HARE, Robert (c.1531-1611), of Bruisyard, Suff. and London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1531, 2nd s. of Sir Nicholas Hare, master of the rolls, by Catherine, da. and coh. of John Bassingbourne of Woodhall, Hatfield, Herts. educ. Gonville, Camb. 1545; I. Temple 1548. unm.

Offices Held

Servant of William Paulet, 1st Mq. of Winchester by 1556.

Clerk of the pells in the Exchequer 1560-70.


Hare prevailed upon his master the lord treasurer, the aged Marquess of Winchester, to obtain for him a lucrative post in the Exchequer, at a fee increased from under £20 p.a. to nearly £70 p.a. At the same time he reintroduced, and Winchester connived at, the practice of keeping an issue roll, which further inflated his fees. Finally, in 1570, when Winchester was about 87 years of age and Hare must have realized that time was running out, he obtained his permission to sell the post, at a high price, to Chidiock Wardour, who had trouble in recouping his outlay.

It was not Winchester who brought about Hare’s return to the Commons but Hare’s relation, Sir Edmund Rous, who had sat himself for Dunwich in the previous Parliament. Hare made no known contribution to the business of the House, and did not sit again, probably for the same reason that he held no further office after 1570, namely his religion. Like others of his family, he was a Catholic. The Inner Temple returns of 1577 include him and his brothers, Michael and William, among those ‘publicly noted to be very backward in religion’. He was again listed as a Catholic in 1578, as one who had heard mass in Lord Paulet’s house. Continued recusancy was probably behind an application on his behalf by Cambridge university to Cecil in 1600.

In Fuller’s words, ‘a great lover and preserver of antiquities’, Hare devoted the rest of his life to collecting manuscripts about Cambridge, several volumes of which he presented to the university. He made similar gifts to Oxford university and St. Paul’s cathedral library. He also added £600 to Dr. Mowse’s ‘Causey Fund’, a benefaction left in trust for the improvement of roads about Cambridge. Hare made his will on 1 July 1611, aged about 80, ‘at this present time of great age, joined with some infirmity of body’. The preamble invokes the intervention of the Blessed Virgin and all the saints. Bequests were made to another Catholic, Anthony, Viscount Montagu, to various relatives, and to his ‘dear and steadfast friend’ William Sebright, town clerk of London. Hare appointed a nephew, Nicholas Timperley, executor and entrusted him with his treasured ‘painted pictures of kings, queens, bishops and other great personages, hoping that they shall be preserved’. He died 2 Nov. 1611, and was buried in St. Paul’s.

DNB; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 37-8; Biog. Hist. Gonville and Caius, i. 34; Eliz. Govt. and Soc. 220-35; CSP Dom. 1547-80, pp. 147, 432; Add. 1566-79, p. 551; Cal. I. T. Recs. i. p. lv; CPR, 1558-60, p. 379; PCC 88 Wood; C142/141/31.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: G.M.C.