HOBLYN, John (c.1660-1706), of the Middle Temple and Bradridge, Cornw.
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Family and Education
b. c.1660, 1st s. of Edward Hoblyn, town clerk of Bodmin, by Bridget, da. and coh. of John Carew of Penwarne, Cornw. educ. I. Temple, 1676; M. Temple 1681, called 1682. m. 23 July 1682, Jane, da. and h. of William Symons of Bradridge, s.p. suc. fa. 1688.1
Town clerk, Bodmin 1692–d.; stannator, Blackmore 1703.2
A learned lawyer, Hoblyn owed his interest at Bodmin to his inheritance of one of the borough’s principal manors, Bodmin Francis, and to his corporation office. It was at the election following his appointment as town clerk that Hoblyn was returned for Bodmin, and he retained this seat without a contest until his death. His first recorded activity came in December 1695 when he twice gave evidence to the House concerning the double return for the Cornish borough of Mitchell (2nd, 14th), and though the political implications of his contributions are difficult to interpret, his activity in the new year left little doubt as to his alignment with the opposition. He was forecast as likely to oppose the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 over the council of trade, though in February he signed the Association. A sympathy for Country measures was suggested on 21 Feb. when he told for the passage of the parliamentary qualifications bill, and though on 9 Mar. he was granted a three-week leave of absence he was nevertheless listed as having voted, later in March, against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. In the second session he voted on 25 Nov. against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†, and thereafter concerned himself with the passage of two bills. On 2 Dec. he was appointed to prepare a bill concerned with the estates of the deceased Humphrey Courtney* and his son William*, a measure he presented on the 16th. His involvement in the bill to allow the partition of lands in coparcenary, joint tenancy and tenancy in common was more extensive, with his being named on 8 Dec. to prepare this measure and afterwards guiding it through the Commons and carrying it to the Lords on 11 Feb. 1697. Hoblyn also told on the Tory side on 4 Feb. in the Mitchell election case, before he was granted a leave of absence on 5 Mar. His contribution to the business of the House increased in the final session. Between January and March 1698, for example, he assisted in the management of the bill to establish a workhouse at Tiverton, Devon; he was appointed to draft and subsequently presented a bill to allow the easier discharge of Exchequer seizures made in civil cases; and he reported and carried to the Lords a bill concerning the estates of the Devon Tory Sir Copleton Warwick Bampfylde, 3rd Bt.* On 23 Mar. Hoblyn was granted a three-week leave of absence.3
Shortly before the first session of the 1698 Parliament Hoblyn was included in a forecast of those likely to oppose a standing army, and was listed as a Country supporter in a comparison of the old and new Parliaments. During this session Hoblyn was particularly active. He managed a private bill concerned with Devon estates, and another for the naturalization of three army officers. Hoblyn also drafted and presented a further naturalization bill for an officer with Scottish parents, in addition to being nominated to consider, and subsequently reporting on, a petition concerned with a naval prize, before being granted leave of absence on 18 Mar. 1699. Early in the following session he told, on 14 Dec. 1699, on the Tory side in the division on the Maldon election case, but his contribution to this session was cut short the following day when he was granted a three-week leave of absence on account of the illness of his wife. An analysis of the House dating from early 1700 classed Hoblyn as in the interest of the Earl of Bath, a Tory.
In February 1701 Hoblyn was listed as likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’, and unhindered by domestic concerns his parliamentary contribution was again substantial. His most notable activity was the management of a bill to allow the crown to grant leases in the duchy of Cornwall. In February and March he was appointed to draft, and subsequently presented, additional measures for the ease of sheriffs, and to enable the punishment of petty thieves in corporation workhouses or houses of correction. Hoblyn was appointed to a further three drafting committees, told against engrossing the bill to prevent the corruption of jurors (28 May), and carried to the Lords a private bill concerned with estates in Devon and Cornwall (31 May). His only recorded speech of the session was on 31 May when he proposed amending the Box divorce bill so as to allow Mrs Elizabeth Box £150 p.a. rather than £100 p.a., Hoblyn citing his respect for Mrs Box’s deceased father Sir Giles Eyre† and the large portion, £4,000, she had brought her husband as his reason for bringing this motion. Hoblyn was blacklisted as having during this Parliament opposed the preparations for war with France, but such accusations did not disturb his re-election and in December he was listed by Robert Harley* as a Tory. In January 1702 Hoblyn was nominated to prepare four bills, but he played no further part in the passage of any of these measures. His Tory loyalties were affirmed on 26 Feb. by his vote in favour of vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the previous session against the Whig ministers, but thereafter he concerned himself with less partisan matters. On 7 Mar. he told against the committal of a bill to prevent frauds committed by workers in the woollen, linen and cotton industries. He was also involved in administrative formalities relating to Queen Anne’s accession, assisting in the management of the bill to continue the incumbent sheriffs. Hoblyn spoke during the debate of 4 May upon the third reading of the bill to make good the deficiency of public funds, but his proposal of ‘a rider to mak[e] good the deficiencies of the arrears due upon debentures to the soldiers and clothiers and transports’ was rejected on the grounds that it amounted to ‘giving money from the Chair’.4
After 1702 Hoblyn’s parliamentary activity was mainly local in nature. In November and December 1702, for example, he assisted the passage of a private bill concerning the Devon and Cornwall estates of William Stawell*. However, he did not neglect national issues entirely, telling on 23 Jan. 1703 in favour of adding to the bill enlarging the time for taking the Abjuration, a clause preventing the displacement of corporation officials who had assumed the places of those who had not previously taken the oaths. Hoblyn’s absence from the House at the start of the following session led to an order on 23 Nov. that he attend within a fortnight, and in February 1704 he reported and carried to the Lords a bill concerned with Devon and Somerset estates. At the beginning of the 1704–5 session he demonstrated his ardent Toryism by voting for the Tack on 28 Nov. Local matters dominated his other parliamentary activity, as he was nominated to draft three estate bills and subsequently managed two through the Commons. One of these had been initiated by a petition from the Earl of Radnor (Charles Bodvile Robartes†), who possessed a significant electoral interest at Bodmin.
Given Hoblyn’s support for the Tack it is not surprising that an analysis of the new Parliament of 1705 classed him as ‘True Church’, and though absent from the division of 25 Oct. on the choice of Speaker, Hoblyn took responsibility for several estate bills once he had arrived in London. He also told on 21 Dec. on the Tory side in a division upon the Okehampton election, before being granted indefinite leave of absence on 22 Jan. 1706 in order to attend the funeral of a near relation. He was not to return to the Commons, dying during the 1706 recess, his burial taking place at Bodmin on 4 June. Hoblyn was succeeded by his brother, Thomas.5