Hicks, Baptist (DNB00)


HICKS or HICKES, BAPTIST, first Viscount Campden (1551–1629), born in London in 1551, was the third son of Robert Hicks or Hickes, a rich citizen in Cheapside. He was brought up in his father's business of a mercer. The influence of his brother, Sir Michael Hicks [q. v.], led to his supplying the court with silk and mercery, and establishing a flourishing business at the White Bear in Cheapside. Soon after James I's accession Hicks was knighted. He was one of the first citizens of London who kept a shop after receiving such an honour, and in 1607, and again a few years later, he had in consequence a dispute for precedency with the court of aldermen. In 1609 he held the appointment of a contractor for crown lands (Cal. State Papers, Dom.) On 1 July 1620 he was created a baronet; he was elected M.P. for Tavistock 6 Dec. 1620, and for Tewkesbury in the parliaments of 1624, 1625, 1626, and 1628 (Return of Members of Parliament); in 1625 he was appointed a deputy-lieutenant for Middlesex; and on 5 May 1628 he was raised by Charles I to the peerage as Baron Hicks of Ilmington, Warwickshire, and Viscount Campden of Campden, Gloucestershire, with special remainder to his son-in-law, Edward Noel, lord Noel of Ridlington, Rutlandshire. In 1584 he had married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard May of London, and by her left two daughters, his coheirs. The elder, Juliana, married Lord Noel; the younger, Mary, married Sir Charles Morrison, bart. Stow records that, according to report, each of them had a fortune of 100,000l. Campden died at ‘the age of 78 yeares,’ 18 Oct. 1629, and was buried in the parish church of Campden; and in the centre of the south chapel stands ‘a most magnificent monument of black and white marble,’ with the effigies of Lord and Lady Campden lying upon it, and a long inscription to their memory. A descendant of Campden's was created Earl of Gainsborough in 1682, and from him the present Earl of Gainsborough is descended in the female line.

Soon after 1608 Hicks purchased the manor of Campden, where he erected a noble mansion near the church; the façade, as Rudder has stated, cost him 29,000l., and in the lantern on the top he ordered lights to be set up in dark nights for the benefit of travellers. This house was burned down by the royalists in the civil war; some ruins only remain. Hicks built at his own cost a sessions-house for the Middlesex magistrates in St. John's Street, Clerkenwell, on a site granted to the magistrates by James I in 1610. The house, which was known as Hicks's Hall, was opened 13 Jan. 1611–2, and was in occupation till 1778 (Pink, Clerkenwell, ed. Wood, p. 301). His epitaph states that he gave 10,000l. to charitable uses in his lifetime, and there is in print ‘A briefe Remembrance’ of his ‘noble and charitable deeds’ (Stow, Survey of London, ed. 1633, pp. 760–1).

Among the Lansdowne MSS. in the British Museum there are several original letters from Hicks, chiefly addressed to his brother, Sir Michael, about the repayment of loans due from the king and the courtiers. He observes that the Scots are ‘fayre speakers and slow performers,’ to whom he will give no more credit.

[Sir Robert Atkyns's State of Gloucestershire, 2nd ed. pp. 162–3; Rudder's Hist. of Gloucestershire, pp. 319–24, 811, 837; Bigland's Gloucestershire Collections, i. 278–83; Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, i. 33, iii. 57; Blunt's Dursley and its Neighbourhood, p. 136; Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies, 1844, p. 263; Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 1880, pp. 515, 635; Foster's Baronetage, 1883, p. 314; Doyle's Official Baronage, i. 307; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1597–1631.]

B. H. B.