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Picture John Hackett
HACKET, JOHN (1592-1670), bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, was born in London and educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge. On taking his degree he was elected a fellow of his college, and soon afterwards wrote the comedy of Loiola (London, 1648), which was twice performed before James I. He was ordained in 1618, and through the influence of John Williams (1582-1650) became rector in 1621 of Stoke Hammond, Bucks, and Kirkby Underwood, Lincolnshire. In 1623 he was chaplain to James, and in 1624 Williams presented him to the livings of St Andrews, Holborn, and Cheam, Surrey. When the so-called root-and-branch bill was before parliament in 1641, Hacket was selected to plead in the House of Commons for the continuance of cathedral establishments. In. 1645 his living of St Andrews was sequestered, but he was allowed to retain the rectory of Cheam. On the accession of Charles II. his fortunes improved; he frequently preached before the king, and in 1661 was consecrated bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. His best-known book is the excellent biography of his patron, Archbishop Williams, entitled Scrinia reserata: a Memorial offered to the great Deservings of John Williams, D.D. (London, 1693).
The motto of this worthy prelate ["Serve God and be chearful"] was perfectly adapted to his character. He was pious and humane, learned and eloquent, and highly esteemed by all that knew him. As his temper was naturally lively, these advantages still added to his innate chearfulness, and rendered him the happy man that he appeared to be. He was chaplain in ordinary to James I. who preferred him to the rectories of St. Andrew's, Holbourn, and Cheam in Surrey. He was in the next reign promoted to a prebend and residentiary's place in the church of St. Paul, London; but was soon after forced to quit that, and his rectory of St. Andrew's, which he recovered at the Restoration. He was, the year after, advanced to the bishopric of Lichfield and Coventry. He caused the magnificent cathedral, which Dr. Plot calls "the finest public building in England," to be repaired and beautified, at the expence of 20,000 l. He wrote, during his retirement with his pupil Sir John Byron, at Newstede Abbey, his Latin comedy, entitled, "Loyola," which was twice acted before James I. His "Sermons," and his "Life of Archbishop Williams," to whom he was domestic chaplain, were published after his decease. The former are too much in the style of bishop Andrews; the latter is thought to be too favourable to the character of the archbishop. But this is not to be wondered at, as it is as difficult for a good natured and grateful person to speak ill of his friend and patron, as it is to speak of himself. Ob. 28 Oct, 1670, Æt. 78.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.