The History of  
Hinchingbrooke House  

the Hart of Hinchingbrooke



oliver cromwell

edward montagu


fourth earl

5th-7th earls

Eighth Earl

ninth earl





Captain James Cook 1728-1779

Captain James Cook almost certainly visited Hinchingbrooke in 1771 when he was just about to set out on his second Pacific voyage. The Fourth Earl of Sandwich was one of Cook's greatest sponsors and the names of Hinchingbrooke, nearby Brampton and Sandwich were given to islands in the south seas in recognition.

What evidence is there for Cook's visit to Hinchingbrooke?

Ian Boreham is Editor of the Captain Cook Society

In N.A.M. Rodger's book “The Insatiable Earl, A life of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich" (Harper Collins, 1993) it says on page 121:
that Sandwich “became a friend and supporter of the musical scholar and historian Charles Burney... Dr Burney's son James joined the Navy: in 1771 they were both invited to Hinchingbrooke to meet Captain Cook, then just about to set out on his second Pacific voyage.”

In John Lawrence Abbott's book “John Hawkesworth: Eighteenth-century man of letters” (University of Wisconsin Press, 1982) it says on page 144:
that Burney recommended Hawkesworth to Sandwich to compile a book about various captain's voyages. “Hawkesworth immediately applied whatever pressure he could. On September 18, 1771, he wrote to Burney in great eagerness and some fear that such an opportunity might be missed... The exact date of settlement is not known, but it must have been during September 1771... Hawkesworth [wrote] to Burney on October 6, 1771, from Bromley, Kent 'I am going to spend a week at Lord Sandwich's at Hinchinbrook next week'.”
In Michelle Hetherington's article “John Hamilton Mortimer and the discovery of Captain Cook” (The British Art Journal, 2003, vol. IV, no. 1, pp 69 –77) it is argued that Sandwich commissioned Mortimer to produce a group painting in 1771 and that the subjects are, from left to right, Daniel Solander, Joseph Banks, James Cook, John Hawkesworth and Lord Sandwich.
She believes that all five men were together at Sandwich’s Hichinbrooke House in September 1771 following the return of the voyagers from the South Seas in June, and before Hawkesworth was formally given the commission to edit the voyages

Cook's brilliance as a successful commander and explorer - especially of the south seas - was based on great map-making skills, using limes and fruit (others claim it was sauerkraut) to defeat scurvy, and using accurate time-pieces.It is said he never lost a man to scurvy in all his voyages.

Unlike earlier European explorers, Cook did not set out to conquer the places he visited, nor convert them to Christianity. He recorded their accurate position and drew highly accurate maps. In this century NASA named a space shuttle after Cook's ship Endeavour in recognition of its importance in the history of science.

In addition one of Cook's sons was at Cambridge University and his wife's remains are buried in Cambridge - a mere 12 miles away from Hinchingbrooke.

A memorial tablet, extracts from which are given below, is in the church of St Andrew the Great in Cambridge.


• In an atlas look for references in the South Pacific including New Zealand and the west coast of Australia for references to Sandwich, Hinchingbrooke and Brampton.

• Why would Cook name new territories in this way? How many places are named after Cook himself?


Other Links


National Library of Australia Exhibition 2001

Captain Cook Society

Captain James Cook