Hoskyns, Chandos Wren- (DNB00)

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HOSKYNS, CHANDOS WREN- (1812–1876), writer on agriculture, born on 15 Feb. 1812, was second son of Sir Hungerford Hoskyns (1776–1862), seventh baronet, of Harewood, Herefordshire. He was educated at Shrewsbury School and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was entered on 7 July 1829; obtained a second class in classics in 1834, and soon afterwards became a student of the Inner Temple. Although called to the bar in 1838, he did not long take an active part in his profession, as his marriage on 20 April 1837 with Theodosia Anna, daughter and heiress of Christopher R. Wren (the representative and descendant of the great architect), entailed on him the charge of a considerable landed estate. He assumed the additional surname of Wren by royal license on 15 April 1837. He settled down on this property—Wroxall Abbey, Warwickshire—and there acquired a very practical knowledge of agriculture. To the ‘Agricultural Gazette’ from the very outset (1844) until a late period Hoskyns was a frequent contributor, and in the early volumes first appeared his ‘Anomalies of Agriculture,’ and his well-known ‘Chronicles of a Clay Farm.’ In the same journal he wrote a series of papers under the head of ‘Tales of a Landlord,’ in which the relations of landlord to property, tenant, and labourer, were fairly discussed. For nearly twenty years his pen was actively employed in advocating such a reform in the tenure of land as would give all concerned in it a justly proportionate interest. In 1849 he delivered a course of lectures at the Manchester Athenæum on the ‘History of Agriculture,’ displaying in them the same power of interesting his audience as had already made his writings popular. Hoskyns contributed the introductory essay and the papers on education and the landlord to the ‘Cyclopædia of Agriculture,’ and was the author of several important essays in the ‘Journal of the English Agricultural Society.’ He was at the same time a diligent student of general history, and his published lecture on ‘The Battle Line of History’ is one of his numerous attempts to popularise the study of history. During the latter part of his life he devoted himself chiefly to inquiries into the land laws and land system in England. He advocated a large reform in the real property laws of the country, a restriction of entail, and a reduction in the cost of land transfer. Hoskyns represented the city of Hereford in parliament from 1869 to 1874, but made no mark in the House of Commons, and died after a long and painful illness on 28 Nov. 1876. Hoskyns's writings recall the wit and humour of his ancestor, Serjeant John Hoskins [q. v.] The best testimony to the soundness of his views on agricultural matters is to be found in their gradual adoption by farmers and landlords. After the death of his first wife, 25 March 1842, Hoskyns married, on 9 July 1846, Anna Fane, daughter of Charles Milner Ricketts. Hoskyns published:

  1. ‘Annual Address delivered before the Warwickshire Natural History and Archæological Society,’ Warwick, 1848, 8vo.
  2. ‘A short Enquiry into the History of Agriculture in Ancient and in Modern Times,’ London, 1849, 8vo.
  3. ‘Talpa, or the Chronicles of a Clay Farm,’ London, 1852, 8vo; 4th edit., 1857.
  4. ‘Agricultural Statistics,’ London, 1856, 8vo.
  5. ‘The Battle Line of History, Lecture at Leominster,’ London, 1864, 8vo.
  6. ‘Occasional Essays,’ London, 1866, 8vo.
  7. ‘Land in England, Land in Ireland, and Land in other Lands,’ London, 1869, 8vo.
  8. ‘The Land Laws of England; Systems of Land Tenure in various Countries, published for the Cobden Club,’ 1870, republished 1870, 1881, 8vo.
  9. ‘A Catechism on the English Land System,’ London, 1873, 8vo.

[Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette; Journals of the Royal Agricultural Society; personal recollections.]

C. J. R.