HALL, Robert II (by 1497-1565), of York.

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



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1497, prob. 3rd s. of Robert Hall of Leventhorpe, Yorks. m. by 1529, Jane, da. of William Harrington of York, at least 3s. and 4da.1

Offices Held

Member, Corpus Christi guild, York 1518; member, merchant guild 1521, constable 1529-30, master 1536-8; senior chamberlain 1532-3, sheriff 1533-4, member of the Twenty-Four 1534, alderman 1538-d., mayor 1541-2, 1557-8.2


Robert Hall came of a minor family of Yorkshire gentry. The pedigree is confused but Hall appears to have been the third and youngest son of another Robert Hall who died about 1530, leaving him £6 13s.4d. and making him and his brothers executors and residuary legatees. He must have left home early, for in 1508 he was apprenticed to the York merchant Paul Gyllour and in 1517-18 he became a freeman. His career was to set a pattern for younger sons in his family: his nephew Ralph Hall likewise quitted Leventhorpe for York and rose to be mayor, and so in turn did Ralph’s nephew Henry Hall.3

Hall joined the York merchants’ guild in 1521. His business activities included the sale of glass for Sheriff Hutton castle in 1537 and probably much trade in lead, of which he was about to ship a large amount to the Netherlands and Bordeaux in 1552 when an embargo was imposed. If he was the Robert ‘Hill’ taxed in 1524 he was then rated at only £2 in goods, but by 1546-7 he was one of the three wealthiest laymen in York, being assessed to subsidies in both years on 200 marks in goods, and by 1560 he seems to have become the richest of the seven York men who joined the English merchant adventurers, being assessed to lend £100 to the Queen. He lived in the street called Goodramgate in the central parish of Christ Church.4

Hall was mayor when Henry VIII visited York for the first and only time. When the King arrived on 15 Sept. 1541 Hall and his brethren fell on their knees while the recorder William Tancred made humble submission for their share in the Pilgrimage of Grace. As mayor again in 1557-8 Hall was able to display the loyalty so effusively protested in 1541 by resolute action against the Scarborough rebels. He also lodged at his own cost a Russian ambassador who passed through York on his way to London.5

Between his mayoralties Hall twice served the city in Parliament together with his fellow-alderman John North. Both were Catholics and predictably neither ‘stood for the true religion’ against the initial measures towards the restoration of Catholicism in Mary’s first Parliament. For each Parliament they were given instructions to pursue economic benefits for the city, and these seem to have preoccupied them, but as Members in October 1553 they also reported to the city council the Acts repealing attainders and treasons: it was unusual for York Members to mention Acts of general import, so that this exception was probably a tribute to the religious conservatism of the council.6

Hall, who in 1564 was judged by the archbishop ‘no favourer of religion’, made his will on 23 Oct. of that year. He left over £12 to the poor and to maintenance of highways, and an annual charge of £4 from his lands to the poor. His seven children were to share one third of his goods. He left to his wife the house in Christ’s and Trinity parishes where they lived, and to her and their children much other property in the city and elsewhere. He made his wife executrix and residuary legatee, and as supervisors he named his nephews Ralph and George Hall, his son-in-law Thomas Sotheby, and his wife’s nephew Edward Fawkes, notary public of the York exchequer court and father of the conspirator of 1605. The will was proved on 8 Oct. 1565 and an inquisition taken on the following 4 Apr. found that Hall had died on 5 Oct. possessed of York properties valued at £30 a year after deducting repair costs. The son and heir was John Hall aged over 36. Jane Hall survived her husband by less than a month: her bequest of £100 towards the rebuilding of Ouse Bridge was long commemorated by a plaque on the new one.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. M. Palliser


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. Fam. Min. Gent. (Harl. Soc. xxxix), 941-2; York wills 17, f. 477.
  • 2. Reg. Corpus Christi Guild, York (Surtees Soc. lvii), 192; York archs. B11-24 passim.
  • 3. Fam. Min. Gent. 941-2; York wills 10, f. 32; Reg. Freemen, York, i (Surtees Soc. xcvi), 239; York pub. lib. R. H. Skaife ms civic officials, ii. 327-8; D. M. Palliser ‘York in the 16th cent.’ (Oxf. Univ. D. Phil. thesis, 1968), 174-5.
  • 4. York pub. lib. R.H. Skaife ms civic officials, ii. 327-8; York Mercers and Merchant Adventurers (Surtees Soc. cxxix), 129, 135, 163, 323; L. F. Salzman, Building in Eng. 184; VCH York, 131n; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. iv. 183; E179/217/110, 111; York archs. B20, f. 103v.
  • 5. York Civic Recs. iv (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. cviii), 43-75; v (ibid. cx), 152-71; R. Davies, Walks through the City of York, 265-6.
  • 6. York Civic Recs. iv. 123, 133, 148-9; v. 92-96.
  • 7. Cam. Misc. ix(3), 72; York wills 17, f. 477; C142/144/137; Reg. Freemen, York, i. 278; Drake, Eboracum, 280; W. K. Jordan, Charities of Rural Eng. 297.