Hopton, Arthur (DNB00)
HOPTON, Sir ARTHUR (1588?–1650), diplomatist, fifth son of Sir Arthur Hopton of Witham, Somerset, by Rachael, daughter of Edmund Hall of Gretford, Lincolnshire, was born about 1588 (Blore, Rutlandshire, p. 133; Visit. of Somerset, 1623, Harl. Soc. xi. 57; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. iv. 497; Skelton, Antiquities of Oxfordshire, ‘Bampton,’ p. 4). Sir Owen Hopton, lieutenant of the Tower, was his grandfather. His father, at one time high sheriff of Somerset, was created K.B. in 1603. Arthur matriculated as a member of Lincoln College, Oxford, on 15 March 1604–5 (Clark, Register of the University of Oxford, ii. 281). When Lord Cottington was sent as ambassador extraordinary to Spain (October 1629), Hopton accompanied him as secretary, and on the conclusion of Cottington's mission he was left there as English agent (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1629–31 p. 107, 1635 p. 467). Garrard writes to Wentworth in 1635, announcing that by Cottington's request Hopton is to be recalled and made clerk of the council; but it is doubtful whether this appointment actually took place (Strafford Letters, i. 511). Hopton was knighted on 2 Feb. 1637–8, and succeeded Lord Aston as ambassador in Spain (ib. iii. 149; Cal. Clarendon State Papers, i. 1491; Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 194). He seems to have remained in Spain throughout the civil wars (Cal. of Committee for Advance of Money, p. 667). When his nephew, Sir Ralph Hopton, was raised to the peerage a limitation in favour of Sir Arthur Hopton and his heirs male was inserted in the patent. Hopton was again in England in 1649, and was on 7 June 1649 visited by Evelyn, who terms him ‘a most excellent person,’ and records some of his stories about Spain (Evelyn, Diary, ed. 1879, ii. 5, 477). He died on 6 March 1649–50, aged 62, and was buried in the chancel of the church of Black Bourton, near Bampton in Oxfordshire (Skelton, Antiquities of Oxfordshire, ‘Bampton,’ p. 4).
Many of Hopton's despatches are among Clarendon's papers in the Bodleian Library, and some are printed in the ‘Clarendon State Papers.’ The Tanner MSS. contain several letters from Hopton relating to the Portuguese revolution in 1640 (lxv. 224, 229, 268).
A contemporary Arthur Hopton (1588?–1614), astrologer, apparently of the Herefordshire family of Hopton, has been confused by Wood with the diplomatist. Wood gives the astrologer the parentage which belongs to the diplomatist, and represents him as graduating from Lincoln College, Oxford, at the dates which apply only to the diplomatist. At Oxford, according to Wood, the astrologer acquired such a reputation that he was called ‘the miracle of his age for learning.’ But it is uncertain whether the astrologer studied at Oxford at all. Entering Clement's Inn, London, the astrologer is said to have become an intimate friend of Selden, and to have been ‘much valued by him and by all the noted men of that time.’ Wood adds that he died in his twenty-sixth year, 1614, in the parish of St. Clement Danes, London.
Hopton, the astrologer, wrote: 1. ‘A Prognostication for this Yeere of Our Lord mdcvii—referred most especially to the Longitude and Latitude of the worthy Towne of Shrewesbury—authore Arthuro Hoptono,’ London, 1607, and for each year until 1614, printed by the Company of Stationers. 2. ‘Bacvlum Geodæticum siue Viaticum, or the Geodeticall Staffe, in eight Bookes,’ London, 1610, 4to. 3. ‘Speculum Topographicum: or the Topographical Glasse, containing the use of the Topographicall Glasse Theodelitus, Plaine Table, and Circumferentor,’ London, 1611, 4to, dedicated to the ‘Mathematicall Practizer,’ 9 April 1611, and containing many good practical rules in geometry, measurement of distances, heights, sun's altitude and parallax, and a ‘table for calculating annueties.’ 4. ‘Concordancy of Yeeres,’ London, 1612, 1615, and newly augmented 1616, containing ‘a new, easie, and most exact Computation of Time according to the English account; also the use of the English and Roman Kalendar,’ dedicated to Sir Edward Coke, reprinted in 1635 with ‘a plaine direction for the … computing of interest’ and other additions by John Penkethman, under the title ‘Hopton's Concordancy Enlarged.’ 5. ‘Teares or Lamentations of a Sorrowfull Soule,’ London, 1613, to which are prefixed some verses inscribed to ‘my endeared friend and kinsman Sir William Leighton, knt.’
[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (ii. 151, ed. Bliss), where the two Arthur Hoptons are hopelessly confused; Wood's Fasti, i. 321; the works of Arthur Hopton, the astrologer.]