The Earl of Buckinghamshire at the Society's 20th anniversary service in Great Hampden Church

The Ship Money monument at Prestwood

The Palace of Westminster in the 17th century

Pyrton Manor, home of John Hampden's first wife

The former Lord Williams's Grammar School, Thame

The Earl of Buckinghamshire at the 350th anniversary ceremony in Thame

St Mary Magdalene church, Great Hampden

Charles I tries to arrest the Five Members in the House of Commons

John Hampden's funeral in 1643

Arthur Goodwin, Hampden's lifelong friend

The Great Hall at Hampden House

St Mary Magdalene church and Hampden House

Hampden's regiment marching through Thame

Reputation

Part IV – REPUTATION

Hampden’s reputation continued to grow in the centuries after his death, occasionally in quite surprising ways. Not only were towns in the USA, New Zealand and Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) named after him but so to were an electric locomotive on the London Underground and a WW2 RAF bomber. Scotland’s national soccer team plays its international home matches at Hampden Park whose name originally derived from a street called Hampden Terrace that was named for the Patriot.

Hampden Park Stadium

Hampden Park Stadium

"John Hampden" Electric Locomotive No. 5

“John Hampden” Electric Locomotive No. 5

After the Restoration the Whig/Country faction adopted Hampden as a proto-martyr for the radical cause of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary government.

The American Colonists were well aware that they were following in Hampden’s footsteps with their rebellion against the Crown. The rallying cry of “no taxation without representation” was first used in a letter to a Boston newspaper signed ‘John Hampden’. The Hampden-Sydney College of Virginia preserves this connection in its name and traditions.

During the American War of Independence a ship called the ‘Hampden’ operated as a privateer attacking British merchant shipping. In March 1779 the ‘Hampden’ sailing out of Brest encountered the ‘Bridgewater’ a well armed British East Indiaman in mid-Atlantic. The ensuing battle lasted three and a half hours. Both ships were severely damaged but managed to reach their home ports. The battle was immortalised in a painting by Francis Holman commissioned by the Captain of the ‘Bridgewater’ William Parker. This painting is the second earliest representation of the American flag in art and the oldest in maritime art.

In the early nineteenth century several British cities saw the formation of political associations known as Hampden Clubs to discuss much needed constitutional reform. This use of Hampden’s name drew on the memory of his role in the re-enfranchisement of three Buckinghamshire boroughs. It is ironic that Hampden’s own Wendover seat had become a notoriously “rotten borough” and was disenfranchised even before the 1832 Reform Act so that its two seats could be reallocated to Manchester.

Dr Lucy Worsley at Hampton Court Palace

Dr Lucy Worsley at Hampton Court Palace

In the early years of the twentieth century the campaign for women’s suffrage developed into a broad mass movement.

One group, the Women’s Tax Resistance League, adopted Hampden as their figurehead. They saw in his stand against the illegal Ship Money Tax a precursor of their own struggle not to pay taxes imposed by a Government that they could neither help elect nor be members of.

Hampden’s reputation also inspired literary works by poets and writers, most famously Thomas Gray’s ‘Elegy written in a Country Church Yard’ and Mary Shelley’s’ Frankenstein’.

Hampden's statue in Parliament

Hampden’s statue in Parliament

Hampden’s statue stands at the entrance to the Central Lobby in the modern Houses of Parliament. It is sited close to the spot from which Speaker Lenthall addressed the King when he came to arrest Hampden and the other five members in 1642.

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