Hall, Henry

, a learned English divine, was born in London in 1716. Of his parents little is known. His father is said to have occasionally resided at an old house at Poplar, which had a large hanging garden and a building at the bottom, and this, tradition reported, had been the laboratory of sir Richard Steele. The subject of this memoir was sent early to Eton, admitted on the foundation in 1729; and elected to King’s college, Cambridge, in 1735, where of course he became a fellow in 1738, and took the degrees in arts. Being recommended by Dr. Chapman to archbishop Potter, his grace appointed him his librarian at Lambeth in 1748, on the resignation of Mr. Jones. In that station he continued till the death of his patron in 1749; when archbishop Herring, who succeeded to the primacy, being sensible of his merit, not only continued him in that office, but, on his taking orders, appointed him one of his chaplains; and, in April 1750, collated him to the rectory of Harbledown (vacant by the promotion of | Mr, Thomas Herring to the rectory of Chevening); in November 1752, the archbishop collated him also to the vicarage of Herne, which he held by dispensation; to which his grace afterwards added the sinecure rectory of Orpington, in the deanery of Shoreham, one of his peculiars. In 1756, Mr. Hall vacated Herne, on being presented to the vicarage of East Peckham by the dean and chapter of Canterbury, by whom he was much esteemed, having greatly assisted their auditor in digesting many of the records, charters, &c. preserved in their registry. In return, the late Dr. Walwyn (one of the prebendaries, who vacated that vicarage) was called by the archbishop to the rectory of Great Mongeham, void by the death of Mr. Byrch. On the death of archbishop Herring in 1757, he resigned the librarianship of Lambeth, and from that time resided chiefly at Harbledown, in a large house, which he hired, afterwards the seat of Robert Mead Wilmot, esq. Soon after the death of archbishop Herring, Mr. Hall was presented by his executors to the treasurership of the cathedral of Wells, one of his grace’s options. He was also at first a competitor for the precentorship of Lincoln, an option of archbishop Potter (which Dr. Richardson gained in 1760 by a decree of the house of lords); but soon withdrew his claim, well grounded as it seemed. His learning and abilities were great, but not superior to his modesty; and by his singular affability he obtained the love and esteem of all who knew him. His charitable attention to his poor parishioners, especially when they were ill, was constant and exemplary. At archbishop Seeker’s primary visitation at Canterbury, in 1758, Mr. Hall was “pitched upon” (his grace’s official expression) to preach before him at St. Margaret’s church, which he did from Acts xvii. 21. He died a bachelor, at Harbledown, Nov. 2, 1763, in the fortyseventh year of his age, after a short illness, occasioned by a violent swelling in the neck, which could not be accounted for by the eminent physicians who attended him. He was buried under the communion-table, at Harbledown -church, without any epitaph. 1


Memoir by the rev. John Duncombe, in No. XXX. of the Bibl. Tupog. Britannica.—Nichols’s Bowyer.