Lot 4
  • 4

Rochester, Laurence Hyde, First Earl of

2,000 - 3,000 GBP
8,125 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Two autograph manuscript meditations, on the death of his wife
  • ink on paper
the first taking as its text Lamentations 3:22 ("It is of the Lords mercy that we are not consumed, because his compassion faile not"), a poignant search for solace in the immediate aftermath of her death ("...It was of the Lords mercy that I was not consumed this day, when the comfort of my life was taken from me when her breath, went out of her Nostrills, and she grew cold, as I was holding her hands..."), 17 pages, folio, dated Cornbury, 12 April 1686, stab-stitched in paper wrappers, tears at stab-holes; the second with memories of his wife and melancholy reflections on the state of the nation under William and Mary ("...What is become even of the most glorious of all this Kings actions, since his comeing to the Throne, I mean his triumphant victory at the Boyne, by which it seemed once as if he had entirely conquer'd that Kingdome and established the rest..."), 12 numbered pages, folio, dated New Park, 12 April 1691, stab stitched in paper wrappers


This is one of 22 lots that have been removed from Holywell House, Hampshire, the home of the Villiers family, Earls of Clarendon. They chiefly relate to the life and careers of two contemporaries: Henry Hyde, Viscount Cornbury (1710-53), and Thomas Villiers (1709-86), created successively Baron Hyde of Hindon (1756) and Earl of Clarendon (1776).

Cornbury was the last heir to the Earldom of Clarendon that had been created for the statesman and historian Edward Hyde (1609-1674). Cornbury had Jacobite sympathies but was MP for the University of Oxford – with which his family had powerful connections – from 1732 until 1751. He became disillusioned with politics in the later 1740s and spent his final years in France. Cornbury counted Pope and Swift amongst his friends, and was himself the author of pamphlets and at least two plays (see lots 6 and 7). He died, unmarried, in Paris in 1753. Most of Cornbury’s property was inherited by his niece, Charlotte (née Capel). Thomas Villiers, second son of the Earl of Jersey, was her husband. Villiers had spent the 1730s and ‘40s as a diplomat mostly in the German-speaking world (none of his diplomatic papers are included in this offering) and, following his retirement from the diplomatic service, he entered government in the 1760s. As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1771-82 and 1783-86), Clarendon was in Cabinet during the American War of Independence (see lots 14-19).

Catalogue Note

Laurence Hyde, first Earl of Rochester (1642-1711), was the second son of Edward, Earl of Clarendon. His loyalty to the Church of England led to his falling out with James II before the Glorious Revolution, but as a high churchman he increasingly associated himself with the Tory party after 1688. In 1665 Hyde married Henrietta Boyle, daughter of Richard, Earl of Burlington. She died on 12 April 1686 (the date of the first of these manuscript meditations).