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John Hampden (1594-1643)
John Hampden, cousin of Oliver Cromwell, was a key figure in the English Civil War Movement. The Hampden family had lived at Great Hampden in the Chilterns since before the Norman Conquest. Known as ‘The Patriot,’ he championed the rights of the common people of England against the tyranical rule of King Charles I. Hampden’s famous stand against Ship Tax in 1635, whereby he refused to pay the naval tax, when it was extended by the King to inland counties without parliamentary consultation, resulted in a great moral victory even though he lost the case. It arroused great public interest and ultimately resulted in the King recalling parliament after an 11 year interval.
John Hampden died in a battle against Prince Rupert at Chalgrove Field in 1643. His lifelong friend Arthur Goodwin said of him “He was a gallant man, an honest man, an able man, and take all, I know not any man living second… I would lay it to the heart that God takes away the best among us.”
Hampden is buried at the Church of St Mary Magdelene in Great Hampden, his family’s home. A statue of him stands in Aylesbury town centre and in 2002 the Bucks Free Press named him Bucks Greatest Person.
Written by Joseph Antippa, Food and Beverage Manager at The Bull