Christopher Hatton 1605-1670

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Christopher HATTON, 1st Baron Hatton 1605-1670

Armorial stamp of Christopher Hatton (British Armorial Bindings)

Biographical Note

Son of Sir Christopher Hatton (d.1619). Entered Gray’s Inn in 1620; MA Jesus College, Cambridge 1622. MP for Peterborough in 1625 and for Clitheroe in 1626. Knight of the Bath 1626. Member of the Long Parliament in 1640 for Higham Ferrers. Created Baron Hatton of Kirby in 1643 and was made comptroller of the royal household. He lived in France during the interregnum, though took care to distance himself from the Royalist exiles in a futile attempt to save his estates. After the Restoration he was made privy councillor and governor of Guernsey. He was a founder member of the Royal Society in 1663. He married Elizabeth (c.1610-1672), daughter of Sir Charles Montagu of Boughton.


Hatton was a leading figure in the growth of antiquarian interest and research during the pre-Civil War period. He was well-connected with other antiquarian enthusiasts within his social circle - his friend Thomas Brudenell is noted as encouraging his researches - and he became a close associate and patron of William Dugdale. From the mid-1630s onwards, Dugdale helped Hatton in compiling copies of medieval genealogical, heraldic and historical manuscripts. In 1638, they were founder members of an unsuccessful initiative to establish "Antiquitas rediviva", a society devoted to the collecting of antiquarian material.

After inheriting Kirby Hall in 1619, Hatton undertook extensive rebuilding and modernising work, and it is likely, but not provable, that a library room had been created there by the 1630s. He was interested in architecture and music and patronised various literary and artistic figures.

The extent of his library is not known but many printed books survive, widely dispersed, with his armorial stamp (the original brass stamp for this survives in the British Museum). His estate and goods were inherited by his son Christopher, later 1st Viscount Hatton; after his death in 1706, 112 manuscripts from Hatton's antiquarian collections were bought by the Bodleian Library. Numerous monastic cartularies owned by him are now among the Cotton manuscripts in the British Library.


  • British Armorial Bindings.
  • Christopher Hatton's armorial stamp in the British Museum.
  • Foot, M. The Henry Davis gift vol 2, 1983, no.97.
  • Maggs (catalogues of the London booksellers Maggs Bros) 1075 (1987)/33, 39.
  • Philip, I. The Bodleian Library in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Oxford, 1983, 56-8.
  • Pinto, D. The music of the Hattons, Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle 23 (1990), 79-108.
  • Pinto, D. Placing Hatton’s great set, Chelys 32 (2004), 1-20.
  • Stacey, N. Antiquarian patronage in the 17th century: Sir Christopher Hatton’s library at Kirby Hall, English Heritage Historical Review 9 (2014), 66-81.
  • Stater, Victor. "Hatton, Christopher, first Baron Hatton (bap. 1605, d. 1670), politician." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • Wainwright, J. P. Musical patronage in seventeenth-century England, 1997.