1690 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. George Hakewill

Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91; 1721) 2:124-25.



GEORGE HAKEWILL Son of John Hakewill of the City of Exeter Merchant, was born in the Parish of S. Mary Arches within the said City and educated in Grammar learning there, became a Commoner of S. Alb. Hall in the beginning of the Year 1595, and in that of his Age 16, where he became so noted a Disputant and Orator, that he was unanimously elected Fellow of Exeter Coll. at two Years standing. Afterwards he proceeded in Arts, applied himself to the deep researches in Philosophy and Divinity, entred into the sacred function, travelled beyond the Seas, and at his return became as noted for his Preaching and Disputes, as before he was for Philosophy. In 1610 he was admitted to the reading of the Sentences, and the next Year proceeded in Divinity. Afterwards he became the first sworn Chaplain that attended Prince Charles, by whose endeavours, I presume, he became Archdeacon of Surrey, an. 1616, which was the highest dignity that he enjoyed, being hindred, I presume, from rising higher for his zealous opposing the match of the Infanta of Spain with his Master the Prince. The story of which was this: After he had with some pains written a small Tract against that match, not without some Reflections on the Spaniard, which could not be pleasing to the King, he caused it to be fairly transcribed by another Hand. Which done, he unknown to the King presented it to the Prince. The Prince, after he had perused it, shew'd it to the King, who being offended at it, commanded Tho. Murrey the Prince's Tutor and Secretary, the Author Hakewill, William his Brother, and all others to be committed to custody in Aug. 1621, whence being soon after released, our Author Hakewill was dismist from his attendance on the Prince. So that tho' his Learning was accounted by the generality polite, his Philosophy subtile, and Divinity profound, yet in this particular he was esteemed very rash and imprudent. A certain Author [Sir Ant. Weldon] tells us, that when he presented the said MS. to the Prince, he should say, "Sir, I beseech you make use of this, by reading it to your self, but if you shew it to your Father, I shall be undone for my good will. The Prince returned him many thanks and assured him, it should never go farther than the Cabinet of his own Breast; but withal he asked him to whom he had shew'd it, Hakewill replied, the Archbishop (Abbot) hath read it, who returning, said to him, Well done thou good and faithful servant. Besides him, he told the Prince, he had shew'd it to Mr. Murrey his Tutor, who belike being better acquainted with his Master's perfidious disposition (so are the words of the libellous Author) than the other, did then dissuade him from delivering it to the Prince, for saith he, he will betray you. And it so fell out, for within less than two hours after his said engagement to the Doctor, he presented it to his Father, upon which he, or any thro' whose Hands or Cognizance it had passed before, were all under a disgrace, and banished the Court, &c." The works of this our Author Hakewill are these [list omitted]. At length upon the promotion of Dr. Prideaux to the Bishoprick of Worcester, he was elected Rector of Exeter Coll. (to which he had before been an especial benefactor) but did little or not at all reside upon it: for the grand Rebellion breaking then forth, he receded to his Rectory of Heanton near to Barnstaple in Devon. where he lived a retired Life to the time of his Death, which hapning in the beginning of April in sixteen hundred forty and nine, was buried on the fifth Day of the same Month in the Chancel of the Church there. Over his Grave was a stone afterwards laid, with this Inscription thereon, Reliquae Georgii Hakewill S. Th. D. Archdiaconi Surriae, collegii Exoniensis & huius Ecclesiae Rectoris, in spem resurrectionis hic respositae sunt, an. 1649. aetatis suae 72. I have seen a Copy of his last Will and Testament, proved 2 May 1649, wherein he desires that his Body might be buried in Exeter Coll. Chappel, if it could conveniently be; if not, at lest his Heart under the Communion Table, or under the Desk where the Bible lies, with this Inscription on a Brass Plate to be put on it, Cor mecum ad te Domine. But this I presume was not done, because no such Inscription appears. However the Society of Ex. Coll. did afterwards, in honour to his Memory, hang up his Picture painted to the life in his doctoral formalities on the Organ-loft at the east end of the isle, joyning to the South side of the Chappel. In the Rectory of the said Coll. succeeded Mr. (afterwards Dr.) John Conant, and in his Archdeaconry, Joh. Pearson D.D. of Cambridge, installed therein 26 Sept. 1660, a learned Man and famous for his Exposition of the Creed, and other Books. He was afterwards the worthy Bishop of Chester, and died about the middle of July 1686.