Coke, Thomas, Methodist bishop and missionary, born Brecon, Wales, 1741, died at sea en route to India, 3 May 1814.

Educated at Jesus College Oxford, Coke became an Anglican curate in South Petherton until 1777 when he was dismissed because of his Methodist tendencies. He then became the most important of John Wesley’s recruits from the Anglican clergy. He was appointed superintendent of the London circuit in 1780 and chair of the Irish Conference in 1782.

In 1784 Coke was ordained by Wesley for the superintendency of Methodism in the newly independent United States and assumed the title of bishop. He visited North America nine times.

He was appointed chair of the first Methodist missionary committee in 1790, and its president in 1804. He married late in life and devoted his own and his wife’s fortune to the cause. His last voyage was to establish Methodist mission work in India and South Africa.

John Roxborogh