Hester Mahieu Cooke was born circa 1582 in Canterbury, Kent, England, United Kingdom to Jacques Mahieu (1559-) and Jeanne Leman (1563-1609) and died 8 June 1666 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States of unspecified causes. She married Francis Cooke (1583-1663) 1603 in French Walloon Church, Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands.


Hester Mahieu Her parents were Jacques and Jenne/Jeanne Mahieu, from France. She married Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke (1583-1663) in Leiden, Holland on July 20, 1603 or shortly thereafter. They had seven children. The marriage intentions state Hester Mahieu was from Canterbury, England and she was accompanied by her mother, Jennie Mahieu and her sister Jennie Mahieu.

Hester died after June 8, 1666 and was buried at Burial Hill in Plymouth, Mass.

Hester Mahieu Cooke came to America on the ship Anne in 1623. She was of Walloon (French Protestant) stock but came to Leyden, Holland from Canterbury, England where there was a Walloon church, in the records of which the name of Mahieu was common.

Francis Cooke was betrothed to Hester Mahieu at the French Walloon Church (Vrouwekerk) in Leiden on June 30, 1603, with she joining the church one month prior to her betrothal. Her family were Protestant (Walloon) refugees from Lille, France to England. She was probably born in the late 1580s with her family coming to Leiden about 1590. Mary Mahieu, a possible sister of Hester, married Jan de Lannoy in Leiden and their child Philip de Lannoy had Francis Cooke as a witness to his baptism in the Vrouwekerk on November 6, 1603. Cooke’s nephew Philip “Delanoy” would later join the Separatist Church in England and arrived in Plymouth in November 1621 on the ship Fortune.[3]

Here Banks and Johnson betrothal data differs. Per Banks, Leiden records give Francis Cooke’s betrothal as 9 June 1603, and presuming his birth was 1582 or before. In the Leiden church Betrothal Book he was recorded as “Franchois Couck” and his bride being Hester Mahieu with the witnesses to the marriage being two Walloons.[1] They were identified as “from England” (Francis) and as “from Canterbury” (Hester).[4]

It is known that Francis Cooke and his wife departed Leiden in August 1606 for Norwich in county Norfolk in England, which may have been where he originated but there is no proof has been found in records of the time. The Leiden congregation had some Separatist members who had fled Norwich, and the Cooke’s may have contacted the Separatists there. The Cookes did not remain in Norwich long as their son John was baptized at the Walloon Church in Leiden between January and March 1607 with the couple receiving communion in Leiden on January 1, 1608.[5] Francis and his wife Hester were identified as “Franchoys Cooke et Esther sa femme” in Leiden after their return from Norwich, taking communion in Leiden’s Walloon church on New Year’s Day, 1608.[6]

In February 1609, members of Pastor John Robinson’s English Separatist church came to Leiden. The Cookes did not then become members of the Walloon church, but did join the Leiden congregation sometime later, after their daughter Elizabeth was baptized on December 26, 1611.[7]

When the English Separatist church in Leiden decided to go to America in 1620, Francis Cooke decided that from his family only he and his thirteen year–old son John would go over. His wife Hester and younger children would remain in Leiden until the colony was more established.


Offspring of Francis Cooke and Hester Mahieu (1582-1666)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Jane Cooke (1604-1666) 1604 Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands 1666 Plymouth Colony, Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States Experience Mitchell (1609-1689)
John Cooke (1607-1695) 20 May 1608 Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands 23 November 1695 Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States Sarah Warren (c1613-1696)
Jacob Cooke (1618-1675) 20 May 1618 Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands 18 December 1675 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States Damaris Hopkins (1628-1669) Damaris Hopkins (1628-1669) Elizabeth Lettice (1635-1693)
Hester Cooke (1620-)
Mary Cooke (1627-1714) 22 May 1627 Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts 21 March 1714 Middleboro, Plymouth County, Massachusetts John Tomson (1616-1696)




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