On five occasions in the course of a dozen years from 1710 to 1722 Charles Hornby appeared in print as an able and apparently widely-read tory pamphleteer. He was twice imprisoned in Newgate between 1715 and 1717 and indicted for seditious libel, although, after successive postponements, the prosecution appears to have been dropped. Hornby’s pamphlets provide an important source for understanding the interpretation of the recent history and the political ideas that underpinned the organisation of the tory party in the early eighteenth century. He was also an important collector of manuscript and printed material not only about politics but also on the history of Islam. His significance as a figure on the informal political scene has been noted by a number of historians, yet almost nothing has been known about him and his identity has been the subject of some confusion. This article presents a brief survey of his life and career, providing an essential context for an appreciation of his published works.