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Hammond, Henry (1605–1660), Church of England clergyman and theologian, was born at Chertsey, Surrey, on 18 August 1605, the youngest son of , Prince Henry's physician, and his wife, Mary (d. 1650), daughter of Robert Harrison of London. Through his mother Hammond was closely related to the Temple family and was kin to Dean Alexander Nowell of St Paul's, a celebrated catechism writer, as Hammond too would be.


Thanks to his father's teaching Hammond entered Eton College already proficient in Greek and Latin and with some elementary knowledge of Hebrew. He became a favourite of the headmaster, his father's friend Matthew Bust, and he was particularly helped in Greek studies by Thomas Allen, one of the fellows. According to his first biographer:
His sweetness of carriage is very particularly remembered by his contemporaries, who observed that he was never engaged, upon any occasion, into fights or quarrels; as also, that at times allowed for play he would steal from his fellows into places of privacy, there to say his prayers: omens of his future pacific temper and eminent devotion. (Fell, xviii)
Hammond was admitted, aged about thirteen, to Magdalen College, Oxford, and not long afterwards, in 1619, was chosen demy. Having entered so young he did not matriculate until 26 June 1621. During his years at university he generally studied thirteen hours a day, reading over ‘all classic authors’ (Fell, xx) and systematically indexing each book he read. He graduated BA on 11 December 1622 and proceeded MA on 30 June 1625 (incorporated at Cambridge the following year). On 26 July 1625 he was elected to a Magdalen fellowship, which he held until 1634; at President Langton's funeral in 1626 he delivered one of the two orations. He was admitted praelector in philosophy on 10 February 1629; Bishop Corbet of Oxford ordained him deacon on 31 May and priest on 20 September. Preaching at court in 1633, as substitute for Magdalen's president, Frewen, he so impressed the earl of Leicester that the earl presented him to the rectory of Penshurst, Kent, where he was inducted on 22 August by his old tutor, Thomas Buckner, rector of Chevening.

At Penshurst and Oxford

Hammond had resolved to marry, but instead made way for ‘one of a fairer fortune and higher quality’ (Fell, lxvi), who would make the woman in question a better match. His mother kept house for him and his nephew, her grandson William Temple (1628–1699), whom Hammond was educating about 1635–8. Throughout his ten years at Penshurst he was a painstaking preacher and frequent ministrant of the sacraments; also, in a parishioner's words, ‘a great releiver of the poore … a carefull instructer and catechizer of youth … a most comfortable visitor of sicke persons … a peacemaker … [and] such a patterne of true christianity, as I never yett saw paralelled by any’ (Packer, 21). He maintained contact with Oxford as one of the ‘Men of eminent Parts and Faculties’ who formed the circle of Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland, at Great Tew (Life of Edward, Earl of Clarendon, 2 vols., 1759, 1.42). He proceeded BD on 28 January 1634 and DD on 7 March 1639.

Bishop Brian Duppa preferred Hammond to the archdeaconry of Chichester, where his name appeared in the act book on 5 January 1642. A member of convocation since 1640, he was nominated to the Westminster assembly of divines on 1 June 1642—the House of Commons withdrawing its veto after representations from the Lords—but like other episcopalians he did not participate. He remained at Penshurst, and ‘though the committee of the county summoned him before them, and used those their best arguments of persuasion, threatenings, and reproaches, he still went on in his regular practice’ (Fell, xxviii). In May 1643 he published anonymously his first controversial tract, Of Resisting the Lawfull Magistrate under Colour of Religion. He was somehow implicated in the Kentish uprising at the end of June and about 25 July took refuge with Buckner at Chevening. Some three weeks later he was on his way to Winchester with his college friend and fellow refugee John Oliver when Oliver received news that he had been chosen president of Magdalen. Hammond agreed to accompany him and stay in his old college, although he initially thought Oxford ‘too public a place’ and ‘too far from his living’ (Fell, xxx). Here the Lenten roster for March 1644 reveals that he became a chaplain to the king.

Hammond was persuaded by the provost of Queen's College, Christopher Potter, to publish A Practical Catechism, at first anonymously, in 1644 or 1645. This plainly written exposition of theology and morality, developed from the prayer book's short catechism and used to instruct young parishioners at Penshurst, soon became immensely popular. Its emphasis on Christian practice (with auricular confession) and on Christ's dying ‘for all the sins of all mankind’ inevitably upset proponents of justification by faith and individuals' election. Hammond defended himself first against the Oxford Calvinist Francis Cheynell, then against the Sion College group of London ministers. At the end of July 1645 he responded to the imposition of presbyterian worship by defending the prayer book in A View of the New Directory. He had published six theological tracts anonymously over the preceding months; late that year they were reprinted under his name along with Resisting the Lawfull Magistrate.

Chaplain to Charles I

Charles I was impressed by A Practical Catechism and later sent a copy from Carisbrooke to his son Henry. At the end of January 1645 Hammond was chaplain to the duke of Richmond and earl of Southampton at the treaty of Uxbridge. He debated there with the parliamentarian Richard Vines and ‘dispelled with ease and perfect clearness all the sophisms that had been brought against him’ (Fell, xxxiv). At Oxford he was chosen university orator ‘but had seldom an opportunity to shew his parts that way’ (Wood, Ath. Oxon., 2.246), and the king preferred him to a canonry in Christ Church, where he was installed about 17 March 1645. After Charles had left and Oxford surrendered on 24 June 1646 Hammond was able to pay a brief visit to Penshurst, where he stayed at the earl of Leicester's house. After parliament forbade the university on 2 July to make appointments or grant leases, Hammond as orator composed an appeal to Sir Thomas Fairfax. On 13 October he was elected to the Oxford delegacy that drew up the university's case against the impending parliamentary visitation. In November he defended Falkland's Discourse of Infallibility in A View of some Exceptions Made by a Romanist; the following April Falkland's widow, Lettice Cary, named him an overseer of her will, which would involve him and Gilbert Sheldon, then warden of All Souls, in the management of an impoverished estate and a spendthrift heir.

On 17 February 1647 the king, detained by parliament at Holdenby, Northamptonshire, named Hammond among others when he asked unsuccessfully for chaplains. When he passed into the army's custody his request was granted: Hammond and Sheldon waited on him at Royston on 25 June, and Hammond preached before him at Hatfield two days later. Despite parliament's demands for their removal, they remained with the king—Fairfax doubting that they would prejudice the kingdom's peace. On 23 August, Charles arrived at Hampton Court, and there, according to Anthony Wood, Hammond presented to him ‘as a penitent convert’ his nephew the parliamentary colonel Robert Hammond (Wood, Ath. Oxon., 2.250), although there is no other evidence for this. Robert shortly went to the Isle of Wight as governor, where he became Charles's gaoler at Carisbrooke Castle after the king's misjudged flight of 11 November. Hammond himself was one of the royal chaplains officiating at Carisbrooke for a few weeks until their removal at the end of December.

After returning to Oxford and his Christ Church canonry Hammond was elected subdean and became responsible for running the college—parliament having imprisoned the dean, Samuel Fell. On 27 March 1648 Hammond refused to acknowledge the authority of the visitors, and three days later the London committee voted him out of his canonry and oratorship. Hammond and Sheldon were placed under house arrest, but ‘the great resort of persons’ to them caused the London committee on 30 May to order their removal to Wallingford Castle, Berkshire (Burrows, 114–15). The governor of Wallingford, Colonel Arthur Evelyn—‘though a man of as opposite principles to Church and Churchmen as any of the adverse party’—protested he would entertain them as friends, not prisoners, so they remained in Oxford (Fell, xlv).

At Clapham, Bedfordshire

The king, having been refused their attendance on grounds that they were under restraint, asked for a copy of Hammond's sermon preached before him the previous St Andrew's day. It was later published as The Christians Obligations to Peace and Charity (1649), with nine other sermons and a dedication to Charles dated 16 September 1648. Through the influence of his brother-in-law Sir John Temple, Hammond was moved, after ten weeks' restraint, to the house of his friend Sir Philip Warwick at Clapham, Bedfordshire. ‘Here he continued about two yeares, often preaching in the Parish Church, the poverty of the place protecting the Minister in his reading of the Common Prayer and observing the orders of the Church’ (William Fulman, Bodl. Oxf., MS Rawl. D. 317A, fol. 4v). When the king was tried—with Hammond's brother Thomas as one of his judges—Hammond wrote his Humble Address, dated 15 January 1649, which he conveyed to Fairfax and his council of war and later that year defended in A Vindication. Hammond's business with printers had taken him to London in the first months of 1649; a year later, however, legislation confining royalists within 5 miles of their homes prevented him from visiting his dying mother.

In March 1650 Hammond responded to the supposed hopelessness of the Church of England's cause by publishing Of the Reasonableness of the Christian Religion. This discourse on the uses and limits of reason in matters of faith, published in pocket-sized duodecimo without learned references, anticipated in topic and tone a number of later writers, including John Tillotson and John Locke—but firmly enjoined subjection and non-resistance to the lawful ruler. The crucial question of episcopal government had engaged Hammond since his Considerations of Present Use (1644) and, more importantly, The Power of the Keyes (1647). In the latter he used, and defended, those epistles of Ignatius that Archbishop James Ussher had authenticated in Polycarpi et Ignatii epistolae (1644). As Ussher was disinclined to answer his critics Claude Saumaise and David Blondel he wrote to Hammond on 21 July 1649, asking him ‘to publish to the World, in Latin, what you have already written in English’ (R. Parr, Life of Ussher, 1686, 542). Hammond did so in Dissertationes quatuor (1651): the second dissertation deals with Ignatius, others with evidence from the Bible and from sub-apostolic sources.

At Westwood, Worcestershire

About the end of summer 1650, Hammond was allowed to move to Westwood, Worcestershire, the home of Sir John Packington and his wife, Dorothy. Packington and Hammond were with Charles II at Worcester but after the battle were allowed to retire to Westwood. There Hammond completed A Paraphrase and Annotations on All the Books of the New Testament (1653), which he had worked on when restrained at Oxford and Clapham. This 1000-page folio, modelled on the commentaries of Grotius and Ussher, was Hammond's response to the popular demand for English expositions and was later imitated by Richard Baxter among others. Hammond's painstaking composition had begun with a Latin interpretation, in two large manuscript volumes, and a new English translation based on his collation of Greek manuscripts. He took Sheldon's advice, however, and printed the authorized translation, with his own variants in the margin. The paraphrase is printed in a parallel column, and the extensive annotations follow at each chapter's end. Hammond defended his annotations against the Independent John Owen and others in Deuterai phrontides (1657). He also defended three times between 1654 and 1657 the orthodoxy of Grotius, whose textual analysis he so admired. His interest in manuscript evidence continued with the scholarly and financial help he gave to Brian Walton for his polyglot Bible (1655–7).

Defeated royalists who fled abroad, disillusioned and impoverished, were pressed to become Roman Catholics. This danger prompted Hammond's tract Of Schisme (1653), defending the Church of England against ‘the exceptions of the Romanists’—notably those of the Jesuit Edward Knott in his Infidelity Unmasked (1652). Hammond's scrutiny of the evidence for papal supremacy—particularly over the original British church—was repeatedly attacked, and he published five replies between 1654 and 1660. Meanwhile the London ministers and the Independent John Owen answered his Dissertationes with anti-episcopalian attacks, which he refuted point by point in A Vindication and An Answer (1654). The presbyterians Daniel Cawdrey and Henry Jeanes and the Baptist John Tombes were roused, by his Letter of Resolution to Six Quaeres (1653), to attack him on church festivals, signing with the cross and paedobaptism; between 1654 and 1657 he replied to each of them. Indeed ‘he made himself the common mark of opposition to all parties’ (Fell, liv). He also published Of Fundamentals in 1654, and it has been suggested that he was the H. H. who translated Blaise Pascal's Les provinciales (1657).

Brian Duppa appears to have convened a meeting attended by Hammond at Richmond, Surrey, in August 1653 to discuss use of the prayer book. Hammond probably went there via Boothby Pagnell, Lincolnshire, to discuss questions of God's grace and decrees with Robert Sanderson, whose views were less Arminian than his own. In 1655 he was consulted about Edward Hyde's initiative for the consecration of new bishops. At Westwood he had taken over the functions of family chaplain, preaching constantly from 1652 to 1655, first on the articles of the creed, then on the commandments; so when Cromwell's edict forbidding sequestered clergy to minister was about to come into force he could reassure his congregation, on 23 December 1655, that his sermons had already covered everything needful to be believed or done. His printed response to the edict was A Paraenesis, or, Seasonable Exhortatory to All True Sons of the Church of England (1656).

The prospect of prosperity

Considering that ‘the ancient stock of clergymen were by this edict in a manner rendered useless’ Hammond ‘projected by pensions unto hopeful persons in either University, to maintain a seminary of youth instituted in piety, upon the sober principles and old establishment of the Anglican Church’ (Fell, lvii). Some hoped-for subscribers failed him, but he and his friends contributed to the scheme. By September 1657 he was preaching again, but in failing health, afflicted by gout, colic, stone, and cramp. He wrote the letter to the publisher, dated 7 March 1658, which introduced his friend Richard Allestree's The Whole Duty of Man. He completed his paraphrase and annotation of the Psalms (published in 1659) and chapters 1–10 of Proverbs (published posthumously in 1683). In May 1659 Allestree returned from Brussels with a paper from Charles II naming new bishops, including Hammond for Worcester. Hammond worried about his imminent responsibilities: ‘I must confess I never saw that time in all my life wherein I could so cheerfully say my Nunc dimittis as now. Indeed I do dread prosperity, I do really dread it’ (Fell, ci).

At the beginning of 1660 Hammond, summoned to London ‘to assist in the great work of the composure of breaches in the Church’, reflected on ways of doing good in his future diocese, in particular the repair of Worcester Cathedral (Fell, cii). On 4 April he was ‘seized by a sharp fit of the stone’, of which he died three weeks later, on the night of 25 April, at Westwood. The following evening he was buried in the Packingtons' church nearby at Hampton Lovet, where his monument is on the south side of the chancel. In his will, dated 19 April 1660 and witnessed by John Dolben, who had been with him throughout his last illness, he bequeathed various sums to nephews, godchildren, and several sequestered friends. He left most of his books to Richard Allestree and the residue of his estate to his executor, Humphrey Henchman, for his own relief and for charity. Hammond had always lived abstemiously. He expressed astonishment that, for all his generosity, he could never make himself poor. He died worth £1500.

Rebuilder of the church

As the bishops largely secluded themselves during the interregnum the defence of the Church of England, in publications and correspondence, was left to a small group of apologists led by Hammond—‘the person that during the bad times had maintained the cause of the church in a very singular manner’ (Burnet's History, 1.314). The new-found confidence of the Restoration church owed much to the theology developed in his writings and to the exemplary character of his life. Despite his dislike of Hammond's ‘New Prelatical way’ Richard Baxter took his death ‘for a very great loss; for his Piety and Wisdom would have hindered much of the Violence which after followed’ (Reliquiae Baxterianae, 97, 208). John Fell wrote a Life of Hammond (1661), an informative and engaging tribute. William Fulman, the carpenter's son from Penshurst whom he had sponsored at Oxford, edited his works (1684) and collected biographical materials, which survive in manuscript. Hammond's far-reaching reinterpretation of the covenant—offered to all but conditional on morality—was persuasively embodied in his Practical Catechism and provided the rationale of the English church until the rise of the evangelicals. When asked about Bible commentaries, Samuel Johnson recommended Hammond's New Testament Paraphrase. The Tractarians revered him as a Laudian: Nicholas Pocock edited his major works and made good use of his correspondence, but without entirely appreciating his rationalism; Keble wrote ‘Hammond's Grave’ and associated him with ‘Meek, pastoral, quiet souls’, but without thinking of his determination and combativeness (Keble, Miscellaneous Poems, 1869, 216).

Hugh de Quehen


J. Fell, ‘Life of Hammond’, in H. Hammond, Miscellaneous theological works, ed. N. Pocock, 1 (1847–50), xvii-cxv · J. W. Packer, The transformation of Anglicanism, 1643–1660, with special reference to Henry Hammond (1969) · Hist. U. Oxf. 4: 17th-cent. Oxf. · Wood, Ath. Oxon., 2nd edn · A. Wood, The history and antiquities of the University of Oxford, ed. J. Gutch, 2 vols. in 3 pts (1792–6) · J. Walker, An attempt towards recovering an account of the numbers and sufferings of the clergy of the Church of England, 2 pts in 1 (1714) · Walker rev. · F. Madan, Oxford books: a bibliography of printed works, 2–3 (1912–31) · M. Burrows, ed., The register of the visitors of the University of Oxford, from AD 1647 to AD 1658, CS, new ser., 29 (1881) · G. C. M. Smith, ‘Temple and Hammond families and the related families of Nowell and Knollys’, N&Q, 151 (1926), 237–9 · G. C. M. Smith, ‘Temple and Hammond families and the related family of Harrison’, N&Q, 151 (1926), 452–3 · M. Toynbee, ‘The two Sir John Dingleys, II’, N&Q, 198 (1953), 478–83 · Fasti Angl., 1541–1857 [Chichester] · Fasti Angl., 1541–1857 [Bristol] · J. Spurr, The Restoration Church of England, 1646–1689 (1991) · R. S. Bosher, The making of the Restoration settlement: the influence of the Laudians, 1649–1662 (1951) · Burnet’s History of my own time, ed. O. Airy, new edn, 2 vols. (1897–1900) · Reliquiae Baxterianae, or, Mr Richard Baxter's narrative of the most memorable passages of his life and times, ed. M. Sylvester, 1 vol. in 3 pts (1696) · P. Jansen, De Blaise Pascal à Henry Hammond (1954) · Mrs R. Lane Poole, ed., Catalogue of portraits in the possession of the university, colleges, city and county of Oxford, 2, OHS, 81 (1926) · will, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/301, fols. 41v–42r · Boswell, Life


BL, Add. MSS · Bodl. Oxf., St Mary's Vicar's library, works [presentation copies] · Christ Church Oxf. |  BL, Harley MSS · Bodl. Oxf., Jones MS 45 · Bodl. Oxf., MSS Rawl. · Bodl. Oxf., Tanner MSS · Bodl. Oxf., Corpus Christi College deposit, Fulman MSS · Queen's College, Oxford, corresp. with Bishop Barlow


oils, c.1660–1699, Magd. Oxf. · R. Clamp, mezzotint, 1796 (after S. Harding), repro. in The Biographical Mirrour, 2 (1798) · W. Behnes, bust, 1849, Eton

Wealth at death  

£1500: Walker, Attempt towards recovering