HALL, Edmund (by 1519-92), of Greatford, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1519, yr. s. of Francis Hall of Grantham by Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Wingfield of Letheringham, Suff. m. Anne, da. of Sir Christopher Willoughby of Parham, Suff., 7s. 3da.1

Offices Held

Servant of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk by 1540; j.p. Lincs. (Kesteven) 1558/59-d.; commr. musters, Lincs. 1559, 1580, 1586, subsidy (Kesteven) 1576, 1581; commr. eccles. causes, dioceses of Lincoln and Peterborough 1571, Lincoln 1575, other commissions 1555-d.; constable, the staple by 1561.2


Edmund Hall was a younger son of a prosperous Grantham merchant. Like his father he was a servant to the Duke of Suffolk, a merchant of the staple and a Member of Parliament. For a younger son he had unusual success in following his father because his elder brother Francis adopted a military and administrative career at Calais, leaving open the way of advancement through the staple and the ducal service.3

Serving Suffolk came naturally to Hall, for his mother was a cousin of the duke and he was to marry a cousin of the duchess. It was as Suffolk’s servant that in March 1540 Hall was recommended by the duke to Cromwell for a grant of the manor of Greatford, which he already held on lease from the late abbey of Hyde at Winchester: Cromwell soon disappeared from the scene but in January 1541 Hall obtained the chief messuage of the manor, which became his principal residence. He purchased further lands from the augmentations in 1543, and in 1545 he was granted in reversion the receiver-generalship of possessions in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland of various individuals attainted after the Pilgrimage of Grace. In the previous year he had accompanied Suffolk on the expedition to France.4

The first Parliament in which Hall is known to have sat is that of 1545, but his family’s standing in Grantham, and the patronage of the Duke of Suffolk, may have procured his election earlier, in 1536, 1539 or 1542, when the Members for Grantham are not known; indeed, if he was old enough he could have been by-elected to the Parliament of 1529 in place of his father. Even after Suffolk’s death Hall was able to retain his seat in 1547, but in March 1553, when Sir William Cecil asked for the nomination of both Members at Grantham and the 2nd Earl of Rutland asked for one, Hall was not reelected. What part he had played in the proceedings of the Commons is not known.5

In 1552 or 1553 Hall was involved in a Star Chamber suit and a dispute with Cecil over the property of the guild at Baston, near Greatford. Hall’s brother John had been an alderman of the guild and, presumably in an attempt to avoid the Chantries Act, had managed to convert the guild property to his own use. John Hall died about 1552, and Edmund took over the property, said to be worth some £35 a year in rents and £100 movables. Meanwhile George Foster, bailiff of Baston, had lodged a Star Chamber suit alleging that the dissolution of the guild had left without support the guild’s grammar school, founded by Henry VI, and the priests and the poor of the foundation; to complicate matters Cecil, who had obtained the wardship of Hall’s nephew Arthur Hall after the death of his brother Francis, also laid claim to the property. The upshot is not known, but the inclusion of extensive properties at Baston in Hall’s inquisition post mortem suggests that he managed to keep the property.6

After Suffolk’s death in 1545 Hall continued to be associated with the Brandon and Willoughby interests: in 1559 he was to witness the will of Frances, Duchess of Suffolk. Whether the connexion involved him in support of Lady Jane Grey is not known, but it may help to explain why he was not to reappear in Parliament under Mary, as may the Protestant leaning which enabled the bishop of Lincoln to describe him in 1564 as a justice of the peace who was ‘earnest in religion’. His relationship with Cecil seems to have become close and cordial: in 1564 he reported on the progress of building at Burghley House, served as a trustee in a comprehensive reorganization of Cecil’s lands, and advised him about the poor of the staple and the state of the wool trade. Hall, who shipped wool from Boston, had suffered from the loss of Calais and had received various pardons and licences for irregular sales of wool. He was constable of the staple as early as 1561, and a leading figure in drawing up the new ordinance book of 1565. In June 1570 he was one of four persons, Thomas Cecil of Burghley being another, licensed to manufacture kerseys, plant and dress madder, bake earthen vessels and dress leather in Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough. The reign of Elizabeth also saw Hall greatly increase his activity in local administration: it is known, for example, that he sat on at least ten or 12 courts of sewers as late as the year of his death. At the time of the rebellion of 1569, although unable to serve in the field, he was used as ‘a person of very good credit’ to carry messages between the admiral, the 3rd Earl of Sussex, and Cecil, and when it was over he served as a commissioner to survey the lands of those implicated.7

Hall made his will on 20 Oct. 1592 and died on 24 Nov. Some years before his death he had already entered into agreements with his heir apparent Henry and other sons about the distribution of his property, but these arrangements had to be set aside for three years and the estate left with the executors for the payment of debts. It appears that Hall’s fortunes had never wholly recovered from the loss of Calais.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: T. M. Hofmann


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 441-3 where the Member’s christian name is given as Edward.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xv; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 124; 1581-90, p. 331; Add. 1566-79, p. 260; HMC Ancaster, 6, 9; HMC Rutland, i. 109; APC, xii. 60; CPR, 1554-5, p. 109; 1560-3, pp. 29, 218; 1563-6, p. 40; 1566-9, p. 240; 1569-72, pp. 221-2 277-8; 1572-5, pp. 551-2; Lincoln Rec. Soc. liv, pp. lxi-lxii, 19.
  • 3. H. G. Wright, Arthur Hall of Grantham, ch. 1.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xv, xvi, xviii-xx; DKR, ix. 219.
  • 5. Lansd. 3, f. 75.
  • 6. St.Ch.2/19/30; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 45; C142/236/95.
  • 7. APC, v. 284, 375; xi. 259; CPR, 1557-8, p. 300; 1558-60, pp. 24, 372, 411; 1560-3, pp. 20, 25, 29; 1563-6, pp. 137, 186; 1569-72, p. 17; Wills from Doctors’ Commons (Cam. Soc. xxxiii), 56; HMC Hatfield, i. 253-4; Cam. Misc. ix(3), 26; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 243, 352; Add. 1566-79, pp. 132, 137, 260, 288, 301; Ordinance Bk. of the Merchants of the Staple ed. Rich, 95, 104-5; Lincoln Rec. Soc. liv, passim.
  • 8. PCC 90 Nevell; C142/236/95.