HARTWELL, Abraham (1553-1606), of Lambeth, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 1553. educ. Trinity Coll. Camb. 1568, scholar 1571, BA 1572, fellow 1574, MA 1575; incorp. Oxf. 1588. m. Elizabeth, da. of Robert Garnet of Broxbourne, Herts., 1s.1

Offices Held

Sec. to Abp. Whitgift by 1584; proctor of ct. of audience of abp. of Canterbury 1587;2 member, Antiq. Soc. c.1591.


Hartwell’s family may have come from Essex, where a number of his relatives lived, or from Preston, near Northampton. He is not to be confused with a namesake, a Latinist and religious writer, who died about 1589. He presumably first attracted the attention of Whitgift while at Cambridge, migrating with him thence to Worcester, where Whitgift became bishop in 1577. Hartwell was a notary public by 1583, the first mention of him as Whitgift’s secretary being in the following year after the latter’s translation to Canterbury. He probably continued to serve in that capacity for the rest of the archbishop’s life: as such he acted, after the death of Thomas Norton, as commissioner for licensing books. In 1592 he was made a member of Gray’s Inn as ‘secretary to the archbishop’. His return for East Looe in 1586 must have been due to his connexion with Whitgift, the immediate patron presumably being Burghley. At Hindon the archbishop had personal influence. Although he is not mentioned by name in the parliamentary journals, the Members for Hindon were appointed to a committee concerning cloth on 15 Mar. 1593.3

Hartwell translated several works on geography and exploration. In his will he left to his cousin, Robert Wright, parson of Woodford, ‘all such books of divinity, humanity, polymathy or of any other profession whatsoever as are noted in my catalogue written with my own hand with R and W’. The will, dated 7 Dec. 1606, and proved 26 Jan. 1607, made a number of other bequests to relatives, the bulk of his property, including land in Kent, Hertfordshire and at Lambeth, being left to his wife and only son John. Hartwell was buried at Lambeth 17 Dec. 1606.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. DNB; PCC 7 Huddleston.
  • 2. Strype, Whitgift, i. 323; Cooper, Ath. Cont. ii. 384.
  • 3. Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 25-6; PCC 7 Huddleston; Strype, Whitgift, i. 323; E. K. Chambers. Eliz. Stage, iii. 167; Seconde Parte of a Register, ed. Peel, i. 171, 214; ii. 35-6, 226; D’Ewes, 501.
  • 4. DNB; Archaeologia, i. p. x; T. Hearne, Coll. of Curious Discourses (1771), i. 278; PCC 7 Huddleston; Al. Cant. i(2), p. 322.