HALES, John I (d.1572), of Coventry, Warws. and London.
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Family and Education
s. of John or Thomas Hales of Canterbury, and bro. of Stephen. unm.
Keeper of writs in King’s bench 1537-40; j.p. Mdx., Warws. 1547; enclosure commr. Beds., Berks., Bucks., Leics., Northants., Oxon., Warws. 1548; clerk of first fruits 1537-40; clerk of hanaper 1545-57, from 1559.1
Hales was a junior colleague of Sir Ralph Sadler during the reign of Edward VI. Both men gave up their appointments under Mary, and regained them on the accession of Elizabeth, and it was presumably Sadler, a duchy of Lancaster official and soon (1568) to be chancellor, who had Hales returned in 1563 for Lancaster. His name appears only once in the records of this Parliament, when he was appointed to a committee on kerseys (25 Mar. 1563), but it was his membership of the Commons that ruined him. Sometime during the 1563 session he composed a speech on the succession, maintaining, against a declaration by the archbishop of Canterbury, the validity of Lady Katherine Grey’s marriage to the Earl of Hertford. Lampooned by a fellow-Member as ‘Hales the hottest’, he was put first in the Fleet, then the Tower, remaining in prison for a year, and under house arrest until shortly before his death. In January 1566 he asked to be allowed to attend a case brought against him by someone trying to regain the clerkship of the hanaper, and in February 1568, faced with a demand to appear in Chancery, Hales hoped it might lead to his liberty and God’s ‘divine benefit of the air’ to one ‘whose foot touched not the ground this three months’. He died 26 Dec. 1572, and his will was proved in the following February. The heir was his nephew John, and property in Coventry went to his brothers Stephen and Bartholomew. A house called Hales Place in Coventry was to be sold by the executors to settle debts and to pay legacies including 500 marks to Hales’s niece Lucy, and 100 marks to the overseer, Robert Beale.