HELE, John (1626-61), of Flanchford, Reigate, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. 3 Mar. 1626, o.s. of Nicholas Hele of Wembury, Devon and Easton in Gordano, Som. by 1st w. Dorothy, da. and h. of Edmund Stradling of Easton in Gordano. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1642; L. Inn 1644, called 1652. m. Dorothy, da. and coh. of Sir John Hobart, 2nd Bt.†, of Blickling, Norf., wid. of his cos. Sir John Hele of Clifton Maybank, Dorset, and of Hugh Rogers of Cannington, Som., s.p. suc. fa. 1640.1
J.p. Surr. 1659-d., commr. for militia 1659, Mar. 1660, assessment Jan. 1660-d., col. of militia ft. Apr. 1660; commr. for oyer and terminer, Home circuit July 1660.2
Hele’s father, the sixth son of a successful lawyer from the old Devon family, married an heiress and sat for Liskeard in 1621 and 1624. In accordance with his last wishes, Hele’s wardship was bought for 1,000 marks by his cousin, one of the Cavalier leaders in Dorset, whose rich widow he was later to marry. He was educated for the legal profession, but it is not clear whether he practised. He had bought the manor of Flanchford by 1656, and sat for Reigate in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament. He was re-elected in 1660 and marked by Lord Wharton as a friend, though his known associates, such as Lord Falkland (Henry Carey), were all Royalists. A moderately active Member of the Convention, he made no recorded speeches, but was named to 15 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges and those for cancelling all grants under the great seal since 1642, and for recommending poll-tax rates. On 30 May he acted as teller against agreeing to the Lords’ amendments to the bill for continuing judicial proceedings. He was among those appointed to hear the petition from the intruded Oxford dons on 25 June and to prepare for a conference on three orders issued by the House of Lords on 4 July. In the second session he helped to consider bills to prevent profane swearing and marital separations. He died intestate on 25 Jan. 1661 before the next general election. His widow, who married the courtier Lord Crofts as her fourth husband ‘after six weeks’ mourning’, renounced probate, and administration was granted on 18 Feb. 1661 to his nephew, the younger brother of Sir Humphrey Hooke, who sold Flanchford to Sir Cyril Wyche for £8,400.3