Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Philipot, John (1589?-1645)

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PHILIPOT, JOHN (1589?–1645), Somerset herald, son of Henry Philpot and his wife, daughter and coheiress of David Leigh, servant to the archbishop of Canterbury, was born at Folkestone, Kent, between 1587 and 1592. His father, who possessed considerable property in Folkestone, and who had been mayor of the town, was lessee of the rectorial tithes, and was buried in the parish church in 1603. From his will, dated in 1602, it appears that his son was then a boy at school. The family name was Philpot, but John insisted upon inserting an ‘i’ between the two syllables. At the end of 1612 he married Susan, only daughter and heir of William Glover, one of the gentlemen ushers' daily waiters in the court of James I. Her father's brother was Robert Glover (1544–1588) [q. v.], Somerset herald, to whom no doubt Philipot owed his introduction to the College of Arms. He was appointed a pursuivant-of-arms extraordinary, with the title of Blanch Lion, in October 1618, and on 19 Nov. he was created Rouge Dragon pursuivant-in-ordinary. By his office he was brought into close connection with William Camden, for whom he entertained profound respect. Camden frequently nominated him as his deputy, or marshal, in his visitations; and Sir Richard St. George, when Clarenceux, and Sir John Burroughs, when Norroy, employed him in the same capacity. He visited Kent in 1619, Hampshire in 1622, Berkshire and Gloucestershire in 1623, Sussex in 1633, and Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and Rutland in 1634.

In 1622 Ralph Brooke, York herald, brought an action against Philipot in the court of common pleas for his share of the fees given to the heralds and pursuivants on two great occasions of state ceremonial (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1619–23, p. 399). What the result was is not stated. On 10 July 1623 Philipot was appointed by the king to the office of bailiff of Sandwich, and he also held the position of lieutenant or chief gunner in the fort of Tilbury, with the fee of one shilling a day. On 8 July 1624 he was created Somerset herald at Arundel House in the Strand in succession to Robert Creswell, who had been compelled by embarrassed circumstances to sell his office (Noble, College of Arms, p. 211). On 30 Jan. 1627–8 John Jacob of Faversham, sergeant of the admiralty of the Cinque ports, complained to Sir Edward Nicholas [q. v.], secretary of state, that ‘in the port of Faversham John Philpot, a herald, keeps an admiralty court, whereby he dispossesses the duke (the lord warden) of the wrecked goods which the fishermen bring in.’ There exist letters and warrants addressed in 1630 and 1631 by and to Philipot as steward of the royal manors of Gillingham and Grain. In 1633 he was sent abroad to knight William Bosvile, and some reminiscences of this, or of a subsequent visit to France, occur at the end of his church notes in the British Museum (Harleian MS. 3917). Two years later he was again despatched to the continent to invest with the order of the Garter Charles Ludovic, count palatine of the Rhine and duke of Bavaria, who was then with the army in Brabant.

He was one of those heralds who, on the outbreak of the civil war, adhered to the cause of the king, and he accompanied Charles to Oxford. There he was created D.C.L. 18 July 1643 (Wood, Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 62). Shortly afterwards he attended Charles I at the siege of Gloucester, and was the bearer of the king's summons to the citizens to surrender that city on 10 Aug. 1643 (Washbourne, Bibl. Glocestrensis, introd.). The scene has been admirably painted by R. Dowling. After his return to Oxford he took up his quarters at Chawley in the parish of Cumnor, some two miles from the city. Being captured there by some parliamentary soldiers of the garrison of Abingdon, he was sent a prisoner to London in or about 1644, but he was soon set at liberty. It was the king's intention to reward his loyalty by giving him the post of Norroy king-of-arms, but he died prematurely, in great obscurity, in London, and was buried on 25 Nov. 1645 within the precincts of the church of St. Benet, St. Paul's Wharf. His wife survived till 1664, and lies buried, together with her eldest daughter Susan, in Eltham church.

His principal work is: 1. ‘Villare Cantianum; or, Kent surveyed and illustrated. Being an exact description of all the Parishes, Burroughs, Villages, and other respective Mannors included in the County of Kent,’ London, 1659 and 1664, fol.; 2nd edit. corrected, London, 1776, fol. This work was published by and under the name of Thomas Philipot [q. v.], the author's son, who thus endeavoured dishonestly to palm it off as his own. At the end of the book is ‘An Historical Catalogue of the High-Sheriffs of Kent.’

Of Philipot's ‘Visitations’ there have been published that of Kent, taken in 1619, and edited by J. J. Howard, London, 1863, 8vo (reprinted from the ‘Archæologia Cantiana,’ vol. iv.); of Gloucestershire (by the Harleian Society, 1885); and of Oxfordshire, 1634, of which a manuscript copy is in the Harleian collection, No. 1480 (Harleian Society, 1871). There remain in manuscript visitations of Berkshire, 1623 (Harleian MS. 1532); of Sussex, 1633 (Harleian MSS. 1135 and 1406), and of Buckinghamshire, 1634 (Harleian MS. 1193).

Philipot's other publications were: 1. ‘List of the Constables of Dover Castle and Wardens of the Cinque Ports,’ 1627 (dedicated to George, duke of Buckingham). 2. ‘The Catalogue of the Chancellors of England, the Lord Keepers of the Great Seale; and the Lord Treasurers of England. With a collection of divers that have beene Masters of the Rolles,’ 2 pts. London, 1636, 4to, dedicated to the Earl of Arundel (compiled from the manuscripts of Robert Glover, Somerset herald). 3. ‘A perfect collection, or Catalogue of all Knights Bachelaurs made by King James since his comming to the Crown of England, faithfully extracted out of the Records,’ London, 1660, 8vo.

Among Philipot's unpublished works are: ‘List of the Sheriffs of Lincolnshire,’ 1636? (Addit. MS. 6118, p. 407); ‘Collections for a History of Kent’ (Lansdowne MSS. 267, 268, 269, 276); ‘A Collection of Monuments and Arms in Churches of Kent, with a few pedigrees inserted’ (Harleian MS. 3917).

Philipot also edited the fifth edition of Camden's ‘Remaines’ in 1636, and prefixed English verses to Augustine Vincent's ‘Discovery of Errors,’ 1622. To him is wrongly attributed the anonymous book by Edmund Bolton [q. v.], entitled ‘The Cities Advocate, in this case or question of Honour and Arms, whether Apprenticeship extinguisheth Gentry,’ London, 1629; reprinted with an altered title-page in 1674 (cf. Brydges, Censura Lit. 1805, i. 267; Addit. MS. 24488, f. 119).

[Memoir appended to Rev. W. A. Scott Robertson's Mediæval Folkestone, 1876; Addit. MS. 24490, f. 230 b; Beloe's Anecdotes, vi. 317–23; Brydges's Restituta, i. 467; Camdeni Epistolæ, p. 352; Dallaway's Science of Heraldry; Foster's Alumni Oxon. early ser. iii. 1160; Gent. Mag. 1778, p. 590; Gough's British Topography; Hasted's Kent, vol. i. pp. iv, 63, 103, new edit. i. 20, 79 n., 197 n., 198 n., 203 and n., 210, 215, 257, 283; Hearne's Curious Discourses, ii. 446; Hearne's Remarks and Collections (Doble), ii. 154; Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. pt. vii. p. 225; Kennett's Life of Somner, p. 37; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), p. 1850; Moule's Bibl. Heraldica, pp. 119, 157, 193; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. viii. 716; Noble's College of Arms, pp. 212, 218, 220, 245; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. xii. 390, 486, 4th ser. i. 31, 352, 426; Cal. State Papers; Upcott's English Topography, i. 352, 353.]

T. C.