Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/L'Estrange, Hamon (1605-1660)

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L'ESTRANGE, HAMON (1605–1660), theologian and historian, baptised at Sedgeford, Norfolk, 29 Aug. 1605 (par. reg.), was second son of Sir Hamon L'Estrange, knt., of Hunstanton, Norfolk, and was brother of Sir Nicholas [q. v.] the first baronet, and of Sir Roger [q. v.] The father, great-grandson of Sir Nicholas le Strange [see under Le Strange, Sir Thomas], born in 1583, was knighted by James I at the Tower of London on 13 March 1603-4; was sheriff of Norfolk in 1609, and M.P. for the county in 1630; was royalist governor of Lynn in 1643, suffered much for his loyalty to the king, and died at Hunstanton 31 May 1654. Sir Hamon was author of a work (often erroneously attributed to his son) entitled 'Americans no Jews, or improbabilities that the Americans are of that Race,' London, 1651 (October 1651). On p, 72 the author, who is described as a knight on the title-page, says: 'About forty years I adventured for the discovery of the north-west passage,' and on p. 77, 'This short discourse of Taprobane I wrote many years since, as also a far longer one of Solomon's ophir.' This book was written in answer to 'Jews in America; or, Probabilities that the Americans are Jews,' by T. Thorowgood, B.D., 1650.

Hamon was admitted to Gray's Inn 12 Aug. 1617, but does not appear to have been called to the bar. his life was passed, according to his own assertion, 'in the vales of rural recess,' and was mainly devoted to theological study, in which he sought to reconcile his own Calvinistic sentiment with an hereditary reverence for the church of England. On the outbreak of the civil wars he made a careful and impartial study of the constitutional and religious questions in agitation, and resolved, like other members of his family, to throw in his lot with the king (see his Alliance, Pref.) He was accordingly soon sent for as a delinquent for affronting the parliamentary committee of the county of Norfolk (Commons' Journals, ii. 884). With his father and brother he was embroiled in the attempted delivery of Lynn to the royal forces (August 1643; Hist. MSS. Comm.6th Rep. p. 39, 7th Rep. p. 559), and he is also stated to have been at a little later period a colonel in the royal army (Clar. State Papers, No. 2188). In the preface to the 'Alliance' he speaks of having undergone an eight years' sequestration, apparently between 1643 and 1651 (see Cal. of Committee for Advance of Money, p. 482; Lords' Journals, vii. 315). He displayed in the event a more yielding disposition than his father or brother Roger. Writing to the Earl of Manchester, 31 Aug. 1644, he craved the assistance of the ear, 'having referred himself to a strict soliloquy and reconciled his opinion to the sense of the parliament.' From 1651 onwards he probably lived undisturbed and in comparative comfort at Ringstead and elsewhere. He died 7 Aug. 1660, and was buried at Pakenham, Suffolk.

He married, first, Dorothy, daughter and coheiress of Edmund Laverick of Upwell, Norfolk; secondly, Judith, daughter of Bagnall of London and had issue five sons and five daughters. His eldest son, Hamon, who died 4 May 1717, aged 80, and was buried at Holm-by-the-Sea, married thrice, and left a large family. His father's works have been occasionally assigned to him in error.

His works are: 1. 'God’s Sabbath before and under the Law and under thee Gospel, briefly vindicated from novell and heterodox assertions,' Cambridge, 1641; an attempt to prove the Sabbath a divine and immutable institution, dedicated both to the parliament and to his father, Sir Hamon L'Estrange. 2. 'An Answer to the Marquis of Worcester's last Paper to the late King, representing in true posture and discussing briefly the main Controversies between the English and Romish Church,' together withsome considerations upon Dr. Bayly's parenthetical interlocution relating to the church's power in deciding controversies of scripture (London, 1651), in which L’Estranfe argues against the claim of the Catholic church to be the sole judge of the meaning of scripture in controversies; dedicated by L'Estrange to his sister-in-law, the Lady Anne L'Estrange, wife of Sir Nicholas. 3. 'Smectymnuo-mastix, or Short Animadversions upon Smectymnuus their Answer and Vindication of that Answer to the humble remonstrance in the cause of Liturgie,' London, 1651 (appended to No. 2, but paged separately; a defence of the Liturgy of the Church of England against the Reply of Smectymnuus to the Remonstrance for the honour of the Liturgy. 4. 'The Reign of King Charles, an History faithfully and impartially delivered and disposed into Annals,' 1st edit. (anon.), London, 1655; 2nd edit, (by H. L., esq.), London, 1656, revised and somewhat enlarged, 'with a reply to some late observations upon that History.' This work, which Fuller described as 'an handsome history likely to prove as acceptable to posterity as it hath one to done to the present age, ends with the execution of Strafford. It is written in an impartial spirit, which led to Peter Heylyn's attack on it in 'Observations on the History of King Charles,' 1656. In reply to Heylyn, L'Estrange wrote: 5. 'The Observator observedm or Animadversions upon the Observations on the History of King Charles, wherein that History is vindicated, partly illustrated, and several others things tending to the rectification of public mistakes are inserted,' London, 1656. Heylyn wrote in answer the 'Observator's Rejoinder' and 'Extraneus Vapulans,' 1656. In the latter he characterised L'Estrange as 'stiffly principled in the Puritan tenets, a semi-presbiterian at least in the form of church government, a nonconformist in the matter of ceremony, and a rigid sabbatarian in point of doctrine.' To these charges L'Estrange replied in his great work: 6. 'The Alliance of Divine Office, exhibiting all the Liturgies of the Church of England since the Reformation, as also the late Scotch Service Book, with all their respective variations, and upon them all annotations; vindicating the Book of Common Prayer from the main objections of its adversaries. explicating many parcels thereof not hitherto understood, showing the conformity it heareth with the Primitive Practice, and giving a fair prospect into the Usages of the Ancient Church,' dedicated to Christopher, lord Hatton, 1st edit. London, 1659; 2nd edit. London, 1690; 3rd edit. London. 1699, with six additional offices prefixed; reissued at Oxford in 1846, in the Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology.

[Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd Rep. pp. 247, 272, 8th Rep. pp. 59, 61; Calendars of State Papers; Clarendon State Papers; Journals of House of Commons and House of Lords; Fuller's Worthies; Blomefield’s Norfolk; Wood's Athenae Oxon.; Gray's Inn Register: information kindly furnished by Hamon L'Estrange, esq., of Hunstanton; Carthew's Hundred of Lannditch, pt. ii. 4467.]

W. A. S.