John Hobart 1628-1683
Sir John HOBART, 3rd bart 1628-1683
The Hobart dynasty at Blickling Hall, Norfolk begins with Sir Henry Hobart, 1st baronet (ca.1554-1625), Lord Chief Justice, who purchased the estate there in 1616. His son Sir John, Sir John, the 2nd baronet (1593-1647) had no male children so the title passed to his nephew John, the son of Miles Hobart of Intwood, Norfolk, who matriculated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1644 but did not graduate, and who entered Lincoln's Inn in 1645. The family was parliamentarian and this Sir John, the 3rd baronet, was an MP, and involved in Norfolk local administration, during the 1650s. He was sheriff for Norfolk in 1666-7, deputy lieutenant in 1668, and MP for Norfolk for most of the 1670s through to the time of his death, where he was associated with whig causes and often suspected as a nonconformist sympathiser.
Although it is inconceivable that the first Sir Henry did not own books – a volume of his law reports was published posthumously in 1641 – the first documentary evidence of Hobart book ownership dates from the time of the 3rd baronet. There is archival evidence of Sir John ordering books from Henry Herringman in London in 1661, and an inventory of books at Blickling from ca.1676 lists about 380 titles, housed on eight bookshelves. Susie West suggests that this represents a one-bay study, perhaps adjacent to Sir John's bedchamber on the first floor of the house. After the death of Sir Henry in 1698, his probate inventory listed a library of ca.1100 volumes, together with scientific instruments, kept in a study with gilt leather on the walls, walnut book stands and a reading desk.
The library at Blickling Hall was remodelled in the 1740s when the very large library of Sir Richard Ellys (1682-1742) was inherited by Sir John's grandson, Sir Henry's son John (1693-1756, 5th baronet but also created 1st Earl of Buckinghamshire in 1746). The Long Gallery library there today, the result of that, is largely filled with Ellys books and it is not known whether any earlier Hobart books are there (or, if so, how many). No books have been traced there with identifiable early Hobart provenance and it is known that some house contents, possibly including books, were sold after Sir Henry's death in 1698. His very brief will, concerned primarily with making arrangements for holding his estates in trust for his children, has no mention of books.
No Hobart books have been identified.
- Handley, Stuart. "Hobart, Sir John, third baronet (bap. 1628, d. 1683), politician." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- History of Parliament.
- Mandelbrote, G. & Y. Lewis, Learning to collect: the library of Sir Richard Ellys, 2004.
- West, S. An architectural typology for the early country house library, The Library 7th ser 14 (2013), 441-464, pp. 450-1.