The 18th century poet and playwright John Hoadly (1711-1776) was rector of St Mary’s Church, Southampton from 1746. Although he studied law at Cambridge he opted to pursue a career in the church, probably because his father had recently become the Bishop of Winchester and could therefore confer patronage on him. The rectory of St Mary’s was only one of a number of clerical posts to which he was appointed.

He had a lifelong love of the theatre and in his spare time wrote a number of plays, some humorous poetry and music. He was a friend of the actor David Garrick and of the artist William Hogarth. He died at St Mary’s rectory in 1776 and was buried at Winchester Cathedral.

John Hoadley

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by Francis Hayman, 1747

Further reading:
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, Volume 27.


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