Open main menu

HOBY, Sir THOMAS (1530–1566), diplomatist and translator, born in 1530, was second son of William Hoby of Leominster, Herefordshire, by his second wife, Katherine, daughter of John Forden (Howard, Miscellanea Genealogica, i. 143). He matriculated at Cambridge from St. John's College in 1545. Wood, in his ‘Athenæ’ (ed. Bliss, i. 352), asserts without authority that he also spent some time at Oxford. He subsequently visited France, Italy, and other foreign countries, and, as Roger Ascham states, ‘was many wayes well furnished with learning, and very expert in knowledge of divers tongues’ (Schole Master in English Works, ed. Bennet, p. 240). On 9 March 1565–6 he was knighted at Greenwich (Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 119), and was sent as ambassador to France at the end of the month (Cal. State Papers, Foreign, 1566–8, p. 32). At the time of his landing in Calais haven, on 9 April, a soldier at the town gate shot through the English flag in two places. Hoby demanded redress for the insult, and obtained it after some delay, but he was not permitted to view the new fortifications (ib. Foreign, 1566–8, pp. 47–8). He died at Paris on 13 July 1566, and was buried at Bisham, Berkshire, where his widow erected a monument to his memory and to that of his half-brother Sir Philip Hoby [q. v.] Thereon are their statues in white marble in complete armour. By his marriage, on 27 June 1558, to Elizabeth, third daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, of Gidea Hall, Essex (see below), he had two sons, Edward and Thomas Posthumus (both subsequently knighted), and two daughters, Elizabeth and Anne, who died within a few days of each other in February 1570–1. Their deaths were commemorated in Latin verse by their mother on the family tomb.

Hoby was author of the following translations: 1. ‘The Gratulation of … M. Martin Bucer … vnto the churche of Englande for the restitucion of Christes religion, and hys Answere vnto the two raylinge epistles of Steuẽ, Bisshoppe of Winchester [i.e. Stephen Gardiner], concerning the vnmaried state of preestes and cloysterars,’ &c., 8vo, London [1549]. 2. ‘The Courtyer of Count Baldessar Castilio, divided into foure bookes,’ 4to, London, 1561 (other editions, 1565, 1577, 1588, and 1603). The book was very popular. Ascham commends the elegance of the style (loc. cit.). The first edition contains a letter to Hoby from Sir John Cheke, dated 16 July 1557. A reprint, with an introduction by Prof. Walter Raleigh, appeared in ‘Tudor Translations,’ 1900.

Elizabeth, Lady Hoby (1528–1609), received from the queen, in September 1566, a letter condoling with her on the death of her husband (Cal. State Papers. Foreign, 1566-8, p. 112); printed from Harleian MS. 7035, f. 161, in Ellis's ‘Original Letters’ (1st ser. ii. 229–30). Lady Hoby remarried, on 23 Dec. 1574, John, lord Russell, who died in 1584 (Lysons, Mag. Brit. vol. i. pt. ii. pp. 243, 451). Like her sisters, she acquired reputation for linguistic attainments. Her translation from the French of a treatise ‘A Way of Reconciliation touching the true Nature and Substance of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament,’ was printed in 1605, and the inscriptions at great length in Greek, Latin, and English on the family tombs at Bisham, and on that of Lord Russell in Westminster Abbey, which were written by her, sufficiently prove her skill in the learned languages. Her letters to Lord Burghley testify to her remarkable force of character (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80 pp. 301, 407, 459, 1566–79 p. 5). The ordering of pompous funerals was her delight. Just before her death she wrote a long letter to Sir William Dethick, Garter king of arms, desiring to know ‘what number of mourners were due to her calling, … the manner of the hearse, of the heralds, and church’ (cited in Imitations of Original Drawings by Hans Holbein, 1792 and 1812). She was buried at Bisham on 2 June 1609, aged 81 (Nichols, Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, iii. 131; also her will registered in P. C. C. 56, Dorset). Her portrait was drawn by Holbein.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 242–3, 554; Murdin's State Papers, p. 762; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, For. 1564–8, Venetian 1558–80; Ballard's Memoirs of British Ladies, 1775, pp. 136–41; Lowndes's Bibliograph. Manual (Bohn), iv. 2153.]

G. G.