Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Shipman, Thomas

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SHIPMAN, THOMAS (1632–1680), royalist poet, eldest son of William Shipman (1603–1658), an ardent royalist with a small estate in Nottinghamshire, by his second wife, Sara, daughter of alderman Parker of Nottingham, was born at Scarrington, near Newark, and baptised there in November 1632. He was educated at Sleaford school and at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted 1 May 1651 (Mayor, Reg. p. 100).

Though a careful economist, he was no stranger to London life, and associated with such wits as Denham, Oldham, and Sir Fleetwood Sheppard. A more intimate friend, the poet and painter, Thomas Flatman [q. v.], in an epistle prefixed to Shipman's verses, praises the writer's ingenuity and his wit in saving a small estate amid ‘the calamities of the last rebellion.’ During his ‘quiet recess’ Shipman produced the poems contained in ‘Carolina,’ some of which suggest that the severe morals of the roundheads were even less to his taste than their politics. Shipman, who was a captain of trained bands for his county, died at Scarrington, and was buried there on 15 Oct. 1680. He married Margaret, daughter of John Trafford, who brought him an estate at Bulcote and survived him until about 1696. Their third son, William, settled at Mansfield, and was high sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1730.

Shipman was the author of: 1. ‘Henry the Third of France, stabbed by a Fryer, with the Fall of Guise,’ a rhymed tragedy (a very pedestrian effort, given at the Theatre Royal in August 1678, and printed, London, 1678, 4to). 2. ‘Carolina, or Loyal Poems’ (London, 1683, 8vo), posthumously published, with Flatman's address; it contains, among about two hundred poems, a long piece on the Restoration, ‘The Hero’ (1678), addressed to Monmouth, some grateful acknowledgments to the writer's good friend, Abraham Cowley, a eulogy on Dugdale's ‘Baronage,’ ‘The Olde-English Gentleman,’ and many verses to his ‘poetical friend,’ William, third lord Byron.

[Godfrey's Thomas Shipman, 1890 (brief memoir, with careful genealogy); and the same writer's Four Nottinghamshire Dramatists, 1895; Thoroton's Antiquities of Nottinghamshire; Genest's Hist. of Stage, i. 229; Baker's Biogr. Dramatica; Hunter's Chorus Vatum (Add. MS. 24492, f. 173); Athenæum, 27 March 1858; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vi. 456, 4th ser. xi. 177, 6th ser. vii. 232; Shipman's Carolina (with manuscript note) in British Museum.]

T. S.