HALES, Sir Edward, 2nd Bt. (1626-c.84), of Tunstall Place, Kent and 43 King Street, Covent Garden, Mdx.
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Family and Education
bap. 12 Feb. 1626, o.s. of Sir John Hales† (d.1639) of Woodchurch, Kent by Christian, da. and h. of Sir James Crowmer of Tunstall. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1642. m. by 1645, Anne, da. and coh. of Thomas, 2nd Baron Wotton of Marley, 4s. suc. gdfa. Sir Edward Hales, 1st Bt.†, 6 Oct. 1654.1
J.p. Kent June 1660-d., dep. lt. June 1660-?d., col. of militia ft. July 1660-9, commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-80, sewers, Rother marshes Oct. 1660, Medway marshes Dec. 1660, asst. Rochester Bridge 1661-80, warden 1661, 1668, 1675, commr. for corporations Kent 1662-3, recusants 1675.2
Hales’s ancestors can be traced back in the Tenterden area of Kent to the 14th century. They rose through the law and a series of fortunate marriages, though none of them is known to have entered Parliament before 1605. Hales’s grandfather sat for Queenborough in the Long Parliament and took the chair in the original county committee, but was sent to the Tower as a royalist suspect in 1643 and fined £6,000. Most of the Kentish Royalists were in his debt, and the sharp practice to which he was driven sowed a legacy of hatred for the purse-proud family not finally reaped till 1688. As heir to the greatest fortune in the county, Hales was drawn into the Kentish rising of 1648, of which he was the nominal leader, by his close friend Roger L’Estrange. He escaped to Holland, but in his absence the Tunstall estate was released from sequestration at the cost of £2,000. Returning to England in 1651, he was of course under constant suspicion during the Interregnum. He was several times imprisoned, and after his grandfather’s death paid no less than £604 p.a. as decimation tax.3
As a Cavalier Hales was ineligible for the general election of 1660, but was returned for Maidstone, eight miles from Tunstall, at a by-election. As soon as he had taken his seat he was selected to help raise a loan of £100,000 in the City. He was also appointed to the committee to give parochial status to Covent Garden, where his town house stood, but he was not otherwise active. At the general election he transferred himself to the family seat at Queenborough. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he served on only 13 committees, none of them of political importance. In 1671 he complained of lack of ready money, but it was not until 1677 that he was given a pension of £500 p.a., which was regularly paid till 1679. Shaftesbury changed his assessment of ‘worthy’ to ‘vile’. His name appears as a court supporter on the working lists and apparently in Wiseman’s account, but he was otherwise ignored by the Opposition.4
Hales retained his seat in the first and second Exclusion Parliaments. He was again marked ‘vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list and voted against the bill, but left no other trace on their proceedings. Outside the House he was overshadowed by his son Edward Hales II. In August 1681 he was given a pass for France, where he died between 6 Aug. 1683 and 8 Feb. 1684. It is a natural conjecture that he had become a Roman Catholic like his son, but there is no positive evidence for this.5