HOBART, Sir Miles (1598/9-1632), of Harleyford, Bucks. and London
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Family and Education
b. 1598/9,1 o.s. of Miles Hobart of Harleyford and London, Clothworker, and his 3rd w. Elizabeth (d.1619), da. of Richard Brooke, Goldsmith of London and wid. of Richard Thorpe (d.1591), Vintner of London.2 educ. Queens, Oxf. 1615; G. Inn 1616.3 unm. suc. fa. 1601.4 kntd. 8 Aug. 1623.5d. 20 June 1632.6 sig. Miles Hobart.7
Hobart’s father was descended from a cadet branch of the Hobarts of Norfolk and Suffolk.8 A London Clothworker and a minor Buckinghamshire landowner, he died in September 1601 when Hobart himself was no more than three years old.9 The wardship was bought by John Hubert, presumably a relative, and two others.10 His mother’s re-marriage three years later to Sir Thomas Myddelton I*, a major City figure, connected him to a politically discreet and committed puritan. Nothing is known of Hobart’s education before he matriculated at Queens’ College, Oxford in June 1615 and entered Gray’s Inn the following year.
Knighted at Salisbury in August 1623, Hobart was, by 1625, a modest landowner at Harleyford, near Great Marlow in Buckinghamshire. Over the previous three years he spent £1,500 on a ‘fair house’ and an estate worth about £350 a year: he also owned houses in London let on long leases which brought in over £100 p.a.11 In the summer of 1625 Hobart was assessed at £20 for the Privy Seal loan.12
The proximity of Harleyford to Great Marlow probably explains Hobart’s return for that borough in 1628. During the course of the 1628 session, Hobart spoke only infrequently and was named to consider just one committee (13 June). This concerned two petitions, one from the Goldsmiths’ Company complaining that its right to act as an exchanger had been compromised by the erection of a separate office of exchanger, and another from the exchangers themselves in their own defence.13 Hobart’s interest in these petitions is unclear, but it may be significant that his late mother was the daughter of a London Goldsmith. On 1 May, in a debate in committee on the bill for the subject’s liberty, Hobart lined himself up with the government’s critics by arguing that the cause for committing a man to prison should be stated in the warrant.14 On 9 June Hobart impugned the loyalty and described as papists two of the Navy’s captains.15 One of them, Richard Plumleigh, was sufficiently incensed to assault Hobart after the prorogation.16 Hobart went on to condemn the duke of Buckingham on 11 June as the principal cause of recent religious innovations, alterations in government and military failures.17 In so doing he showed that he shared Eliot’s view that, as the Great Council of the realm, the Commons could properly bring to the king’s attention evils of which his own ministers had not informed him.18
When Parliament reconvened in January 1629, Hobart apparently remained silent. However, his antipathy to the policies of the king and his advisers became evident in the dramatic scenes in the House on 2 Mar., when Eliot and his allies seized the opportunity to denounce Charles’s policies in church and state. When the Speaker announced a further adjournment and attempted to leave, he was forced back into the chair. Hobart volunteered to lock the door, thereby preventing anyone from leaving but also barring the entry of the king’s messenger.19 Eliot and his allies were thus able to read their prepared declaration condemning royal policies and to secure assent to three resolutions anathematizing religious innovations and unparliamentary taxation. Only then did the House adjourn itself. Dissolution followed.
Hobart was arrested on 4 Mar. and imprisoned in the Fleet.20 He was subsequently transferred to the Tower before being moved to King’s Bench and then to the Gatehouse.21 The interrogatories put to him and his fellow prisoners by the attorney-general (Sir Robert Heath*) were met with the response that they were not bound to answer questions put to them outside Parliament about their conduct in the Commons,22 and by attempts to invoke writs of habeas corpus to secure their freedom.23 However, Hobart was never regarded as one of the major culprits, and that autumn he was told he might go free if he would put in a bond for good behaviour. He declined to take advantage of this offer, even though his attempts to gain better conditions for his incarceration failed.24 Ultimately, however, and perhaps under pressure, Hobart’s arguments changed, as he alleged that he had been unaware of the Speaker’s message for an adjournment or of the arrival of messengers from the House of Lords and the king.25 Eventually, in March 1631, Hobart was released after offering surety of £50, an arrangement which led one contemporary to describe him as pusillanimous.26
Hobart did not long enjoy his new-found freedom, as the following year he suffered a head injury in a coach accident in Holborn. He died, intestate, on 20 June 1632, and was buried in Great Marlow church on 4 July.27 John Pory*, the newsletter writer, thought that at his death he was worth £600 p.a. in land and £2,000 in money.28 Hobart died without ever having married.29 Part of his estate reverted to the Crown for lack of heirs and was used to endow fellowships at Oxford for inhabitants of the Channel Islands, while the manor of Harleyford was divided between two second cousins.30
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Christopher Thompson
- 1. WARD 9/160, ff. 74v-5.
- 2. G.E. Cokayne, Some Account of Ld. Mayors and Sheriffs of City of London, ... 1601-25, p. 44; C2/Chas.I/M42/25; 2/Chas.I/T36/36.
- 3. Al. Ox.; GI Admiss.
- 4. WARD 9/160, ff. 74v-5.
- 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 182.
- 6. C115/106/8384.
- 7. J. Forster, Sir John Eliot: A Biography 1590-1630, ii. 649.
- 8. Cent. Bucks. Stud., D/CE M10.
- 9. WARD 9/160, ff. 74v-5.
- 10. WARD 9/159, f. 142v.
- 11. HEHL, HA6748.
- 12. E401/2586, p. 369.
- 13. CD 1628, iv. 289.
- 14. Ibid. iii. 198; vi. 82. The latter report has been inaccurately transcribed.
- 15. Ibid. iv. 209.
- 16. SP16/109/16.
- 17. CD 1628, iv. 254, 257, 264, 270, 275.
- 18. J.N. Ball, ‘Sir John Eliot and Parl. 1624-9’, in Faction and Parl. ed. K. Sharpe, 198-9.
- 19. CD 1629, pp. 257, 266; Eg. 3779, f. 11v.
- 20. HMC Buccleuch, iii. 341.
- 21. Harl. 390, ff. 479, 522, 535; Add. 15561, f. 86v; Eg. 2553, f. 51r-v.
- 22. J. Reeve, Charles I and Road to Personal Rule, 119-20; Eg. 2978, f. 42r-v.
- 23. Reeve, 122-3, 141-4.
- 24. Harl. 390, ff. 475, 483, 530.
- 25. Add. 48054, f. 148v.
- 26. Harl. 390, f. 542v.
- 27. Cent. Bucks. Stud. PR140/1/2.
- 28. C115/106/8384.
- 29. VCH Bucks. iv. 72-3; PROB 11/164, ff. 80v-1.
- 30. Cal. of Docquets of Ld. Kpr. Coventry, 1625-40 ed. J. Broadway, R. Cust and S.K. Roberts (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xxxiv-vii), 259, 261; Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch.), ii. 130-1; Cent. Bucks. Stud. D/CE M4 and M10.