HOOPER, John (by 1532-72), of Salisbury, Wilts. and Lincoln's Inn, London.
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Family and Education
Bencher, L. Inn 1566/67, Autumn reader 1567, keeper of Black Bk. 1570.
Commr. gaol delivery, south-western circuit 1554-5; member of the Twenty-Four, Salisbury 1555; j.p. Wilts. 1558/59, q. 1561-?d.; escheator, Hants and Wilts. 1563-4, recorder, Southampton by Dec. 1565.3
John Hooper was probably the son of a namesake elected alderman for the Market ward of Salisbury in 1526. He trained as a lawyer and although he first appears in the records of Lincoln’s Inn in 1558 he was probably the John Hooper who was practising as an attorney in the court of common pleas by 1550 and he may have been the ‘Hooper’ who in 1549 signed a letter with other members of Furnival’s Inn, an inn of chancery dependent on Lincoln’s Inn, and also the ‘Mr. Hopper our attorney in the law’ who in 1551 acted for the churchwardens of St. Edmund’s, Salisbury.4
It was doubtless his residence in London which led to Hooper’s being returned so often to Parliament for Salisbury during the reign of Mary. He was not among those Members who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is, for Protestantism, in her first Parliament and neither he nor his colleague and brother-in-law Thomas Chaffyn II opposed a government bill in her fourth. His record was marred, however, by his being found absent without leave, as was his fellow-Member Robert Griffith, when the House was called towards the end of the Parliament of November 1554. For this dereliction they were both prosecuted in the King’s bench: both appeared in their own persons in Michaelmas term 1555 and asked for a day to answer in the following Hilary term, and when Hooper failed to make a further appearance he was repeatedly distrained until the process terminated with the death of the Queen.5
Griffith and Hooper none the less seem to have expected Salisbury to pay their wages in full and on 4 Mar. 1555 they joined John Abyn, Hooper’s colleague in the Parliament of October 1553, in claiming £36, enough to cover their combined attendance in Mary’s first three Parliaments at the statutory rate of 2s. a day, with an additional sum for travel and perhaps other expenses. Hooper and Thomas Chaffyn next claimed £14 16s. on 8 Jan. 1557, but remitted the 16s. because the high cost of corn had impoverished the citizens; this claim was in respect of the Parliament of 1555, which had lasted for 50 days. Finally, on 13 Jan. 1559 Hooper joined Robert Eyre in demanding £12 4s. for the 61 days of the last Marian Parliament, and this sum was duly paid, together with a further £4 2s. which Hooper alone had asked for, perhaps on account of legal services.6
Besides sitting in Parliament himself Hooper had a part to play, albeit a minor one, in the election of the Member for Old Sarum. The Members in 1555, John Marshe and William Chamber, were said to have been ‘elected’ by Hooper, and their successors in 1558, Sir Henry Jones and John Bateman, by Hooper and William Moggeridge. Although it is not stated in what capacity either Hooper or Moggeridge acted, whether as bailiffs or as two of the handful of electors, it is unlikely that they did more than register names handed to them by the borough’s patron William Herbert I, 1st Earl of Pembroke. Although described as ‘no hinderer’ of the Elizabethan settlement in 1564 Hooper himself was not to sit in any Parliament after 1558.7
Hooper performed a number of professional duties for the citizens of Salisbury. On 16 June 1557 he was appointed their attorney ‘for the quo warranto’ and on the following 8 Oct. he received £4 for his pains, as well as a yearly pension of 40s. His relations with the city were not always so regular. On 12 Mar. 1557 he was one of several councillors fined 12d. apiece for arriving late at the council house. A more serious episode followed some years later, when Hooper and other, unnamed, freemen were accused of offending against the ancient constitutions of Salisbury; for this offence, whatever its nature may have been, the mayor was authorized on 5 Nov. 1563 to prosecute them, and on the same day Hooper was told that he would forfeit his annual fee unless he submitted himself to the city by Christmas. There is no sign that he did so and one consequence may have been his acceptance of the recordership of Southampton, a port long used by the merchants of Salisbury and a town where the Chaffyns held property. Hooper himself occasionally attended council meetings at Southampton between April 1566 and September 1570, and in 1568 he received a number of charters from the town while in London; but he continued to live in Salisbury and thereby burdened Southampton with travelling expenses.8
Hooper made his will on 5 Apr. 1572. It is a very long document, with details of numerous houses in Salisbury which were left to his widow for life or until remarriage. The main beneficiary was the eldest son John, who received property in Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire as well as ‘my tablet of gold with the unicorn’s horn in the same, which of skilful men heretofore hath been esteemed worth one hundred marks’, and ‘my vials, with all my lawbooks at London’. Three younger sons and three daughters were provided for and 200 marks were set aside for ‘the child wherewith my wife is now conceived’. Other bequests included £20 to the dean and chapter of Salisbury for a monument in the cathedral, where Hooper asked to be buried, and a gold ring to ‘my very good lady the old Countess of Pembroke’. Hooper appointed three of his sons executors and named his wife, Bishop Gheast and a number of friends, including (Sir) George and Robert Penruddock, overseers. Two of his sons had recently been admitted to Lincoln’s Inn and the will contained strong inducements for them to continue their studies. The testator added two codicils on 12 and 13 Apr. 1572, the first relating to a sum of £300 in London with which he had intended to buy lands for his heir, and these and the will were proved on the following 21 June.9