Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hook, William

HOOK, WILLIAM (1600–1677), puritan divine, is said to have been born of respectable parents in Hampshire in 1600; perhaps he was one of the Hooks of Bramshott in that county. He became commoner of Trinity College, Oxford, in 1618, and graduated B.A. in 1620. He only matriculated in the university just before taking his degree. Wood says that he first went there four years before, in 1616. He proceeded M.A. in 1623. Taking holy orders Hook became vicar of Axmouth in Devonshire, and a pronounced puritan. According to Wood, Jerom Turner, a well-known puritan minister, was his assistant there from about 1638 to 1640; in the latter year he probably emigrated to New England. In 1641 appeared in London his sermon entitled ‘New England's Teares for Old England's Feares,’ which was preached on 23 July 1640, ‘being a day of publique humiliation.’ Winthrop cannot be right in identifying Hook with the William Hooke who was in New England as early as 1633, when he witnessed the delivery of the Pemaquid grant, and was afterwards one of Sir Ferdinando Gorges's council.

In America, says Wood, Hook ‘continued his practices without control for some time;’ in other words he preached as an independent. At first he was minister to the newly founded settlement at Taunton, Massachusetts, where he was associated with Nicholas, was the friend of Wilson and Mather, and seems to have been both pious and popular. Hook's Church is now represented by the West Taunton Church. In 1644 or 1645 he removed to Newhaven, where he became ‘teacher,’ the pastor being John Davenport [q. v.]

Hook's wife, presumed on slight evidence to be the Jane Hook some of whose letters are found among the ‘Mather Papers,’ was sister to Edward Whalley the regicide, who was cousin to Cromwell. In 1653 Hook sent the Protector an account of the position of affairs in New England. It is printed in the ‘Thurloe State Papers,’ where the date 3 Nov. 1653 does not seem to be correct, since on 6 Oct. 1653 a committee was appointed by the council of state to consider Hook's communication. In 1656 Hook returned to England and became one of the Protector's chaplains at Whitehall. He is said, without sufficient proof, to have been master of the Savoy, a post subsequently filled by his son John (see below); although it is true that there are two letters of Hook in the ‘Rawlinson MSS.’ at Oxford, written from the Savoy, and dated 30 Aug. and 19 Oct. 1658 respectively (Rawl. MSS. 60 A, f. 484, and 61 A, f 335). On 7 Aug. 1659 Hook preached at Whitehall; and he with the other chaplains had a special place at the Protector's funeral in September. In the same year the London independents wrote to Monck, then in the north, inquiring as to the toleration likely to be extended them in the future. Monck addressed a reply to Hook and several well-known preachers.

After the Restoration Hook seems to have kept up his connection with the independents of New England. Samuel Wilson Taylor, when arrested on his way to New England, on 3 April 1664, confessed that news-books and letters found upon him had been given to him by Hook for delivery in New England. Hook died on 21 March 1677, and was buried in Bunhill Fields, London (Dexter's Congregationalism, 586 n.)

Hook published several sermons, and was joint author with John Davenport [q. v.] of ‘A Catechisme containing the chief heads of Christian Religion, published at the desire and for the use of the Church of Christ at New Haven’ (London 1659; in New Haven probably several years earlier). Hook also joined with Joseph Caryl [q. v.] in editing Davenport's devotional work, ‘The Saints Anchor-Hold in all Storms and Tempests,’ London, 1661.

Hook, John (1634–1710), son of the above, was also an independent preacher, and accompanied his father to New England, but returned to England before him. The Protector showed him some favour (cf. William Hook to Cromwell in Thurloe, i. 564). In 1663 he was made chaplain of the Savoy by the Rev. Henry Killigrew [q. v.], whom he succeeded as master in 1699, and was in that position in 1702 when the hospital was dissolved by the lord-keeper Wright. He was at the time a minister at Basingstoke, where he died in 1710.

[Berry's County Genealogies, Hampshire; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 1151; Oxf. Univ. Reg. (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), II. ii. 383, iii. 386; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. ix. 75, 116, 6th ser. ix. 336; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1653–4 p. 189, 1656–7 p. 239, 1658–9 p. 120, 1659–60 p. 82, 1663–4 p. 98; Thurloe State Papers, ed. 1742, i. 564; Malcolm's London. Redivivum, iii. 405; Loftie's Mem. of the Savoy, pp. 156, 159; Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit, i. 104; Emery's Ministry of Taunton, i. 63 et seq., ii. 319 et seq.; Winthrop's Hist. of New England, ii. 151; Bacon's Thirteen Historical Discourses, p. 63; Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana, i. 329; Noble's Regicides, ii. 327; Noble's House of Cromwell, ii. 143; Hazard's Hist. Coll. i. 318, 458, 459; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

W. A. J. A.