HALES, Edward II (1645-95), of Paulerspury, Northants. and Hackington, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. 28 Sept. 1645, 1st s. of Sir Edward Hales, 2nd Bt., and bro. of John Hales. educ. travelled abroad (France, Italy) 1657-64; Padua 1664. m. lic. 12 July 1669, Frances (d.1694), da. and h. of Francis Windebank, gent. usher to the Prince of Wales 1638-45, 5s. (1 d.v.p.), 7da. suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. bef. 8 Feb. 1684.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Kent 1673-80, Tenterden 1677-80, Canterbury 1679-80; j.p. Kent 1675-85, 1687-Nov. 1688, Mdx. ?1687-Nov. 1688; freeman, Canterbury 1679; dep. lt. Kent Feb.-Oct. 1688; commr. for inquiry into recusancy fines, Kent and Hants July 1688.2

Ld. of Admiralty 1679-84; lt.-gov. Dover Castle 1686-Dec. 1688; judge of Admiralty, Cinque Ports 1686-Dec. 1688, lt. Tower of London 1687-Nov. 1688.3

Col. (later 14 Ft.) 1685-Oct. 1688.


After the Revolution, mindful of the penalties of conversion as an adult, Hales declared that he had become a Papist at his tutor’s instigation at the age of 12. But this is unlikely, though his religion was long ‘disguised’. He matriculated at Padua in 1664. In 1675 he bought Hackington, on the outskirts of Canterbury, and resided there till his father went abroad. On his election to the first Exclusion Parliament, Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubtful’. On 9 Apr. 1679 he had leave to go into the country for a week. ‘Mr Hales’ was among those Members appointed to draw up reasons for a conference on disbanding the army, but this may be a mistake for William Hale. After receiving a seat on the board of Admiralty, he voted against the exclusion bill. He was re-elected in the autumn, though not without difficulty, and soon came under attack in the second Exclusion Parliament for ‘a notorious Popish sermon’ preached by his son’s tutor in favour of the doctrine of purgatory. Hales protested weakly that he had discharged the man, and hoped that there would be no reflection on him. But neither he nor his father stood again, and his proposed appointment to the lieutenancy was dropped. He seems to have been totally inactive as a committeeman.4

Hales raised a regiment of foot during Monmouth’s rebellion, and was formally reconciled to Rome on 11 Nov. 1685. A collusive action was brought by his coachman Godden to vindicate the dispensing power, which the King had used to allow him to keep his regiment.With Sir Nicholas Butler and (later) the Earl of Sunderland, Hales was the only notable official convert of the reign, and he was soon given responsible office to the limits of, and perhaps beyond his capacities. In November 1688 he planned to mount mortars in the Tower in order to bombard the City if signs of restiveness appeared. Even the King considered such a step counter-productive, and Hales was dismissed. The incident, long remembered by Londoners, throws light on his extreme unpopularity in his own county, which made him a poor choice as escort when James fled from London on 11 Dec. 1688. Hales was recognized, and the little party detained and treated with gross contempt at Faversham. Hales, lately the gaoler of the seven bishops in the Tower, was returned to it as a prisoner. His other chief responsibility, Dover Castle, had already fallen to ‘the rabble’. After nine months’ imprisonment, Hales and Obadiah Walker, the leading clerical apostate, applied for a writ of habeas corpus; but on 26 Oct. 1689 they were charged at the bar of the House with high treason, ‘in being reconciled to the Church of Rome, and other high crimes and misdemeanours’. In his defence Hales sought to exculpate Walker from the responsibility for his own conversion with which he was credited by popular report, and to sow dissension between Anglicans and Presbyterians. To account for his taking the oaths and the Anglican sacrament under Charles II, he explained that when he was young he ‘did not much consider the matter of religion, nor the obligations of oaths or conscience’. He was returned to the Tower, but released on bail at the dissolution. He was excepted from the Act of Pardon, and after discharging his bail joined James in France, rather as a friend than an adviser. His estate was valued at £3,000 p.a., less than half his father’s assessment for decimation under the Protectorate. He was excepted from the Act of Indemnity, and created Earl of Tenterden in the Jacobite peerage. Though he applied for permission to return to England in 1694, he died in Paris in October 1695, and was buried at St. Sulpice. His son returned to the Church of England, but none of his descendants sat in Parliament.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Arch. Cant. xiv. 80; N. and Q. clxx. 164; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, pp. 631-2; CSP Dom. 1657-8, p. 550; 1658-9, p. 210; HMC Finch, ii. 187.
  • 2. Roll of Freemen ed. Cowper, 318; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 2028.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 96; 1687-9, pp. 11, 364.
  • 4. Morrice, loc. cit.; Burnet ed. Routh, iii. 97, North, Lives, ii. 260; Hasted, Kent, ix. 47; HMC Finch, ii. 56; CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 532; Grey, viii. 17-18.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 391; 1689-90, p. 375; J. R. Jones, Revolution of 1688 in England, 83, 93; HMC 7th Rep. 417; HMC Dartmouth, i. 211, 216, 231; Stow, London, i. 77; Clarke, Jas. II, ii. 255; N. and Q. (ser. 3) vi. 1-3; Morrice, loc. cit.; Bodl. Carte 208, f. 123; Luttrell, ii. 10-11; London Recusant, iii. 56-57.