aquella. Their daughter, Rhoda Cooke, was baptised on 21 Jun 1846 in Hardwicke and by 1851 they were living in Quedgeley where Charles was working as an agricultural labourer. By then they also had a son, also called Charles, born in Hardwick about 1848 who died at a young age and was buried in Quedgeley on 24 March 1853. Another son, Thomas, was baptised in Quedgeley on 4 December 1853 and by 1861 the family were living in Bristol Lane, Quedgeley, where Charles continued to work as an agricultural labourer. They also had two lodgers. Aquila and Charles Cooke then had another son, whom they also named Charles, who was baptised in Quedgeley in October 1861. Mrs Cooke’s daughter, Rhoda Cooke, married Charles Chaplin, a farmer from Quedgeley, at the end of 1870 in Cheltenham. Rhoda had a son, also called Charles, in 1871 but by the time of the 1871 census her husband, Charles, had died and Rhoda was living at home with her parents at 4 Schoolhouse Cottages, Quedgeley.
By 1881 Charles Cooke, in addition to his agricultural work, had become Parish Clerk at St James’ Church, Quedgeley.
He and Aquila were living ‘near the schoolhouse’ in Quedgeley. Their son, Thomas, was working as a farm labourer and their other son, Charles, was working as a railway engine cleaner.
By 1891 Charles Cook had become church sexton in Quedgeley, in addition to working as a gardener, living in Church Lane, next door to the schoolmaster. His sons were then both agricultural labourers. In 1901 Charles and Aquila were still in Quedgeley where Charles Cooke was church clerk and his sons, Thomas and Charles, were working as a road labourer and a railway yard worker, both unmarried. Charles Cooke died and was buried in Quedgeley on 10 September 1904. Aquila continued to live in Quedgeley and was living there with her son, Charles, who was working as a general labourer in 1911. Aquila Cooke died and was buried in Quedgeley on 3 February 1915.
Notes by Carol Davies July 2015