Who was Robert Hooke's neice?

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Friday, November 5, 2021 Under: Victorian

Who was Robert Hooke's neice?

Who was Robert Hooke's neice? Grace Hooke was the daughter of Grocer John Hooke and his wife Elizabeth. She was baptised on 2nd May 1660 at Newport parish church. She grew up in a large substantial property on Newport High Street. On 16th October 1668 her father John Hooke (brother of Robert Hooke) became Mayor of Newport. ​​John Hooke started to borrow money from his brother Robert during the 1670's. Robert, was not a big spender and was sensible with his own money, kept an account of his brother's debts. It was at around this time that John sent his daughter, Grace Hooke, to live with her uncle Robert Hooke in London. The reason isn't explicit. Had he hoped that his brother would secure Grace with a wealthy and reputable husband, and that London would be a better pool for such a husband? Or did he want to minimise his own household expenditure? While Grace is living in London, John regularly sends a supply of groceries such as geese, hares, fowls, grapes and local honey as well as the occasional monetary payment for board and lodgings and Grace's pocket money. He taught her book-binding, they went on walks together across the fields to the north of Moorfields or traveled on the Thames. ​​By the time Robert started his diary in 1672, Grace was already living with him. In 1676, Robert has become intimate with his own niece, Grace. On 4th June, he wrote in his diary "slept with Grace". More entries of a similar nature were made throughout that year and the following. But by 13th December 1676, Hooke wrote "Grace out. I resolvd to rid my self of her". In 1679 Grace contracted smallpox and was still living with her uncle. Robert J Lloyd's book The Bloodless Boy is set during the time Grace is living with Robert Hooke. Se I asked: What do we know about Grace Hooke? Robert Lloyd: Grace Hooke was his brother John's daughter. She came from the Isle of White and stayed with him. They seem to have had a physical relationship. So under the laws of incess, that was actually a capital crime. She moved to Hooke's quarters in Gresham...What quite went on it doesn't detail. Obviously this was kept secret. It only appears in Hooke's diary.... It's a strange relationship. It was a very loving relationship. Hooke had physical relationships with most of the women that worked for him including Nell Young. If you look at the diary of Hook, Mary Robinson is an exception to that. Mary Robinson becomes a main character in my book. Hook has a shorthand for describing his orgasms in his diary, which was quite amusing when they, when they turn up. He just used the sign of Pisces, but how he achieved Pisces is open for the imagination. For one thing he had a very hunched back, so it must have been problematic. Quite how Pisces was achieved we will never know. What happened to Grace Hooke? Grace lived with her uncle Robert Hooke as his housekeeper and live-in companion until her death in 1687 at the age of 27. I haven't been able to confirm where Grace is buried. You can hear more about Robert Hooke in episode 70 of our London History podcast. Listen Now: https://londonguidedwalks.co.uk/070-robert-hooke The Isle of Wight History Centre https://www.iwhistory.org.uk/RM/hooke/sggg.htm

In : Victorian 


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