John Hildrop
Born30 December 1682
Died18 January 1756 (1756-01-19) (aged 73)
OccupationCleric, writer

John Hildrop (30 December 1682 – 18 January 1756) was an English cleric, known as a religious writer and essayist. Hildrop authored one of the earliest works on animal rights.


Hildrop was born in Petersfield, Hampshire, the son of William Hildrop.[1] He was educated at St John's College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. on 7 July 1702, M.A. on 8 June 1705, B.D. and D.D. on 9 June 1743.[2]

On 14 April 1703 Hildrop was presented to the mastership of the Marlborough Royal Free Grammar School by Thomas Bruce, 2nd Earl of Ailesbury; he was also rector of Maulden, Bedfordshire. He resigned the mastership on 4 December 1733, and the rectory on 23 March 1734. On 13 April 1734 he was instituted to the rectory of Wath-juxta-Ripon on the presentation of Charles, Lord Bruce, whose chaplain he was.[2]

In 1740 Hildrop became one of the regular contributors to the Weekly Miscellany. He died on 18 January 1756. He was a friend and correspondent of Zachary Grey.[2]

Animal rights

Hildrop authored Thoughts Upon the Brute-Creation, in 1742. The book aimed to defend animals against abuse and to demonstrate their place in Biblical creation. The book strongly criticized and rejected the view held by French Jesuit Guillaume-Hyacinthe Bougeant that animals have no reason, moral status or souls.[3]

It has been described as the "earliest premodern zoophile treatise" and "one of the earliest pleas for animal rights".[3][4]


Under the pseudonyms "Phileleutherus Britannicus" and "Timothy Hooker", and anonymously, Hildrop published satirical essays, mainly directed against the Deists. Some of these were reprinted as The Miscellaneous Works of John Hildrop, D.D., London, 1754, 2 vols. and comprise:[2]

Other work by Hildrop are:[2]


  1. ^ Levin, Adam Jacob. "Hildrop, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13262. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c d e Lee, Sidney, ed. (1891). "Hildrop, John" . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 26. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  3. ^ a b Bekoff, Marc; Meaney, Carron A. (1998). Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare. Routledge. p. 188. ISBN 1-57958-082-3
  4. ^ Perkins, David. (2003). Romanticism and Animal Rights. Cambridge University Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-521-82941-0

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1891). "Hildrop, John". Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 26. London: Smith, Elder & Co.