HALE, John (1614-91), of Bowringsleigh, West Alvington, Devon.
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Family and Education
bap. 19 Mar. 1614, 1st s. of John Hale, grocer, of Soper Lane, London and Harmer Green, Welwyn, Herts. by Elizabeth, da. of Humphrey Browne of Essex. m. by 1634, Anne, da. and coh. of Robert Halswell† of Goathurst, Som., 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 1da. suc. fa. 1620.2
Capt. of ft. (parl.) 1642.3
Receiver of tithe, Devon and Cornw. 1655; j.p. Devon 1656-65, 1667-70, 1673-6, commr. for assessment 1657, Jan. 1660-80, militia 1659, Mar. 1660, maj. of militia horse Apr. 1660; commr. for inquiry into Newfoundland govt. 1667.4
Hale came from a cadet branch of the Hertfordshire family. By his marriage he obtained not only an estate in Devon, but a valuable political connexion with Sir John Northcote, who married his wife’s cousin. A parliamentarian officer in the Civil War, he became under the Protectorate the first of the family to enter Parliament. He was re-elected to the Convention for Dartmouth, 15 miles from his home, and was marked on Lord Wharton’s list as a friend. An inactive Member, he was named to only eight committees as ‘Major Hale’ and made no recorded speeches. On 1 Aug. 1660 he was among those ordered to bring in a bill for taking local accounts, and he helped to manage a conference on the poll-tax on 12 Sept. He did not stand again, and was three times removed from the commission of the peace, once for encouraging the constable of West Alvington to flout the jurisdiction of the Admiralty, and twice as a favourer of ‘fanatics’. Presumably he was a conformist Presbyterian. His wife had succeeded to only one-third of the Bowringsleigh estate, but in 1658 he bought another third for £1,350, and in 1675 John Speccot I, the son of the other coheir, agreed to divide the remainder. He may have been the ‘old rebel knave’ who played a prominent part in the country interest at the Devon election of 1681. He died in September 1691, leaving the estate burdened with a portion of £2,500 for his granddaughter, and his surviving son, who had a large family and debts of his own, was obliged to sell out. No other member of this branch of the family entered Parliament.5