Hudson, Michael (DNB00)

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HUDSON, MICHAEL, D.D. (1605–1648), royalist divine, was born in Westmoreland (Reg. Matric. Oxon. fol. 87 b) in 1605, and in February 1621-2 became a `poor child' and subsequently tabarder of Queen's College, Oxford. He proceeded B.A. in February 1625, and M.A. in January 1628 (Wood, Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 422, 441). It seems doubtful if he be identical with the Michael Hudson who matriculated from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 3 July 1623. About 1630 he was elected a fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, married, and was for a time tutor to Prince Charles. He was presented by Charles I to the rectory of West Deeping, Lincolnshire, 16 June 1632; to that of Witchling, Kent, 29 March 1633; and to the vicarage of Wirksworth, Derbyshire, 10 Aug. 1633. He was also rector of Uffington, Lincolnshire, and of Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, but seems to have assigned the former on 19 March 1640-1 to Thomas South in exchange for the rectory of King's Cliffe, Northamptonshire. Both South and Hudson were sequestrated from the living of Uffington by the Earl of Manchester 31 Dec. 1644. On the outbreak of the civil war Hudson had joined the royalists, and after the battle of Edgehill retired to Oxford, where he was brought into contact with the king, was made one of the royal chaplains, and received the degree of D.D. in February 1642-3 (ib. iv. 55). His want of reserve and bluntness caused Charles I to nickname him his plain-dealing chaplain. Hudson's known fidelity led to his appointment as scout-master to the army in the northern parts of England, then under the command of the Marquis of Newcastle, a position which he occupied till 1644. In April 1646, when Charles I determined to entrust his person to the Scots army, he chose Hudson and John Ashburnham [q.v.] to conduct him to the camp at Newark-on-Trent. The parliament, on 23 May 1646, consequently despatched a serjeant-at-arms for his arrest, but the Scots refused to give him up (Rushworth, vi. 271), and after a few days' confinement released him. Very shortly afterwards, while endeavouring to reach France, he was arrested at Sandwich (7 June 1646) and was imprisoned in London House. On 18 June 1646 he was examined by a committee of parliament, when he detailed the wanderings of the king between Oxford and the Scots camp, On 18 Nov. he escaped, and is said (Whitelocke, Memorials of English Affairs, p. 237) to have conveyed letters from the king to Major-general Laugharne in Wales. In the following January he was again captured at Hull and was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he was not allowed to see any one except in the presence of a keeper. Here he chiefly employed himself in writing and in perfecting a project to deliver the Tower into royalist hands, which he was unable to put into execution. He again escaped early in 1648 in disguise with a basket of apples on his head, and returning to Lincolnshire he raised a party of royalist horse and stirred up the gentry of Norfolk and Suffolk to more activity on the king's side. With the chief body of those who had taken arms under his command, Hudson retired to Woodcroft House, Northamptonshire, a strong building surrounded by a moat, where they were speedily attacked by a body of parliamentary soldiery. Hudson, who is believed to have borne a commission as a colonel, defended the house with great courage, and when the doors were forced, went with the remnant of his followers to the battlements, and only yielded on promise of quarter, which was afterwards refused. Hudson was flung over the battlements, but managed to support himself upon a spout or projecting stone until his hands were cut off, when he fell into the moat beneath. In reply to his request to be allowed to die on land, a man, named Egborough, knocked him on the head with a musket (6 June 1648), while another parliamentarian cut out his tongue and carried it about as a trophy. His body was buried at Denton, Northamptonshire. A proposal to reinter it at Uffington does not seem to have been carried out.

Hudson married about 1630 Miss Pollard of Newnham Courtney, Oxfordshire. He lost by the rebellion the whole of his estates, and after his death his wife and children were supported by charity. His boldness, generosity, and almost fanatical loyalty are undoubted. Walker says he was a scholar and a plain and upright Christian. He wrote:

  1. 'The Divine Right of Government Natural and Politique, more particularly of Monarchie, the onely legitimate and Natural source of Politique Government,' which was printed in 4to, 1647, a portrait of Charles I, by P. Stent, being prefixed. The book was written in the Tower.
  2. 'An Account of King Charles I,' &c., 8vo, which was not published till 1731 (by Hearne).

[Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, ii. 269, 367; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 233; Lloyd's Memoirs, p. 625; Whitelocke's Memorials, pp. 239, 306, 307; Hearne's Chronicon de Dunstable, vol. ii.; Cary's Memorials of the Civil Wars, i. 93, 109; Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, bk. ix.]

A. C. B.