Robert Hatton

Robert Hatton

Robert Hatton (died 31 March 1661) was a serjeant-at-law, recorder of Kingston upon Thames, JP for Surrey, Justice of Assize for the counties of Berkshire and Oxfordshire, and a Commissioner for the north of England.

He was a student in the Middle Temple in 1606, in the chambers of his kinsman, Thomas Evelyn. Forty years later, after a long career, he had risen to be the Temple's treasurer [2] . By then he had become a serjeant-at-law and in 1628 he had been elected as recorder of Kingston upon Thames [3] .

Kingston had the distinction of being the only borough in the kingdom the burgesses of which held the right themselves to appoint a recorder for the town, and not to have one imposed upon them by the crown -- a power confirmed by a charter given by Charles I [4] . Two of Robert's sons were subsequently also honoured by being chosen to fulfil this office -- an achievement unique in the borough's history.

In spite of the monarchist leanings of his cousin, Hatton was treated well by the Roundheads. Under the Commonwealth he was progressively appointed a Justice of the Peace for Surrey, Justice of Assize for the counties of Berkshire and Oxfordshire [9] , and in 1655 a Commissioner for the north of England [14] .

He married Alice, the daughter of William Haynes of Chessington, from whom he inherited a large estate there, which supplied the family with considerable income until it was sold by his grandson in 1742 [10] . With Alice, Hatton had 13 children.

Robert Hatton died on 31 March 1661, and was buried with his parents at Long Ditton [11] . The monument erected to his memory includes the inscription QUI IN PERITIA LEGUM - "skilled in law" [12] . Like many lawyers before and since, he appears not to have taken the advice he probably gave to others, and died without having made a will. However, probate was granted to his eldest son, Sir Richard Hatton. [13] .

Family background

The family to which Robert Hatton belonged was both affluent and widespread. One of his cousins was Sir Christopher Hatton, Elizabeth I's Lord Chancellor. They claimed to be descendants of Lyon, a Norman knight, a relation of the Conqueror, who obtained a grant of a manor called Hatton on the banks of the river Mersey, from which the family adopted its name. In the following centuries they spread themselves out over the neighbouring counties of Cheshire and Shropshire. [1]

Some time after Robert had acquired Forde's Farm in Thames Ditton, he was made a trustee under the will of George Evelyn of a piece of property at Chobham in Surrey, which by a strange quirk of coincidence was called the manor of Fords, named after a family of Ford who had lived there in the twelfth century [5] . This striking similarity of name led one writer to assume that the Thames Ditton Fords was so called in deference to the Chobham one [8] .

His maternal descent from the Evelyns made Robert a cousin of John Evelyn, the famous diarist and arborealist, who twice mentions visiting him here. On 10 January 1642-3 he records::" 'I gave a visit to my cousin Hatton, of Ditton' " [6] ; and on 10 October 1647::" 'To Hampton Court, where I had the honour to kiss his Majesty's hand, and gave him an account of several things I had in charge. I lay at my cousin, Serjeant Hatton's at Thames Ditton, whence, on the 13th, I went to London.' " [7]

References

* [http://www.moleseyhistory.co.uk/books/surrey/boyleFarm/index.html Rowland GM Baker's 1987 history of Boyle Farm]
*1. George Omerod, "History of Cheshire", (1882), vol.ii, p.795; George Baker, "History and Antiguities of the County of Northamptonshire", (1822), vol.i, p.196.
*2. Sir H.F. Macceugh, "Register of Admissions to the Middle Temple", (1949), vol.i,-p.87; C.T. Martin, "Minutes of Parliament of the Middle Temple", (1904), vol.ii, p.470.
*3. George Roots, "Charters of the Town of Kingston upon Thames", (1797), p.188.
*4. Ibid, pp.161-2.
*5. Ibid, p.416.
*6. William Bray, "Diary and Correspondence of John Evelyn", (n.d.), p.28.
*7. Ibid, p. 165; King Charles was kept prisoner at Hampton Court after his capture, but about a month after Evelyn's visit he escaped, but was soon recaptured and lodged in more secure state at Carisbrooke Castle (See Ernest Law, "History of Hampton Court Palace", (1888), vol.ii, chapters xi and xii.
*8. Henry W. Aldred, "The History of Boyle Farm in the Parish of Thames Ditton in the County of Surrey", (S.R.O., Ref. 188/45) (1891).
*9. P.R.O., Round Room, Shelf 21, Justices 1642-1700.
*10. V.C.H., (1911), vol.iii, p.264; E.W. Brayley, "A Topographical History of Surrey", (1878), vol.iv, p.150.
*11. Parish Registers of Long Ditton, (Manuscript copy in Surrey Archaeological Society's library, Guildford).
*12. John Aubrey, "The Natural History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey", (1718), vol.i, p.250. (which misquotes his death as MDCXLI instead of MDCLXI).
*13. P.R.O., PROB/6, Administration May 1661.
*14. Calendar of State Papers. Domestic Series. 1665,(1881), p.106.


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