Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hickes, Gaspar

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HICKES, GASPAR (1605–1677), puritan divine, son of a Berkshire clergyman, matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, on 26 Oct. 1621, aged 16, graduating B.A. 1625, and M.A. 1628. His reputation in the west of England for preaching was great, and he was a good scholar. He held some benefice in 1628, possessed the incumbency of Launceston from 1630 to 1632, the vicarage of Lavnells from 1630 to 1636, and in 1632 was appointed to Landrake, all of these livings being in Cornwall, and the last being a parish in which Rous, the puritan provost of Eton, lived. When the royalists were dominant in Cornwall he withdrew to London, and on 20 April 1642 was, no doubt through the influence of Serjeant Maynard and Rous, named to parliament as one of the two Cornish divines whose advice should be sought on ecclesiastical matters. He was a member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines from July 1643, and as one of the ‘plundered ministers’ was placed in October 1644 in possession of the vicarage of Tottenham, then not above the yearly value of 50l., and a grant of 100l. per annum was assigned to him in addition out of the revenues of St. Paul's chapter in the parish. Subsequently he retired to Landrake, and as the leading presbyterian divine in the county was appointed in 1654 assistant to the commissioners for Cornwall for ejecting scandalous ministers and schoolmasters. In 1662 he was dispossessed of his benefice, but remained in the neighbourhood ministering to a few faithful friends. Some time after 1670 Hickes was prosecuted under the Conventicle Act for unlawful preaching, and when the justices of his own district refused to convict he was taken further west before Dr. Polwhele and others on the charge of keeping a conventicle in his house, and of preaching. He was fined 40l., whereupon he appealed, but without any result beyond increasing the excessive costs of the proceedings. In 1677 he died, and was buried in the porch of the parish church on 10 April, when many of the ‘godly party’ attended.

Hickes published three sermons: 1. ‘Glory and Beauty of God's Portion before the House of Commons at the Publique Fast, 26 June 1644.’ 2. ‘The Life and Death of David, preached at the Funeral of William Strode, M.P., in Westminster Abbey, 22 Sept. 1645.’ Dedicated to Sir Edward Barkham and his wife, with whom he ‘found the first safe and quiet harbour after my long wanderings and tossings in the common storme.’ 3. ‘The Advantage of Afflictions; a Sermon before House of Peers 28 Jan. 1645, the day of publike humiliation,’ in Westminster Abbey.

Gaspar Hickes, captain of the Yarmouth man-of-war, who died in 1714, was perhaps a son (Memoirs relating to Lord Torrington, ed. Laughton, Camd. Soc., pp. 141–2, 193).

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 1107; Palmer's Nonconf. Memorial, 1802 ed., i. 352–353; Clark's Oxford Reg. (Oxford Hist. Soc.), vol. ii. pt. ii. pp. 394, 442; Journ. of House of Commons, ii. 535, iii. 662; True Narrative of Sufferings of Christians called Fanaticks, 1671, and in Somers Tracts, 1812 ed., vii. 609–11; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. i. 237–8; Notes and Gleanings, iii. 158–60, by A. F. Robbins.]

W. P. C.