HALES, Thomas (c.1515-85 or later), of Thanington, nr. Canterbury, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1515, yr. s. of John Hales I of Canterbury. m. (1) Joan, da. of Clement Holwey of Hythe, 1s. 3da.; (2) by 1552, Alice, da. of Humphrey Evyas, 1s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Commr. relief, Kent 1550; j.p. 1558/59-d.3


On 19 Sept. 1547 Thomas Hales of Thanington beside Canterbury, gentleman, was admitted and sworn to the liberties of Canterbury, ‘for the which he paid nothing because he was son of John Hales, one of the barons of the King’s Exchequer and freeman of the said city before the birth of the said Thomas’. At this time Thomas Hales was probably about 30: one of his brothers had been born in 1510 and his eldest surviving brother was admitted to the freedom of Canterbury in 1533, when he can hardly have been less than 21. Thomas Hales’s admission must therefore be linked, not with his coming of age, but with his election to the Parliament for which writs had been issued on the previous 2 Aug.4

Hales appears to have been a servant of Archbishop Cranmer: thus on 27 Dec. 1544 Cranmer sent to him and Peter Hayman from Lambeth a copy of a Council letter concerning the taxes due by the clergy of his diocese and asking them to proceed speedily in the matter. It was probably Cranmer who secured Hales’s election. The archbishop did not normally wield parliamentary patronage, but in 1547 Peter Hayman was returned for New Romney and there are also signs of Cranmer’s influence in the election at Sandwich. Without such support Hales could scarcely have obtained the seat, even on condition of serving without wages, which he seems to have done, no payment to him being recorded in the chamberlains’ accounts. Of his part in the proceedings of the House nothing is known, and the only bill for which he may have shared responsibility, the bill for union of churches in Canterbury, lapsed after two readings and a committal during the second session. It was doubtless their Membership which caused both Hales and Hayman to be included in a commission of February 1548 charged with discovering who was to blame for certain seditious writings ‘secretly set up and cast in divers places’ in and near Canterbury.5

Hales was not to sit in Parliament again, and with the disgrace and death of his former master he ceased to be of account save in local affairs. Appointed to the Kent bench in the first year of Elizabeth, he remained on it until his death, becoming one of the quorum in 1585. On a liber pacis of about that date, with later emendations, his name is crossed out and ‘mortuus’ written against it. He was the ancestor of a line of baronets, the Hales of Thanington and Bekesbourne.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from that of elder surviving brother. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxxiv), 56-57; CPR, 1550-3, p. 218.
  • 3. CPR, 1553, p. 355.
  • 4. Freemen of Canterbury, ed. Cowper, col. 318; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 214.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xix; CPR, 1553, p. 401.
  • 6. Lansd. 737, f. 143; Hasted, Kent, xi. 149.