HOPTON, Sir Edward (c.1603-68), of Canon Frome, Herefs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1603, 2nd s. and h. of Sir Richard Hopton of Rockhill by Elizabeth, da. of John Hopton, merchant, of Southampton and h. to her uncle Michael Hopton, merchant, of London and Canon Frome. educ. Shrewsbury 1614. m. (1) c.1625, s.p.; (2) 1654, Deborah, da. of Robert Hatton of Thames Ditton, Surr., wid. of Isaac Jones, Merchant Taylor of London and Petersham, Surr., 6s. (4 d.v.p.) 2da. Kntd. 4 June 1645; suc. fa. 1653.1
Yeoman of the stirrup 1634-?46; lt.-col. of ft. (royalist) 1643-4, col. 1644-6; gent. pensioner June 1660-d.2
Commr. for oyer and terminer, Oxford circuit July 1660; j.p. Herefs. July 1660-d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d., lt.-col. of militia ft. c. Oct. 1660-d., commr. for loyal and indigent officers 1662.
Although Hopton claimed descent in the male line from the 12th-century Shropshire family (to which his mother unquestionably belonged), the Herefordshire Hoptons, who can be traced back to 1408, were of little account until Sir Richard, described as an usurer, acquired the ex-monastic estate of Canon Frome by marriage. They were quite unrelated to Sir Ralph Hopton†, the Cavalier general, and his forebears in Suffolk and Somerset. Hopton was bred a merchant, like most younger sons of the family, and entered the service of the East India Company as a purser’s mate at Surat. From this lowly employment he was recalled in 1625 by his father, who had determined to disinherit his elder brother for marrying beneath him. Hopton seems to have escaped from an extremely difficult parent, first to a very humble court appointment, and then, after his first wife’s death, to Ireland, perhaps as an army officer. His father was described by Henry Lingen as the ringleader of the opposition to ship-money in the county, and during the Civil War favoured Parliament, though on 16 May 1643 he sued out a pardon at Oxford for all offences committed since the beginning of 1636. Two of Hopton’s younger brothers served with distinction in the local parliamentary forces, but Hopton himself fought under his namesake in the King’s army. He was second-in-command to Sir Matthew Appleyard at the battle of Cheriton. He took care to keep well clear of Herefordshire during the war, though this did not save him from furious letters from his father when the local Royalists sequestrated the property. The old man, who had retained a power of revocation over the settlement of his estate, lived just long enough to free Hopton from liability to compound for his inheritance, valued at £1,500 p.a. With his brothers, he bought off the claim of his elder brother’s son Richard for £4,000.3
Hopton lived in Surrey after his second marriage, and was accused of complicity in the local Cavalier movement there in 1659. At the Restoration he was proposed as a knight of the Royal Oak. His annual income was said to be £2,500, almost certainly an exaggeration. The Herefordshire Hoptons had no parliamentary tradition, though one of the Shropshire family had come south to sit for the county in 1305. But Hopton was prepared to contest a very expensive election in 1661, presumably in order to resist the revival of his nephew’s claim to the Canon Frome estate. He was warmly supported by his father’s old enemy Lingen, and the mayor was induced to make an obviously false return. He was allowed to take his seat on 16 May, but was named to no committees before the election was declared void two months later. It is improbable that he stood again, though he remained an active deputy lieutenant. When Richard Hopton introduced his bill into the Upper House in 1666, Hopton was compelled to the expense of retaining as counsel Heneage Finch whose eloquence prevailed on the Lords to reject it. He died on 1 Apr. 1668. His grandson represented the county as a Tory in the first Parliament of George I.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Edward Rowlands
- 1. M. Hopton, Froma Canonnica, 24, 53-54, 75; E. Calvert, Shrewsbury Sch. Reg. 242; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 415.
- 2. Hopton, 32, 46, 57, 75; Symonds Diary (Cam. Soc. lxxiv), 196; Bellum Civile (Som. Rec. Soc. xviii), 81; Beaufort mss 600.2 (clerk of the cheque’s bk.); Trans. Woolhope Field Club, xxxiv. 292.
- 3. CSP Col. (E. Indies), i. 503; ii. 17; iii. 16; W. Foster, English Factories in India, ii. 280, 294, 325; CSP Dom. 1637-8, p. 511; W. H. Black, Docquets of Letters Patent, 37.
- 4. Cal. Comm. Comp. 3249; CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 454; Hopton, 66-75; LJ, xii. 7, 9, 27.