Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hardy, Nathaniel
HARDY, NATHANIEL, D.D. (1618–1670), dean of Rochester, son of Anthony Hardy of London, was born in the Old Bailey, 14 Sept. 1618, and was baptised in the church of St. Martin's, Ludgate. After being educated in London, he became a commoner of Magdalen Hall, Oxford (1632); graduated B. A. 20 Oct. 1635, and soon after migrated to Hart Hall, where he graduated M. A. 27 June 1638. Returning to London after being ordained at an exceptionally early age, he became a popular preacher with presbyterian leanings. In 1643 he was appointed preacher to the church of St. Dionis, Backchurch, in Fenchurch Street, where he drew together a congregation chiefly of presbyterians. In 1645 he was present at Uxbridge during the negotiations between the royal and the parliamentary commissioners, and was led by the arguments of Dr. Hammond (the chief champion on the episcopalian side) to alter his views. On his return to London he preached a sermon of recantation, and was thenceforth a strenuous episcopalian. At the same time he attended meetings of a presbyterian classis (of which Calamy was moderator in 1648) as late as 1651. Wood unfairly attributes his conduct to self-interest. He continued to officiate at St. Dionis, his many presbyterian friends remaining with him, through those 'perilous times when it was a crime to own a prelatical clergyman' (Hardy, sermon on the fire of London, Lamentation, Mourning, and Woe). Under the Commonwealth he maintained, without molestation from the authorities, a 'Loyal Lecture,' at which monthly collections were made for the suffering clergy, and he usually preached a funeral sermon on the 'Royal Martyrdom.' In 1660, being one of the ministers deputed to attend the commissioners for the city of London, he went over to the Hague to meet Charles II, and there preached a sermon which gave the king great satisfaction. On the king's return to England, he was made one of the royal chaplains in ordinary, and frequently preached in the Chapel Royal.
On 2 Aug. 1660 he was created D.D. of Hart Hall, Oxford; on 10 Aug. was made rector of St. Dionis, Backchurch, where he had long been preacher; and on 10 Dec. 1660 became dean of Rochester. In March 1661 he petitioned for the next vacant prebend at Westminster, but does not seem to have obtained it. On 6 April 1661 the king presented him to the vicarage of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. He was appointed to the living of Henley-on-Thames, 14 Nov. 1661, but resigned it after two months. In December 1661 he was among the clergy of the diocese of Canterbury who testified their conformity in convocation with the new Book of Common Prayer. He was installed archdeacon of Lewes, 6 April 1667. He also held the rectory of Leybourne in Kent for a short time. Hardy died at his house at Croydon, Surrey, after a brief illness, on 1 June 1670, and was buried on the 9th in the chancel of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. Dr. Meggot, dean of Winchester, preached his funeral sermon. Wood speaks of a published funeral sermon by Dr. Symon Patrick (Athenæ, iii. 899), but no copy seems now known. Hardy's widow erected a marble tablet to his memory, now in the crypt of St. Martin's. She afterwards married (license dated 6 Dec. 1670) Sir Francis Clarke, knight, of Ulcombe, Kent (Reg. Vicar-general, Canterbury, Harl. Soc., p. 186).
In 1670 Hardy gave 50l. towards the rebuilding of St. Dionis, Backchurch, after its destruction by fire in 1666, and his widow, 'Dame Elizabeth Clark,' afterwards added 30l. for the pulpit, reading-desk, clerk's pew, &c. The new church—the first erected by Wren after the fire—was taken down in 1877, and the tablet commemorating his and other benefactions was removed to the porch of All Hallows, Lombard Street. Hardy bequeathed over two hundred books to the library of Magdalen Hall, Oxford. Dr. Meggot in his funeral sermon comments on his activity in restoring churches. He greatly embellished St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. He collected money, and subscribed largely from his own purse for the repair of Rochester Cathedral; he also spent large sums on Leybourne Church.
His published sermons and lectures, to which he owed his high reputation, are: 1. 'Arraignement of Licentious Libertie,' 1646, 1647, 1657. 2. 'Justice Triumphing, 1646, 1647, 1648, 1656. 3. 'Faith's Victory' over Nature,' 1648, 1658. 4. 'A Divine Prospective,' 1649, 1654, 1660. 5. 'The Safest Convoy,' 1649, 1653. 6. 'Two Mites, or a Grateful Acknowledgement of God's singular Goodness (on recovery from sickness): a, "Mercy in her Beauty," 1653; b, "Thankfulness in Grain," ' 1653, 1654. 7. 'Divinity in Mortality,' 1653, 1659. 8. 'Love and Fear,' 1653, 1658. 9. 'Death's Alarm,' 1654. 10. 'Epitaph of a Godly Man,' 1655. 11. 'Safety in the Midst of Danger,' 1656. 12. 'Wisdom's Character,' 1656. 13. 'Wisdom's Counterfeit,' 1656. 14. 'The first General Epistle of St. John the Apostle, unfolded and applied' (a somewhat famous exposition), pt. i. twenty-two lectures, 1656; pt. ii. thirty-seven lectures, 1659; republished in Nichol's 'Series of Commentaries,' Edinburgh, 1865. 15. 'The Olive Branch,' 1658. 16. 'The Pious Votary,' 1658, 1659. 17. 'A Sad Prognostic of Approaching Judgment,' 1658, 1660. 18. 'Man's Last Journey to his Long Home,' 1659. 19. 'The Pilgrim's Wish,' 1659, 1666. 20. 'Carduus Benedictus,' 1659. 21. 'A Looking Glasse of Human Frailtie,' 1659. 22. 'The Hierarchy Exalted,' 1660, 1661. 23. 'The Choicest Fruit of Peace,' 1660. 24. 'The Apostolical Liturgie Revised,' 1661. 25. 'A Loud Call to Great Mourning,' 1662. 26. 'Lamentation, Mourning, and Woe' (on the fire of London), 1666. 27. 'The Royal CommonWealth's Man,' 1668.
'Several Sermons, preached upon solemn Occasions,' were collected together, 1658. Another series appeared in 1666. A funeral sermon preached at Cranford on Thomas Fuller was not apparently printed. Hardy frequently complained of the publication of pirated and unauthorised versions of his sermons and prayers. Among the Tenison manuscripts at Lambeth Palace are thirty-nine lines of florid, laudatory verse in Latin entitled 'In auspicatissimum Diem Restaurationis Carolina,' probably by Nathaniel Hardy, though signed only 'Hardy, A. B.'[Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), iii. 896-9; Wood's Historia et Antiquitates Universitatis Oxon. ed. 1674, ii. 375, 379; Dr. Meggot's Sermon preached at the funeral of Dr. Hardy, pp. 22, 24, 26, 27, 29; Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), pt. i. pp. 478, 501, pt. ii. p. 236; Biographical Notice in Nichol's Series of Commentaries; MS. Register Book of the Fourth Classis (1645-1659) in Dr. Williams's Library; Hardy's Lamentation, Mourning, and Woe, 1666, dedication; J. Stoughton's Religion in England, 1881, ii. 287; Calendar of State Papers (Dom. Ser.), 1660 p. 232, 1661 p. 552; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 331, 692; Hist, and Antiq. of the Cathedral Church of Rochester, 1717, pt. ii. p. 103; J. S. Burn's Henley-on-Thames, p. 138; Kennett's Register, pp. 480, 481, 584; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. ed. Hardy, i. 264; Hasted's Kent,ii. 30, 211; Registers of St. Dionis, Backchurch (Harl. Soc.), pp.108, 110, 115, 226 (baptisms of Hardy's children); Stow's Survey (Strype), bk. ii. p. 152; Godwin's Churches of London, vol. ii.; Life of Dr. Thomas Fuller, 1661, p. 63; Bailey's Life of Fuller, pp. 690, 691; Hardy's Sad Prognostic, preface; Darling's Cyclopædia Bibliographica; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Cat. of Dr. Williams's Library; Cat, of Bodleian Library; Cat. of Library of Trinity Coll., Dublin; Cat. of Advocates' Library; Todd's Cat. of Manuscripts, at Lambeth; Lambeth MS. (Codices Tenisoniani) 684, fol. 14.]