Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hagthorpe, John

HAGTHORPE, JOHN (fl. 1627), poet, was undoubtedly the son of Rowland Hagthorpe (d. 1593) of Nettlesworth in the parish of Chester-le-Street, Durham, by his first wife, Clare, daughter of Sir Ralph Hedworth, knt., of Harraton in the same county. He was baptised 12 Feb. 1585 (Surtees, Durham, ii. 204). In his writings he refers to the time when he lived in Scarborough Castle, Yorkshire. He married Judith, daughter of Anthony Wye, who had a lawsuit in 1605 with Elizabeth Saltonstall, mother of Wye Saltonstall, the poet (Hunter, Chorus Vatum, i. 105). In 1607 he sold his manor and estate of Nettlesworth to John Claxton. On 27 Feb. 1608, being then of Whixley, Yorkshire, he surrendered certain copyhold lands in Chester-le-Street to the use of Henry Thompson and Jane his wife, who was his father's widow. In 1611 license was granted to him and Judith, his wife, to alienate to Francis Wright the half of Greenbury Grange in the parish of Scorton, near Scarborough. He does not seem to have profited by these transactions, for he complains bitterly in the dedication of his ‘Divine Meditations’ to James I of poverty caused by lawsuits in which he had been worsted. Fearing that he might be compelled to emigrate with his family to Virginia, he entreated the king to procure for his son a presentation to Charterhouse School. He added that there was not a man named Hagthorpe in England 'beside myself and mine.' If this statement be literally true he must be identical with the Captain John Hagthorpe who, on 22 April 1626, was certified by Robert Hemsworth as a fit person to command 'one of the ships to waft the cloth fleet to the East land' (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1625-6, p. 316). During the same year Captain Hagthorpe did good service in protecting the Hull ships bound for Holland against the attacks of the 'Dunkirkers' (ib. 1625-6, pp. 352, 405, 420). He had also taken part in the Cadiz expedition of 1625, and with four other captains petitioned Buckingham on 20 Sept. 1626 for payment of the king's gratuity of one hundred nobles (ib. 1625-6, p. 433). A week later he was charged by William Hope, gunner of the Rose of Woodbridge, with illegally selling ship's stores (ib. 1625-6. p. 438), a course he was probably driven to adopt on account of the persistent neglect of the admiralty to furnish him with victuals and beer. Captain Hagthorpe was alive in January 1630, when he presented a petition to the admiralty (ib. 1629-31, p. 179).

John Hagthorpe the poet was the author of: 1. ‘Divine Meditations and Elegies,’ 16mo, London, 1622. A selection from this tiny volume was presented to the Roxburghe Club in 1817 by Sir S. E. Brydges under the clumsy title of ‘Hagthorpe Revived; or Select Specimens of a forgotten Poet.’ The ‘Meditations’ are laboured, but the lyrics ‘To Earth,’ ‘To Time,’ and ‘To Death’ have much charm. 2. ‘Visiones Rervm. The Visions of Things, or foure Poems,’ 16mo, London, 1623, dedicated to Charles, prince of Wales, to whom he renews the suit addressed in his former volume to the king. 3. ‘Englands-Exchequer, or a Discovrse of the Sea and Navigation, with some things … concerning plantations,’ &c., 4to, London, 1625, an eloquently written prose tract, with poetry interspersed, inscribed to the Duke of Buckingham. He has also laudatory verses prefixed to Captain John Smith's ‘Sea Grammar,’ 1627. In the sale catalogue of William Roscoe's library (1816) ‘The Divine Wooer; composed by I. H.,’ 8vo, London, 1673, is attributed to Hagthorpe (p. 153, lot 1392).

[Hunter's Chorus Vatum, Addit. MS. 24487, ff. 105, 107, xviii.; British Bibliographer, i. 236; Ellis's Specimens of Early English Poets, iii. 139.]

G. G.