Hart, John (d.1574) (DNB00)


HART, JOHN (d. 1574), orthographic reformer, entered the College of Arms at an early age, became Newhaven pursuivant extraordinary, and was created Chester herald in 1566. On 6 Dec. 1569, after the suppression of the northern rebellion, he was sent to Doncaster by Lord Clinton with 2,000l., to be delivered to Sir Thomas Gargrave. He also took a further sum of 2,000l. to Sir Ralph Sadler at Northallerton. He died in London on 16 July 1574. On 8 July 1578 Mary, his widow, presented a petition to Lord Burghley.

His works are: 1. ‘The Opening of the Unreasonable Writing of our Inglish Toung: wherein is shewid what necessarili is to be left, and what folowed for the perfect writing thereof,’ 1551. Royal MS. in British Museum, 17 C. vii. pp. 230. The work, which consists of thirteen chapters, is dedicated to Edward VI. 2. ‘An Orthographie, conteyning the due order and reason, howe to write or painte thimage of mannes voice, moste like to the life or nature. Composed by J. H., Chester Heralt,’ London, 1569, 8vo. Reprinted, mostly in Pitman's system of phonetic shorthand, lithographed by Isaac Pitman, London, 1850, 16mo. In this remarkable treatise he expounds a plan for reforming the existing orthography of the English language on a strictly phonetic basis. Other early attempts in the same direction were made by Sir John Cheke [q. v.], Sir Thomas Smith, and William Bullokar [q. v.] 3. ‘A Methode, or Comfortable Beginning for all Unlearned, whereby they may be taught to read English in a very short time with pleasure,’ London (H. Denham), 1570, 4to.

[Ames's Typogr. Antiquities (Herbert), pp. 701, 951, 1268; Casley's Cat. of MSS. p. 267; Gibson's Bibl. of Shorthand, p. 89; Hazlitt's Bibl. Collections and Notes, i. 202; Hazlitt's Handbook to Literature, p. 257; Heber's Catalogue, pt. i.; The Huth Library, ii. 655; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 1006; Noble's College of Arms, pp. 177, 187; Cal. of State Papers, Dom. (1547–80), pp. 354, 594, Addenda (1566–79), pp. 140, 152, 326–8, 461; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 636.]

T. C.