Set in the wooded Chiltern Hills of South Buckinghamshire, Hampden House was the seat of three important English noble families for six and half centuries and several notable personalities occupied the house during its long history.
The house takes its name from John Hampden of the old knightly family who lay its foundations in circa 1350. The most celebrated member of this family line is without doubt John Hampden of the Jacobean era (1594-1643). In 1637 he became an outspoken critic of Charles I arbitrary government when refused to pay ‘ship money’ tax, for which he stood trial using the defence that the tax was illegal not having been granted by Parliament. Hampden's reputation rests on his reasoned opposition to the Crown in Parliament but was cemented by his tragic death. He died in 1643 after his pistol exploded in his hand whilst on the battlefield fighting Prince Rupert’s raiding force on Chalgrove Field making him a martyr of the parliamentarian cause.
Richard Hampden (1674-1728), great grandson of John Hampden, also perused a political career and regularly sat in Parliament during the reign of Queen Anne and George I. He was appointed Treasurer of the Navy in 1718. In 1720 he was accused of embezzling public founds as his Navy accounts were out £74,000 following the collapse of the South Sea bubble. Half his lands were sold by Act of Parliament and his younger brother John inherited Hampden in 1728. He died in 1754 and was the last of the Hampden line, having never recovered the family fortune following his brothers misdemeanours.
Hampden then passed to a cousin, Robert Hampden-Trevor (1706-1783) who became 4th Baron Trevor in 1764 and was elevated to 1st Viscount Hampden in 1776. A diplomat, gentleman architect and avid collector he perhaps the most likely candidate of Hampden's occupants to have acquired the present globes.
In 1824, George Robert Hobart-Hampden, 5th Earl of Buckinghamshire inherited Hampden House and its estates from the heirless Hampden-Trevor line. The 5th Earl then joined the Hampden name to his own and the house was subsumed into the Earl’s of Buckinghamshire’s estates. The present globes are listed in the 1887 inventories of Hampden and could have conceivably descended through the Earl’s of Buckinghamshire. The house and its contents, including the globes, were eventually sold in 1939.
Senex was a cartographer and engraver who worked in London from 1702. In 1728, Senex was made a Fellow of the Royal Society, and after this date added the abbreviation 'F.R.S.' after his name. After his death James Ferguson acquired the Senex copper plates for the gores at auction in 1755. He amended them but unfortunately due to mounting debts was forced to sell. The plates then passed to Benjamin Martin in 1756 and subsequently to Dudley Adams who also published a new edition of Senex's globe.
Senex rightly deserves a prominent position in the history of globe making and re-discoveries such as the present pair of table globes will only serve to strengthen our appreciation of his full significance and important contribution to the field.
For a comparable pair of 27 inch Terrestrial and Celestial globes, formerly property of the Earl of Hardwicke (1690-1764) of Wimpole Hall, see those in the collection at Greenwich Museum, London (GLBO 138 and GLBO 139).
 Illustrated and discussed in detail in Dekker, E., Globes at Greenwich, Ghent, 1999, pp. 120-124 and 491-495, figs. 9.75-9.89.
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