HALL, Francis (by 1476-1534), of Grantham, Lincs.
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Family and Education
Alderman, Grantham in 1504; commr. subsidy, Lincs. (Lindsey, Kesteven) 1512, (Kesteven) 1514, 1515, 1523, 1524; j.p.Lincs. (Kesteven) 1514-d.; servant of Duke of Suffolk by 1518.3
Francis Hall was the son of a prosperous merchant of the staple of Calais. Despite an impressive Elizabethan pedigree tracing the family back to the Conquest, its origins must be regarded as uncertain, what is clear is that by the close of the 15th century Thomas Hall had become one of the leading men of Grantham. He lived in an imposing town house which, partially rebuilt, is still to be seen: in 1503 Margaret Tudor stayed there for two days on her progress north to Scotland to marry James IV.4
In 1497 Francis Hall joined his father, his younger brother John and others in establishing a chantry in the chapel of St. Catherine which Thomas Hall had earlier ‘caused to be made’ on the north side of the church of St. Wulfram in Grantham: the chapel remains, but Thomas Hall’s tomb, placed there in 1504 or 1505, has disappeared. It was in 1497, too, that father and son purchased two Lincolnshire manors from John Markham for 500 marks: the indenture of the transaction shows that Francis Hall had already adopted his father’s career as a merchant of the staple. By 1504 he was serving as alderman of Grantham, an office equivalent to a mayoralty elsewhere; during his term he helped to secure a confirmation of the borough charter, but in the absence of records it is not possible to trace his municipal career.