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Hallett, Joseph (1628?-1689) (DNB00)

HALLETT or HALLET, JOSEPH, I (1628?–1689), ejected minister, was born at Bridport, Dorsetshire, about 1628. He became by his own exertions a good Greek scholar and proficient in Hebrew. In 1652 he was ‘called to the work of the ministry’ at Hinton St. George, Somersetshire, a sequestered living, and was ordained to this charge on 28 Oct. 1652 in St. Thomas's Church, Salisbury, by the ‘classical presbytery of Sarum.’ His ordination certificate describes him as a ‘student in divinity,’ of ‘competent age’ (twenty-four years). From Hinton in 1656 he was promoted to the rectory of Chiselborough with West Chinnock, Somersetshire, also a sequestered living, which he held until the Restoration. Calamy says he held it until the Uniformity Act (1662), but Walker states, and the rate-books prove, that the sequestered rector, Thomas Gauler, was restored ‘with his majesty.’ Hallett retired to Bridport, living there with his father-in-law till he settled at Bradpole, Dorsetshire, where he kept a conventicle.

On the indulgence of 1672 Hallett was called to Exeter by the presbyterians there, but after the revocation of the indulgence in the following year he was brought up, June 1673, at the Guildhall, Exeter, for preaching to some two hundred persons in the house of one Palmer, and fined 20l. He continued to preach, and was twice imprisoned in the South Gate, the second occasion being in 1685. James II's declaration for liberty of conscience (1687), although Hallett refused to read in public, enabled the Exeter presbyterians to build a meeting-house (known as James' Meeting), of which Hallett was the first minister. It was this meeting-house to which, when William of Orange entered Exeter in November 1688, access was obtained by Robert Ferguson (d. 1714) [q. v.]

Hallett's health was shattered by his imprisonments. He died on 14 March 1689. By his wife Elizabeth he had two daughters, Elizabeth (b. 21 Feb. 1658) and Mary (b. 15 Oct. 1659), and a son, Joseph [q. v.] His funeral sermon was preached by his successor, George Trosse. The publications ascribed to him by Calamy appear to belong to his son.

[Calamy's Account, 1713, p. 269; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, p. 427; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, ii. 254; Funeral Sermon for Trosse, 1713, p. 31; Life of Trosse, 1714, p. 95; Life of Trosse (Gilling), 1715, p. 35; Murch's Hist. Presb. and Gen. Bapt. Churches in West of Engl., 1835, pp. 376 sq.; information from the Rev. C. F. Newell, Chiselborough.]

A. G.