John Hacket (1592-1670)

John Hacket studied at Trinity, and became the household chaplain of John Williams after the latter was made Lord Keeper. Williams was to remain his patron and friend. Hacket was made chaplain to James I, after the King visited Cambridge to see Hacket's play Loyola, written as part of the University's entertainment for the Spanish ambassador on a previous visit. When Williams fell from favour Hacket did not suffer, despite defending his master and landing himself in trouble with Archbishop Laud. Hacket visited Williams regularly in the Tower, and eventually ended up writing his biography, published posthumously in 1693. He rode out the Civil War at his rectory in Cheam without dramatic incident, and became Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield soon after the Restoration.

Hacket's gift to the Library

Hacket left his books to the University of Cambridge, and gave £100 to Trinity College Library. He also gave £50 to St John's Library, possibly because of its association with Williams. It is not clear exactly when he did this but it appears to have been after 1661. The money was used to buy a set of books on Byzantine history, printed in France in the 1640s and 50s. The College also holds a copy of Dugdale's History of St Pauls Cathedral (1658), with an inscription to William Dillingham in Hacket's hand.

Provenance markings

The books bought with Hacket's money all bear a gold binding stamp of his arms on both covers, and his arms are in the glass of the Oriel window in the Old Library.