John Hales (bishop of Coventry and Lichfield)

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John Hales
Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield
Arms of Hals of Kenedon in the parish of Sherford, Devon: Argent, a fess between three griffin's heads erased sable[1]
Appointed 20 September 1459
Term ended between 15 September and 30 September 1490
Predecessor Reginald Boulers
Successor William Smyth
Consecration 25 November 1459
Personal details
Died September 1490
Denomination Catholic

John Hales (c. 1400-1490)[2] (alias Hals, Halse, etc.) was Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield (1459-1490). He was one of the Worthies of Devon of the biographer John Prince (d.1723).[3]


He was the second son of John Hals (fl.1423) of Kenedon in the parish of Sherford, Devon (a Justice of the Common Pleas and in 1423 a Justice of the King's Bench) by his first wife, a daughter of the Mewye (alias Mewy[4]) family of Whitchurch near Tavistock, Devon. [5] His great-uncle was Richard Hals (d.1418), a Canon of Exeter Cathedral in Devon, and Treasurer of Exeter Cathedral in 1400, who in 1414 was sent as Ambassador to Brittany.[6] Bishop Hals appointed his kinsman Edmund Hals as Archdeacon of Salop from an unknown date until 1485 and as Archdeacon of Derby from 1485, probably until his death.[7] The mansion house of the Hals' at Kenedon, originally quadrangular in form, is today represented by a small 16th c. farmhouse known as Keynedon, about 1 mile south of the village of Sherford.[8] The early 15th century gate-tower of the house was demolished in about 1850.[9]


Hales was Dean of Exeter between 1457 and 1459.[10] In 1470, during the reign of King Henry VI, Hales was appointed Keeper of the Privy Seal, but lost the office on the restoration of King Edward IV in 1471.[11] Hales was nominated as Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield on 20 September 1459, and was consecrated on 25 November 1459. He died between 15 and 30 September 1490,[12] aged about 90,[13] and was buried in Lichfield Cathedral.[14]


  1. ^ Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.439; Tinctures reversed per Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.485
  2. ^ Date of birth c.1400 as died "aged about 90" per Vivian, p.439
  3. ^ Prince, John, (1643–1723) The Worthies of Devon, 1810 edition, London, pp.455-7
  4. ^ Pole, p.288
  5. ^ Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.439
  6. ^ Vivian, p.439
  7. ^ Southworth, Carol M., Pluralism and Stability in the Close: The Canons of Lichfield Cathedral in the Last Quarter of the Fifteenth Century, Thesis, University of Birmingham, January 2012, University of Birmingham Research Archive e-theses repository[1], p.18, footnote 40, quoting: "Le Neve, John, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541 X Coventry and Lichfield Diocese, compiled by B.Jones (London 1964), p.17; Emden, A.B., A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to 1500, 3 volumes (Oxford 1957-9), p.856"; "Edmund Hals" not listed in the family's pedigree in the Visitations of Devon (Vivian, p.439)
  8. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p.727
  9. ^ Hoskins, W.G., A New Survey of England: Devon, London, 1959 (first published 1954), p.475
  10. ^ Ursula Radford (1955). "An Introduction to the Deans of Exeter". Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association 87: 1–24.
  11. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 96
  12. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 254
  13. ^ Vivian, p.439
  14. ^ Prince, p.457


  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Rotheram
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
Thomas Rotheram
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Cobethorn
Dean of Exeter
Succeeded by
Henry Webber
Preceded by
Reginald Boulers
Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield
Succeeded by
William Smyth