Humphrey Henchman 1592-1675

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Humphrey HENCHMAN 1592-1675

Biographical Note

Born at Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, son of Thomas Henchman, skinner, of London. BA Christ's College, Cambridge 1613, MA 1616, fellow of Clare College ca.1616-23. Precentor and prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral 1623, rector of St Peter's and All Saints, Rushton, Northamptonshire 1624; during the 1630s he acquired several other livings in the west country. He was ejected from his benefices in the 1640s and had to compound for some of his estate; he appears to have spent the Interregnum living quietly at Salisbury, keeping in touch with various prominent figures from the suppressed Church of England. In 1660 he became Bishop of Salisbury, and in 1663 Bishop of London; he was a staunch defender of the return to the established Church and its liturgy, but was also noted as a sympathetic, learned and pious man. He became much involved in campaigns and national collections to restore London after the great disasters of plague and fire in the 1660s.


Henchman's will has no mention of books; the residue of his estate was left to his son Thomas. His library was sold by Robert Scott in London in 1677, the first retail (as opposed to auction) sale of a library in England with a surviving printed catalogue. This lists 1347 lots, subdivided into Latin folio (478), Latin in other formats (516), French books (127), Italian books (60), English folio (65), and English in other formats (111). There is no subject breakdown but the library comprises a fairly typical mixture for the time, with extensive holdings of Biblical, patristic, devotional and expository theology, classics, history, and geography, but only a little science and medicine. Henchman stated that at least one of his pre-Civil war libraries (at Portland in Dorset) was destroyed during the troubles.

Characteristic Markings

None of Henchman's books have been identified.