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a Spanish war, which was then the burning question of the day (this was on Easter Monday, 1624); the sermon was condemned by the Vice-Chancellor, and on the following Sunday Lushington recanted.*

John Grent, Fellow of New College, also contributed some verses to the same collection ; against this name Hall has written " de Aston, Birmingham.Edward Holt, of Aston, and sometime of Hart Hall, Oxon, was another contributorit

In due course Hall completed his University career by taking the degree of B.A. in 1628, being only eighteen years of age. His first appointment after leaving Oxford was a Mastership at the Warwick Grammar School, an old foundation of the Earls of Warwick, which was first a residence for the Dean and Canons of S. Mary's Church, and by the Dissolution Act of 1538 became the “Grammar School of Henry VIII.” The building was situated near the East gate of the town of Warwick. When he had attained the age for taking holy orders, he obtained the Curacy of King's Norton by the influence of his elder brother, the Rev. John Hall, M.A., who was admitted to the Vicarage of Bromsgrove in 1624, and held it till his death in 1662.

The more illustrious John Hall, D.D., the son of the Vicar of Bromsgrove, Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, for forty-five years, was consecrated Bishop of Bristol in the reign of William and Mary.

I have seen recently in the Hall of Pembroke College a portrait of Bishop Hall. The Bishop is represented wearing a patch upon the cheek, notwithstanding his uncle's book, "The Loathsomeness of Long Hair, a Treatise

Anglus et Hispanus re contrahit, anxius hæret
Orbis, dum quae sit mens utriusque sciat.
Candida mens Angli est, summam deponere Gemmam :
Mens fida Hispani, reddere Depositum.
Se, quod adibat eam Princeps, Hispania debet :
Et se, quod redit huc, Anglia debet ei.
Quod res facta fuit, debetur (ut omnia) Regi ;1

Quod fuit, incolumi Principe, facta, Duci.
1 Hic Deus nihil fecit.


ex Aul. Late-Port. { Tutor meus malignus et atheos. }


Quae reducem refert Regem lux illa beata est,

Perpetus nobis sit (precor) ille dies.
Sol decus est coeli, sol princeps aetheris ; undis

Qui licet immersus mane resulget humo.
Rex decus est regni, rex regni primus habetur
Qui licet ad Scotos permeet, inde redit.

ED. HOLT, Baronetti fil. nat.

ex Aul Cerv.


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against Painting Spots and Patches.” The Bishop built the Master's house at Pembroke College, and bequeathed his library to the foundation.

During the early days of his ministration at King's Norton, Hall attended lectures at Birmingham. “Maintained and held up by old Puritans, they so much operated on his spirit that he relinquished his former principles, and adhered to that party, and in many respects became an enemy to the Church of England, and in fine, so rigid in his persuasions that he was disliked by his brethren.” This from the pen of à Wood, a staunch Royalist and High Churchman. Calamy, on the other side, held a different opinion. “ The author of this book," says he, “is the same person who hath by former books guarded the pulpit from unordained preachers, and the font from anti-pædo-baptists; the schools, by the defence of human learning; and the ministry and their maintenance in a Latin Treatise called 'Sal Terræ' (Salt of the Earth). His abilities are already sufficiently known to the world by these and many other of his works, therefore there is no need to add anything more by way of commendation.”

In another passage, the same author affirms that “In the time of the Civil War, Hall was often accused, cursed, threatened with death, many times plundered, and five times imprisoned. He constantly preached twice on the Lord's Day, and kept lectures abroad, beside his exposition of the Scripture, catechising, and private admonition.” Probably " lectures at Birmingham ” and " lectures abroad” are one and the same. Many of the beneficed clergy at this period preached only on great festivals of the Church, and it was a common custom for the Puritans to pay a lecturer (usually a member of one of the Universities, “ a learned and discreet person”), for his services in expounding the Scriptures. The lectures were delivered in the Parish or Cathedral Churches after evening prayer on Sunday, but at various times on week days, and it is more than probable that, in accordance with this custom, the voice of Thomas Hall was heard in old S. Martin's, Birmingham. The Rector may have been a "non-preaching minister,” like his brethren who are mentioned in the Petition of the People of Worcester to Archbishop Laud,” in 1637 :

"Whereby a great many of His Majesty's subjects are not so well instructed in the Word of God as they ought to have been. For remedy whereof the citizens, at their charge, with the consent of the Bishop for many years past made choice of a learned preacher in the Cathedral, to preach every Sunday after evening prayer done at the parish churches, etc.”— (Extracts, Calendar of State Papers, by W. A. Cotton, 1886.)


The literature of the period and party to which Hall belonged consisted mainly of tracts and sermons.

The result of the literary fashion of James I.'s reign was making itself felt. “There is a great abundance of theologians in England, all point their studies

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in that direction," wrote Casaubon. Youthful theologians were developing into active controversialists; the books written by these men may, in a measure, have helped to fan popular discontent into open rebellion.

The Bible was the book upon which scholars devoted their talents and energy. The growth of secular literature in England since the seventeenth century has been very rapid. Lectures on secular subjects, except at the Universities, were unknown, therefore we need not be surprised to find that Hall was a theological lecturer. The lectures were not strictly sermons, the former being more formal than the latter. A remnant of this old custom yet survives in Birmingham ; the senior Curate at S. Philip's Church is called “The Lecturer."

That the subject of this paper was a lecturer we know, for we have a statement to that effect in his own handwriting. One of the volumes in the King's Norton library contains a collection of Civil War tracts; eight of these are worthy of special attention. They are :-“ The Testimony of the Ministers in London, Lancashire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, Essex, and Warwickshire to the Solemn League and Covenant;" appended to each is a list of names of ministers who signed the Covenant, and among them we find :—

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“Sam Wills, Minister of Birmingham.”
· Thos. Hall, Pastor of King's Norton, Lect. at Birmingham.
“Alexander Bean, Pastor of the Church at Stratford.”
“ John Trap, Minister and Schoolmaster of Stratford-upon-Avon.”

The words "Lect. at Birminghamare in Hall's handwriting. Alexander Bean and John Trap were friends of the Pastor of Norton; it is quite possible that they knew William Shakespeare, and they must have been acquainted with his daughter Susanna, the wife of Dr. John Hall, who died in 1649, the year after the “ Testimony ” was printed. In turning over the books in the library we found a lovely edition of the “ Questiones” of Cardinal John de Turre Cremata (John Torquemada), printed at Leyden by John Vingle in 1509 (black letter, large Svo). The book contains a statement that it was the gift of Dr. Sam Wills, Rector of Birmingham, to Thomas Hall. It is bound in a splendid specimen of stamped leather of the period, by John Reynes, bookbinder to King Henry VII. and King Henry VIII., who lived at the sign of “ S. George,” in S. Paul's Churchyard, and was the first Englishman who competed successfully with the Continental masters of the art of bookbinding. The design upon the front cover represents the implements of the Crucifixion of Our Lord, arranged heraldically, with the monogram “ J. R." on shields in the upper part of the design. The design upon the back cover or reverse is divided into two compartments; in the first the arms and supporters of Henry VIII., the shield of S. George, the arms of the city of London, and the sun and the moon. In the lower compartment, a large Tudor rose occupies the centre, supported by two angels holding two labels upon which the Tudor motto is written, viz. :


which may be rendered,

"This virtue's rose, from heaven serene sent down,

Should, ever blooming, bear the royal crown,"

in allusion to the union of the houses of York and Lancaster in the persons of Henry VII. and his Queen, Elizabeth of York. Beneath the rose we see the pomegranate, the badge of Catherine of Aragon.

The stipend received by the Curate of King's Norton was pitifully small, but the Mastership of the Grammar School was bestowed upon Thomas by his brother John, the Vicar of Bromsgrove; this augmented the income by £ 15 per annum (a sum equal to about £ 50 in our day). “ The parson could not live on his living like other honest men,” it was said, “and was so poor that had he not continued single, he could scarce have subsisted, and yet, God owning his labours in the place, he would not be persuaded to leave it, though solicited with promises of far greater preferment.”

Hall was a lover of books and learning. A glance at the well-filled shelves of his library is enough to show that his learning was of no common order. Poetry, history, and philosophy engaged his thoughts, as well as theology and scholastic pedantry. He preferred a retired life in his country parish to enable him to write the books which have perpetuated his name; he never looked farther than his beloved King's Norton, for there he found a field of labour exactly suited to his mind.

Before the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642, he had avowed himself a Presbyterian, for the purpose of helping to restore the Church of England to its state under Elizabeth, and to free it from "innovations," that is from the changes introduced by Archbishop Laud and his fellow-prelates. Zeal for the party whose cause he had espoused made the Curatè particularly obnoxious to the neighbouring Royalists, and to his own relations, who were Royalists. The Midlands became the field of action for the contending parties in the civil strife, and Hall, although he did not leave his remote country vicarage, was an eye-witness of some of the most stirring events of that eventful period.

It will be remembered that early in the year 1643 Queen Henrietta Maria, coming from Holland with military supplies for the King, landed at Burlington,

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