HALLE, John II (d.1434), of Pebsham and Hellingly, Suss.
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Family and Education
yr. s. of Richard Halle of East Hoathly, Suss. and bro. of John Halle, senior (d.1421).2 m.(1) bef. Mich. 1399, Katherine (d.c.1403), da. and h. of Edmund Rivers of Burgate, Hants, wid. of William Lekhull, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) bef. Nov. 1404, Margaret (c.1391-aft. 1439), da. and coh. of Richard Hurst (d.1400) of Pebsham by his w. Margery, s.p.
Commr. of inquiry, Suss. Dec. 1404 (Tregoz estates), June 1409, July 1411 (eviction), Feb. 1421 (theft of wine); to hold an assize of novel disseisin , Dorset, Hants Feb. 1405; of sewers, Suss. June 1408, Kent, Suss. Feb. 1418, June 1421, Suss. Feb., Oct. 1422, May 1423, Kent, Suss. Mar. 1432, Suss. Nov. 1433; array May 1415; oyer and terminer Feb. 1420; arrest May 1425; to assess contributions to a parlty. grant Apr. 1431.3
Escheator, Surr. and Suss. ?9 Dec. 1408-7 Nov. 1409, 13 Nov. 1423-26 Feb. 1424.
Jt. dep. butler in ports from Wittering, Suss. to Romney, Kent 28 Apr. 1410-3 Dec. 1411.
Tax collector, Suss. Dec. 1414, Nov. 1415.
Abp. Chichele’s bailiff of Stoneham, Suss. from 10 Mar. 1421.4
J.p. Suss. 12 Feb. 1422-July 1424.
The Halles came from east Sussex, where they held ‘Bentleys’ in East Hoathly, as well as property at Laughton. John’s father died before 1404 when his widow, Agnes, placed the manor of West Preston and a number of other properties in the hands of trustees, who included John himself; but there is no evidence to indicate that either he or his elder brother and namesake ever inherited these particular holdings, which were perhaps Agnes’s own.5 For the most part the future shire knight, being a younger son, had to look to his own resources for the acquisition of land. He was mainly successful through his two marriages. His first wife, Katherine Rivers, the direct descendant of John, Lord Rivers (d.c.1322) of Essex, had in 1391 won her claim to the overlordship of the manor of Nether Burgate and the hundred of Fordingbridge in Hampshire, subject to the payment by her and her then husband, William Lekhull, of £200 in instalments, only for the property to be handed over to one of Lekhull’s creditors two years afterwards. Halle had married her by September 1399 when an inquiry held as to her title to the manor of Lantyan in Cornwall resulted in the removal of John, earl of Salisbury, from possession. The Halles long encountered obstacles in securing Katherine’s estates in Hampshire: Sir Richard Burley’s widow continued to press her suit, and in 1402 the Halles petitioned the Commons to complain that Sir Richard Arundel and his men had forcibly evicted them from Burgate, by an armed raid in which goods worth £190 11s., title deeds, bonds in £260 and £10 in money had been stolen, and one of their servants bound and thrown into the Avon. Halle subsequently brought an assize of novel disseisin against Arundel, eventually, after considerable delays, securing a successful judgement. After his wife’s death he retained her estates ‘by the courtesy’ they having had issue a son named Drew. He enjoyed an annual income of about £16 from Lantyan and £40 from Burgate.6 Halle’s second marriage, to young Margaret Hurst, brought him the manor of Pebsham in Bexhill and land at Hastings and elsewhere. From 1407 he paid his mother-in-law an annual pension of £10, but the estate provided profits of at least £10 a year more. In later years Halle made his home at Hellingly, perhaps acquired by purchase, and before his death he seems to have come into certain of the family holdings at East Hoathly too.7
Halle’s early career is sometimes difficult to disentangle from that of his elder brother, especially as both Johns were active in local administration. There can be no doubt, however, that the younger man was a talented lawyer well regarded by the gentry of Sussex and Hampshire, and frequently sought after as a trustee of landed property. His training ended in the early 1390s, and for a while his practice seems to have been based at the Exchequer. In 1395 he shared with Henry Michelgrove’s widow the wardship and marriage of her as yet unborn heir, acting at the same time as her attorney in securing the assignment of dower. More important, a year later he was associated with the treasurer of the Exchequer, Roger Walden, as a feoffee of the reversion of the manor of Laughton and the hundred of Shiplake (close to his home in Sussex) to the use of Guy Mone, the keeper of the privy seal. Halle was to stand surety at the Exchequer for Mone, raised to be bishop of St. Davids, early in 1399. He relinquished his interest in Laughton to the influential (Sir) John Pelham* two years later, after the countess of Oxford had assigned Sir John the lease. This was not Halle’s first or only encounter with Pelham, who was related to his sister-in-law, and in years to come they were to be often recorded in association with each other. It may be surmised that Halle sometimes acted for Pelham in his legal affairs — perhaps even as steward of Laughton as he was to do for his widow.8 In 1408 he provided mainprise for Pelham at the Exchequer, and two years later the two men shared a moiety of the manor of Highden as conveyed to them by John Reymes*. Together with Sir John, in 1411 Halle was made a feoffee of the estates of (Sir) Roger Fiennes*, once Pelham’s ward, a trust with which he remained concerned even after Pelham’s death in 1429.9
Yet it was not to Henry IV’s friend that Halle owed his post as deputy butler of various of the ports of Sussex and Kent in 1410-11, for this was in the gift of the chief butler, Thomas Chaucer*, cousin to Bishop Beaufort of Winchester. A personal acquaintance with Beaufort may have been behind it, for the identity of several of Halle’s associates indicates close links between him and the diocesan estate administration at Winchester. For instance, in 1412, jointly with Sir Thomas Brounflete, the treasurer of the King’s household, he obtained the wardship of the heirs of Thomas Childrey*, former steward of the estates of the bishopric, and that same year he went surety for Henry Popham*, who had been involved in the late Bishop Wykeham’s foundation of Winchester college. Nevertheless, links with Pelham also worked to Halle’s advantage, especially when Sir John was treasurer of the Exchequer in the final year of Henry IV’s reign, for besides the Childrey wardship he then also secured custody of estates once held by Robert Tauk*.10
The Halles had long been connected with their neighbours, the Ashburnhams, and in 1417 John and his elder brother were enfeoffed by John Ashburnham* in the reversionary interest in four manors in Sussex and Kent which their friend expected to inherit. However, while the younger Halle was attending Parliament that November Ashburnham died, and his son forcibly entered one of the properties, stealing title deeds and valuables. Halle had to petition the chancellor, Bishop Langley, for redress. This was just the beginning of litigation over the Ashburnham estates: in May 1419 the Halle brothers were bound in 1,000 marks to the chancellor to ensure that they would hand over to Ashburnham’s executors the sum of money they had received from Pelham in exchange for their interest in the manor of Ewhurst, and to restore any sums unduly spent by them. In 1421 they sold three of the Ashburnham manors. Meanwhile, Halle junior had also taken on the onerous task of executorship of the will of John Fromond (d.1420), steward of Winchester college, a commitment which involved the sale of certain of Fromond’s estates to provide for the building of his chantry. As a consequence, over the next 11 years he was party to a number of lawsuits, including one in Chancery in which he prosecuted a fellow trustee of the Fromond lands, the Hampshire j.p., Richard Wallop*.11
Halle was serving as Archbishop Chichele’s bailiff of Stoneham at the time of his second return to Parliament in 1421, following an election conducted by his own brother as sheriff of Sussex. Much of his time in the 1420s was devoted, too, to the affairs of Thomas St. Cler, the wealthy former ward of Sir John Pelham. He undertook to be a trustee of the St. Cler estates, spread over 12 counties, and found himself committed financially in the young man’s ventures. Before long he must have had occasion to regret the association; for St. Cler brought actions against him in the lawcourts, perhaps in connexion with the mortgage Halle held over his principal manor, and in 1427 Halle feared that St. Cler was seeking to have him murdered. He formally agreed to relinquish his interest in the estates if so required, while reserving the right of re-entry if he was personally assaulted. As it happened, he continued to have control over St. Cler’s holdings as a trustee, and also obtained from him the tenancy for life of the manor of Exceat. Their final estrangement was deferred until 1430, when Halle’s suit against St. Cler for payment of a bond for £1,000 resulted in the defendant’s imprisonment.12
In the next two years, besides acting for Pelham’s widow as steward of Laughton, for a fee of five marks a year, Halle held positions of trust on behalf of Henry Popham’s widow and Nicholas Carew*.13 He himself could call on such dignitaries as Robert, Lord Poynings and John Preston*, j.c.p., to act as feoffees of his own property, and could rely on the former, along with William Sidney† and William Fenningham* to execute his will, which he made on 18 Mar. 1432. He requested burial in Hellingly church, and left ten marks for repairs to ‘Herstbregge’ and a total of £10 6s.8d. to nine named servants. Little more than a year after his death on 20 Mar. 1434, his widow married John Denyssh†.14
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Called ‘junior’ on both return.
- 2. Add. Ch. 30364.
- 3. It is uncertain which of the Halle brothers was appointed to commissions of inquiry, Suss. May 1392, Oct. 1398, Nov. 1409; of sewers, Kent, Surr. Apr. 1399; and to raise royal loans, Suss. Nov. 1419. The elder John was j.p. Suss. Feb. 1407-Apr. 1416, and sheriff Surr. and Suss. from 16 Nov. 1420 until his death in Dec. 1421; PCC 52 Marche; CFR, xiv. 421. Through marriage to Amice (d. 1430), da. and h. of Richard Ore, he acquired the Ore estates in Sussex which together with his own lands gave him an annual income of Â£44 13s. 4d., as assessed in 1412: Reg. Chichele, ii. 455; VCH Suss. ix. 19, 87, 89; Feudal Aids, vi. 526.
- 4. Reg. Chichele, iv. 212.
- 5. Add. Chs. 30219-21, 30223, 30225; CP25(1)240/81/10; HMC De L’Isle, i. 26.
- 6. CP, xi. 12-15; VCH Hants, iv. 569-70; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 194; CIMisc. vii. 99-100; RP, iii. 512; CFR, xii. 198; xv. 206; CCR, 1402-5, pp. 82, 288; Feudal Aids, vi. 450; C131/43/1.
- 7. VCH Suss. ix. 119; C137/21/1; E179/189/64; CCR, 1402-5, p. 529; Suss. Feet of Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii), no. 2978; Add. Chs. 30076-7, 30229.
- 8. Suss. Feet of Fines, no. 2628; CFR, xi. 146, 290; CCR, 1392-6, p. 433; Add. Chs. 30356, 30359, 30362, 30364; CPR, 1396-9, p. 207.
- 9. CPR, 1401-5, p. 104; 1405-8, p. 14; 1408-13, p. 284; 1413-16, p. 133; 1429-36, p. 56; CCR, 1409-13, p. 97.
- 10. CFR, xiii. 233, 245; xiv. 361; CPR, 1408-13, p. 413.
- 11. Suss. Feet of Fines, nos. 2857, 2893; C1/8/17-19, 69/289; CCR, 1419-22, pp. 43, 127, 192; 1422-9, pp. 45, 327; Winchester Coll. muns. Fromond’s chantry 849, 856, 860-1, 9699-700.
- 12. CCR, 1422-9, pp. 119, 212, 319, 326-7, 411, 461, 463, 465; 1429-35, pp. 19, 32, 40; Suss. Arch. Trust, Lewes, Firle Place chs. 236, 238, 240-1; CPR, 1422-9, p. 352.
- 13. Add. Ch. 30378; CCR, 1429-35, p. 189; 1435-41, p. 129; CCR, 1441-7, p. 291.
- 14. Add. Ch. 30229; Reg. Chichele, i. 500-1; C139/64/34; VCH Suss. ix. 119; Suss. Feet of Fines, no. 3024; CCR, 1435-41, p. 111.