Hoby, Philip (DNB00)

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HOBY, Sir PHILIP (1505–1558), diplomatist, born in 1505, was son of William Hoby of Leominster, Herefordshire, by his first wife (Howard, Miscellanea Genealogica, i. 143). His zeal for the Reformation recommended him to Henry VIII. During 1535 and 1536 he was employed in diplomatic service at the courts of Spain and Portugal (Letters of Hen. VIII, ed. Gairdner, vols. viii. ix. x.). In 1541–2 Hoby, being then one of the gentlemen ushers of the king's privy chamber, was authorised, along with Sir Edward Kerne and Dr. Peter, to apprehend certain persons suspected of being Jews, and on 4 Feb. in that year he laid before the privy council the books containing their examinations and inventories of their goods (Acts of Privy Council, ed. Nicolas, vii. 304). For maintaining Thomas Parson, a clergyman who held ‘evill opinions’ touching the sacrament of the altar, Hoby was with two others committed to the Fleet on 18 March 1542–3, but was discharged six days later (ib. ed. Dasent, i. 98, 101). He took part in the siege of Boulogne. His services were rewarded with knighthood immediately after the conquest of the town on 30 Sept. 1544 (Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 80), and he was granted certain houses in London, which he appears to have afterwards conveyed to the Drapers' Company towards the yearly marriage of four maiden orphans (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1598–1601, p. 13). He was likewise liberally rewarded with monastic spoils (cf. his will registered in P. C. C. 34, Noodes). On 12 May 1545 he was appointed master of the ordnance in the north (Acts of Privy Council, ed. Dasent, i. 159). In April 1548 he succeeded Thomas Thirlby, bishop of Westminster, as ambassador resident at the court of the emperor Charles V (Cal. State Papers, For. 1547–53, p. 20). On returning to England for a brief holiday in October 1549 he conducted the negotiations between the councils at Windsor and London in regard to the protector Somerset, and contrived that the duke should fall into the hands of the Earl of Warwick (Literary Remains of Edw. VI, Roxburghe Club, vol. ii.). With the lord warden, Sir Thomas Cheyne, he was then despatched to Charles V to declare the causes of Somerset's removal (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, p. 26). In April 1551 he was appointed with the Marquis of Northampton and others to treat at Paris of the marriage then proposed between Edward VI and Elizabeth, daughter of Henry II of France. He departed thither, says King Edward in his ‘Journal,’ on 15 May, attended by ‘ten gentlemen of his owne, in velvet cotes and chaines of gold’ (Literary Remains of Edw. VI, ii. 319). In January 1551–2, Hoby, together with Thomas Gresham [q. v.], was sent to Antwerp to negotiate the payment of certain moneys owing to the Fuggers (Burgon, Life of Gresham, i. 80). He was afterwards frequently employed in negotiating loans with the wealthy merchants of Antwerp. In the following February he was despatched to Mary, queen-regent of Flanders, to complain of certain infringements in the naval and commercial interests of England (Literary Remains of Edw. VI, ii. 396, 400). A copy of his instructions is preserved in Harleian MS. 353, f. 116. In accordance with Henry VIII's wish Hoby was made master of the ordnance and was admitted to the privy council in March 1552 (ib. i. cclxxiv). The manor of Bisham, Berkshire, was also bestowed on him, greatly to the disgust of Anne of Cleves (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, p. 47). During the king's progress in July 1552 Hoby was left in the Tower of London in charge of the metropolis (Literary Remains of Edw. VI, ii. 431, 436). In April 1553 Hoby, with Thirlby and Sir Richard Morysine, was sent to Charles V to endeavour to mediate a peace between him and Henry II (Cal. State Papers, For. 1547–1553, p. 260). In the ensuing May he was chosen ambassador resident in Flanders (ib. For. 1547–53, pp. 272, 281). One of the few state papers issued during the nine days' reign of Queen Jane (Lady Jane Grey) was addressed to Hoby, and continued him and Morysine in their posts as ambassadors with the emperor at Brussels (12 July 1553). Hoby and Morysine, in reply to the council, termed Lady Jane's husband, Lord Guilford Dudley, king. When Mary acceded to the throne, the council recalled Hoby and Morysine (ib. For. 1553–8, p. 8; Dom. 1547–65, pp. 423, 429).

Hoby, despite his protestantism, soon regained his offices and the royal favour. In June 1554 he was again sent to Brussels on a diplomatic mission (ib. For. 1553–8, p. 99). Owing to failing health he obtained leave of absence to try the water at Liège and the baths of Pau. By June 1555 he was staying with Sir John Cheke [q. v.], also an invalid, at Padua (ib. For. 1553–1558, pp. 173–4). In November following he visited his friend Sir John Masone, the English ambassador at Antwerp, and a few days later had a long interview with Philip at Brussels, who assured him that he might firmly rely on his favour, Hoby having supposed that the king hated him ‘for the profession he made of being at heart exclusively English’ (ib. Venetian, 1555–6, pp. 253–4, 258). He returned home in January 1555–6, bearing with him a consolatory message from Philip to Mary (ib. Venetian, 1555–6, p. 308).

Hoby died at his house in Blackfriars on 31 May 1558, and was buried at Bisham. His body was removed several years after to a chapel then newly erected in another part of the church as a burying-place for the family, by Elizabeth, widow of his half-brother, Sir Thomas Hoby [q. v.] A superb monument to the memory of the two brothers remains there, with epitaphs written by Lady Hoby in English and Latin verse (Hearne, Collections, Oxf. Hist. Soc., iii. 239, 255). Hoby married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Walter Stonor, and having no issue, left Bisham to his half-brother, Sir Thomas Hoby. From his private letters to Lord Burghley he appears to have been an amiable, cultured man (cf. letters cited in Burgon, vol. i., and Lansdowne MS. iii. 53). He was the friend of Titian and Pietro Aretino (Ticozzi, Life of Titian, 1817, p. 311), and when the latter dedicated, in 1546, one of his books to Henry VIII, Hoby presented Aretino with a gratuity from the king (Acts of Privy Council, ed. Dasent, i. 552). His portrait, engraved by Bartolozzi after the drawing by Hans Holbein is in ‘Imitations of Original Drawings by Holbein’ (1792 and 1812); the engraving was also published separately.

[Authorities in the text; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, i. 172; Lysons's Magna Britannia, vol. i. pt. ii. p. 243; Ayscough's Cat. of MSS. pp. 125, 377; Howard's Lady Jane Grey; Chronicle of Queen Jane and Queen Mary (Camd. Soc.).]

G. G.