Hall, Edward

, an English lawyer and historiographer, was the son of John Halle of Northall in Shropshire, by Catherine his wife, daughter and heir of Thomas Gedding, and was descended from sir Francis Van Halle, knight of the garter in the time of Edward III. who was the son of Frederic Van Halle, of the Tyrol, in Germany, natural son of Albert king of the Romans and archduke of Austria. He was born, probably about the last year of the fifteenth century, in the parish of St. Mildred’s, London. He was educated at Eton, whence in 1544 he was sent to King’s college, Cambridge, where he continued until he became a junior fellow. He afterwards studied at Gray’s-inn, and resided there until he was made a judge in the sheriffs’ court. Wood, however, says that he went to Oxford about 1518, when cardinal Wolsey founded certain lectures there; and adds that, that being the common mart of learning, no person of ingenuity or curiosity thought themselves complete until they had been there. But Mr. Baker of St. John’s, in a letter to Hearne, seems to think this doubtful, as he is not to be traced from Gray’s-inn to Oxford.

After he had been called to the bar, he became first one of the common Serjeants, and then under-sheriff of the city of London, in both which offices he gave much satisfaction. In 1533 he was appointed summer reader of Gray’s-inn, and in 1540 double reader in Lent, and one of the judges of the sheriffs’ court. About the same time, according to Fox, he was a member of the house of commons, and was one of those who supported the bill for establishing the Six Articles by which popery was in a great measure upheld. He died in 1547, and was buried, but without any memorial, in the church of St. Bennet Sherehog, London. He wrote “The Union of the Houses of York and Lancaster,| Lond. 1548, folio.*


That of Bertholette of 1542 seems doubtful.

This was continued only to the reign of Henry VIII. 1532. The continuation to the latter end of that king’s reign in 1546, he left in manuscript, which falling into the hands of Grafton, he completed it, and printed it in 1550. In 1555 it was prohibited by proclamation. A third edition was printed in Lond. 1809, 4to, by the booksellers, who have reprinted the whole of the English Chronicles, with a care and at an expence which cannot be too highly commended.

There are various characters given of this chronicle by antiquaries. Bishop Nicolson speaks of it with disrespect, as a record of the fashions of clothes; but Peck vindicates Hall with some warmth. The author of a fragment, supposed to be Stow, published by Hearne in the appendix to the chartulary of Worcester, also vindicates the merit of the work; and Hearne says it is written in a masculine and elegant style, and contains nothing but what is agreeable to the dignity and majesty of an historian. On the other hand Fox and Ascham object to the fidelity and style of our author. Hall has been accused of being no favourer of the clergy, and some instances of misrepresentation in that respect have been pointed out by Fiddes in his life of cardinal Wolsey (p. 50, &c.) 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I.—Cole’s ms Athens Cantab, in Brit. Mus.—Harwood’s Alumni Etonenses.—Tanner and Pits.—Peck’s Desiderata, vol. II.