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The Sherbrooke family were landowners in Oxton, Nottinghamshire, from the sixteenth century. Henry Sherbrooke, who died in 1754, had three daughters. The second, Sarah, married William Coape, J.P., of Arnold, who died in 1791. Their eldest son, William Coape, was born in 1758.
William entered Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1775, and the same year was admitted to the Inner Temple. He later returned to Nottinghamshire, and served as a magistrate for the county from 1790 onwards. He was Chairman of the Nottinghamshire Quarter Sessions for a number of years, and High Sheriff in 1803. Additionally, he served in the Nottinghamshire Militia in the first decade of the nineteenth century, resigning in 1812.
He succeeded to the Oxton estate on the death of his aunt in 1799, assuming the name Sherbrooke in place of Coape, and lived at Oxton Hall. He married Ann Foxcroft in 1785. Both are buried in Oxton church; they had no children.