Thomas Cook (1734-1804)
Thomas Cook was born in Loughborough where he worked as a hosier or dealer in men's clothing. According to his obituary by Sarah Brackenbury, he 'lived more than thirty years without God&having attained to a horrid pre-eminence in wickedness...'.
He began to attend Methodist preaching in about 1766 and was converted soon after. Cooke immediately launched himself into such a regime of self-denial that for three months he took little nourishment except for a little barley bread and water. Rattenbury states that even 'when he abated a little of his strictness, he still carried his abstemiousness so far, that his knees frequently smote together as he walked; often fasting whole days and praying whole nights. He always wore the coarsest apparell&but while he was thus austere and rigid to himself, he was always compassionate and forbearing to others&Perhaps the most prominent feature in the character of this holy man, was divine simplicity&'.
Cooke devoted himself to performing the 'most menial and servile offices' and had a particular interest in caring for the sick. He served as a class leader for many years.
Cooke was married and had several children including a daughter called Anne who died at the age of twenty-four.
His health began to fail from the beginning of 1804 and he died on June 16th.
Source: Methodist Magazine 1807, 241-250