Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gamon, Hannibal

GAMON or GAMMON, HANNIBAL (fl. 1642), puritan divine, descended from a family originally resident at Padstow in Cornwall, was the eldest son of Hannibal Gamon, who married Frances Galis of Windsor, and settled as a goldsmith in London. He matriculated from Broadgates Hall, Oxford, on 12 Oct. 1599, at the age of seventeen, when he was described as the son of a gentleman, and he took the degrees of B.A. on 12 May 1603 and M.A. on 27 Feb. 1607. He was instituted to the rectory of Mawgan-in-Pyder, on the north coast of Cornwall, on 11 Feb. 1619, on presentation of Elizabeth Peter, the patroness for that turn on the assignment of Sir John Arundel, knight, the owner of the advowson. He was also nominated a chaplain to the first Lord Robartes, whom he aided in collecting the quaint library, mainly of divinity and philosophy, still preserved at Lanhydrock, near Bodmin. Many of the books have Gamon's autograph on the title. The collection includes several manuscript volumes in his handwriting, containing theological and medical notes and prescriptions. A letter at Lanhydrock from J. Beauford of St. Columb Major, written in 1645, makes mention of his sons, Hannibal and Philip, and of his daughters. His ministry, says Wood, was ‘much frequented by the puritanical party for his edifying and practical way of preaching.’ On 20 April 1642 he was designated, with Gaspar Hickes of Landrake, as the representative of Cornwall in the Westminster Assembly of divines. Gamon does not seem to have taken his place in the assembly, possibly on account of the remoteness of his residence, and his absence from its proceedings appears to have given offence. Walker, in his ‘Sufferings of the Clergy’ (ii. 249), professes to have been informed that Gamon was ‘so miserably harass'd that it broke his heart.’ There is a gap in the parish registers from 1646 to 1660, and the date of his death is unknown. He signed the herald's visitation of Cornwall in 1620, and is stated therein to have married Eliza, daughter of the Rev. James Rilston of St. Breock. His son and heir, also called Hannibal, was then ‘three quarters old,’ and matriculated from Brasenose College, Oxford, on 9 March 1638.

Gamon was the author of a funeral sermon upon ‘Ladie Frances Roberts’ (London, 1627), and two assize sermons at Launceston in 1621 (London, 1622) and 1628 (London, 1629). A long letter from Degory Wheare to him, dated April 1626, is in Wheare's ‘Epistolæ Eucharisticæ,’ 1628 (pp. 85–93), and a short epistle is printed in Wheare's ‘Charisteria’ (p. 133), both of which works are included in Wheare's volume with the general title of ‘Pietas, erga benefactores.’

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 103–4; Fasti, pt. i. pp. 299, 306; Commons' Journals, ii. 535; Visit. of Cornwall (Harl. Soc.), ix. 74, 77; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. vols. i. and iii.; Arber's Stationers' Registers, iv. 64, 170, 212; Edwards's Libraries, ii. 154; Hetherington's Westm. Assembly, ed. 1878, p. 104; Diocesan Registers at Exeter.]

W. P. C.