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John Hales Died 1572
26 or 28 December 1572
John Hales (c.1516 - 26 or 28 December 1572) was a writer, administrator, and member of parliament during the Tudor period.
John Hales was the son of Thomas Hales of Hales Place, Halden, Kent, and of 'the daughter of Trefoy of the county of Cornwall'. He had four brothers and a sister:
Bartholomew Hales (died 1599), esquire, of Snitterfield, Warwickshire, who married Mary Harper, the daughter of George Harper (died 12 December 1558) by his first wife, Lucy Peckham (d. 31 July 1552), daughter of Thomas Peckham.
Hales supported the economic policies pursued by the young King's uncle, Protector Somerset. Hales was particularly opposed to the enclosure of land, and is said to have been the most active of the commissioners appointed in 1548 to redress this evil. However he failed to carry several remedial measures through Parliament. When Somerset fell from power in October 1549, Hales was imprisoned in the Tower, likely as a result of his support for Somerset's policies. He was released in 1550, and after enfeoffing his lands to his brother, Stephen, and to Sir Ralph Sadler, obtained licence on 2 February 1551 to leave England in the company of Sir Richard Morison, who was being sent as ambassador to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
Hales was back in England by 3 January 1559, and resumed his former position at the Hanaper. He was one of the Members of Parliament for Lancaster from 1563 to 1567.
Hales lost royal favour, however, by writing a succession tract entitled A Declaration of the Succession of the Crowne Imperiall of Inglande, supporting the title to the crown of the descendants of King Henry VIII's younger sister Mary. Mary's granddaughter Lady Catherine Grey had secretly married Edward Seymour, and the Queen had had them both imprisoned. Hales took the position that if the Queen were to have no children, Lady Catherine should be next in line to the throne. Hales was imprisoned for his temerity. On 27 April 1564 Sir William Cecil wrote to Sir Thomas Smith that:
Here is fallen out a troublesome fond matter. John Hales had secretly made a book in the time of the last Parliament wherein he hath taken upon him to discuss no small matter, viz., the title to the Crown after the Queen's Majesty, having confuted and rejected the line of the Scottish Queen, and made the line of the Lady Frances, mother to the Lady Catherine, only next and lawful. He is committed to the Fleet for this boldness, specially because he had communicated it to sundry persons. My Lord John Grey is in trouble also for it. Beside this, John Hales hath procured sentences and counsels of lawyers from beyond seas to be written in maintenance of the Earl of Hertford's marriage. This dealing of his offendeth the Queen's Majesty very much.
With Cecil's help Hales obtained his release from prison in 1566, but remained under house arrest for the next four years.
The date of Hales's death is uncertain. According to Bindoff, he died on 26 December 1572, while according to Lowe, he died two days later on 28 December. He was buried in the Church of St Peter le Poer in Broad Street, London. He was sometimes referred to as "Club-foot" Hales, supposedly because he had accidentally wounded his foot with a dagger.
Hales wrote his Highway to Nobility about 1543. He wrote Introductiones ad grammaticum for his newly founded free school. In 1543 he also published Precepts for the Preservation of Health, a translation from Plutarch.
Hales had never married and left most of his property to his nephew John Hales, a son of his brother Christopher Hales by his brother's marriage to Mary Lucy.
^According to the History of Parliament biography of Sir George Harper, the real father of Lucy Peckham's children during her marriage to George Harper was Sir Richard Morison. According to the inquisition post mortem taken 18 October 1560, these children were Marcellus Harper (died 1 February 1559); Frances, who married William Patrickson, gentleman; Mary, who married Bartholomew Hales, gentleman; and Anne, who died unmarried; Fry 1896.
^Torre, Victoria de la (2001). ""We Few of an Infinite Multitude": John Hales, Parliament, and the Gendered Politics of the Early Elizabethan Succession". Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies. 33 (4): 557. doi:10.2307/4052892. JSTOR4052892.