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For other people named Christopher Hatton, see Christopher Hatton (disambiguation).
Christopher Hatton, c. 1575
Arms of Sir Christopher Hatton, KG

Sir Christopher Hatton KG (1540 – 20 November 1591) was an English politician, Lord Chancellor of England and a favourite of Elizabeth I of England.

Early years[edit]

Sir Christopher Hatton was the second son of William Hatton (d. 28 August 1546)[1] of Holdenby, Northamptonshire, and his second wife, Alice Saunders, the daughter of Lawrence Saunders (d.1544) of Harrington, Northamptonshire, and his wife, Alice Brokesby, the daughter of Robert Brokesby (d. 28 March 1531) of Shoby, Leicestershire, and Alice Shirley.[2][3][4][5][a]

Sir Christopher Hatton's early education is said to have been supervised by his maternal uncle, William Saunders (died c. 1583), but otherwise nothing is known of his life until he entered St. Mary's Hall, Oxford as a gentleman commoner at 15 or 16 years of age.[1] Hatton left Oxford without taking a degree, and enrolled in the Inner Temple on 26 May 1560.[2] No evidence exists as to whether he was called to the bar.[9]

In 1561 he played the part of Master of the Game at a masque at the Inner Temple,[10] and it was on a similar occasion that he first attracted the attention of Queen Elizabeth. Handsome and accomplished, and reputedly an excellent dancer, he came to court, according to Naunton, "by the galliard, for he came thither as a private gentleman of the Inns of Court in a masque, and for his activity and person, which was tall and proportionable, taken into the Queen's favour".[11] In 1564 he became one of the Queen's gentlemen pensioners and a gentleman of the privy chamber, and in July 1572 was appointed captain of the yeomen of the guard.[12][13] On 11 November 1577 he was appointed vice-chamberlain of the royal household and sworn of the Privy Council, and in the same month was knighted.[14] In June 1578 the Queen formally granted him the Bishop of Ely's house in Ely Place, Holborn, despite the vigorous protests of the Bishop.[15] These appointments, together with the valuable grants with which the Queen showered him during these early years,[16] prompted rumours that he was her lover, a charge specifically made in 1584 by Mary, Queen of Scots.[12][17] There was undoubtedly a close personal relationship, In correspondence, the Queen called him her "Lyddes", and he is said to have referred to himself in at least one letter as her "sheep".[18] However "Hatton, who was probably innocent in this matter".[12]

Hatton represented Higham Ferrers in parliament in 1571, and from May 1572 onwards was a member for Northamptonshire.[12][19] He was an active agent in parliament in the prosecutions of John Stubbs and William Parry.[12] He was also one of those appointed to arrange a marriage between the Queen and Francois, Duke of Alençon, in 1581,[12] although he urged the Queen not to marry Alençon.

According to one account Hatton had at one time assured Mary, Queen of Scots that he would fetch her to London if Queen Elizabeth died.[citation needed] Whatever the truth of this story, Hatton's loyalty to his sovereign appears to have been unquestioned, and on one memorable occasion in December 1584 he led 400 kneeling members of the House of Commons in a prayer for the Queen's safety.[20]

Hatton was a member of the court which tried Anthony Babington in 1586, and was one of the commissioners who found Mary, Queen of Scots, guilty of treason in the following year. He vigorously denounced the Queen of Scots in parliament, and advised William Davison to forward the warrant for her execution to Fotheringhay.[20]

In 1587 Hatton was made Lord Chancellor. Though he had no great knowledge of the law, he appears to have acted with sound sense and good judgement in his new position. He is said to have been a Roman Catholic in all but name, yet he treated religious questions in a moderate and tolerant way.[20]

Hatton was a Knight of the Garter and chancellor of the University of Oxford. He is reported to have been very parsimonious, but he patronized men of letters, and among his friends was Edmund Spenser. He wrote the fourth act of a tragedy, Tancred and Gismund, and his death occasioned several panegyrics in both prose and verse.[20]

Although there were contemporary rumours of a secret marriage, Hatton appears to have remained single, and his large and valuable estates descended to his nephew, Sir William Newport (1560–1597), who took the surname Hatton.[20] When Sir William Hatton died without male issue in 1597, the estates passed to a kinsman, another Sir Christopher Hatton (died 1619), whose son and successor, Christopher, was created Baron Hatton of Kirby.[20]


Christopher Hatton as Lord Chancellor with his seal on the table by his side, by Nicholas Hilliard, 1588–1591

Hatton became very wealthy as a result of his progressing career and the Queen's fondness for him, so much so that in 1583 he embarked on the construction of a magnificent house in Holdenby, Northamptonshire. It was, at the time, the largest privately owned Elizabethan house in England. It contained 123 huge glass windows, in the days when glass was very expensive (indeed, a good show of wealth was how many windows you could afford in your house). It had 2 great courts and was as large as the palace of Hampton Court. It was 3 storeys high and had 2 large state rooms, one for himself and another for the queen should she ever come and stay, which she never did. Lord Burghley, who visited the house in his old age, was immensely impressed with the grand staircase leading from the hall to the staterooms and proclaimed the house so faultless that he forgot the 'infirmity of his legs' whilst he walked around. No expense was spared, and Hatton even paid to move an entire small village because it spoiled his view from one of the windows. The cost of the house drained his purse to such an extent that Hatton was permanently short of money for the rest of his life. To maintain his dwindling wealth, Hatton began investing in some of the voyages of Francis Drake. He helped fund Drake's acts of piracy in Spanish America. During Drake's subsequent circumnavigation of the globe, when he reached the straits of Magellan, he renamed his ship 'The Golden Hind' in Honour of Hatton's coat of Arms - which contained a golden hind - and all the Spanish gold on board. Hatton made a profit of £2300 from this particular expedition.


Despite his successes, he died penniless and childless, only a few years after his house at Holdenby was finally completed. All that remains of the original Holdenby House are old drawings and plans, one room which was later incorporated into a new restoration in the 1870s, part of the pillared doorway and 2 arches with the date 1583 inscribed upon them, which now stand alone in the gardens.[21]

Hatton's health declined in 1591. The Queen visited him on 11 November, and on 20 November he died at Ely Place, and was given a state funeral at Old St Paul's Cathedral on 16 December.[2] A magnificent monument to him stood at the high altar of Old St Paul's: "towering above it - an outrage to the susceptibilities of the devout but an object of marvel to London sightseers - until the Great Fire of 1666 dethroned and destroyed it".[22]

A school, Sir Christopher Hatton School was opened in 1983 in his memory in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The date of the death of Hatton's mother is not known, nor whether she remarried after the death of William Hatton. On his father's side, it is said that the pedigree of Hatton is 'traced beyond records'. In the reign of Henry VII, Henry Hatton of Quisty Birches in Cheshire married Elizabeth, the sole heiress of William Holdenby of Holdenby, Northamptonshire. Their son, John Hatton, settled at Holdenby, and had three sons, of whom Sir Christopher Hatton's father, William, was the eldest. Sir Christopher Hatton is said to have had two brothers, Thomas and William, and a sister, Dorothy (d.1569), who married firstly, John Newport (d.1566) of Hunningham, Warwickshire, and secondly, William Underhill (d.1570) of Idlicote, Warwickshire, whose son, also named William Underhill (d.1597), sold New Place to William Shakespeare.[6] In 1567 Sir Christopher Hatton's brother, Thomas, married John Newport's sister, Ursula Newport.[7] However it appears that Hatton's two brothers both died relatively young, and neither left issue, and it was his sister Dorothy's son by John Newport who eventually became Hatton's heir.[8][3]
  1. ^ a b Nicolas 1847, p. 2.
  2. ^ a b c MacCaffrey 2004.
  3. ^ a b Metcalfe 1887, p. 27.
  4. ^ Richardson I 2011, p. 402.
  5. ^ Agutter 2010, pp. 288–9.
  6. ^ Stopes 1907, pp. 127-32.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Nicolas 1847, pp. 1–2.
  9. ^ Nicolas 1847, p. 3.
  10. ^ Nicolas 1847, p. 4.
  11. ^ Nicolas 1847, pp. 4–5.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Chisholm 1911, p. 63.
  13. ^ Nicolas 1847, pp. 5–6, 13.
  14. ^ Nicolas 1847, pp. 38–9.
  15. ^ Nicolas 1847, pp. 36, 39.
  16. ^ Nicolas 1847, pp. 7–9, 13.
  17. ^ Nicolas 1847, p. 15.
  18. ^ Nicolas 1847, pp. 25–8.
  19. ^ Nicolas 1847, pp. 8, 13.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Chisholm 1911, p. 64.
  21. ^ Holdenby Palace website
  22. ^ Deacon 2008, p. 213.



Further reading[edit]

  • Howard, Joseph Jackson, ed. (1868). Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica I. London: Hamilton Adams. p. 159. 
  • Thompson, EM, ed. (1878). Correspondence of the Family of Hatton, being chiefly Letters addressed to Christopher, first Viscount Hutton, 1601–1704. London. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire
Title next held by
The Lord Burghley
Preceded by
Henry Ashley
Vice-Admiral of Dorset
Succeeded by
Sir Carew Raleigh
Preceded by
Sir Francis Knollys
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
Succeeded by
Henry Goodier
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Bromley
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
In Commission
Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Bromley
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
Succeeded by
The Lord Buckhurst

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Hatton — Please support Wikipedia.
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15644 videos foundNext > 

Christopher Hatton Paradise trail

Paradsie trail 2006.

NYRF 2011 - Christopher Hatton: Greensleeves?

The only thing funnier than the song is Paul's reaction to it. Christopher Hatton performs "Greensleeves" (sort of) during Pub Sing at the New York Renaissan...

Sterling Renaissance Festival 2013 - Queen's Duel: Christopher Hatton vs. William Dudley

Sir Christopher Hatton spars with Sir William Dudley at the Queen's Duel in a battle of wits, verse, and steel.

Christopher Hatton: Coachman's Whip (with the Rascals and Rogues)

Fort Tryon Medieval Festival: http://www.whidc.org/home.html I once took a job as a coachman My money was paid in advance I then took a trip down to London F...

Sir Christopher Hatton Academy Year 11 Leavers 2008-2013

The Yr 11 Leavers Assembly.

Christopher Hatton: Hexhamshire Lass (with the Rascals and Rogues)

If you wish to see Christopher Hatton perform, he may be found at the Fool'f Stage at 12 noon and at the Blue Boar Inn at 2 pm. You will find the Rascals and...

Christopher Hatton: Matona Mia Cara (with the Royal Crown Madrigals)

If you wish to see Christopher Hatton perform, he may be found at the Fool'f Stage at 12 noon and at the Blue Boar Inn at 2 pm. You will find the Rascals and...

NYRF 2011 - Christopher Hatton: The Smith

NY Ren Faire 2011 - Christopher Hatton: the smith.

NYRF 2011 Christopher Hatton Cruiskeen Lawn

NYRF 2011 - Christopher Hatton Fire Ship

15644 videos foundNext > 

5 news items

Northamptonshire Telegraph
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:14:12 -0700

It was then finished by Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor and a favourite courtier of the queen. With such regal connections, I knew we'd be in for a great visit when I took my two eldest children. We arrived mid-morning and were welcomed with ...

Northamptonshire Telegraph

Northamptonshire Telegraph
Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:56:15 -0700

Students at Sir Christopher Hatton Academy and Weavers Academy in Wellingborough, as well as Montsaye Academy in Rothwell, will be taking part in a workshop to design their team's shirt to be produced and donated by Canterbury, the official kit ...

Birmingham Post

Birmingham Post
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 20:56:15 -0700

... man's expertise in matters genealogical, scholastic and heraldic brought him a marvellous array of exotic titles: Pursuivant extraordinary, Blanch Lyon, Rouge Croix, Norroy, and Garter Principal King of Arms. Sir Christopher Hatton was his friend ...

Northamptonshire Telegraph

Northamptonshire Telegraph
Sat, 16 Aug 2014 03:52:30 -0700

The sporty pair, both educated at Sir Christopher Hatton School, are both also members of Kettering Harriers. Mum Janet said she is very proud of both sons, who are fulfilling a long-term ambition. The two begin a 32-week training course at Lympstone ...
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 04:01:04 -0700

Dynamic Brands is the parent company of Bag Boy and is located in Richmond, Va. Also in the Dynamic Brands portfolio are Burton®, Pivotal, Riksha, Datrek®, Devant® and Sir Christopher Hatton®. For information on Bag Boy visit www.bagboy.com or call ...

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