Anne Cooke Bacon – Patron of Puritan Preachers

She continued to protect preachers until her death.

After Nicholas’s sudden death in 1579, Anne devoted more time to the needs of the Church of England, denouncing the lack of qualified preachers. In 1583, she intervened in defense of Puritan preachers who had been deprived of their ministry by John Whitgift, the current archbishop of Canterbury. She wrote letters and used her family connections to advocate for a fair trial.


Anne Cooke Bacon – Patron of Puritan Preachers

        Anne Cooke Bacon made her mark on the Church of England in 1563, when she translated John Jewel’s Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae, which became a statement of faith for the Church of England under Elizabeth I.

        Immediately, her work was praised for its accuracy and style, which was both powerful and direct, especially in comparison with an earlier, anonymous translation. For example, instead of using the prudish “withdrawing place” as the final destination of the consecrated host, she frankly refers to it as “the privy.”[1] Theological concepts also gain strength through her skillful sentence constructions, choice of repetitions, and careful use of emphasis and fusion.  

        It was not her first work. By the time she married in 1553, at 23 years of age, she was already known as a published translator. In fact, she and her four sisters (all tutored by their father, Anthony Cooke) were counted among the most learned women in Europe.

Family Life

        Anne’s husband was Sir Nicholas Bacon, a widower about 18 years her senior, who shared her passion for the classics. The ascent of Mary Tudor to the throne the same year ushered in a difficult time for staunch Protestants like the Bacons, but Anne continued to serve Mary as a gentlewoman of the privy chamber. This position allowed her to intercede for her brother-in-law, William Cecil.

        Her desire to have children was frustrated by a succession of infant deaths.

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