Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hardy, Thomas Duffus

HARDY, Sir THOMAS DUFFUS, D.C.L., LL.D. (1804–1878), archivist, descended from the family to which belong Admirals Sir Thomas (1666–1732) [q. v.], Sir Charles (1680?–1744) [q. v.], and Sir {DNB lkpl|Hardy, Charles (1716-1780)|Charles}} (1716–1780) [q. v.], was the third son of Major Thomas Bartholomew Price Hardy. He was born on 22 May 1804 at Port Royal in Jamaica, where his father was stationed. He came to England at the age of seven, and entered the government service on 1 Jan. 1819, obtaining on that date, through the influence of his uncle, Samuel Lysons, a junior clerkship in the branch Record Office at the Tower of London; it was, however, from Henry Petrie (who soon after this succeeded Lysons at the Tower) that he received his education as an archivist. On Petrie's retirement, the compilation of the 'Monumenta Historica,' published in 1848, was entrusted to him, and to this work he wrote the 'General Introduction.'

While at the Tower he also edited several publications of the old Record Commission; 'The Close Rolls' from A.D. 1204-27 (1833-1844); 'The Patent Rolls' for the reign of King John, with an historical preface and itinerary of the king, A.D. 1201-16 (1835); 'The Norman Rolls,' A.D. 1200-5 and 1417-1418 (1835); 'The Fine Rolls' of the reign of King John (1835); 'The Charter Rolls' of the reign of King John, to which is prefixed a valuable descriptive introduction (1837); 'The Liberate Rolls' for the same king's reign (1844); and the 'Modus tenendi Parliamentum' (1846).

His proficiency in palæographic knowledge induced Lord Langdale, who was master of the rolls in 1838 (the date of the Public Record Office Act), to offer him the deputy-keepership at the new Record Office; force of ministerial pressure, however, compelled Lord Langdale ultimately to appoint Sir Francis Palgrave to the post. Hardy succeeded Palgrave as deputy-keeper on 15 July 1861, and held the appointment to the day of his death. At the head of his department he did much to render the records already in the custody of the master of the rolls accessible to the public, and muniments of three palatinates Durham, Lancaster, and Cheshire were brought up to London and thrown open to inspection during his tenure of office. The appointment of that very useful body, the Historical MSS. Commission, in 1869 was also largely due to his influence, and he was one of the first commissioners.

After his appointment as deputy-keeper in 1861 he edited for the Rolls Series of chronicles and memorials 'A Descriptive Catalogue of MSS. relating to the History of Great Britain and Ireland' (1862-71), the 'Registrum Palatinum Dunelmense' (1873-1878), and a 'Syllabus in English of Rymer's Fœdera' (1869); he also commenced for the same series 'Lestorie des Engles solum Geffrei Gaimar.' Besides these works he made reports on the documents preserved at Venice relating to the English history, and on the arte collection of papers at the Bodleian. Besides Hardy's work in connection with the public records, he contributed to the controversy concerning the probable date of the Athanasian Creed. He argued in favour of the antiquity and authenticity of the manuscript of the creed formerly among the Cotton. MSS. and now in the university at Utrecht. In 1843 he prepared, under the title of l A Catalogue of the Lords Chancellors, Keepers of the Great Seal, &c.,' a useful List of various legal officials in successive periods of history, and in 1852 published the life of his friend and patron, Henry Bickersteth, lord Langdale [q. v.]

Hardy was knighted in 1873. He was twice married, first to Frances, daughter of Captain Charles Andrews, and secondly to Mary Anne, daughter of Charles McDowell. He died on 15 June 1878.

[Family correspondence; Reports of the Deputy-keeper of Public Records; personal knowledge.]

W. J. H-y.