Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hales, Edward

HALES, Sir EDWARD, titular Earl of Tenterden (d. 1695), was only son of Sir Edward Hales, bart., of Tunstall, Kent, a zealous royalist, by his wife Anne, the youngest of the four daughters and coheirs of Thomas, lord Weston. He was a descendant of John Hales (d. 1539), baron of the exchequer [see under Hales, Sir James]. On the death of his father in France, soon after the Restoration, he succeeded to the baronetcy, and in the reign of Charles II he purchased the mansion and estate of St. Stephen's, near Canterbury, where his descendants afterwards resided. He was educated at Oxford, and Obadiah Walker, of University College, his tutor, inclined him to Roman catholicism; but he did not declare himself a catholic until the accession of James II (Dodd, Church Hist. iii. 451). He was formally reconciled to the catholic church on 11 Nov. 1685.

On 28 Nov. 1673 Hales had been admitted to the rank of colonel of a foot regiment at Hackington, Kent, but, contrary to the statute 25 Charles II, he had not received the sacrament within three months, according to the rites of the established church, nor had he taken the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. James now gave him a dispensation from these obligations by letters patent under the great seal; and in order to determine the legality of the exercise of his dispensing power in such cases, a test action was arranged. Arthur Godden, Sir Edward's coachman, was instructed to bring a qui tam action against his master for the penalty of 500l., due to the informer under the act of Charles II. Hales was indicted and convicted at the assizes held at Rochester 28 March 1686. The defendant pleaded the king's dispensation. On appeal the question was argued at great length in the court of king's bench before Sir Edward Herbert, lord chief justice of England. On 21 June Herbert, after consulting his colleagues on the bench, delivered judgment in favour of Hales, and asserted the dispensing power to be part of the king's prerogative (see arts. James II and Herbert, Sir Edward (1648?–1698); Howell, State Trials, xi. 1165–1315).

Hales was sworn of the privy council, and appointed one of the lords of the admiralty, deputy-warden of the Cinque ports, and lieutenant of Dover Castle, and in June 1687 lieutenant of the Tower and master of the ordnance. Luttrell mentions, in June 1688, a rumour that he was about to have a chapel in the Tower ‘for the popish service’ (Hist. Relation of State Affairs, i. 445). When the seven bishops were discharged from his custody he demanded fees of them; but they refused, on the ground that their detention and Hales's commission were both illegal. The lieutenant hinted that if they came into his hands again they should feel his power (Macaulay, Hist. of England, ch. viii.) Hales was dismissed from his post at the Tower in November 1688. James II, with Hales as one of his three companions, and disguised as Hales's servant, left Whitehall on 11 Dec., in the hope of escaping to France. The vessel which conveyed them was discovered the next day as it lay in the river off Faversham, and the king and his three attendants were conducted on shore. Hales was recognised, and kept prisoner at the courthouse at Faversham. Immediately after the king's departure for London he was conveyed to Maidstone gaol, and afterwards to the Tower, where he remained for a year and a half. On 26 Oct. 1689 he was brought up to the bar of the House of Commons, and ordered to be charged with high treason in being reconciled to the church of Rome (Commons' Journals, x. 274, 275). On 31 Jan. 1689–90 he and Obadiah Walker were brought by habeas corpus from the Tower to the bar of the king's bench, and were bailed on good security; but both were excepted out of the act of pardon dated 23 May following. Eventually Hales obtained his discharge on 2 June 1690 (Luttrell, ii. 50).

Hales proceeded (October) to St. Germains, where he was much respected but little employed by James II; ‘for,’ says Dodd, ‘by what I can gather from a kind of journal of his life (which I have perused in his own handwriting), he rather attended his old master as a friend than as a statesman.’ James rewarded his past services by creating him Earl of Tenterden in Kent, Viscount Tunstall, and Baron Hales of Emley, by patent 3 May 1692. Hasted says that he had been informed on good authority that Hales's son and successor in the baronetcy, Sir John Hales, was offered a peerage by George I, but the matter dropped, because Sir John insisted on his right to his father's titles, and to precedence according to that creation (Hist. of Kent, ii. 577 n.) Sir Edward, in 1694, applied to the Earl of Shrewsbury for a license to return to England, but he died, without obtaining it, in 1695, and was buried in the church of St. Sulpice at Paris. He was scrupulously just in his dealings, regular in his habits, and remarkably charitable to those in distress. By the schedule to his will, dated July 1695, he bequeathed 5,000l., to be disposed of according to his instructions by Bishop Bonaventure Giffard [q. v.] and Dr. Thomas Witham.

By his wife Frances, daughter of Sir Francis Windebank, kt., of Oxfordshire, he had five sons and seven daughters. Edward, his eldest son, was slain in the service of James II at the battle of the Boyne, and John, the second son (d. 1744), accordingly succeeded to the baronetcy, which became extinct on the death of the sixth baronet, Sir Edward Hales, without issue, on 15 March 1829.

Hales left in manuscript a journal of his life, which Dodd used in his ‘Church History’ (see iii. 421, 422, 451, &c.).

[Addit. MSS. 15551 f. 82, 32520 f. 38; Burke's Extinct Baronetcies, p. 234; Burnet's Own Time, i. 660; Butler's Hist. Memoirs (1822), iii. 94; Campbell's Lord Chancellors, iii. 562, 576; Courthope's Synopsis of the Extinct Baronetage, p. 92; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 451; Echard's Hist. of England, 3rd edit., p. 1077; Foss's Biographia Juridica, pp. 343, 530, 640; Gillow's Bibl. Dict.; Lingard's Hist. of England (1849), x. 208; Luttrell's Hist. Relation of State Affairs, i. 380, 382, 406, 453, 487, 493, 594, 597, ii. 10, 14, iii. 520, iv. 426; Macaulay's Hist. of England; Panzani's Memoirs, p. 346; Wood's Life (Bliss), pp. cv, cix, cxii; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 441, 442, 553, 774.]

T. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.145
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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27 i 13 f.e. Hales, Sir Edward, titular Earl of Tenterden: for lord Weston read lord Wotton