Scudamore, John (DNB00)

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SCUDAMORE, JOHN, first Viscount Scudamore (1601–1671), eldest son of Sir James Scudamore, who married, in 1599, at St. James's, Clerkenwell, Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Throckmorton, and widow of Sir Thomas Baskerville, was baptised at Holme Lacy, Herefordshire, on 22 March 1601. The Holme Lacy branch of the Scudamore family probably diverged from the main stem settled at Kentchurch, Herefordshire, late in the fourteenth century. Another branch migrated to Canterbury about 1650, and from it are descended Sir Charles Scudamore [q. v.], William Edward Scudamore [q. v.], and Frank Ives Scudamore [q. v.] Sir James was the son of Sir John Scudamore (d. 14 April 1623) of Holme Lacy, knight, M.P. for Herefordshire in five parliaments, standard-bearer to the pensioners, and gentleman usher to Queen Elizabeth, as his grandfather, in turn, John Scudamore (d. 1571), high sheriff of Herefordshire and rebuilder of Holme Lacy, had been one of the four gentlemen ushers to Henry VIII. The Sir John of Elizabeth's day was a friend of learning, a benefactor of Bodley's library, and an intimate with its founder, who praises his ‘sweet conversation;’ and a special patron of the mathematician, Thomas Allen (1542–1632) [q. v.] (cf. Letters from Eminent Persons, ii. 202). Sir James, the viscount's father, a gallant soldier, accompanied Essex to Cadiz, where he was knighted in 1596 (Camden, Annals, 1630, bk. iv. p. 94 s.v. ‘Skidmore’). He was held up as a pattern of chivalry as Sir Scudamour in Spenser's ‘Faërie Queene,’ the fourth book of which is devoted to his ‘warlike deedes’ on behalf of Duessa; and he is similarly commemorated in Higford's ‘Institutions of a Gentleman,’ where is a picturesque description of his tilting before Queen Elizabeth and a bevy of court ladies. ‘Famous and fortunate in his time,’ says Fuller, he was M.P. for Herefordshire 1604–11, and 1614, subscribed 37l. to the Virginia Company, and, dying before his father, at the age of fifty-one, was buried at Holme Lacy on 14 April 1619.’

John was educated under a tutor at Holme Lacy until 1616, when, on 8 Nov., he matriculated from Magdalen College, Oxford (he was created M.A. on 1 Nov. 1642). He is said to have entered at the Middle Temple in the following year (though there is no record of this in the register), and he soon afterwards obtained license to travel. Having spent about three years abroad, he was appointed by the Earl of Northampton to be captain of horse in Herefordshire. His family had been famous for generations for their horsemanship and breed of horses. On 1 June 1620 he was created a baronet, and he was M.P. for Herefordshire in 1620 and 1624, and for the city of Hereford in 1625 and 1628. He was sworn of the council of the marches on 25 Aug. 1623. He soon became a person of mark at the new court, and was specially attached to Buckingham, whom he accompanied on the Rochelle expedition. He sincerely lamented the duke's death (of which he sent an early account in a letter to Laud), and was present at his funeral. On 1 July 1628 he was created Baron Dromore and Viscount Scudamore of Sligo, and shortly after his elevation retired to his country seat. He was an assiduous student, learned in history and theology, but during his retreat paid much attention to grafting and planting orchards, and is credited with introducing into his native county the redstreak apple—

    Of no regard till Scudamore's skilful hand
    Improv'd her, and by courtly discipline
    Taught her the savage nature to forget,—
    Hence styl'd the Scudamorean plant

(Philips, Cyder, bk. i. lines 503–6). A zealous royalist throughout his career, Scudamore was enthusiastically attached to the English church. Moved by the arguments of Sir Henry Spelman [q. v.], he repaired at great expense and endowed the dilapidated abbey church of Door (Dore), and restored the alienated tithes of several churches which his ancestor, Sir John, receiver of the court of augmentations under Henry VIII, acquired upon the suppression of the monasteries (cf. Stephenson, Hist. of Llanthony Abbey, pp. 22, 27). He became a devoted admirer of Laud, who often visited him in his journeys to and from St. David's when bishop of that see, kept up a correspondence with him as archbishop, and co-operated in his plans for the rebuilding of St. Paul's.

At the close of 1634 Scudamore was appointed by Charles I as his ambassador in Paris. He sailed in June 1635, and was received graciously by Louis XIII, who presented him with his portrait and that of his consort, Queen Anne of Austria. The expenses of his journey and first audience amounted to 852l. Shortly after his arrival Scudamore made a vain effort to purchase a valuable manuscript of the ‘Basilics’ (Basilica), or digest of laws commenced by the Emperor Basilius I in 867, and completed by Leo VI in 880. After the contract of sale was signed, Richelieu interposed to prevent this treasure leaving France (cf. Montreuil, Droit Byzantin, 1844; Foreign Quarterly Review, vii. 461), but Scudamore caused his son to translate ‘The Sixty Sixe admonitory Chapters of Basilius to his sonne Leo,’ which was printed at Paris in 1638 (the copy of this rare work in the British Museum bears the Scudamore armorial book-plate, but in the catalogue it is wrongly attributed to J. Scudamore, author of ‘Homer à la Mode’).

In February 1636 Scudamore was directed to serve a writ upon Lady Purbeck (who had escaped the clutches of the high commission and fled to Paris), commanding her to return to England. Richelieu again intervened, and sent a guard of fifty archers for the lady's protection (Scudamore to Coke, March 1636, State Papers, French, ap. Gardiner, Hist. viii. 145–6).

During his residence in Paris Scudamore had a private chapel fitted up in his own house, with candles and other ornaments, upon which severe strictures were passed (Clarendon); he also gave some leading Huguenots to understand that the Anglican church deemed them outside its communion. It was doubtless to correct this bias that in 1636 the staunchly protestant Robert Sidney, second earl of Leicester [q. v.], was joined to Scudamore in the embassage. The ambassadors, however, managed to work harmoniously together. To Milton, Hobbes, and Sir Kenelm Digby, Scudamore showed many courtesies when they visited Paris. In May 1638 he introduced Milton to Grotius, then Swedish ambassador in Paris (Milton, Defensio Secunda). With the latter Scudamore was on confidential terms, and he communicated to Laud Grotius's scheme for a union of the protestant churches (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and English), excluding, however, the Calvinists and Presbyterians, for whom Scudamore had a special dislike.

During the summer Scudamore announced the birth of Louis XIV, and paid elaborate compliments to the French queen, who had been childless during twenty-two years of married life. Notwithstanding these amenities, a serious slight was shortly afterwards put upon Lady Scudamore by the queen, and the difficulty was only solved by Lady Scudamore's return to England. Scudamore himself hinted that his recall would be welcome; this was granted at the close of 1638, and he crossed to England in January 1639. On his return to Holme Lacy he was met by a troop of horse from among his friends and tenants, was made high steward of Hereford city and cathedral, and kept open house at Holme Lacy with great magnificence the following Christmas. He continued his correspondence with Laud, who warned him ‘not to book it too much,’ and with Grotius, and encouraged by his patronage Thomas Farnaby [q. v.], Robert Codrington [q. v.], and John Tombes [q. v.], who dedicated to him several works. In 1641 there was some talk of Scudamore being appointed to the vacant secretaryship of state. Foreseeing the approach of the troubles, he laid in at Holme Lacy a stock of petronels, carbines, and powder. After the outbreak of the war in the west, in April 1643, he betook himself to Hereford and put himself under Sir Richard Cave's orders. When, however, a few days afterwards, Waller made a dash for the city, most of Cave's men deserted, and he had to surrender at discretion. Scudamore was released upon condition of submitting himself to parliament in London. On going thither he found that his house in Petty France (a house adjoining that in which Milton subsequently wrote ‘Paradise Lost’) had been sequestered and all his goods seized and inventoried. He received news, moreover, that various outrages had been perpetrated at his country houses at Llanthony and Holme Lacy, but these were happily checked by Waller, who sent courteous apologies in answer to Lady Scudamore's remonstrance. Scudamore soon discovered his mistake in appealing to parliament. Irritated by the king's confiscation of Essex's estates in Herefordshire, they ordered the sale of his goods in Petty France and at the Temple, refused the fine that he offered, and committed him to the custody of the serjeant-at-arms. He remained in confinement for three years and ten months, when his affairs were settled upon his paying a fine of 2,690l., his son James being subsequently included in this composition (November 1647; Cal. for Compounding, 1643). In all, however, owing to the forced sales of his goods, the sequestrations, and his gifts to the royal cause, he estimated that he lost 37,690l. by the civil war, quite apart from the munificent alms which he distributed to distressed royalists. Scudamore was much broken by his confinement and by the wreck of the royalist fortunes.

During his later years he devoted himself almost exclusively to study and to the seeking out and relieving of impoverished divines. Among those he ‘secretly’ benefited were Dr. Edward Boughen [q. v.], John Bramhall [q. v.], Thomas Fuller (1608–1661) [q. v.], Canon Henry Rogers (1585?–1658) [q. v.], Dr. Sterne, and Matthew Wren [q. v.] (cf. Walker, Sufferings of the Clergy, p. 35; Gibson, pp. 110, 112, where are enumerated upwards of seventy clergymen in receipt of alms from him). From 1656 he allowed 40l. per annum to Peter Gunning [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Ely (Baker, Hist. of St. John's, p. 235). He also presented many books and other gifts to the dean and chapter of Hereford. Bishop Kennett stated that he gave in all not less than 50,000l. towards religious objects. He died on 8 June 1671, and was buried in the chancel of Holme Lacy church. He married, on 12 March 1614–15, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Arthur Porter of Llanthony, Gloucestershire. She died, aged 52, and was buried at Holme Lacy in December 1651. Some six years later died Scudamore's younger brother, Sir Barnabas, who served with distinction under Prince Maurice, and successfully defended Hereford in July-August 1645 against Alexander Leslie, first earl of Leven [q. v.] The siege was raised upon the approach of Charles on 1 Sept., when Scudamore, who was forthwith knighted, remarked that the Scotch mist had melted before the sun (Letter to the Lord Digby concerning the Siege of Hereford, 1645, 4to). Less than four months later (18 Dec.) the gates were opened by treachery, but Scudamore crossed the Wye on the ice, and escaped to Ludlow. Sir Barnabas died, impoverished in estate, on 14 April 1658.

The first viscount's son, James, baptised on 4 July 1624, M.P. for Hereford in 1642 and for Herefordshire 1661–8, accompanied his father to Paris, where he spent some years after 1639, and died in his father's lifetime, in 1668, at the age of forty-four. He appears to have been a friend of John Evelyn. To him has been wrongly attributed a vulgar parody in verse entitled ‘Homer à la Mode’ (1664), which was the work of his distant kinsman, James Scudamore of Christ Church, Oxford (son of John Scudamore of Kentchurch, 1603–1669), who was drowned on 12 July 1666; he was at Westminster, and there is extant a curious letter from his grandfather to Busby asking the master's acceptance of a cask of cider (cf. Nichols, Lit. Illustr. v. 395; Welch, Alumni Westmon. p. 154). The first viscount was succeeded by his grandson, John Scudamore (1650–1697); he married Frances, daughter of John Cecil, fourth earl of Exeter, by Frances, daughter of John Manners, earl of Rutland; the ‘impudentest of woman,’ wrote Lady Camden, she ‘eloped with a Mr. Coningsby, who was thought to have got all Lord Skidmore's children’ (Rutland Papers). The peerage became extinct upon the death of the third viscount, James Scudamore, on 2 Dec. 1716. He was educated at Gloucester Hall, Oxford, where he was contemporary with the poet John Philips and with Anthony Alsop, who dedicated to him in 1698 his ‘Fabularum Æsopicarum Delectus’ (Phillips, Cyder, 1791, p. 52 n.) He was M.P. for Herefordshire 1705–1713, and for Hereford 1715, and was created D.C.L. at Oxford on 12 May 1712, when Hearne met him, ‘an honest man.’ His widow died of small-pox in 1729, and her death occasioned Pope's allusion, ‘and Scud'more ends her name’ (Works, ed. Elwin and Courthope, ii. 436), her houses having been favoured resorts of some of Pope's circle. There is a fine portrait by Kneller of Lady Scudamore and her daughter at Sherborne Castle. Some of the second viscountess's character- istics descended to her granddaughter, the last viscount's only daughter and heiress, Frances (d. 1750). She was born on 14 Aug. 1711, and married, on 28 June 1729, Henry Somerset, third duke of Beaufort. In 1730 an act was passed authorising the duke to use the additional name and arms of Scudamore, pursuant to the settlement of the third viscount; but before this act came into operation the duke proved the incontinence of his wife and divorced her (cf. The New Foundling Hospital for Wit, 1784; H. Walpole to Mann on this ‘frail lady,’ 10 June 1742). Upon his death in 1746, Lady Frances married Charles Fitzroy (afterwards Scudamore), natural son of the first Duke of Grafton, and their daughter, Frances Scudamore, conveyed the estates of the Scudamores to Charles Howard, eleventh duke of Norfolk, whom she married on 2 April 1771; she died a lunatic on 22 Oct. 1820.

The portraits of the first Lord Scudamore and his wife, with those of other members of the family, and those presented by Louis XIII, are now at Sherborne Castle, Dorset. Some of the property passed through a daughter to the Stanhope family, whence the earls of Chesterfield, present owners of Holme Lacy, bear the name of Scudamore-Stanhope.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss; Wood's Fasti, i. 263; Collins's Baronetage, 1720, ii. 175; Collins's Peerage, 1781, suppl. p. 422, and i. 211; Burke's Extinct Peerage; G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage; Wootton's Baronetage; Gent. Mag. 1805 i. 483, 1817 i. 99–100; Chester's Marriage Licenses; Nichols's Progresses of James I, iii. 608 n.; Collins's Letters and Memorials, 1746, ii. 28, 97, 142, 174, 380–405, 440 sq.; Matthew Gibson's View of Door, Home Lacy, and Hempsted, 1727; Military Memorial of Colonel John Birch (Camd. Soc.); Spelman's Tithes, ed. 1647; Grotius' De Veritate, 1718, pp. 364–5; Hutchinson's Herefordshire Biographies, 1890, p. 98; C. J. Robinson's History of the Mansions and Manor-houses of Herefordshire, passim; Duncombe's Herefordshire; Hoare's Modern Wiltshire; Guillim's Heraldry; Webb's History of the Civil War in Herefordshire, passim; Havergal's Fasti Herefordenses, p. 184; Gardiner's Hist. of England and Civil War; State Papers, Dom. vols. 1635–43, passim; Masson's Life of Milton, vol. i. passim; Wheatley and Cunningham's London, iii. 541; Brown's Genesis of United States of America, ii. 998; notes kindly given by W. R. Williams, esq., and by John Hutchinson, esq.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.