HALL, EDWARD (c. 1498-1547), English chronicler and lawyer, was born about the end of the 15th century, being a son of John Hall of Northall, Shropshire. Educated at Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, he became a barrister and afterwards filled the offices of common sergeant of the city of London and judge of the sheriff’s court. He was also member of parliament for Bridgnorth. Hall’s great work, The Union of the Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre and York, commonly called Hall’s Chronicle, was first published in 1542. Another edition was issued by Richard Grafton in 1548, the year after Hall’s death, and another in 1550; these include a continuation from 1532 compiled by Grafton from the author’s notes. In 1809 an edition was published under the supervision of Sir Henry Ellis, and in 1904 the part dealing with the reign of Henry VIII. was edited by C. Whibley. The Chronicle begins with the accession of Henry IV. to the English throne in 1399; it follows the strife between the houses of Lancaster and York, and with Grafton’s continuation carries the story down to the death of Henry VIII. in 1547. Hall presents the policy of this king in a very favourable light and shows his own sympathy with the Protestants. For all kinds of ceremonial he has all a lawyer’s respect, and his pages are often adorned and encumbered with the pageantry and material garniture of the story. The value of the Chronicle in its early stages is not great, but this increases when dealing with the reign of Henry VII. and is very considerable for the reign of Henry VIII. Moreover, the work is not only valuable, it is attractive. To the historian it furnishes what is evidently the testimony of an eye-witness on several matters of importance which are neglected by other narrators; and to the student of literature it has the exceptional interest of being one of the prime sources of Shakespeare’s historical plays.
See J. Gairdner, Early Chroniclers of Europe; England (1879).