Hingeston-Randolph, Francis Charles (DNB12)

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HINGESTON-RANDOLPH [formerly Hingston], FRANCIS CHARLES (1833–1910), antiquary, born at Truro on 31 March 1833, was son of Francis Hingston (1796–1841), controller of customs at Truro, who belonged to a family long settled at St. Ives, had literary tastes, and wrote poems (edited by the son in 1857). His mother was Jane Matilda, daughter of Captain William Kirkness.

From Truro grammar school Francis passed in 1851 to Exeter College, Oxford, as Elliott exhibitioner. He graduated B.A. in 1855 with an honorary fourth class in the final pass school, and proceeded M.A. in 1859. Ordained in 1856, he served as curate of Holywell, Oxford, until 1858, when he moved to Hampton Gay, in the same county, succeeding to the incumbency of the parish next year. In 1860 he became rector of Ringmore, near Kingsbridge, Devonshire, the patronage to which living afterwards became vested in his family. He remained at Ringmore for the rest of his life. On his marriage in 1860 to Martha, only daughter of Herbert Randolph, incumbent of Melrose, Roxburghshire, he added, at the wish of his father-in-law, the name of Randolph to his own and adopted Hingeston, the earlier form of the spelling of his family surname.

Hingeston-Randolph developed antiquarian tastes early. At seventeen he published ‘Specimens of Ancient Cornish Crosses and Fonts’ (London and Truro, 4to, 1850). Much historical work followed, but his scholarship was called in question. In the ‘Rolls’ series he edited Capgrave's ‘Chronicle’ (1858); Capgrave's ‘Liber de Illustribus Henricis’ (1859), and ‘Royal and Historical Letters during the Reign of Henry the Fourth,’ vol. i. 1399–1404 (1860). The last volume was especially censured, and when Hingeston-Randolph had completed a second volume in 1864 collation of it by an expert with the original documents led to the cancelling and reprinting of sixty-two pages and the adding of sixteen pages of errata. Two copies of the volume are in the British Museum, one in the revised form and the other in the original state. Of each version eight copies were preserved, but none was issued to the public.

In 1885 Frederick Temple, then bishop of Exeter, made Hingeston-Randolph a prebendary of Exeter Cathedral, and at the bishop's suggestion he began editing the ‘Episcopal Registers’ of the diocese. Between 1886 and 1909 he completed those of eight bishops of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries (11 pts.). He mainly restricted himself to indexing the contents of the registers, a method which limited the historical utility of his scheme.

Hingeston-Randolph specially interested himself in church architecture, and was often consulted about the restoration of west country churches. He wrote ‘Architectural History of St. Germans Church, Cornwall’ (1903), and contributed many architectural articles to the ‘Building News’ and the ‘Ecclesiologist.’ For ten years (1879–90) he was rural dean of Woodleigh, and brought the work of the district to a high state of efficiency. In his articles ‘Up and down the Deanery,’ which he contributed to the ‘Salcombe Parish Magazine,’ he gave an interesting historical account of every parish under his charge. He died at Ringmore on 27 Aug. 1910, and was buried in the churchyard there. His wife predeceased him in 1904. He left four sons and six daughters.

Besides the works cited, Hingeston-Randolph published ‘Records of a Rocky Shore, by a Country Parson …’ (1876) and ‘The Constitution of the Cathedral Body of Exeter’ (1887). He was also a contributor to ‘Devon Notes and Queries’ (iv. 73, 180, 1906–7), ‘Notes and Gleanings’ (1882–92), and ‘Western Antiquary’ (vi. 1886–7, xi. 1891–2, and xii. 1893).

[Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries; Boase and Courtney, Bibliotheca Cornubiensis; Boase, Collectanea Cornubiensia; private information.]

H. T-S.