HOSKINS, John (1566-1638), of the Middle Temple, London and Widemarsh Street, Hereford, Herefs.; later of Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, London and Moorhampton, Abbey Dore, Herefs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. 1 Mar. 1566,1 3rd but 2nd s. of John Hoskins (d. by 3 Mar. 1607), of Monkton, Llanwarne, Herefs. and Margery, da. of Thomas Jones of Llanwarne.2 educ. Westminster sch. 1578; Winchester coll. Hants 1579; New Coll. Oxf. 1585, fell. 1586-92, BA 1588, MA 1592; M. Temple 1593, called 1600.3 m. (1) 1 Aug. 1601,4 Benedicta (d. 6 Oct. 1625), da. of John Moyle of Buckwell, Kent, wid. of Francis Bourne (bur. 24 Feb. 1601), of Sutton St. Clere, Som. and the Middle Temple, 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 1da.;5 (2) 10 Dec. 1627, Isabel, da. of William Riseley† of Chetwode, Bucks., wid. of Thomas Heath of Shelswell, Oxon. and Devereux Barrett of Tenby, Pemb., s.p.6 d. 27 Aug. 1638.7

Offices Held

Dep. steward, Hereford by 1602-14,8 common councilman by 1619-?, alderman by 1634-d.;9 commr. sewers, Herefs. 1604, Wye valley 1621;10 j.p. Herefs. by c.1605-at least c.1611, 1618-d.,11 Mon. 1620-d, Carm., Card., and Pemb. 1621-d., Haverfordwest by 1622-d.;12 commr. subsidy, Hereford 1608, 1621-2, 1624, Herefs. 1621-2, 1624, 1626,13 aid, Herefs. 1609;14 piracy, Card. Carm. Pemb. 1623, oyer and terminer, Wales and the Marches 1624-at least 1634, Oxf. circ. 1625-38,15 mines, Card. 1625,16 subsidy arrears, Card. 1626,17 Forced Loan, Herefs. 1626-7, Card. 1627, Carm. 1627, Mon. 1627, Pemb. 1627,18 swans, Eng. except West Country ?1629.19

Member, Virg. Co. 1610.20

Reader, M. Temple 1620; bencher 1620-3;21 second j. S. Wales circ. 1621-d.;22 sjt.-at-law 1623-d.23


Hoskins’ ancestors were tenants of the priory of Lanthony at Monkton Grange in Herefordshire by the middle of the fifteenth century.24 His elder brother Oswald became a London Draper,25 and Hoskins himself would also have been apprenticed had he not insisted on receiving a scholarly education. Gifted with a ‘great wit’, ‘exceeding pleasant’ conversation and a prodigious memory, he was apparently well launched on an academic career when, in 1592, he was appointed terrae filius, Oxford University’s licensed jester at the public act. He was so ‘bitterly satirical’ that he was deprived of his fellowship and forced to become schoolmaster at Ilchester, Somerset. There he may have made the acquaintance of the local magnate, (Sir) Edward Phelips*, as he was subsequently described as one of Phelips’ ‘chief consorts and minions’. He began reading for the bar at the comparatively advanced age of 27. At the Middle Temple ‘he wore good clothes and kept good company’. Indeed, ‘his excellent wit gave him letters of commendation to all ingenious persons’, including some junior government officials, whom he assisted in their Latin correspondence.26

Hoskins acquired a house in Hereford in 1601, and by the following year Sir John Scudamore†, the borough’s recently elected high steward, had appointed him his deputy. It is unclear how Hoskins came by this position. One possible explanation is that it was through his cousin Thomas Jones†, who represented Hereford under Elizabeth. However, as the Jones and Hoskins families fell out in the early 1590s, Hoskins probably owed his advancement to Walter Pye I*, Scudamore’s legal advisor, who shared chambers with Hoskins at the Middle Temple in the 1590s. The deputy stewardship was an important office, as there was no recorder in Hereford in this period and the incumbent, who was required to be a barrister, performed many of the functions of a recorder.27

Hoskins was first elected for Hereford in 1604. With Phelips in the chair, he had no difficulty in catching the Speaker’s eye. In the opening session he was appointed to 22 committees and reportedly spoke on 15 occasions. His first speech, on 14 Apr., was an attack on purveyance, and in particular the crown’s power to pre-empt markets and purchase goods at fixed prices for the royal Household. During debates on 23 May and 2 June he subsequently opposed compounding for purveyance and instead urged that the existing laws against abuses should be enforced. His hardline attitude was influenced by his hostility to the proposed Union with Scotland, for on 2 June he asserted that the House’s refusal to buy out purveyance was ‘our thankfulness to the king in naturalizing the Scots’. He proved equally opposed to granting supply, remarking on 19 June that ‘we have no sheep that yields two fleeces in the year’, by which he meant that it was impossible to vote money as the subsidies granted in 1601 were still being collected.28

In the debate on what name to give the newly united kingdoms of England and Scotland (18 Apr.), Hoskins argued that as ‘God hath made an union’, the Commons should ‘give obedience to the king’. Moreover, he observed that it was up to the king to choose the name himself, and that it was the typical for princes to ‘affect length of titles’, as the tale of someone who had been taken ill trying to recite all the titles of the emperor of Russia in one breath illustrated. However, he rejected the idea that Parliament could make the pairing of the two kingdoms perpetual, thereby implicitly ruling out any possibility of a full constitutional union. Moreover, he seems to have envisaged not a union between equals, as James intended, but one in which England, in effect, incorporated Scotland, for two days later he observed that ‘Scotland was held of England by homage: the tenancy and seigniory are come together’. It is not entirely clear what Hoskins thought the consequences of such an arrangement would be, but he seems to have warned that a union on these terms might lead to rebellion: ‘the adder shall tread him upon his heel, that breaketh down the hedge’.29 Following the appearance of the bishop of Bristol’s tract attacking the Commons for its hostility to the Union, Hoskins demanded to know whether anyone supported the bishop’s statements and by whose authority the book had been published. He was subsequently named to the committee to draft a message to the Lords concerning the book, and on 1 June was among those appointed to peruse the work and prepare for a conference with the Lords.30

Hoskins was classed by Tobie Matthew* as one of the two ‘vild’ speakers in the House (the other being Nicholas Fuller), probably because of his contributions concerning purveyance and the Union.31 However there was also a more constructive side to his parliamentary activities, as he took an interest in elections and the privileges of the House. On 16 Apr. he moved to insert the words ‘that no man should lose his debt’ in the bill to prevent outlaws from standing for Parliament, and was named to the committee after the bill received its second reading ten days later. On 17 Apr. he seconded Humphrey Winch’s motion to send for the sheriffs of Shropshire and Cardiganshire concerning the elections in those two shires. Hoskins considered the warden of the Fleet’s written apology for failing to release Sir Thomas Shirley* inadequate, and on 17 May demanded that the warden should petition the House for forgiveness.32

Hoskins reported two private bills. The first, on 30 Apr., concerned the Somerset estate of Sir John Rodney*, who like Hoskins had attended the Middle Temple. On 11 May he reported a bill to repeal an Act of 1601 concerning the estate of Edward Lucas, but the measure was subsequently dashed.33 On 4 May he spoke in favour of the bill promoted by Sir Robert Vernon* to secure his claim to the lordship of Powis, arguing ‘whatever is past help of law, and [not] contrary to reason, is to be helped by Parliament’. On 7 June he was among those who successfully opposed the bill to confirm an exchange of land between Sir Thomas Monson* and Trinity College, Cambridge at its third reading.34

On 24 May Hoskins reported from the committee for the relief of English officers who had served in Ireland, proposing that money should be raised by charging for the renewal of licenses for alehouses, taverns and inns. This motion was rejected, however, but Hoskins made a further report on 20 June recommending a voluntary subscription, which was accepted after a division.35 Hoskins contributed to the debate on the free trade bill on 6 June, when he cited a ‘great personage’ and claimed that the Merchant Adventurers were refusing to buy up cloth to force down prices. He argued that to islanders, such as themselves, trade came naturally, but he was unsure whether this was best managed ‘in a family’ or ‘in a confederacy’, suggesting he was not opposed to merchant companies in principle.36 On 14 June he was appointed to the committee to consider the bill to prohibit the residence of married men in colleges, and he spoke at the third reading seven days later. His last known speech of the session was on 23 June, when he supported the bill to reduce obstructions on navigable rivers and was named to the committee.37 This measure was of considerable interest to the Hereford corporation, which wanted to improve the navigability of the Wye.

In the second session Hoskins was appointed to 36 committees and delivered 23 recorded speeches. Named to help consider the revived bill to prohibit the residence of married men in colleges on 25 Jan. 1606, he spoke in favour of the measure at its third reading on 3 Mar., arguing that ‘virginity [is] a virtue’, and that the bill accorded well with the founders’ intentions. Robert Bowyer*, however, detected a whiff of Catholicism in these arguments, for many colleges had not excluded married men from teaching posts as such, but had merely reserved them for priests. To interpret this reservation to mean that married men were barred was to imply that marriage was incompatible with holy orders.38 It was perhaps to dispel suspicions about his religion that Hoskins subsequently began to take a more active interest in religious matters before the Commons. On 15 Mar. he spoke in favour of silenced ministers, stating ‘he hath a dull spirit, that hath no feeling in this cause’. However, he spoiled the effect by arguing that ‘we ought to be intercessors for such as are intercessors for us to God’, a rather Catholic conception of the functions of the clergy. Moreover, he proposed that the Commons should confer with the bishops, who were hardly likely to be sympathetic to silenced ministers.39 Despite his earlier criticism of the bishop of Bristol, Hoskins was a friend of the bishops, and indeed was on excellent terms with Robert Bennet, appointed bishop of Hereford in 1603, who stood godfather to his son. According to Aubrey, he composed an anthem to be sung in the cathedral at the assizes, much to the indignation of the puritan Sir Robert Harley*.40

On 30 Jan. Hoskins spoke at the second reading of the bill for the better execution of the laws to regulate purveyance, when he suggested that the measure should be extended to include saltpetremen. He continued to oppose composition, arguing on 25 Feb. that earlier Parliaments had chosen to pass bills to constrain purveyance rather than demand ‘an imposition of inheritance’. On 5 Mar. he warned that if a permanent tax was established to compensate the king it would be ‘doomsday’ before any inconveniences were found. He also criticized the archbishop of Canterbury for citing a passage from the Old Testament in support of purveyance at a conference the previous day, as the text in question referred to an evil king, sent to punish the people. He ‘concluded merrily, viz. that if we proceeded in a composition he feared we should do like unthrifts who begin with a rent-charge, then proceed to a mortgage, and in conclusion depart with the land itself’. Two days later he was answered by Sir Francis Bacon*, who denied that there was any proposal to create a permanent system of composition, and argued that whatever was agreed could be reviewed by the next Parliament.41

In the supply debate on 10 Feb. Hoskins called on the House ‘not to knit the two ends of a Parliament together’, suggesting that he thought it was too early in the session to grant taxation. He nevertheless supported the appointment of a subsidy committee, to which he himself was named. On 12 Mar. he voiced fears about the manner of the Common’s proceedings. Protracted discussions in committees and conferences, he argued, ‘doth but disclose our hearts and make ourselves to be singled out’. Moreover, the twin propositions that ‘a king may not want’ and his subjects should not examine how money voted by Parliament is spent, taken together, would mean that ‘the fortunes of the crown may run a circle and whatsoever we give, we cannot give that [which] may suffice’. When Bacon reported proposals to vote three subsidies and six fifteenths on 25 Mar., Hoskins remarked ruefully ‘the king in possession of the subsidy, he would not have the subject to say the bramble was more merciful than the shepherd’.42

Hoskins seconded Sir Herbert Croft’s motion for the bill to limit the powers of the Council in the Marches when it received its second reading on 21 February. He stood on its head the argument that the bill encroached on the royal prerogative by asserting that the Council’s failure to release prisoners on writs of habeas corpus was itself a breach of the prerogative, ‘for they will not suffer the king to free the person of a subject whom they have unjustly imprisoned’. However, at the third reading on 10 Mar. he seems to have confined himself to confirming that a certificate from Hereford, supporting the jurisdiction of the Council, bore the mayoral seal.43

Much of Hoskins’ energy in the second half of the session went into the ultimately fruitless pursuit of William Tipper, the notorious concealed lands patentee. In the committee of grievances on 7 Apr. he detailed Tipper’s modus operandi. First, victims were told that ‘you hold such lands, that title is defective’, and then they were told to produce their deeds. Once these were presented, Tipper would ‘seeketh how a quirk may be found in the title’. Hoskins also accused Tipper of altering official records to substantiate his claims, and alleged that, despite having promised to raise for the king £100,000 in five years, he had paid into the Exchequer only £1,000. He delivered in these charges in writing on 16 Apr., when the Speaker read them to the House, and on 28 Apr. he was appointed with Nicholas Fuller and Humphrey Winch to draw up articles against Tipper. After Tipper answered the articles on 3 May, Hoskins complained that Tipper had referred to him as ‘the gentleman’, whereupon Tipper was forced to apologize. Further proceedings were referred to the committee for grievances, but Hoskins failed to get Tipper’s patent included in the grievances petition. He renewed the attack seven days later, moving for a committee to examine Tipper. The House agreed to this request, but Hoskins himself was not appointed.44 Hoskins also spoke ‘merrily’ against the grant of the greenwax fines in the duchy of Lancaster to Sir Roger Aston* on 9 Apr., and contributed to the debate on the subject six days later.45

Hoskins was more actively involved in legal measures in the second session than he had been in the first. He was one of those who debated the bill to improve jury selection at its second reading on 31 Jan., when the measure was rejected, and on 31 Mar. was appointed to help consider a bill to restrict the use of writs of error to delay executions in cases of debt. When a different bill dealing with the same problem received its second reading on 6 May, it was referred to the former committee, when it was noted that Mr. Hoskins had custody of the original. Three days Hoskins reported the executions bill, and another for the regulation of the lower branch of the legal profession, both of which were passed. In addition, on 8 May, he reported a bill concerning the fees demanded by clerks for copying legal records, when he successfully recommended that the measure should sleep until the next session.46

Hoskins was appointed to the committee to consider the revived bill against obstructions on navigable rivers (7 February). When this measure was reported on 13 Mar., he successfully opposed a proviso proposed by Sir Robert Johnson. Hoskins again clashed with Johnson on 11 Apr., when the bill to rebuild Chepstow bridge was reported. Johnson offered a proviso ‘for Monmouth’, possibly to exempt the town from payment, whereupon Hoskins asked for another to ban the townsmen from using the bridge. Both provisos were rejected. On 24 Mar. Hoskins spoke in favour of the bill to prohibit the export of undressed coloured cloths, and on 1 Apr. he contributed to the debate on the bill concerning lodgers. On 8 May he reported the bill to compel exporters of rabbit skins to purchase their wares from artisan skinners. On 16 May he was among those ordered to attend the conference with the Lords concerning the bill to allow the export of beer, which he reported three days later, and on 26 May he took part in the debate on the amendments proposed by the Lords. On 22 May he contributed to the debate at the second reading of the bill to amend clauses in the 1604 Act for continuing expiring statutes concerning the sale of wine and sanctuary, and was named to the committee.47

Hoskins adopted a lower profile in the third session, when he was named to 18 committees and made five recorded speeches. He played only a limited role in the debates concerning the Union, when his principal aim seems to have been to delay proceedings. On 15 Dec. he urged deferment of the discussion of escuage until after Christmas, and on 2 Mar., concerning the question of the nationality of those Scots born since the Union of the crowns, he told the House: ‘this point being in question in Edward III’s time, it held seven years before it received a decision’, suggesting he was in no hurry to resolve the matter.48

Hoskins was described as ‘merry Mr. Hoskins’ in the irreverent poem, the ‘Parliament Fart’, which he may have had a hand in writing, but despite having established a reputation as the jester of the House, his work on the legislative business of Parliament showed his serious side.49 On 28 Nov. 1606 he unsuccessfully opposed the bill to secure grants of lands to corporations at its third reading. The following day he reported a bill to enable a Surrey landowner to sell part of his estates to pay his debts, asserting that it was ‘as honest and just a petition, as ever was preferred in Parliament’, whereupon the measure was ordered to be engrossed. The same day he also reported the bill to protect the charter of the Exeter French Company from the provisions of the statute passed in the previous session for free trade with Spain, Portugal and France, which was also ordered to be engrossed. On 3 Mar. 1607 Hoskins reported a bill sponsored by Sir John Acland* to appropriate the income from an Exeter prebendary to support a lectureship and grammar school at Columbjohn in Devon. The bill was intended to endow a chapelry in a large parish and was supported by the local bishop. Hoskins supported a bill for an exchange of land between All Souls College, Oxford and Sir William Smith* at its third reading on 8 May. Three days later, when the bill for the true making of cloth was reported, Hoskins spoke in favour of a proviso to enable the freemen of Hereford, Leominster, Bewdley and Coventry to make cloth even if they had not been apprenticed to the trade. However this proviso attracted opposition and after a long debate the House agreed to re-commit the bill to reconsider the proviso. The following day, despite his previous support for the proviso, Hoskins reported that the committee thought that it should be struck out, which was agreed and the rest of the bill passed.50

In the fourth session Hoskins was appointed to 49 committees and made 30 recorded speeches. Having signed a letter in January 1608 from the Herefordshire magistrates to Sir Herbert Croft thanking him for his agitation against the Council in the Marches, he seconded, on 15 Feb. 1610, Croft’s motion for a committee to hear complaints against the Council in the Marches, declaring that it was an old rule that ‘the king of England cannot foreclose his subjects of a trial at Common Law’. On 18 July Hoskins supported Croft’s motion for the removal of the Marcher shires from the jurisdiction of the Council in the Marches in the Great Contract.51

In the debate which followed the earl of Salisbury’s (Robert Cecil†) appeal for supply on 19 Feb., Hoskins argued that it was not yet time to enter into consideration of subsidies ‘for that the former were not yet paid, and to grant subsidies in reversion was not usual’. In the subsequent discussions in the committee of the whole House he proposed eliminating private profit from wardships, ‘that the whole benefit might come to the king’s purse’, but found no seconder. Hoskins remained reluctant to vote supply throughout the session, and on 13 June was among those who argued that consideration should be deferred until the House had received an answer to their grievances. Asserting that to vote one subsidy would be ‘little service to the king’, he nevertheless moved that James should ‘to take notice of our general inclination, by some means’.52

As the Great Contract began to take shape, Hoskins declared, on 23 Feb., that ‘many grievances [are] unproper for the exchange with the king’, and instanced the case of silenced ministers. He went on to draw the Commons attention to The Interpreter, a work published in 1607 by John Cowell, professor of Civil Law at Cambridge, in which it was argued that legislative power lay entirely with the king. Hoskins drew particular attention to Cowell’s claim that the king allowed Parliament to participate in the legislative process in return for subsidies. Hoskins may have believed that in preparing to trade the redress of grievances for an augmentation of the king’s revenue the Commons was implicitly accepting Cowell’s interpretation of the constitution. He also complained about ‘preaching against prohibitions’ and ‘books in print against the Common Law’, and concluded by moving that ‘some may be appointed to censure the books that are touching the common laws’, whereupon the Commons referred his motions to the committee for grievances. The following day Hoskins produced ‘many other treatises containing as much as D[octor] Cowell’, when he was also appointed to a sub-committee of the grievances committee to consider Cowell’s book. On 5 Mar. he assisted Sir Henry Montagu in reporting a recent conference to the Commons on the same subject. On 7 Mar. he was appointed to prepare for a second conference, but Salisbury subsequently announced that the king would suppress the book.53

During the debates on the Great Contract, Hoskins showed a concern to preserve good relations with the Lords. When the Commons debated whether to thank the king unilaterally for permission to negotiate the abolition of wardship alone or join with the Lords, Hoskins argued (14 Mar.) that they should have ‘tender care’ of relations with the upper House. However, he opposed a ‘free’ conference with the Lords on the Great Contract on 4 May, because the Commons’ delegation ‘may mistake in answering’. The Commons’ representatives were accordingly authorized only to hear what the Lords had to say. Although Hoskins was named to the committee to report back, the actual task of delivering the report fell to Sir Henry Montagu. However, the House thought the report inadequate, especially as Montagu omitted to mention that Archbishop Bancroft had stated that ‘many speeches [in the Commons] are both of spleen and from such green and young heads as being judicially weighed will prove to be nothing else but froth’. The committee was consequently ordered to prepare a fresh report. Hoskins suggested that this should be read by the clerk, but in the event he delivered it himself.54

On 7 May Hoskins contributed to the debate concerning the inclusion of the abuse of royal proclamations among the Commons’ grievances. After asserting that his right to speak freely about this matter in Parliament was safeguarded by statute, he argued that the issue touched ‘freehold, the conscience, the life of men’. On 19 June he delivered to the committee for grievances a paper concerning the use of demurrers by the crown, which was subsequently included in the Great Contract.55

In the debate on the Great Contract on 13 July, Hoskins urged the House to ‘confer with the country’, and argued that it could not proceed ‘without reference to the country’, or without the ‘major part’ of its own Members, many of whom were absent at the assizes. He complained that they were ‘declaimed against in both universities’ and from ‘pulpits’, but he regarded the ‘groans of the people’ as a ‘greater accusation’. In the supply debate the following day, Hoskins revealed that a letter had been written addressed to the chairman of the grievances committee, Richard Martin, and to himself in Martin’s absence, by ‘one Fotherby’, detailing criticisms of the Commons in recent orations by the vice-chancellor of Oxford and the proctor of Cambridge. Hoskins, however, stated ‘that Fotherby was not known to them’, and warned the House that the letter might be mischievous. Hoskins again spoke on the Contract on 20 July, and the following day he contributed to the debate ‘concerning the manner of [the] levy’.56

Hoskins spoke twice in the debate following the message delivered by the Speaker on 11 May forbidding the Commons from discussing impositions. The content of his first speech is unknown, but in the second he proposed a committee to discuss ‘how far to treat of impositions’. He also demanded to know ‘how far our Speaker may deliver from the king, or to the king from us’, as the Commons had learned that the message relayed by the Speaker had not come from James at all but from the Privy Council. During the ensuing commotion the House resolved to receive no further messages unless they came directly from the king himself, a decision which both James and Hoskins interpreted to mean that the Commons was no longer willing to receive any messages from the Speaker. However, whereas James reacted with horror to this apparent decision, Hoskins thought that it would be better if the Speaker was no longer employed as a messenger. On 14 May he argued that the talents of the Speaker were necessarily fully employed in the service of the House, and that ‘to have him divided and his wits occupied with messages from the House to the king, and again from the king to the House cannot but exceeding disadvantage the House’. However, he was reluctant to pursue this matter further ‘because the king is a god on earth’. After denying that it was ‘in our thoughts to refuse any message which he shall send by our Speaker’, he suggested that the Commons ask the king to refrain from employing the Speaker frequently as a messenger, but instead to use him ‘but rarely and upon important consideration’.57

The dispute over the Speaker’s role as a messenger reflected the Commons’ anger that James would not permit the House to discuss his legal right to levy impositions. Hoskins, however, kept this matter firmly in view, arguing on 18 May that Members had a right to ‘look into’ impositions, not because they wished to judge the issue but in order ‘to inform ourselves’. He also criticized the use of ‘phrases of infinite and inscrutable’ to describe the prerogative, arguing that ‘he that looks for them here upon earth, may miss them in heaven’.58 Under mounting pressure, and with the promise that the Commons would resume the negotiations over the Great Contract, which had stalled, the king finally agreed on 25 May to allow discussion of impositions. Accordingly, on 6 June, Hoskins moved for Robert Bowyer* and his colleagues to help search the records in the Tower, presumably to find precedents. Moreover, on 28 June he delivered a lengthy speech on the king’s right to levy impositions. As he viewed his task as being to ‘remove impediments lying in the way’, he addressed those arguments used in support of impositions one by one. Though willing to concede that customs duties were the ‘inheritance’ of the crown, he denied that this necessarily meant that the king could ‘improve’ them without the consent of Parliament. He also asserted that the king’s right to prohibit the import of particular goods did not give him the right to impose. Furthermore, the king could not levy ‘reasonable’ impositions without recourse to Parliament, not least because neither he nor the courts could know what profits might reasonably be expected from overseas trade. If the king did have a right to levy impositions then his power was unlimited and he could levy whatever he liked, and ‘an unlimited power is contrary to reason’. In fact, he went on, ‘the king cannot impose against the Common Law, common peace and common profit’. This last point implied a measure of reciprocity, for all customs duties, including impositions, were a toll, and a toll was only valid if the parties paying it received some benefit. Hoskins conceded that the king owed his regal power to God, but ‘the actuating thereof is from the people’. He concluded by citing precedents for questioning legal judgments in Parliament.59

Writing to his wife during the fourth session, Hoskins lamented that he could not follow his colleague Anthony Pembrugge and return to Hereford, ‘such is the reward of a man’s service as is among carters for horses and oxen; he that draws well shall never [be] out of the plough or team’. Indeed, were he to leave now he would be ‘discredited for ever: for there are divers bills of the Parliament committed unto me which are to be sat upon, some tomorrow, some on Monday’.60 In total he reported seven bills in the session. The first, on 1 Mar., was for the sale of land belonging to William Essex of Lambourne in Berkshire, which he also defended at third reading five days later. He reported two further private bills, one to confirm a Chancery decree in favour of the heirs of Rowland Elrington of Woodford, Essex (18 May), which was recommitted and again reported by Hoskins three days later, and the other to enable a Huntingdonshire landowner to sell his lands (13 July), although the latter had been entrusted to Sir William Strode on 25 June.61

On 9 Mar. Hoskins reported the bill to restore the monopoly of the Horners’ Company, which had been ‘unwittingly repealed’. These poor men practised, he declared ‘a trade of antiquity, singularity, honesty ... Never any complaint against them; £200 will buy all their stuff’. Three days later he reported the bill for the maintenance of Minehead harbour, which was ordered to be engrossed, as was the bill to punish deceits and frauds committed by combers and spinners of wool, which he reported on 24 May. His interest in the cloth trade was further demonstrated on 19 July, when he announced that someone had established the manufacture of good quality ‘Spanish cloth’; he thought this matter ought to be examined by ‘some clothiers of this House’ so that it could be encouraged.62 On 5 July Hoskins was named to the committee for the bill to confirm the title of contractors for crown lands. Five days later he asked the House to rule whether the bill should include provisions to confirm estates on composition for defective titles, a motion which was presumably intended to put a spoke in Tipper’s wheel. The House agreed that ‘all upon good consideration’ should be confirmed. Two days later Hoskins reported the bill with amendments and additions, but it was recommitted after opposition from Sir Henry Poole.63 Hoskins spoke against the bill for ‘Mr. Davison’ at its second reading on 27 March. This measure may have been a revised version of the 1606 bill which had sought to assure the clerkship of the treasury to William Davison†, now dead, and his son Francis. Hoskins also spoke at the second reading of the bill to reduce the cost of proving wills in the prerogative court of Canterbury on 3 Apr., but it is not known to what effect. On 6 June he introduced a bill to prevent obstructions on navigable rivers, but this failed to progress. A fortnight later he spoke in favour of the sumptuary bill, arguing that excessive spending on clothing was draining the country of money. If the bill pass, he declared, ‘then when we see any man in gold and glittering apparel, we may say he is of the prince’s blood or a fool by Act of Parliament’.64

Hoskins spoke twice on the Bridgnorth election dispute. On 9 Mar. he attacked the return of Sir Francis Lacon on the grounds that the indenture lacked the town seal and the bailiffs’ signatures. Five days later he opposed Sir George More’s request to allow the bailiffs to return home for the assizes as the election had not yet been examined. He opposed granting privilege to the son of Robert Berry of Ludlow, arrested by the constable of Newgate ward for ‘late walking’, arguing that there was ‘no privilege in matter of peace’. When a bill was brought from the Lords on 5 May with the title written within it rather than on the back, he advised that the matter be referred to the privileges committee.65

Hoskins made three recorded speeches in the poorly recorded fifth session. On 3 Nov. he urged the Commons to re-examine the list of grievances that were to be rectified in the Great Contract, and called on James to guarantee that his ministers observed the rule of law. Such an assurance was a precondition for concluding the Contract, as it would allay the fear that prerogative finance might later be revived. Four days later Hoskins opposed proposals to confer with the Lords about formulating a common answer to the king’s message about the Contract on the grounds that the issue was one of supply and therefore concerned only the Commons. He urged that the question of whether to continue with the Contract should be put to a vote. He made his final speech of the session on 23 Nov., when he observed that the question of giving was inextricably bound up with the question of how to improve the Crown’s financial situation. The solution to the king’s financial problems, he asserted, lay with James himself, for the ‘well-governing of revenue hath been a means used by princes to supply his revenue’. A major cause of the Crown’s difficulties were those who had ‘begged so much of the king’. Hoskins coyly claimed not to know who were responsible, but it was clear that his intended target was the Scots, since he added that the culprits were neither English, Irish nor Dutch. Indeed, his remarks left the French ambassador expecting a massacre of the Scots, such as had befallen his own countrymen in the Sicilian Vespers in 1282. Hoskins called for the grand committee to investigate, for those responsible ‘be such as hold a consultation how to draw out of this cistern as fast as we fill it’. The ‘royal cistern had a leak, which till it were stopped, all our consultation to bring money unto it was of little use’. Following the dissolution, Hoskins was among the ‘free speakers’ questioned by Salisbury for their failure to support supply.66 By now he was well established as a leading figure in the metropolitan intelligentsia, being a member of both the Mitre and Mermaid circles and (according to Aubrey) acquainted with ‘all the wits then about town’. However, he never lost contact with Herefordshire, purchasing the freehold of his house in Hereford in 1609.67

Re-elected for Hereford in 1614, Hoskins made 22 recorded speeches and was appointed to 16 committees, among them the privileges committee (8 April). On 9 Apr. he spoke in the debate concerning the Northumberland election dispute, defending the House’s right to summon the sheriff, arguing that if it left the matter to the law courts, ‘a gap [will] open to infringe all liberty of free election’.68 In the debate on undertakers (2 May), Hoskins argued that the rumour of a secret undertaking to manage Parliament ‘proceeds from a rotten foundation of popery’, and moved for the matter to be recommitted. Two weeks later he defended Sir Henry Neville I’s paper of advice to the king, which had sparked off the rumour, arguing there ‘was no reason to bar the king to call unto him any of his subjects and to make use of their understanding’.69 If Hoskins did not believe in a secret undertaking, he was no less scornful of the widespread fear that if the Commons refused to vote money there would be ‘no more parliaments and the king’s prerogative shall be extended’. There was ‘no cause of fear of not calling of Parliament’, he claimed, entirely incorrectly, on 5 May, because ‘the king gains by them, not the subject’. Had not James said in his opening speech that if the prerogative were to extend too far then it would be time ‘for calling a Parliament of love’?70

On 10 May Hoskins argued in favour of restrictions on the influence of the duchy of Lancaster in elections, which he stated was ‘against the right of this House and kingdom’, and ‘a greater power than [electors were] able to resist’. However he defended the conduct of the chancellor of the duchy, Sir Thomas Parry*, suggesting that the election letters which bore his signature might have been written by a servant and that Parry may not have read them before he signed them.71 When his friend Richard Martin* offended the House on 17 May, Hoskins was flabbergasted, and declared that he spoke ‘with as much perplexity as if he himself [was] arraigned here’. However he showed no such hesitation after Bishop Neile attacked the proceedings of the Commons. ‘We have done nothing here but to show our love and bounty to the king’, he declared on 25 May. Both Scotland and Germany had ‘swept away greater mitres than his’, and ‘he admired nothing in the bishop but his ignorance’. The Commons would be entirely justified in petitioning the king ‘to seize his bishopric for seven years to supply His Majesty’s wants’. The following day he approved a message to the Lords complaining of the bishop’s speech, but announced that he did not expect justice from them.72

Hoskins was in no hurry to vote supply. Responding to speeches from the privy councillors detailing the king’s debts on 12 Apr., he moved to defer the question on the grounds that attendance was still thin, the House had not been called, and Members had not taken communion together.73 On 5 May he suggested that those who urged supply were like ‘interfering horses, that the faster they go the more they lame themselves’. He further asserted, quite falsely, that the Parliament was ‘called to give counsel not give money’.74 Hoskin’s unwillingness to grant supply contrasted with his eagerness to destroy impositions. He joined the attack on 18 Apr., arguing ingeniously that impositions were ‘very prejudicial to His Majesty’ because they ate into merchants’ profits and so discouraged merchants from trading. This in turn diminished the Crown’s receipts from customs, and forced the king to sell off his lands to contractors, who thereby made massive profits, none of which were taxed. Those who purchased this land subsequently found their titles questioned by Tipper and other hunters for concealed lands, while those merchants who had given over trade turned to money-lending instead, so that ‘the people are impoverished by usury’.75 Following this criticism, Hoskins played a leading role in the Commons’ attempt to prove that impositions were unlawful. On 12 May he and Thomas Wentworth I were assigned to discuss the legal status of the customs between the reigns of Edward III and Mary at a forthcoming conference with the Lords. The same day Hoskins moved the House to order a search of the records in the Tower and Exchequer and to make copies of relevant documents. He himself had ‘many records very material that have not been examined’ which he wished to have copied at the House’s expense. The next day he proposed that the Speaker should write to Sir Robert Cotton* ‘to require him to deliver a record he had which would be very material and give great help to their arguments’. Cotton was then ill at Cambridge but he sent the key to his study to Sir Edward Montagu* and his brother Henry Cotton, and on 20 May Hoskins was appointed to assist both men in searching for ‘for such records as should be of benefit to the commonwealth’.76 The search of the Crown’s records may not have gone as well as Hoskins hoped, for on 16 May William Hakewill announced that he had heard that records had been found ‘to cross the opinion of this House’. Hoskins, too, announced that there were ‘doubts which yet himself stood unresolved of’. However these were evidently quickly satisfied, as two days later Hoskins helped to rebut Thomas Hitchcock’s defence of impositions.77

Throughout the Parliament Hoskins showed little interest in the continuing problem of the Council in the Marches. However, on 20 May, after Sir Edwin Sandys called for a copy of the letter written by the king to Sir Edward Phelips* in November 1610, which had promised to allow the power of the Council to be challenged in the law courts, Hoskins proposed that Sir Robert Phelips* should be sent to request the letter from his father.78 Hoskins reported only one bill in 1614 - that concerning the manor of Painswick in Gloucestershire - although he frequently spoke in bill debates. When Sir Maurice Berkeley moved for a committee to draft a bill to eradicate abuses in the ecclesiastical courts on 12 Apr., Hoskins also proposed reforms, ‘that men may not be called for small matters and dismissed without costs if wrongful, and that excommunication be not awarded so ordinarily or upon so small causes’. When Sir Francis Bacon reported the bill concerning Princess Elizabeth’s marriage to the Elector Palatine on 13 Apr., Hoskins argued against adding an amendment to provide for any children in the event that she later remarried. He declared that he hoped she would only remarry with the consent of the king or his successors, but he nevertheless feared ‘danger in respect of the House of Austria’. At the second reading of the bill against false bail three days later, Hoskins denied Sir George More’s claim that the penalty it imposed was too great, as it was better to ‘save a soul and lose a body’. At the second reading of the bill to prevent the wasteful consumption of gold and silver (5 May), Hoskins successfully moved that Christopher Brooke’s sumptuary bill should also be read again as both measures were ‘of one nature’ and should be committed together. Appointed to the resulting committee, he also worked with Brooke on 14 May during the debate on the second reading of a bill concerning the Court of Wards, which both men attacked for taking away fees from the clerks of petty bag. On 31 May Hoskins moved to commit the bill to prevent brewers and tipplers from becoming magistrates and opposed another that sought to repress drunkenness.79

When the king complained on 27 May about the Commons’ decision to suspend all business, Hoskins declared that ‘some, not knowing the Parliament courses, do misinform the king’. Claiming that it has always been a privilege to parliament to choose in what business we will proceed’, he then proceeded to accuse ‘an honourable person’. Secretary of State Sir Ralph Winwood, who was sitting in Parliament for the first time, correctly interpreted this to mean himself.80 On 3 June Hoskins delivered the most notorious speech of the Parliament, during the debate concerning the king’s message threatening dissolution unless the Commons voted supply. He began by stating that he at least was prepared to see the Parliament dissolved rather than submit to the king’s demand, for just as he had been the last to speak in the previous assembly so he was prepared to be the last to speak in this. He then reminded the House of the king’s opening speech, in which James had declared that this Parliament would be ‘the Parliament of love’, for it was now clear that ‘the arguments that are made are rather of fear’. It was no way for the government to obtain supply for it to say that it would not hear the Commons’ complaints against impositions. The king should be urged to suppress impositions and to prevent the sale of Crown lands, for ‘if the wealth of the kingdom be carried away without consent of Parliament we shall not be able to supply His Majesty’. Hoskins further insisted that all strangers should be sent home, as they were both riotous and dissolute. Here, as in his speech of 23 Nov. 1610, he was implicitly attacking the Scots, of whom the most influential and most hated was the royal favourite, Robert Carr, earl of Somerset. According to one newsletter writer, Hoskins added that ‘he could wish His Majesty would be more reserved of his honours and favours to strangers, and more communicative to those of our native country, especially in weighty affairs of state’. In the most sensational part of his speech, Hoskins referred openly to the Sicilian Vespers and also (according to one report) the more recent St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. Although one diarist failed to understand the implications of this statement, better-informed listeners could hardly have failed to interpret it as a threat that unless the Scots went home they would be massacred.81

On 6 June Sir Guy Palmes moved to punish or clear those Members who might be thought to have ‘spoken any unbeseeming words of the king’. Hoskins felt this motion ‘concerned him in particular’, as he had heard that he had been accused, although he denied having spoken ill of the king, ‘which to do would be more to him than to strike himself with a deadly blow’. However, when he asked for the question to be put it was objected that no specific accusation had been made. Hoskins’ friend Sir Henry Wotton then asked him to explain what he had meant by ‘Sicilian Vespers’. Hoskins seems to have been unusually hesitant in his reply: one diarist was unable to hear his response and another recorded that he replied vaguely that ‘he had not private intent in it and he thought the story was known to many and he meant it general’. Though clearly inadequate, this response cleared the way for the question to be put, whereupon the House resolved that none thought that he had spoken ‘offensively’. The following day Hoskins announced that he was willing to support a vote of one or two subsidies on condition that if impositions were not abandoned by October the money would be refunded. However, his suggestion was ignored. As the Commons continued to debate granting supply without conditions Hoskins complained that ‘this question cannot be’. Shortly thereafter the Speaker was prevented from putting the question and the Parliament was dissolved.82

The Privy Council issued a warrant for Hoskins’ arrest on the day of the dissolution, and he was committed to the Tower on 8 June. According to Wotton, Hoskins was subsequently asked by the Council ‘whether he well understood the consequence of that Sicilian Vesper’, whereupon he answered ‘that he had no more than a general information thereof, being but little conversant in those histories that lay out of the way of his profession’. Recent historians have found his claimed ignorance incredible given the extent of his education. However, Hoskins’ training was in the classics and English law rather than European medieval history and Wotton, who had been a contemporary of Hoskins at Oxford, thought that he had answered ‘very truly’. Hoskins stated that Dr. Lionel Sharpe, a minister who had previously been chaplain to Henry, prince of Wales, had ‘infused these things into him, and had solicited him to press them in the Parliament’. Sharpe had moreover assured him of the support of the earl of Northampton, and had thereupon produced Sir Charles Cornwallis* to confirm this claim. As a consequence of Hoskins’ testimony, Cornwallis and Sharpe were both sent to the Tower on 12 June.83

In a letter to the king, which was subsequently widely circulated in manuscript, Cornwallis claimed that, having failed to find a seat in Parliament himself, he had given notes of a speech he had prepared to Sharpe, who had recommended Thomas Hitchcock as suitable Member to deliver it. Hitchcock had refused to do so, however, whereupon Sharpe approached Hoskins. However, Cornwallis claimed that Hoskins’ ‘Sicilian Vespers’ speech ‘neither agreed with mine in form or matter’. This seems to have been true, for apart from a general opposition to the Scots, there is little in common between the reports of Hoskins’ speech and the text in Cornwallis’ letter. Whereas Cornwallis wanted to restrict new arrivals from Scotland, and confine all new appointments to the king’s bedchamber to Englishmen, Hoskins wanted those Scots already in England to be sent home. The discrepancies cannot be cannot be entirely attributed to judicious editing on Cornwallis’ part because he admitted to having included some very controversial matters, such as silenced ministers and the marriage of Prince Charles, about which Hoskins seems to have said nothing during the 1614 Parliament.84 Nevertheless it was soon commonly believed that Hoskins had been part of a wider conspiracy to wreck the 1614 Parliament, instigated by the earl of Northampton. On 30 June John Chamberlain wrote that Hoskins ‘was emboucht, abetted, and indeed plainly hired with money to do that he did’. Sharpe told the Privy Council that Cornwallis had promised to pay Hoskins £20 as compensation for his loss of earnings during the session. Cornwallis denied this, but stated that Sharpe had tried to persuade him ‘with examples of others that he said would give’. Hoskins subsequently wrote that the earl of Somerset had ‘promised to speak for me but spake against me’, suggesting that he may have been one of the ‘others that he said would give’. However, it is unlikely that Somerset, as a Scot, would have supported Hoskins’ Sicilian Vespers speech, especially as he seems to have been one of its principal targets. On the other hand he may have favoured Cornwallis’ version, which was only directed against future newcomers from Scotland and was designed to make the king ‘better enabled to reward those of that Country that are here already in his service’. In the end, it would seem, Hoskins’ speech was not very different from the one he had delivered in November 1610. If he was bribed, then he was merely being paid to say what he would have said anyway.85

Hoskins, Cornwallis and Sharpe languished in prison for a whole year. In his petition for release, Hoskins acknowledged ‘his offence to be heinous, as in his too inconsiderate speeches in the last Parliament, in meddling with matters that became him not in alleging impertinent histories, and that one of damnable memory and detestable consequence’. However he attempted to mitigate his offence by asserting that he had ‘conceived not [the Sicilian Vespers] when he spoke, nor intended to mention [them] when he first stood up’. In June 1615 he was released from the Tower but was required to remain in London until term ended and was forbidden to go to the Middle Temple or Westminster Hall. Thereafter he was to stay within five miles of his house in Hereford. However these requirements were relaxed on 21 July, when he was permitted to return to London to practise his profession. It was reported that neither Hoskins nor Cornwallis would ‘burn their fingers with Parliament business’ in future.86

It was almost certainly in the aftermath of the Addled Parliament that Hoskins lost the deputy stewardship of Hereford. Nevertheless, despite falling out with the Scudamores, he retained support in the city, as James Clarke* visited him in the Tower and John Warden* and Clarke’s brother John subsequently helped him ward off a fortune-hunting suitor for his orphan niece.87 This continued backing explains why Hoskins was elected mayor of Hereford in 1616. On learning of this development, James I cancelled the election, declaring that Hoskins had ‘notoriously fallen into our heavy displeasure’ and alleging that he had been elected by ‘faction and underhand practice’. Hoskins was again in trouble the following year, being ‘brought into question for a rhyme or libel (as it is termed)’. However his friend Sir Lionel Cranfield* interceded with Buckingham to obtain his release. In 1618 he demanded £92 from Hereford as back pay for 900 days’ parliamentary service. The corporation petitioned Chancery, but Ellesmere’s successor, Sir Francis Bacon*, ‘answered he would give them no help, neither in law nor equity’, and the corporation were obliged to levy a double subsidy on the wards to meet the expense. When the third Jacobean Parliament met Hoskins, who was not one of its Members, wrote to his wife that ‘all my labour is to repress the Lower House from questioning my commitment the last Parliament, and to keep them from reviving the king’s displeasure’. Nevertheless he also found time to pen a verse satire on the fall of Bacon. Thanks to the patronage of Buckingham, Cranfield and the president of the Council in the Marches, William Compton, 1st earl of Northampton, he was rewarded with an appointment to the Welsh judiciary in June 1621. Meanwhile, his private practice proved sufficiently remunerative for him to be able to purchase an estate at Moorhampton, eight miles north-west of Hereford.88

Hoskins paid his contribution to the Forced Loan in October 1626, but absented himself from the meeting of the Herefordshire Loan commission on 13 Feb. 1627.89 His failure to attend was undoubtedly popular, and may have helped him to secure re-election for Hereford in the following year. However, chastened by his previous experience, he adopted a more moderate stance than he had previously on the extent of the royal prerogative.

Over the course of the 1628 session Hoskins was appointed to seven committees and made 13 speeches. In contrast to the previous parliaments in which he had sat, he played no recorded part in debating or reporting any legislation. Hoskins’ first speech, on 26 Mar., concerned the Privy Council’s power to confine men without showing cause. He defended this power, arguing that those suspected of treason could lawfully be held during examination of the cause and that those who were ‘dangerous to the state, or a servant of the king that hath misbehaved himself’ could lawfully be excluded from Court. When the committee of the whole House appointed a sub-committee of all the lawyers to hunt for records concerning the liberty of the subject two days later, Hoskins was among those assigned to search the Tower. In the subsequent debate on 3 Apr. concerning the grand committee’s resolution in respect of the liberty of the subject, he argued for the words ‘without his own consent otherwise than by Act of Parliament’, to be inserted in the clause prohibiting prerogative taxation.90

In the supply debate on 2 Apr., Hoskins argued that ‘knowing our rights, we shall be better enabled to give’. He therefore urged that grievances and supply should go hand in hand, observing that ‘two legs go best together’. However on 4 Apr. he argued that the Commons should grant supply quickly and unconditionally, as this was the ‘readiest way’ to ease the burden of billeting, for the king would be unable to pay his soldiers until he had been voted money. To those who sought to force the king to accept a detailed confirmation of the subjects’ rights and liberties, he stated that the king’s messages ‘amounteth to as much as Magna Carta’. Consequently, he argued, ‘we ought to satisfy the king’s desires’ and vote five subsidies.91 On 2 May Hoskins opposed proceeding with a Remonstrance, ‘because that implies a protestation and claim of a right, which we have no cause to complain of’. Reminding his listeners that ‘the eyes of our enemies are upon this Parliament’, he urged the Commons to trust Charles I, whom he described as a ‘good, godly, gracious king’, and to build on his promises by confirming Magna Carta by statute, which he said ‘we desired ... in former parliaments’. This speech evidently found little favour with the House, as Sherfield records that ‘after a while [he was] called to the point’. Four days later Hoskins tried to refute the argument put by Edward Littleton II, that because numerous previous statutes had confirmed Magna Carta a further confirmation would produce no benefit. Hoskins argued that just as moribund statutes were sometimes revived by royal proclamation, so too they could be revived by parliamentary confirmation. He conceded that this course of action would be ‘lame’ unless it were also accompanied with the resolutions passed by the Commons, but he suggested they should nevertheless ‘go lame [to the king] and get a blessing’.92

During the debates on the Lords’ amendments to the Petition of Right, Hoskins argued (13 May) that the proposed alteration to the clause concerning the Forced Loan - that the Loan had been initiated ‘upon urgent and pressing causes of the state then alleged’ - was unnecessary as he ‘never heard any man that did say he had wrong done unto him, say it was done upon necessity’. Six days later he supported Phelips’ motion that the Upper House should signify whether it agreed in principle to proceeding by petition before the Commons debated the Lord’s additions. However he also proposed that once the Lords and the king had assented, a saving clause should be inserted for ‘the right and seignory of our king ... "in all things"’. The following day he argued that the Lords’ proposal to change the description of the oath administered by the Forced Loan commissioners from ‘unlawful’ to ‘not warranted by the laws and statutes of the realm’, made little difference, for ‘to say "not warranted" is as much as stark "unlawful"’. Two days later he was appointed to chair the committee of the whole House to consider the Lords’ amendments, and on 23 May reported that the committee had appointed Sir Henry Marten and John Glanville to deliver the Common’s arguments against the amendments. He was subsequently mentioned only twice in the surviving records of the session, once later that same day, when he was appointed to committees to consider the bill to confirm letters patent granted by James I to the earl of Bristol (Sir John Digby*), and once on 16 June, when he was appointed to consider a private estate bill.93

In the 1629 session, Hoskins was named to no committees, but spoke three times at the committee for religion. On 31 Jan. he pointed out that ‘the Papists and we agree all in scripture, and differ only in the interpretation’. Convocation had no power to make law, and he affirmed that the term ‘the Church’ meant all believers. On 14 Feb. he demanded that the attorney-general, (Sir) Robert Heath*, explain the failure to convict the Jesuits taken at Clerkenwell in 1628. Three days later he exclaimed that he had never known ‘a whole college of Jesuits’ to be allowed bail. After comparing members of the order to ‘wolves’ and ‘foxes’, he declared that ‘the people would not let them to bail’. On 20 Feb. he was given leave of absence to hold his circuit, and accordingly left no further trace on the parliamentary records.94

Hoskins retained office until ‘a massive country fellow trod on his toe’ at the assizes or sessions in 1638. Gangrene set in, amputation came too late, and he died a few months later at Moorhampton, jesting valiantly to the last. He was buried in the church of Abbey Dore, which had recently been restored by Sir John Scudamore. His brief will, drafted on 31 Jan. 1636, bequeathed all his estate to his son Bennet, who sat for Herefordshire in the Protectorate Parliaments.95 Anthony à Wood described Hoskins as ‘the most ingenious and admired poet of his time’ and stated that he left a book of poems in manuscript ‘bigger than those of Dr. Donne’. However this volume was lent out by his son, who subsequently proved unable to retrieve it. Only a small amount of Hoskins’ verse was printed in his lifetime, though some was widely circulated in manuscript. What survives has been described as ‘deservedly uncelebrated’.96

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Ben Coates


  • 1. L.B. Osborn, Life, Letters and Writings of John Hoskyns, 16.
  • 2. Vis. Herefs. (Harl. Soc. n.s. xv), 50; B.W. Whitlock, John Hoskyns, Sjt.-at-Law, 269.
  • 3. J. Aubrey, Brief Lives, i. 417; T.F. Kirby, Winchester Scholars, 14; Al. Ox.; Osborn, 18-19; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 4. Regs. Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath ed. A.J. Jewers (Harl. Soc. Regs. xxvii), 205.
  • 5. Osborn, 22, 56, 82; C.J. Robinson, Hist. Mansions and Manors of Herefs. 133; Regs. of Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Bath, 338.
  • 6. Osborn, 56; Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 106; VCH Oxon. vi. 287.
  • 7. C142/610/99.
  • 8. Whitlock, 176.
  • 9. Duncumb, County of Hereford, i. 356; Vis. Herefs. 15.
  • 10. C181/1, f. 91v; 181/3, f. 33.
  • 11. C66/1662; 66/1898; C231/4, f. 75; SP16/405, f. 29v.
  • 12. JPs in Wales and Monm. ed. Phillips, 164, 168, 193, 196, 214, 217, 237, 240, 353, 358.
  • 13. SP14/31/1; C212/22/20-1, 23; Add. 11051, f. 141.
  • 14. SP14/43/107.
  • 15. C181/3, ff. 97v, 129v, 179v; 181/4, f. 162; 181/5, f. 95.
  • 16. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 1, p. 48.
  • 17. E179/224/598.
  • 18. Rymer, viii. pt. 2, p. 145; C193/12/2, ff. 22, 36v, 66v, 67, 73.
  • 19. C181/3, f. 269v.
  • 20. T.K. Rabb, Enterprise and Empire, 318.
  • 21. MTR, 646, 650.
  • 22. W.R. Williams, Hist. Gt. Sessions in Wales, 167.
  • 23. Order of Sjts.-at-Law ed. J.H. Baker (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. v), 519.
  • 24. Robinson, 185.
  • 25. Osborn, 49.
  • 26. J. Aubrey, Brief Lives, i. 417-18; Ath. Ox. ii. 624-5; Whitlock, 81; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 540-1.
  • 27. Whitlock, 74-6, 176; I. Atherton, Ambition and Failure in Stuart Eng. 30; MTR, 378. Aubrey records that ‘there was not great goodwill between’ Hoskins and Pye, but their animosity may post-date Hoskins’ falling out with the Scudamores. Aubrey, i. 422.
  • 28. CJ, i. 946b, 978a, 984b. 995a.
  • 29. Ibid. 949b, 952b.
  • 30. Ibid. 230a, 981a.
  • 31. T. Matthews, Collection of Letters (1660) ed. J. Donne, 291.
  • 32. Ibid. 185a, 948a, 948b.974a.
  • 33. Ibid. 190a, 969a.
  • 34. Ibid. 964b, 988a.
  • 35. Ibid. 225a, 243a.
  • 36. Ibid. 987b; W. Notestein, House of Commons 1604-10, p. 118.
  • 37. CJ, i. 238b, 224a, 997a.
  • 38. Ibid. 260a, 276b; Bowyer Diary, 58-9.
  • 39. CJ, i. 279a, 285b.
  • 40. Aubrey, i. 418, 419.
  • 41. CJ, i. 261b, 274b, 277b; Bowyer Diary, 61, 65.
  • 42. CJ, i. 266a, 266b, 289a; Bowyer Diary, 77-8.
  • 43. Bowyer Diary, 49; CJ, i. 281b; HMC Hatfield, xviii. 27.
  • 44. Bowyer Diary, 106-7, 132; CJ, i. 301b, 305a, 307b; Notestein, 174.
  • 45. Bowyer Diary, 114; CJ, i. 298b.
  • 46. CJ, i. 262a, 280b, 305b, 306b, 307b; SR, iv. 1084; Bowyer Diary, 152.
  • 47. CJ, i. 265a, 284a, 291a, 296b-7a, 288b, 292a, 306b, 310a, 310b, 312b, 311a-b; HMC Lords, n.s. xi. 100-1; SR, iv, 1084-5.
  • 48. CJ, i. 1024b.
  • 49. Le Prince d’Amour (1660), p. 99; Osborn, 300.
  • 50. CJ, i. 318a, 324b, 326b, 346a, 372a, 372b, 373a, 1005b, 1042b, 1043a; SR, iv. 1148; HMC 3rd Rep. 11; Bowyer Diary, 291; CD 1604-7, p. 114.
  • 51. SP14/31/16I; CJ, i. 394a, 451b; Procs. 1610 ed. E.R. Foster, ii. 355.
  • 52. Parl. Debates, 1610 ed. S.R. Gardiner, 9-10, 11, 55; CJ, i. 438a; Notestein, 262.
  • 53. CJ, i. 399a, 400a, 400b, 407a; ‘Paulet 1610’, ff. 2v, 9; Notestein, 293-4; J. Cowell, The Interpreter (1607), unpag.; Parl. Debates, 1610, pp. 23-4.
  • 54. CJ, i. 402b, 411b, 424b, 425b; Procs. 1610, i. 81-2.
  • 55. CJ, i. 425b; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 17.
  • 56. CJ, i. 449a, 449b, 453a; Procs. 1610, ii. 278, 384; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 27.
  • 57. CJ, i. 427a, 427b; Procs. 1610, ii. 89.
  • 58. Procs. 1610, ii. 94.
  • 59. CJ, i. 435b; Parl. Debates, 1610, pp. 75-7; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 18v.
  • 60. Osborn, 64-5.
  • 61. CJ, i. 403b, 406b, 429a, 430a, 443b, 447b.
  • 62. Ibid. 408a, 409a, 432a, 452a; Procs. 1610, ii. 53.
  • 63. CJ, i. 446a, 447b, 449a.
  • 64. Ibid. 415a, 418a, 435b; Bowyer Diary, 103; ‘Paulet 1610’, ff. 5, 17.
  • 65. CJ, i. 408a, 410a, 412a, 425a; Procs. 1610, ii. 366.
  • 66. Procs. 1610, ii. 344-5, 399; Parl. Debates, 1610, pp. 130, 144-45; Notestein, 406, 411; J. Wormald, ‘James VI and I: Two Kings or One?’, History, lxviii. 207; HMC Rutland, i. 425.
  • 67. M. Prestwich, Cranfield, 97; R.C. Bald, John Donne, 191, 193-4; Aubrey, i. 418; Whitlock, 175.
  • 68. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 34, 40.
  • 69. Ibid. 246.
  • 70. Ibid. 19, 122, 125, 152.
  • 71. Ibid. 189, 196.
  • 72. Ibid. 272, 341, 349, 352, 359.
  • 73. Ibid. 63.
  • 74. Ibid. 152.
  • 75. Ibid. 96-7; Wentworth Pprs. ed. J.P. Cooper (Cam. Soc. ser. 4. xii), 68-9; HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, v. 175-6.
  • 76. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 226, 215, 230, 232, 297, 305.
  • 77. Ibid. 259, 263, 287.
  • 78. Ibid. 296-7, 305.
  • 79. Ibid. 60, 77, 91, 145, 155, 234, 242, 256, 262, 394-5; HMC 3rd Rep. 15.
  • 80. Ibid. 367, 371-2.
  • 81. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 422-3; T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, i. 346.
  • 82. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 428, 433, 440, 444; Aubrey, i. 418.
  • 83. APC, 1613-14, pp. 456, 460, 465; Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton ed. L. Pearsall Smith, ii. 38-9; L.L. Peck, Northampton, 20.
  • 84. SP14/77/42, 43, 43I.
  • 85. HMC Downshire, iv. 427; Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton, ii. 38; PRO 31/3/48, ff. 23-5; Chamberlain Letters, i. 540; Osborn, 75.
  • 86. APC, 1615-16, pp. 193, 274; Carew Letters ed. J. Maclean (Cam. Soc. lxxvi), 13-14.
  • 87. Osborn, 51, 71, 78; STAC 8/301/26.
  • 88. Whitlock, 509-11; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 52, 273; R. Johnson, Ancient Customs of Hereford, 181; Prestwich, 101, 141; R. Lockyer, Buckingham, 38; Osborn, 51, 82-3, 87, 210; Robinson, 2, 161.
  • 89. E401/1386, m. 7; SP16/54/2.
  • 90. CD 1628, ii. 123, 134, 185, 289; Procs. 1628, vi. 105.
  • 91. CD 1628, ii. 272, 298, 304, 311, 318; Procs. 1628, vi. 63.
  • 92. CD 1628, iii. 211, 215, 220, 270, 275-6, 289, 292; Procs. 1628, vi. 84, 87.
  • 93. CD 1628, iii. 396-7, 472, 479, 500, 526, 557, 558; iv. 331.
  • 94. CD 1629, pp. 120, 211, 220; CJ, i. 932a.
  • 95. Aubrey, 422-3; C142/610/99; PROB 11/178, f. 99.
  • 96. Ath. Ox. ii. 623; D. Colclough, ‘"The Muses Recreation": John Hoskyns and the Ms Culture of Seventeenth Cent.’, HLQ, lxi. 370-1.