HOBY, Sir Edward (1560-1617), of Shurland House, Eastchurch, Kent; Queenborough Castle, Isle of Sheppey, Kent; Bisham Abbey, Berks. and St. Anne Blackfriars, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



2 June 1580
11 Jan. 1585

Family and Education

b. 20 Mar. 1560,2 1st. s. of Sir Thomas Hoby†, amb. to France 1560-66, of Bisham Abbey, and Elizabeth, da. of Sir Anthony Cooke† of Gidea Hall, Romford, Essex; bro. of Sir Thomas Posthumous*.3 educ. travelled abroad (France) ?bef. 1571, 1576-by 1580;4 Eton g.s. 1571-2; Trin., Oxf. 1574, BA 1576, MA 1576; M. Temple 1584.5 m. (1) 21 May 1582 Margaret (d. 30 Nov. 1605), da. of Henry Carey†, 1st Bar. Hunsdon, lord chamberlain and kpr. of Somerset House, 1ch. d.v.p.;6 (2) 24 Feb. 1606, Elizabeth, (bur. 5 Jan. 1612), da. of Sir John Danvers† of Dauntsey, Wilts. 1s. d.v.p.;7 (3) 21 July 1614, Cicely, da. of Sir Edward Unton† of Wadley, Berks. and wid. of John Wentworth of Gosfield Hall, Essex. 1s. d.v.p.;8 1s. illegit. by Katherine Pinkney.9 suc. fa. 1566; kntd. 22 May 1582.10 d. 1 Mar. 1617.11 sig. Edw[ard] Hoby.

Offices Held

Bailiff, Blackenhurst Hundred, Worcs. 1567-?d.;12 j.p. Kent by 1583-at least 1614, Berks. c.1584-d., Worcs. c.1584-1603, Surr. 1599-1603, Bucks. by 1608-at least 1614;13 v.-adm. Milton hundred, Kent 1585-at least 1595,14 Kent 1607-at least 1613;15 commr. survey, Isle of Sheppey, Kent 1585,16 oyer and terminer 1587,17 subsidy 1589, 1591, 1595, 1608-10, Berks. 1608;18 steward, manors of Charing, Gillingham and Teynham, Kent 1590-1606;19 commr. inquiry into Catholic missionaries, Kent 1592, grain 1595;20 constable, Queenborough castle 1597-d.;21 commr. charitable uses, Berks. by 1607-d., Kent 1616-d.22

Household servant (?page) to François, duke of Alençon, ?bef. 1571.23

Vol. Cadiz expedition 1596.24

Sec. to ld. adm. Charles Howard†, Lord Howard of Effingham 1588;25 dep. (jt.) to commrs. for executing the office of earl marshal 1595;26 commr. Union 1604-6;27 sub-commr. Navy inquiry, 1608;28 gent. privy chamber by 1612-at least 1615.29

Patentee, wool licences 1602-15.30

Member, earl of Hertford’s embassy to Spanish Neths. 1605.31


An enthusiastic smoker, with a reputation for being over fond of drink, Hoby was an acknowledged expert on heraldic matters and a collector and student of old manuscripts.32 Though his medieval roots were Welsh, his immediate ancestry was English, his paternal grandfather, William, having migrated to Leominster, Herefordshire. Sir Philip Hoby†, William’s eldest son and Hoby’s half-uncle, carved out a successful career in government for himself, and in 1552 acquired a grant of Bisham Abbey, Berkshire. On Philip’s demise in 1558, Bisham passed to Hoby’s father, Sir Thomas, who died unexpectedly on embassy in Paris when Hoby was just six, leaving the former abbey in the hands of Hoby’s mother, Lady Elizabeth. As the latter did not die until 1609 this meant that, for most of his life, Hoby was denied control of his family’s principal seat. Instead, he entered into an inheritance that was confined to a Worcestershire estate centered on Evesham. This comprised an ex-monastic property which had originally been purchased by Sir Philip. Hoby did not remain long in Worcestershire after attaining his majority, however, for financial difficulties, perhaps exacerbated by his own purchase of a 21-year lease of Shurland manor in north Kent in 1586 for £1,200, obliged him to dispose of most of these lands in the 1590s.33 By the beginning of James’s reign, Hoby had relocated to north Kent where, in addition to the lease of the Shurland estate, he had acquired the stewardship of three other royal manors, the vice-admiralty of Milton hundred and the constableship of Queenborough Castle. Through possession of these lands and offices, Hoby was able to exert considerable electoral influence at Queenborough, whose voters returned him to Parliament in both 1585 and 1586, and also at nearby Rochester, which he represented in 1597 and 1601. In 1593 he was elected a knight of the shire for Kent.

Hoby was extremely well connected at Court. From 1582 until 1603 he was brother-in-law to Charles Howard , 1st earl of Nottingham and lord admiral, whom he served as secretary during the Armada campaign and to whom he owed the vice-admiralty of Milton hundred, a position created specially for him.34 Through his mother, Hoby was also first cousin to Sir Robert Cecil†, and by his first marriage he was son-in-law to Lady Hunsdon who, in 1596, succeeded her late husband, the former lord chamberlain, as keeper of Somerset House. His friends included Anne of Denmark’s vice-chamberlain, Sir George Carew I, who acted as an intermediary between Hoby and Cecil in 1605 and through whom Hoby probably secured the admittance of his second wife, Elizabeth, to Anne’s Privy Chamber.35 In 1602 Hoby’s influential Court connections obtained for him a monopoly licensing him to buy and sell 500 sarplers of wool for the next ten years in counties where the clothing industry was not highly developed.36 In the following year they allowed him to serve as a knight of the canopy at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.37

I. The 1604 Session

Elected in February 1604 to represent Rochester in Parliament again, Hoby was appointed a deputy to administer the Oath of Supremacy to his fellow Members by his former brother-in-law Nottingham on the first day of the session.38 On the same day (19 Mar.) Hoby was proposed by ‘some one or two’ as Speaker in preference to Sir Edward Phelips, a recognition of the stature he had achieved in previous assemblies.39 Though not chosen, his expertise and experience was subsequently acknowledged (22 Mar.), when he was presented with the list of members of the newly appointed committee for privileges, which he appears to have topped, suggesting that he was one of the committee’s chairmen.40 Later that day, with the press of Members in St. Stephen’s Chapel proving so great that it became apparent that additional seating was urgently required, he cited a Marian precedent which persuaded the House to rise for the afternoon to permit the installation of more benches.41 Hoby’s interjections on procedural matters were not always this welcome, however, for when, on 28 June, he queried whether a Member called to be a judge ought to remain in the House or sit in the Lords, he was denied both a debate and a resolution ‘at that time’.42

Hoby’s knowledge of precedent played a significant part in the debates concerning Griffith Payne, who had been elected for Wallingford despite being the town’s mayor. When the matter was raised on 3 Apr., Hoby drew the House’s attention to the decision of the Commons in 1593 regarding Richard Hutton, bailiff of Southwark, who had been permitted to retain his seat following a vote. This precedent, if followed, held out the possibility that Payne’s return might be upheld, a prospect which Francis Moore considered unacceptable. On 25 June Moore called for a fresh election after pointing to another precedent which showed that mayors should not be elected. Hoby objected to this argument, saying that it would be unfair to ‘exempt some and admit some’. In the end the House permitted Payne to remain in place, but ruled that in future no mayors would be admitted.43 Payne was not the only Member whose right to sit in the House Hoby championed. Rather less controversially, he took a leading role in attempting to secure the release of Sir Thomas Shirley I who, despite his election for Steyning, had been imprisoned at the behest of one of his creditors, a London Goldsmith named Simpson. Named to the committee appointed to investigate the circumstances of the arrest (27 Mar.), Hoby helped search for precedents that would allow the House to punish the warden of the Fleet for refusing to authorize Shirley’s release (8 May) and ran messages to the Lords. Ironically, Hoby later pleaded on behalf of both Simpson and the arresting officer.44

Early in the session Hoby played an important role in defending the House’s right to determine its own membership after it was called into question by the Buckinghamshire election dispute. This was not surprising, for in 1597 he had led the Commons’ investigation into the exclusion of three of its Members.45 On 27 Mar. 1604 he was named to the committee for drafting the arguments that were to be employed by the Speaker at his forthcoming audience with the king, and on the following day he was among those appointed to accompany Phelips to see James. Two days later, Hoby counselled that the House should only agree to confer with the judges (as the king had advised) if Members were unsure of their own position, and once again he was named to a committee to explain their proceedings. Finally, on 5 Apr., he was appointed to yet another committee after James ordered the Commons to confer with the judges to argue its case before him.46

Hoby played an active role in the debates concerning the proposed adoption of the name ‘Great Britain’ for King James’s newly united realms. On 14 Apr. Hoby and various other Members conferred with the Lords on this subject. Though his words went largely unrecorded,47 Hoby was clearly opposed to any alteration as he declared that ‘England sits here and nowhere else’ (19 April). Furthermore, he was appointed to object to the proposed name change at a further conference with the Lords (27 April).48 The matter of the name was soon overtaken by other considerations, however, as Parliament began to consider the wider ramifications of the proposed Union, and on 12 May Hoby was appointed to the commission that was instructed to treat with its Scottish counterpart. The House’s decision to name commissioners had been prompted, in part, by Hoby himself,49 so when John Thornborough, bishop of Bristol, published a book criticizing the Lower House for its tardy proceedings in the matter of the Union, Hoby was understandably incensed. Describing Thornborough’s book as ‘the greatest scandal that ever he knew, saving Arthur Hall, 23 Eliz.’, Hoby helped to prepare the House’s objections to the bishop’s book and to communicate them to the Lords.50

Hoby’s involvement in the early Union debates contrasts with his apparent lack of interest in the proposed abolition of wardship. This indifference is surprising, as the motion to abolish wardship was made by the Cecil client Sir Robert Wroth I, and Hoby was Cecil’s first cousin. Although appointed to the committee established following Wroth’s motion (23 Mar.), and named to two joint conferences with the Lords (26 Mar. and 22 May),51 he remained silent on the subject. Perhaps he entertained mixed feelings about it. On the one hand he had something to fear from the system of wardship, as his only legitimate child was a minor, but on the other, having briefly enjoyed the wardship of the future Gunpowder plotter Edmund Baynham†, he may also have appreciated its benefits.52

As in the earlier parliaments in which he had sat, religious issues appear to have exercised Hoby a good deal. The range of topics with which he was concerned suggests that he held puritan sympathies. As well as being named to help consider Sir Edward Montagu’s motions (23 Mar.), which included the abuses of commissary courts and the suspension of godly ministers, he was appointed to committees for bills which dealt with clerical marriage (11 May), popish books (6 June) and church attendance (27 June). It was partly on his recommendation that the popish books bill was committed. On 7 June he also participated in the debate which followed the third reading of the bill for providing a godly and learned ministry, but his words went unrecorded. On the following day, after it was reported that the House had offended Convocation by debating religion, he mischievously suggested that a committee of 20 Members ‘least affected to a Convocation’ be established to investigate the precedents.53 On 22 June he spoke in favour of a bill ‘for stage-players’ which, almost certainly, was the measure introduced in 1601 that had sought to prohibit the use of profane language on stage.54

Perhaps Hoby’s most significant contribution to the session was to deliver a speech against making peace with Spain, which he gave on 12 May, shortly after the arrival in London of the negotiating team sent by Spain and the archdukes. His decision to speak on a matter of foreign policy was notable in itself, for under the late queen the Commons had not generally been encouraged to do so. Now that Elizabeth was dead, Hoby was the first to assert the right of the Lower House to debate foreign policy, pointing to medieval precedents to make his case and even drawing attention to the fact that Elizabeth herself had consulted the Commons about whether to declare war on Spain. He claimed that the Commons, which represented ‘the strength and virtue of this kingdom’, was the proper place to discuss the making of war and peace, ‘how slightly soever other[s] may esteem of us’. Though poorly recorded in the Commons Journal,55 a full text of Hoby’s speech survives among the papers of Sir George Hervey*, and a copy, translated into French, was acquired by the Venetian ambassador.56 The main thrust of Hoby’s argument was that there was more to be gained from continuing the Spanish war than with ending it, as this would necessarily involve abandoning their allies the Dutch to their own fate. However, he also mounted a savage attack on Spain, whose people were ever ready to pick quarrels over religion and whose monarch was a mere servant to the Pope. Spain, he declared, was ‘prepared to put in execution whatsoever the Pope shall command, as in the murdering of anointed kings, their own attempts against our own late Queen, their invasion in Eighty-Eight with their ever invincible army, and many other instances too long to repeat’.

The Spanish ambassador naturally complained to James about this speech, but though the king subsequently slighted Hoby in public, the French ambassador, the count of Beaumont, believed that neither James nor Robert Cecil were actually displeased with him.57 Beaumont may have been correct, for Hoby was not summoned to explain himself before the Privy Council, and Hoby’s wool patent was renewed just ten weeks later.58 James and Cecil perhaps realized that, far from jeopardizing the prospect of reaching a settlement with Spain, Hoby had probably performed a useful service by helping to dispel any illusions among the Spanish negotiators that England was weary of war and would therefore accept peace at almost any price.

Hoby’s speech of 12 May raises more questions than it answers. It is by no means clear whether Hoby was acting independently or in consort with others, such as the earl of Nottingham, whose income as lord admiral was bound to suffer once peace with Spain had been secured.59 It is noticeable that on 2 Apr. he had apparently been the first Member named, after the privy councillors, to the committee for the bill to naturalize Nottingham’s new wife, and was the Member into whose custody the bill was delivered.60 He was also named to the committee for the bill to provide for Nottingham’s daughter, the countess of Kildare, though his interest in this measure may have owed much to the fact that Lady Kildare was the wife of his near neighbour, the 11th Lord Cobham (Henry Brooke, alias Cobham†), who had been attainted of treason.61 Another possibility is that Hoby spoke with the tacit approval of his cousin Cecil, to whom he had offered his services the previous year.62 Cecil shared Hoby’s disquiet at the possible consequences to the Dutch of peace with Spain,63 and so may have been anxious to signal to the Spanish delegation that England would not be prepared to abandon its allies completely in order to reach a settlement. Interestingly, Beaumont suspected that Hoby had acted with the complicity of the Privy Council, as he reported on 29 May that its members were secretly following Hoby’s lead in attempting to achieve a settlement with Spain which favoured the Dutch.64 Yet, whether he was acting with the encouragement of Cecil and his colleagues or not, Hoby’s antipathy towards Spain was genuine. Described by Beaumont to Henri IV as a ‘très affectioné serviteur de votre Majesté’,65 Hoby, the son of a former English ambassador to France, was a francophile who had spent part of his youth in the service of the duke of Alençon.66

Throughout the first session Hoby participated in the process of formulating new legislation, being named to 45 bill committees. However, since he was not a lawyer, he was never asked by the House to draft measures himself. He may have been responsible for introducing legislation on behalf of the Cappers’ Company of England, though, which company had petitioned him before the commencement of Parliament for his ‘best means, furtherance and voice’ to revive a statute of 1571 making the wearing of caps compulsory.67 As a wool patentee he had a vested interest in strengthening the wool trade, and though there is no record that he introduced the Cappers’ bill himself he was present on 2 Apr. when it received its first reading, as he urged the reading of another measure that same day. He was probably also present on 28 Apr. when the bill was rejected at second reading, because he is noted as having been sent with a message to the Lords a short time later.68

Although the Cappers’ bill is the only measure which Hoby is thought to have introduced in 1604, he persuaded the House to order a nova billa to be drafted which would disqualify outlaws from sitting in the Commons (21 Apr.), a previous measure having been voted down on his motion. When the new draft was brought into the House on 16 May it was placed in Hoby’s custody, suggesting that he would chair the bill committee that was appointed on the following day, to which he was named.69 This was probably not Hoby’s only appointment as the chairman of a legislative committee, as he had earlier received bills for naturalizing the countess of Nottingham (2 Apr.) and native-born children of alien parents (7 May).70 He may also have steered the committee for the Lady Kildare bill, or at least played an influential part in its proceedings, for in one undated letter he informed Cecil that he had persuaded his fellow committee members to defer consideration of the matter until Lord Cobham had been granted a hearing.71

Apart from the Lady Kildare committee, none of the bill committees to which Hoby was named appear to have concerned matters of direct concern to north Kent. He may have owed his inclusion on the committee for the bill to permit Anne of Denmark’s chancellor, Sir Thomas Monson*, to exchange some land with Trinity College, Cambridge to his friend (and Monson’s colleague) Sir George Carew, who also had a seat in the House (26 May).72 Among those measures in which Hoby showed a keen interest was a bill to confirm the charter of Bridewell Hospital: he was named to both committees (27 Apr. and 9 June) and spoke on the measure in the debate which preceded its rejection (28 June).73 On 15 June Hoby acted as a teller when the House divided over whether legislation which made the property of accountants liable for the debts they incurred as officeholders should remain in force until the end of the next session of Parliament, but it is not known which side he supported. As his tally did not match the count achieved by his fellow teller, Robert Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, the House was obliged to divide again.74 Hoby spoke against voting subsidies on 19 June, but in favour of conferring a gratuity on their new king, as this would ‘express our love in some act’ rather than ‘in our hearts only’. Nine days later he reported that the king had been injured by a horse and suggested that five or six Members should visit him on behalf of all the rest. It was not only friendly relations between king and Commons that Hoby sought to establish, but also a harmonious relationship between fellow Members. At his suggestion the Speaker and 100 other Members met at Merchant Taylors’ Hall on 3 July ‘for a friendly and loving meeting so near the time of departing into their countries’.75

II. Personal Misfortunes, 1605

Five weeks after Parliament was prorogued on 7 July, Hoby was dismayed to learn of plans to transfer his lease of Shurland manor, which only had a few years left to run, to the Scottish favourite Sir James Hay. Besides ‘my principal seat’, Hoby also stood to forfeit an annual income of £200, which was the profit he received from the manor after payment of rent to the king.76 An appeal to Cecil succeeded in warding off the threat for a few months, but in January 1605 James conferred Shurland on Lady Susan Vere as her jointure, a gift on the occasion of her marriage to Sir Philip Herbert*.77 By way of compensation, James waived Hoby’s rent arrears, which stood at more than £525, and granted him, his wife and brother the income from various lands belonging to Rochester Cathedral amounting to £211 per annum.78 Hoby regarded these grants as meagre compensation, and attempted to persuade the Privy Council to bestow an additional £1,000 lump sum on him in order to buy another house. Not without sympathy for his plight, the Council recommended that he receive £400, but stipulated that this sum should be paid by Herbert rather than by the king.79 Lacking the means to compel Herbert to pay, however, Hoby again turned to the Council, but this fresh appeal fell on deaf ears. Insult was added to injury a little later, when he discovered a fault in the wording of the cathedral rents’ grant, which was not rectified until December.80 By then Hoby had already concluded that the shabby treatment he had received ‘must grow of some distaste’ that the king ‘has of late had of me’.81 He perhaps suspected that James was taking his revenge on him for speaking against the decision to end the Spanish war. If so, his suspicion may have been subsequently reinforced by the king’s order that he should form part of the delegation to be sent to Brussels under the earl of Hertford to ratify the Treaty of London.

Hoby’s loss of Shurland forced him to find alternative accommodation, and by 21 Mar. he had taken up residence at Blackfriars, perhaps in the house that his mother was to bequeath him in her will five years later. It also led to the eclipse of his electoral influence at Queenborough. Though he supported Sir John Brooke for the vacancy created following the death of Sir Edward Stafford, the successful candidate at the by-election held in October was Richard Wright, who was loosely connected to the new resident of Shurland, Sir Philip Herbert.82 Hoby’s misfortune in losing Shurland was compounded by the pain of personal injury. Towards the end of December 1604, while returning to his London lodgings after supping with his brother, he fell from his horse, breaking his right arm in two places.83 In the short term, he lost the use of his right hand, became feverish and had to employ the services of an amanuensis. In the longer term, though his arm was quickly re-set, his recovery proved slow and painful, and his discomfort was compounded by failing eyesight. During the late summer or early autumn of 1605, he therefore retreated to Wales in search of ‘a rural, devoted privacy’ in which to heal his body.84 On his return to London he omitted to attend the four-day November sitting of Parliament, despite being named to the committee for privileges on the 5th. The most likely reason for his absence was that he feared further injury if he ventured outdoors in the winter weather, but some of his colleagues later speculated among themselves that he had been too drunk to attend.85 Hoby himself was subsequently troubled that his absence might be misconstrued as evidence of complicity in the Gunpowder Plot.86 His personal suffering was compounded later that month by the death of his ‘virtuous and loving’ wife, Margaret, and some time before the end of the year he also lost his only child. He remarried in February 1606, but the weight of so much ‘superlative sorrow’ was one of the factors which induced him to ‘climb the steep hills of certain craggy studies and unwanted speculations’ and, eventually, to enter the world of polemical debate.

III. The Second Session of 1606

Hoby resurfaced at Westminster in January 1606. Though his earlier absence meant that he would have escaped destruction had the Gunpowder Plot succeeded, the ‘horror of that dismal project’ nevertheless haunted him, ‘even in my dreams.’87 He was accordingly named to committees to consider the prevention of any further popish plots, the better enforcement of the penal statutes (21 Jan.) and the threat posed by those of the king’s subjects who served in the forces of the archdukes (5 February).88 Hoby’s interest in most of the remaining 13 committees to which he was named before the May prorogation is difficult to establish. His nomination to the committees to consider bills to remove river obstructions (7 Feb. and 17 Apr.), one of which at least dealt with the Thames west of London, may have stemmed from the fact that he stood to inherit Bisham, which lay on the Thames.89 In addition, his usual fascination with precedent probably explains to his inclusion on the five-strong committee to search for an early fourteenth century statute cited by Sir Robert Cotton in support of a motion to add some words to the bill to remove the Marcher shires from the jurisdiction of the Council in the Marches after it had already been sent up to the Lords (10 April). A predilection for drink perhaps influenced Hoby’s inclusion on committees for bills regarding the import and pricing of wine (7 Mar. and 8 April).90 The subjects of the rest of his committee appointments were poor relief (23 Jan.), the lands of Sir Thomas Lake I (25 Jan.), the living arrangements of cathedral officials and university dons (25 Jan.), the privilege of the Flintshire Member Roger Brereton, (3 Feb.), deprived ministers (7 Mar.), the inheritance of the late Lord Chandos of Sudeley (7 Apr.), the assize of fuel (8 Apr.) and the distribution of the Benevolence collected in the House (26 May).91 Hoby is known to have reported only one of the committees to which he was named, this being the committee established to examine the records in the Tower. In addition to his report (11 Apr.), Hoby translated the statute from Norman French ‘as well as I could’ and delivered a copy to the Speaker.92

From Hoby’s point of view, perhaps the most important issue of the session was the attack on his wool patent. Following the submission of a certificate (16 Apr.) drawn up by a number of clothiers and spinners which complained that Hoby’s licence was unlawful and responsible for rising wool prices and a fall in quality, the House permitted counsel for both sides to be heard. Accordingly, on 1 May, the clothiers’ counsel argued that Hoby and his agents caused scarcity and high prices and mixed sand and water with their wool to increase its weight. In response, Hoby’s counsel, Ranulphe Crewe*, retorted that the king had recently confirmed the patent on the recommendation of his chief financial officers. He added, moreover, that if Hoby’s deputies were guilty of buying wool ‘on the sheep’s back’, the clothiers were at liberty to do the same if they wished. He also pointed out that, while the patent did indeed contravene an Edwardian statute, this legislation was subject to amendment by royal Proclamation. At the end of the hearing, the House ruled in Hoby’s favour.93

Hoby intervened only twice in the debates that session. On the first occasion (10 Apr.) he underlined his reputation for being a stickler in procedural matters by asserting that it would be ‘against the order to be judge and counsellor’ if the king’s counsel in the Commons were allowed to give evidence regarding the attainder of the Gunpowder plotters. The second occasion on which he spoke was the day immediately before Parliament was prorogued (26 May), when he opposed Richard Martin’s proposal to draw up a short bill aimed at punishing a preacher who had delivered an ‘invective sermon’ at St. Paul’s on the previous day. He argued that, in view of the shortness of time, it would be better to ask the king to punish him instead.94 Though he took no part in the subsidy debate of 10 Feb., Hoby was present when Sir Thomas Ridgeway, seconded by Sir Maurice Berkeley, proposed a vote of supply. Hoby was astonished that this request was made by men who were not members of the Privy Council, and in a private letter he observed that ‘the State scorneth to have any privy councillors of any understanding in the House’.95 His comment echoed the observation he had made in May 1604, when he remarked that in government circles at least the Commons was held in low esteem.

IV. The Third Session, 1606-7

Following Parliament’s reassembly in November, Hoby was reappointed to the privileges’ committee (19 November). Immediately beforehand, however, the House considered whether to order by-elections in those cases where Members had been called to serve the Crown elsewhere. Hoby argued that on previous occasions it had only been necessary to authorize fresh elections in those instances where a Member had been appointed a legal assistant to the Lords. Averring that this rule debarred the sitting of the attorney-general, he added that ‘it were good the rest of the king’s Counsel were in like case’.96 However, the House ignored this advice, and permitted the newly appointed attorney-general, Sir Henry Hobart, to retain his seat.

As a member of the privileges’ committee, Hoby was appointed to help consider whether Members were obliged to stand bareheaded at conferences with the Lords (12 Mar. 1607) and whether the House could continue to conduct business during the Speaker’s enforced absence (23 Mar. 1607). Two weeks before Parliament was prorogued he and a number of other members of the committee were instructed to consult the clerk’s Journal to review all matters of privilege which had arisen that session (19 June).97 However, the main business which concerned Hoby was the Union. At the start of the session he found himself in the uncomfortable position of being the only one of the 40 English commissioners of the Union who had declined to sign the Instrument of the Union. Pressed to explain himself on 27 Nov. by the violently anti-Scots Member Nicholas Fuller, Hoby initially refused to justify his decision on principle.98 He then proceeded to do precisely that, asserting, somewhat feebly, that he had seen and heard ‘many things which then I could not savour’, but could not now remember what these were. Promising that he would review his position ‘when I shall hear better reasons and stronger arguments than at that time I did’, he went on to deny that he was simply trying to draw attention to himself. ‘I never delighted in the singularity of my wit’, he declared, though he conceded that ‘I have been taxed in that kind’. Far from wishing to stand alone, he regretted that no-one else had chosen to join him.99 Despite his dislike of the Instrument, Hoby evidently avoided incurring the king’s displeasure: in December James signified that he was willing to extend the duration of his wool patent from ten years to 21 years, and in August 1607 Hoby accordingly received a fresh grant.100

Though he had refused to endorse the Instrument, Hoby was not excluded from participating in the subsequent parliamentary proceedings regarding its contents. On 27 Nov. 1606 he seconded Humphrey May’s request for a conference with the Lords to determine which of the two Houses would initiate proceedings on each of the subjects raised by the Instrument. However, whereas May thought it appropriate that legislation for the abolition of the hostile laws should begin in the Lords, Hoby argued that such a bill should begin in the Commons, because bills of repeal, like bills of subsidy, always originated in the Lower House.101 A few weeks later, on 11 Dec. 1606, Hoby was detailed to help prepare for a further conference with the Lords, while on 24 Feb. 1607 he was included among those chosen ‘to maintain argument upon all occasions offered’ at a meeting with the peers the following day, though he was not given a specific brief.102 On three occasions he carried messages to the Lords on matters pertaining to the Union.103 On the last of these visits (4 Mar. 1607) he inadvertently caused offence after he referred to the ‘barons of the Commons’ Court of Parliament’. On hearing the Lords’ complaint, Hoby admitted that he had used the word ‘barons’, and said that he done so on many other occasions, because ‘I am sure the writs that go to the [Cinque] Ports to choose etc. is baronibus’. However, he protested that he had not used the word ‘court’, and that if he had ‘it was besides his purpose and meaning’.104 Sympathy for Hoby was widely felt in the Commons, and one Member, Sir Robert Wingfield, privately chided Cecil, now earl of Salisbury, over the extreme sensitivity of the Lords in this matter.105

As the hostile laws bill took shape, Hoby found that his earlier opposition to the Instrument had evaporated. Addressing the House on 29 June, he declared himself converted: ‘I was against the Instrument of the Union, as it was drawn, but I am for the bill’, which conferred benefit on the king’s subjects. However, he spoiled his performance by describing those Members who were attempting to amend a clause which permitted jurors in Border trials to reject witnesses they deemed unfit as secretly endeavouring, ‘under a fair show, to overthrow the bill’. Bowyer noted in his journal that ‘many privately misliked this brain-sick taxation of others’, while William Holt upbraided Hoby for his ‘indiscretion’. Nonetheless, it was Hoby the convert who was detailed to carry the bill up to the Lords later the same day.106

Apart from the hostile laws bill, Hoby’s legislative interests during the session appear to have been limited. He was appointed to three committees for measures to allow named individuals to sell some of their lands in order to pay their debts (26 Nov. and 15 Dec. 1606), and two others concerned with naturalization (6 Dec. 1606 and 26 Feb. 1607). His remaining bill committees dealt with the relief of a Norfolk widow, Mary Cavendish (4 Dec. 1606), the punishment of the parents of bastard children (9 Dec. 1606) and the abuses of the Marshalsea Court, to which committee he was added on 21 Feb. 1607. Surprisingly, Hoby was not named to the committee for the bill to assure Cheshunt vicarage to his cousin Salisbury, though he was dispatched to the Lords with the bill three days after it received its third reading (16 Dec. 1606).107 In addition to these legislative committees, Hoby was ordered to help examine a petition from London’s merchants complaining of the injuries they had received from the Spaniards (28 Feb. 1607). Given his anti-Spanish credentials, this task may have appealed to him. He was also put on a committee to consider how to provide relief to those areas bordering the Severn estuary that had been badly flooded (3 Mar. 1607).108

Hoby held a ‘great feast’ on 12 Feb. 1607, while Parliament was still in session. This was probably another party thrown for a select gathering of Members, like the feast held at Merchant Taylors’ Hall three years earlier. One of the guests, John Pory, Member for Bridgwater and a noted newsletter-writer, thought it a great success, departed ‘prettily well whittled’, and rushed home to write up an account to present to the king ‘for want of foreign intelligence’.109

V. Lawsuits and Polemical Tracts, 1607-9

Following the end of the session Hoby initiated two lawsuits. In the first he accused the leading citizens of Queenborough of encouraging their fellow townsmen to kill his cattle and graze their beasts on land belonging to the castle, ‘even to the very walls’.110 In the second he sought to undermine the actions of one of his former servants, Jasper Dring, who had recently distrained lands in Worcestershire that Hoby had earlier sold to one Alexander Staples. Dring claimed that he was owed the arrears of a £10 annuity that had been charged on the revenues arising from this property, while Staples, an innocent party whose lands were caught up in the dispute, threatened to sue Hoby on a bond of £10,000 for breach of the terms of sale. In order to prevent Dring from continuing his action against Staples, Hoby sought to persuade the court that the annuity had been cancelled after Dring had been granted a life pension of 3s. per day by the late queen. However, since Hoby was unable to provide written proof of his claim, the court referred the matter to arbitration, but neither side proved willing to budge.111 Whether Hoby was eventually forced to pay Staples or to compound with Dring is unknown. By 1609 he was in debt to a London Upholder, but there is no evidence to suggest that this was a symptom of a general collapse in his finances.112

During the spring of 1609 Hoby published his first polemical tract. It was prefaced by an open letter addressed to ‘all Romish collapsed ladies of Great Brittany’, a misogynistic diatribe which chastised those women who preferred to seek after religious truth themselves rather than trust their husbands’ judgment. According to Hoby, females not only lacked the intellectual ability to comprehend religious issues but were also more likely than men to fall prey to the wiles of Catholic seminary priests. Husbands whose wives allowed themselves to be lured into recusancy were then suspected of disloyalty, their careers were blighted and they were held in contempt, for ‘how do you think he should be reputed wise, who can no better order his own house? How should he be held fit for government in the State, who cannot bring those that are so near him to the conformity of the Church?’113 Not surprisingly, these remarks proved too much to stomach for one anonymous female Catholic reader, who penned a poisonous, if telling reply. ‘Some will answer that you have always been rude’, she wrote, ‘and some that you have ever thought so much better of yourself than there was cause’. She herself preferred to place a more charitable construction on his outburst, which she assumed had occurred ‘in the heat of strong drink’.114

Though women who converted to Rome formed the substance of the preface to his tract, Hoby’s main target was Thomas Higgons, a renegade English minister who had fled abroad. Formerly ‘stained with puritanism’, Higgons, who had once ordered ‘a poor harmless May-Pole’ to be cut down because he thought ‘it came out of a Romish forest’, had deserted the Anglican Church for Rome in 1607. Hoby was appalled that anyone could choose to join the ‘viperous brood’ which had sought to justify ‘that dismal project, that Gunpowder Plot’, and he accused Higgons of becoming a ‘Vulcanian apprentice’. Yet, though impelled to use his pen to avenge himself on those who had sought to murder him, ‘or my good friends, at least’,115 Hoby nonetheless set out to persuade Higgons of the error of his ways in order to induce him to return to the Anglican fold. In particular, he challenged the existence of purgatory, ‘the groundwork of most of your schismatical positions’.116 He also sought to identify the common ground between them, such as their mutual reverence of the Virgin Mary. However, whereas Higgons had pointed to the widespread disparagement of the Virgin to help justify his abandonment of the English Church, Hoby implied that such abuse, though unforgivable, hardly merited conversion to Rome.117 Having witnessed the ‘idolatrous trumperies’ of Catholicism at first hand, first as a boy in the household of François, duke of Alençon, and then, more recently, while on embassy in Brussels, he was appalled that anyone could desert the Protestant faith. As a member of the earl of Hertford’s entourage, he had witnessed

more antic and juggling tricks than my ears had ever heard, or my heart could otherwise have believed. In so much that (as two of my selected people, still present, can witness), my ears glowed. Such hallowed perfumes, as if the priest or his idol had been scarce sweet, such facings, such knockings, such adornings, yea and such elevating, as never was, nor yet is, in the Greek mother church, until this day.118

Were he to renounce Catholicism, Hoby argued, Higgons would be in good company, as Alençon, ‘my first master’, had refused to admit either priest or confessor into his presence at his death, but had made ‘public profession before those that were then present that he had sufficiently confessed to God, and that he had placed the whole hope of his salvation upon Jesus Christ’. In a bid to attract the attention of James, Hoby added that Mary, Queen of Scots, ‘that thrice excellent and renowned princess’, had also hoped to be saved by Christ’s merits alone.119 Finally, Hoby held out the hope that James might pardon Higgons if he recanted.120

Rather surprisingly, Hoby’s hope that Higgons would disavow Catholicism and return to England was realized in 1610. Through Hoby’s intercession Higgons obtained a benefice in Kent, and the authorities, anxious to make the most of this startling propaganda success, allowed him to preach a penitential sermon at St. Paul’s in March 1611.121 On the very same day that Higgons addressed his congregation, Lady Hoby produced for her husband a son and heir. Even though he doubted whether he was the child’s real father, Hoby was euphoric, ‘insomuch as he saith he will bless that day for the birth of two children, spiritual and temporal’.122 The parallel between the birth of Hoby’s son and Higgons’s recantation naturally rankled with the Catholic seminary priest Edward Bennet, who gleefully turned the comparison on its head following the death of Hoby’s son only three months later.123

Hoby’s tract of 1609 is interesting not merely for what it says about Higgons but for what it suggests about the religious views of its author. Hoby’s disparaging reference to puritanism, coupled with his veneration of the Virgin Mary, contrasts with the godly views he seems to have held in 1604. It may be that the calamities in his personal life, which began towards the end of 1604 and which precipitated a retreat into scholarship, acted as the catalyst for a reappraisal of his religious outlook. Evidence other than the tract against Higgons suggests that Hoby had shifted his views away from mainstream Calvinism. In 1615 he engaged in a friendly correspondence over a property matter with the dean of Christ Church, Oxford, a college which has been described by one historian as ‘having produced a number of early Arminians’, though the dean’s concern to protect Hoby’s interests may have stemmed from the latter’s success in reconverting Higgons, a former member of Christ Church.124 In 1616 Hoby preferred a graduate of St John’s, Cambridge, James Dyer, to Gillingham rectory in Kent. From about the time of Dyer’s admission to university, St John’s had become a breeding ground of anti-Calvinists.125 Hoby’s decision to send his illegitimate son Peregrine to Leiden University, where the anti-Calvinist teachings of Arminius were prevalent, is also suggestive.126 Evidence from the parliamentary records reinforces the suspicion that, in the final years of his life, Hoby had moved away from Calvinism. One of the two naturalization bills with which he was concerned in 1607 dealt with the Huguenot exile Dr. Peter Baro, the Lady Margaret professor of Divinity at Cambridge, who held liberal views on the theology of grace. Moreover, in 1614, Hoby acted as one of the tellers against a motion that the House should sit on Ascension Day127 and demonstrated sympathy for Bishop Neile.128 Nevertheless, as late as 1613 Hoby wrote in admiration of the godly Protestant divine William Crashaw, who had earlier been convented before Convocation for publishing an erroneous book, for his ability to expose ‘the weak sides of the Romish cause’.129 He also thought sufficiently highly of Archbishop Abbot, a doctrinal Calvinist, to entrust him with Peregrine’s education after his death.130

VI. The Sessions of 1610 and the 1614 Parliament

Hoby played little recorded part in the fourth session of Parliament. He was named to just nine bill committees, including one to assure the lands of his Kent neighbour, Sir Henry Crispe of Quex, in the Isle of Thanet (12 Mar. 1610) and another to naturalize Jane Drummond, one of his wife’s colleagues in Anne of Denmark’s Household (26 February).131 It has not been discovered whether Hoby was personally interested in any of the remaining bill committees to which he was named, whose subjects were pluralism (26 Feb.), Mr. Davison (27 Mar.), the residence of provosts (16 Apr.), elopement (8 May), the Isle of Man (19 June), the Damerham estate (4 July) and the union of the Hampshire parishes of Ashe and Deane (4 July).132 In addition to these appointments, Hoby acted as a teller in favour of rejecting a bill to permit the draining of the East Anglian fens (15 Mar.), but his side was defeated. He may also have been one of the tellers for those who opposed a motion to insert a clause relating to women and recusants into the Rous land bill (4 July), but once again he was on the losing side.133 His experience of handling ancient manuscripts again proved useful to the House, for on 30 Apr. he was dispatched to search the Tower’s records following a debate on impositions. On 8 May he delivered a message from the Lords, an action which the House deemed irregular but chose not to condemn.134

The degree to which Hoby was active during the fifth session of Parliament is impossible to establish owing to the paucity of the records. He may have been the Member who, on 2 Nov., proposed to answer the king only after giving consideration to the terms of the Great Contract, a suggestion which Sir Maurice Berkeley found unacceptable, ‘for then we must refer the king to the end of all the business’. He certainly spoke again that day, but his words have gone unrecorded.135

In February 1612 Hoby granted the king a reversionary interest in a Gloucestershire sheep pasture which he had inherited three years earlier from his mother, who had bought it for £1,800.136 Six months later he played host to James at Bisham, which property he had also now inherited, his mother having died.137 James appears to have acknowledged these favours by appointing Hoby a gentleman of his Privy Chamber.138 In the following year Hoby published a second polemical tract, entitled A Counter-snarle for Ishmael Rabshacheh, which he dedicated to the students of the inns of court. It was written in response to criticisms levelled against him by the Jesuit John Floyd, who may have been the priest named ‘Flud’ identified by Hoby as being responsible for converting Higgons to Catholicism. In it he shrugged off the accusation that he was a knight ‘more famous for my pen than my sword’ with the assertion that he had never declined any military service offered to him, either by sea or on land. He also defended himself against the charge that, as a layman, he ought not to study theology.139

Hoby entertained members of Rochester’s corporation shortly after Christmas 1613,140 and was elected to the second Jacobean Parliament by the borough in the following March. It was undoubtedly his position as a member of the committee for privileges which induced representatives of the disgruntled town of Stockbridge to present him with a petition against the chancellor of the duchy, Sir Thomas Parry*, alleging voter intimidation. Hoby caused the petition to be read on 9 May, and then proposed that Parry should be ordered to explain his threatening letters and warrants which, according to one account, Hoby also laid before the House.141 As well as Parry’s misconduct, Hoby expressed concern at the outcome of the Northumberland election, in which the sheriff had returned his brother, Sir George Selby. Though sheriff of county Durham, Selby may have hoped that the House would permit him to serve on the grounds that he had not returned himself. However, Hoby thought that no sheriff should be allowed to sit, and it was his view which prevailed.142 The Parliament also saw the Commons bar the attorney-general from sitting in the House in future. Hoby had expected the House to bar the attorney as early as 1606, and presumably supported this decision. However, although ordered to help search for precedents (8 Apr.),143 he took no record part in the House’s debate of 11 April.

Following reports of the speech delivered by Bishop Neile opposing a conference with the ‘factious spirits’ in the Commons over impositions, Hoby sought to lower the temperature in the chamber. While Fuller, Sir William Walter and Sampson Hopkins responded to Neile’s insult by attacking the bishop’s character and reputation, Hoby persuaded the Speaker to order the House to address the content of the offending speech rather than the defects of its author (27 May). It was thus the cooler-headed Hoby rather than one of the House’s firebrands who was chosen to communicate to the Lords the displeasure felt in the Commons and to request a conference on impositions (28 May). The choice was well made, for one of the Members who accompanied him to the Upper House recorded that Hoby delivered his message ‘very well’. It was undoubtedly because Hoby spoke as the voice of moderation that a tearful Neile subsequently sought him out to protest that his speech had been seriously misreported.144

Hoby appears to have spoken with rather more passion on a petition to abolish the newly created rank of baronet, which petition Secretary Winwood attempted to stifle as tending to question the king’s discretion in the creation of honours. Hoby, who approved of the petition, was appalled at Alford’s suggestion that the House should vote on whether the committee that had examined the petition should be allowed to report its findings. Such a vote would be ‘a disgrace to the committee’ and would look supine. ‘Woe to that time’, he expostulated on 23 May, when ‘an humble petition of the grieved gentry of England shall be called an entering upon the king’s prerogative’. Claiming that the matter ‘concerns him more than any other in the House’, and promising to explain why this was the case later, he ‘did not doubt but there would be enough said both for the honour and profit of the king and also for the abolishing of that baronetical order’. He was subsequently named to a second committee, but not before he had reminded the House of the principle that no Member who had spoken against the matter in hand could be permitted to serve.145 As a mere knight, whose status had been eroded by the new title of baronet, Hoby’s support for the baronetcy petition is understandable, though he appears not to have disapproved of the purchase of honours in principle. Indeed, in 1610 Chamberlain reported that he had offered a large sum for a title.146

Hoby perhaps appreciated that he could not object to both baronetcies, which were essentially a money-raising device, and parliamentary supply, and therefore he spoke in favour of granting the king subsidies. He also objected to hearing the grievances of the Virginia Company before action had been taken to relieve the king’s wants, though the fact that he said so stemmed in part from his anger at the offensive behaviour of the company’s lawyer, Richard Martin*, who had accused the Commons of proceeding in a slow and disorderly fashion.147 The activities of Martin’s fellow barristers, many of whom were absent because they were representing their clients in court, was the subject of one of Hoby’s earlier interventions. On 11 May he proposed that the serjeant-at-arms be sent to the judges to ask them to hear first those cases involving the lawyer Members in order to allow the latter to return to the House without loss of earnings.148

Hoby was named to just seven bills committees during the course of the Parliament, of which two concerned proposed land sales (13 and 19 May). The others dealt with the repeal and continuance of expiring statutes (8 Apr.), the repeal of a clause in an Act of 1543 which permitted the king to alter Welsh law without Parliament’s consent (18 Apr.), the Court of Wards (14 May), the foundation of a hospital at East Grinstead, Surrey by the late 2nd earl of Dorset (Robert Sackville*) (16 May) and the naturalization of the daughters of Sir Horace Vere (17 May).149 On 25 May he rebuked Sir Walter Chute, the king’s carver, for reporting a conversation with the king over the dinner table the previous evening. He served as a teller in the Ascension Day debate on 1 June, and two days later spoke against a bill concerning the assize and quarter session courts for Buckinghamshire after only its first reading.150

VII. Final Years

Following the dissolution an Uxbridge yeoman was arraigned before the Middlesex bench on suspicion of having burgled Hoby’s house.151 Shortly thereafter Hoby remarried, his second wife having died in 1612. At about this time Hoby’s polemical opponent, the Jesuit John Floyd fired off another salvo against Hoby. Entitled Purgatories triumph over Hell, Floyd’s pamphlet, described as ‘scurrilous’ by Archbishop Abbot,152 prompted Hoby to respond in the form of a fictional dialogue between ‘Nick, groom of the Hoby stable’, the mayor of Queenborough and Floyd himself, who is styled Iabal Rachil, the libeller. In a key chapter, Hoby took issue with Floyd over the existence of purgatory, as he had earlier done with Higgons, by denying the canonical authority claimed by Floyd for the Book of Maccabees.153 Hoby was so pleased with his handiwork that he presented the king with a copy as a New Year’s gift, though he subsequently discovered some printer’s errors which he feared would be exploited by Floyd, ‘the papistical malice being such as they will be glad of the least hole to give fuel to their depraving humours’.154

Later that year, Hoby drafted his will and sold his wool patent to a consortium led by Viscount Fentoun.155 By the spring of 1616 it was rumoured that he was seeking to buy the reversion to the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster.156 Perhaps with his own employment prospects in mind, that summer he again played host to the king at Bisham.157 However, he was gravely ill by 8 Feb. 1617, and by the 22nd it was said that he was ‘at the last cast, being (besides his quartan ague) far gone in a dropsy and scurvy’.158 He died at Bisham on 1 Mar., and not 24 Feb. as reported by Camden,159 leaving virtually his entire estate to his 15-year old illegitimate son Peregrine, including his ‘library of books, armoury and pieces appertaining to arms’. Archbishop Abbot, who was trusted with Peregrine’s education, was bequeathed his ‘greatest basin and ewer of silver’. Nothing at all was left to his younger brother Sir Thomas, with whom he would appear to have fallen out. He appointed as his executors Sir William Smith* of Theydon Mount, Essex, and George Wyatt of Boxley, Kent, and, according to his wishes, was buried with his ancestors in the family chapel at All Saints, Bisham.160 Though he requested that no monument should be erected in his memory, his effigy was incorporated into his mother’s elaborate tomb.161 At least three portraits of Hoby, all by unknown artists, were painted during his lifetime, of which one is now lost.162 After his death he was remembered, somewhat unkindly, as ‘a factious gentleman’ by Sir Edward Peyton*.163 Peregrine Hoby represented Great Marlow in the Long Parliament, and in the late 1650s and early 1660s. Peregrine’s son Thomas also sat in the Commons.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Cent. Kent. Stud. Qb/JMs/3, f. 40.
  • 2. ‘Travels and Life of Sir Thomas Hoby’ ed. E. Powell, Cam. Misc. X. (Cam. Soc. ser. 3. iv), 128.
  • 3. Misc. Gen. et Her. i. 143.
  • 4. Reg. Univ. Oxf. II ed. A. Clark (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), i. 69.
  • 5. Eton Coll. Reg. comp. W. Sterry; Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 6. VCH Berks. iii. 151; E. Hoby, A Counter-snarle of Ishmael Rabshacheh, A Cecropidan Lycaonite (1613), p. 7.
  • 7. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, i. 61; P. Compton, Story of Bisham Abbey, 82; VCH Berks. iii. 150 (though Hoby’s 2nd wife is mis-identified on the preceding page); Reg. Bisham ed. E. Powell, 31.
  • 8. GL, ms 4509/1, unfol.; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvii), 222; Birch, i. 111; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 306.
  • 9. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 228.
  • 10. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 81.
  • 11. C142/370/59.
  • 12. CPR, 1566-9, p. 23.
  • 13. Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Eliz. ed. J.S. Cockburn, 198; E163/14/8, ff. 3, 40; C231/1, ff. 80v, 149v, 150v; SP14/33, f. 7; C66/1988.
  • 14. Add. 38823, ff. 45-7; HCA 13/31, f. 249.
  • 15. HCA 49/106, pkt. A, no. 50; HCA 14/42, no. 42.
  • 16. HMC Hatfield, iii. 117.
  • 17. APC, 1587-8, pp. 110, 126.
  • 18. Staffs. RO, D593/S/4/38/16, D593/S/4/23/14; SP14/31/1; E115/198/40; 115/218/97.
  • 19. E315/309, f. 74v; 315/310, ff. 31, 46.
  • 20. Staffs. RO, D593/S/3/6,7.
  • 21. E112/87/158; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 550.
  • 22. C93/3/13, 17; 93/4/11, 19; 93/5/4; 93/7/1, 7.
  • 23. E. Hoby, A Letter to Mr. T.H. Late Minister Now Fugitive (1609), pp. 104, 106.
  • 24. R.B. Wernham, Return of the Armada, 108.
  • 25. R.W. Kenny, Elizabeth’s Adm. 143.
  • 26. Add. 38823, ff. 84, 86v.
  • 27. CJ, i. 208b, 319a.
  • 28. HMC Laing, 111; Jacobean Commissions of Enquiry ed. A.P. McGowan (Navy Rec. Soc. cxvi), 181.
  • 29. C66/1970/3; PROB 11/129, f. 197.
  • 30. P.J. Bowden, Wool Trade in Tudor and Stuart Eng. 149, 166.
  • 31. HMC 5th Rep. 407.
  • 32. For his smoking, see Hoby, Counter-snarle, 40. For his drinking, see Musarum Deliciae or The Muses Recreation, 68; Add. 34218, f. 21v. On his heraldic expertise, see Add. 38823, f. 84; Cott. Julius C.III, f. 198. Ms vols. from his library, including twelfth-century sermons, two vols. of fourteenth-century Flemish medical treatises, a collection of papal decretals and constitutions and other religious writings, are preserved in Add. 4897-4899; Burney 354, 361.
  • 33. VCH Worcs. ii. 350, 376; E310/15/62, f. 22; HMC Hatfield, xvi. 234.
  • 34. Interestingly, Hoby was appointed vice-admiral on 12 July 1585, just four days after Howard’s installation as lord admiral.
  • 35. Letters from George, Lord Carew to Sir Thomas Roe ed. J. Maclean (Cam. Soc. lxvii), 91; HMC Downshire, ii. 343; HMC Hatfield, xvii. 59-60.
  • 36. Bowden, 149; PSO5/2, unfol.
  • 37. LC2/4/4, f. 46v.
  • 38. CJ, i. 140b.
  • 39. Ibid. 141b; HMC Buccleuch, iii. 79.
  • 40. CJ, i. 934a. A different version of the Journal has him named second: ibid 149b.
  • 41. Ibid. 150a, 934a. See HMC Buccleuch, iii. 80, for the problem of seating. William Hakewill would later point to Hoby’s motion to demonstrate that the Commons had power to adjourn itself: CJ, i. 633a.
  • 42. CJ, i. 248b.
  • 43. Ibid. 162b, 245b, 942a, 997b. The precedent was later disregarded: MATTHEW CLARKE.
  • 44. Ibid. 155b, 167b, 171b, 189a-b, 203a, 208b, 210b, 222a, 235b, 967a.
  • 45. The Journal of all Parliaments During Reign of Queen Elizabeth collected by Sir Simonds D’Ewes (1682), pp. 570, 572.
  • 46. CJ, i. 156b, 157a, 160a, 166b, 940a; CD 1604-7, p. 37.
  • 47. CJ, i. 172a, 173a, 176b, 177b, 182b, 957b.
  • 48. Ibid. 189a, 950a.
  • 49. Ibid. 970b, 208b.
  • 50. Ibid. 981a, 227a, 230a, 985a.
  • 51. Ibid. 154a, 172a, 222b.
  • 52. WARD 9/158, f. 217. The existence of this child is known only from Hoby’s reference to its death in 1605.
  • 53. CJ, i. 151b, 206b, 223a-b, 234b, 247a, 986b, 989a.
  • 54. Ibid. 997a; Kyle thesis, 353.
  • 55. Ibid. 970b. Another version, though not credited to Hoby, is at 208a. For the arrival of the Spanish negotiators, see CSP Ven. 1603-7, p. 153.
  • 56. Som. RO, DD/MI box 18, OBII/90 (fair copy) and FLIV/79 (draft copy), both mis-dated to 1603; CSP Ven. 1603-7, pp. 157-9. For a detailed examination of the speech and the context in which it was delivered, see A. Thrush, ‘The Parliamentary Opposition to Peace with Spain in 1604: A Speech of Sir Edward Hoby’, PH, xxiii. 301-15.
  • 57. PRO 31/3/37, f. 129.
  • 58. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 134.
  • 59. K.R. Andrew, ‘Caribbean Rivalry and the Anglo-Spanish Peace of 1604’, History, lix. 11.
  • 60. CJ, i. 941a, though another version has him named after Sir George Carew: ibid. 162a.
  • 61. Ibid. 229a.
  • 62. HMC Hatfield, xv. 15.
  • 63. P. Croft, ‘Serving the Archduke: Robert Cecil’s Management of the Parliamentary Session of 1606’, HR, lxiv. 1991, p. 291.
  • 64. PRO 31/3/38, f. 147, dated 7 June, New Style. We are grateful for this ref. to Conrad Russell.
  • 65. PRO 31/3/37, f. 129.
  • 66. B. Galloway, Union of Eng. and Scotland, 63, claims he was also in receipt of a French pension, but offers no evidence.
  • 67. NLS, Adv. ms 34.2.15. f. 71, undated but refers to ‘her late Majesty’s reign’.
  • 68. CJ, i. 161b, 189a-b, 941a.
  • 69. Ibid. 213a, 949a, 953a, 973b.
  • 70. Ibid. 966a.
  • 71. HMC Hatfield, xvi. 253.
  • 72. CJ, i. 226b.
  • 73. Ibid. 187a, 235b, 999a.
  • 74. Ibid. 240a, 993a.
  • 75. Ibid. 247b, 251b, 994b.
  • 76. HMC Hatfield, xvi. 233-4.
  • 77. Ibid. 268, 432; xvii. 10-11; Carleton to Chamberlain ed. M. Lee, 66.
  • 78. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 109; Lansd. 1217, f. 18; C66/1641.
  • 79. HMC Hatfield, xvii. 47, 54, 59-60.
  • 80. Ibid. 492, 505; C66/1674.
  • 81. HMC Hatfield, xvii. 62-3.
  • 82. Ibid. 103, 335; HMC Downshire, ii. 426; PROB 11/113, f. 435v.
  • 83. Diary of Lady Margaret Hoby ed. D.M. Meads, 215.
  • 84. HMC Hatfield, xvii. 11, 33-4, 103, 410; Hoby, Counter-snarle, 7.
  • 85. In one version of the ‘Parliament Fart’ poem, Hoby is made to exclaim: ‘my absence was happy that day / for had I been light in the head / I should have been blown away’. Bodl. Rawl. Poet. 172, ff. 194-6. We are grateful to Michelle O’Callaghan for drawing this ref. to our attention.
  • 86. Birch, i. 35, 39-40; CJ, i. 256b.
  • 87. Hoby, A Letter to Mr. T.H. 3.
  • 88. CJ, i. 257b, 258a, 264b.
  • 89. Ibid. 265a, 300a.
  • 90. Ibid. 279a, 295a.
  • 91. Ibid. 258b, 260a, 262b, 279a, 294b, 295a, 313b.
  • 92. Ibid. 297a; Bowyer Diary, 117.
  • 93. Ibid. 299a, 301a, 303b; Bowyer Diary, 131 (Hoby incorrectly referred to as ‘Sir Henry’); Bowden, 153-4.
  • 94. CJ, i. 296a, 313a.
  • 95. Bowyer Diary, 31.
  • 96. CJ, i. 316a; Bowyer Diary, 186.
  • 97. CJ, i. 352a, 354a, 385b.
  • 98. Ibid. 1003a; Lansd. 486, f. 113.
  • 99. Bowyer Diary, 194.
  • 100. HMC Hatfield, xviii. 358; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 368.
  • 101. CJ, i. 1005a; Harl. 6850, f. 62.
  • 102. CJ, i. 329b, 340a.
  • 103. Ibid. 329a-b, 347a-b.
  • 104. Ibid. 348a, 349a; Bowyer Diary, 213.
  • 105. HMC Hatfield, xviii. 456.
  • 106. CJ, i. 388b, 1055a; Bowyer Diary, 360.
  • 107. CJ, I .325a, 327b, 328a-b, 331a, 339b, 342b.
  • 108. Ibid. 344b, 346a.
  • 109. Chamberlain Letters, i. 241, 243.
  • 110. E112/87/158. Additional documentation in Cent. Kent. Stud. is unfit for production: Qb/L10/1-5.
  • 111. REQ 2/301/69; REQ 1/24, f. 225r-v; SP46/62, f. 64.
  • 112. NLS, Adv. ms 34.2.15. f. 57. The sum is unstated. He may have serviced the debt by borrowing elsewhere: see LC4/196, f. 389.
  • 113. Hoby, Letter to Mr. T.H. sigs. A2-A3.
  • 114. HMC Portland, ix. 128.
  • 115. Hoby, Letter to Mr. T.H. 3-4. On Higgons, see M. Questier, ‘Crypto-Catholicism, Anti-Catholicism and Conversion at the Jacobean Court: The Enigma of Benjamin Carier’, JEH, xlvii. 60.
  • 116. Hoby, Letter to Mr. T.H. 90-1.
  • 117. Ibid. 39. Among the ms books in Hoby’s possession was a vol. containing a treatise entitled, ‘Narrationes de virtute eucharistiae, de devotione ad Sanctam Mariam ...’: BL, Burney 361, pp. 293-309.
  • 118. Hoby, Letter to Mr. T.H. 104-6.
  • 119. Ibid. 107.
  • 120. Ibid. 112.
  • 121. HMC 12th Rep. iv. 424, 428.
  • 122. Birch, Jas. I, i. 110-11.
  • 123. Chamberlain Letters, i. 306; Newsletters from the Archpresbyterate of George Birkhead ed. M.C. Questier (Cam. Soc. ser. 5. xii), 100n373.
  • 124. Bodl., Tanner 283, f. 124; N. Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists, 60.
  • 125. Tyacke, 193-4; TNA, Institution Bks. ser. A, f. 28; Al. Cant.
  • 126. E. Peacock, Index to Eng. speaking students at Leyden University, 50.
  • 127. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 405. One of the authors of the motion was Hoby’s younger brother, the puritanically inclined Sir Thomas, who acted as a rival teller.
  • 128. On his defence of Neile, see below.
  • 129. DNB; Hoby, Counter-snarle, 57.
  • 130. PROB 11/129, f. 197v.
  • 131. CJ, i. 400a, 409a; HLRO, O.A. 7 Jas.I, c. 32; HMC Downshire, ii. 343.
  • 132. CJ, i. 400b, 415a, 418a, 426a, 441a, 445b.
  • 133. Ibid. 411b, 445b.
  • 134. Ibid. 422b, 423a, 426a; LJ, ii. 591a.
  • 135. Procs. 1610 ed. E.R. Foster, i. 393, 395.
  • 136. C54/2150/26; PROB 11/113, f. 435.
  • 137. J. Nichols, Progs. of Jas. I, ii.*462. Bisham was one of the king’s favourite retreats: e.g. ibid. i. 560.
  • 138. Hoby is first known to have described himself as such in December 1612: C66/1970/3.
  • 139. Hoby, Counter-snarle, 19, 64; Hoby, Letter to Mr. T.H. 17.
  • 140. Medway Archives RCA/N1/2, unfol.
  • 141. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 34, 177, 181, 183.
  • 142. Ibid. 336-7.
  • 143. Ibid. 33.
  • 144. Ibid. 365, 371, 377-8, 387.
  • 145. Ibid. 321-3, 326. It is not clear which particular Members Hoby was trying to to bar from the cttee.
  • 146. Chamberlain Letters, i. 296.
  • 147. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 271-2, 277, 321.
  • 148. Ibid. 199, 206.
  • 149. Ibid. 35, 98, 228, 235, 258, 268, 289.
  • 150. Ibid. 350, 405, 413.
  • 151. Mdx. Sessions Recs. (n.s.) ed. W. le Hardy, ii. 8. See also ibid. 300, for Hoby’s attempt to charge a Westminster widow of fencing his stolen property.
  • 152. STC, 11114; HMC Downshire, iv. 377.
  • 153. E. Hoby, A Curry-Combe for a Coxe-Combe, or Purgatories knell (1615), pp. 71-3.
  • 154. Chamberlain Letters, i. 568; HMC Downshire, v. 123.
  • 155. Bowden, 166.
  • 156. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 18.
  • 157. Nichols, iii. 188.
  • 158. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 432; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 54.
  • 159. W. Camden, Annalium Apparatus, 24.
  • 160. PROB 11/129, f. 197r-v; Letters from George, Lord Carew, 91.
  • 161. VCH Berks. iii. 151.
  • 162. R. Strong, Tudor and Jacobean Portraits, i. 168, 170.
  • 163. W. Scott, Secret Hist. of Jas. I, iii. 426.