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Transcript

of

Assumed Names: Nicholas Hall, Treasurer of Exeter Cathedral

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), pp.195-196.

by

O.A.R. Murray

Prepared by Michael Steer

The Note’s author seeks to refute a claim that Treasurer Nicholas Hall was originally known as Nicholas Towe and had assumed the name Hall. Under English law, a person may change their surname at will. The law concerns itself only with the question whether the individual has in fact assumed and hascome to be known by a surname different from that by which they were originallyknown. So long as that is the case the change of surname will be valid. The processis not subject to any documentary formalities although there is a facility for doing so through the UK courts by way of a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

The Note’s author seeks to refute a claim that Treasurer Nicholas Hall was originally known as Nicholas Towe and had assumed the name Hall. Under English law, a person may change their surname at will. The law concerns itself only with the question whether the individual has in fact assumed and hascome to be known by a surname different from that by which they were originallyknown. So long as that is the case the change of surname will be valid. The processis not subject to any documentary formalities although there is a facility for doing so through the UK courts by way of a Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 187. ASSUMED NAMES: NICHOLAS HALL, TREASURER OF EXETER CATHEDRAL (V., par. 140, p. 257). - It would be interesting to know upon what authority Nicholas Hall is stated to have had the surname of Towe and to have assumed that of Hall. I have not access to the Bridford Register, but according to a note in one of the Harding MSS. at Barnstaple, the Treasurer was baptised at Bridford 23rd May, 1647, as Nicholas, the son of Emanuel Hall.

The will of Julian Hall, of Bridford, widow (great-grand-mother of the Treasurer), dated 26th October, 1622, was proved in the Exeter Archdeaconry Court 6th December, 1622, by Henry Hobbs, her son-in-law. She names her sons Nicholas and Emanueil Hall; her daughters Susan, Katherine and Julian ; and married daughters Margaret Helwill and Elizabeth Dingles, &c.

The will of Nicholas Hall, of Bridford, tanner (grand-father of the Treasurer), dated 25th October, 1647, was proved in the same Court 10th November, 1647, by his son Emanuel Hall. He mentions his father's tombstone in Bridford Church ; and names his wife Melona ; his son Emanuel and grandchild Nicholas Hall ; brother, Emanuel Hall (of South Molton) and children; married sisters, Joan, Margaret, Elizabeth, Susanna Waldronell, Katherine and Julian, and their children (including his sister Elizabeth's eldest son, Emanuel Dingle); brother-in-law, Abraham Webber (of Plymtree) and children ; sisters-in-law, Elizabeth Crocker and Joan Molton ; kinsman John Hall, of Ashton; and servant, Edward Hall, of Bridford.

The will of Mellony Hall, of Bridford, widow (grand-mother of the Treasurer), dated 1st October, 1649, was proved in the P.C.C. 31 May, 1655, by her son Emanuell Hall (362 Aylett). She names her grandchildren, Nicholas and Emanuell, first and second sons of her son Emanuell, and both under 21; her brother Abraham and sister Joan; her brother-in-law, Emanuell Hall; and sisters-in-law* Joane, Margaret and Elizabeth, &c, &c.

The will of Emanuell Hall, of Kentisbeare, gent, (father of the Treasurer), dated 20th April, 1691, was proved in the Exeter Archdeaconry Court 18th December, 1693, by his sons, Nicholas Hall, d.d., Thomas Hall and Edward Hall. He names his wife Joan; his grandson Nicholas, son of Emanuell Hall, deceased; his grandson, John Hall, and Sarah Hall, mother of said John ; his son-in-law, William Eveleigh ; granddaughter, Elizabeth Hall; sons Nicholas, Thomas and Edward; grandson, William Hall; grandson Nicholas, son of Nicholas Hall; son-in-law, Robert Taylor; his six daughters-in-law; and Thomas Hall, of Drewsteignton (relationship not stated).

In none of these wills does the name of Towe appear, as an alias or otherwise.

It may be added that Joan Hall, mentioned in the last will, was both step-mother and mother-in-law of the Treasurer, being the widow of William Eveleigh, gent., of Kentisbeare, whose daughter Elizabeth was Nicholas Hall's second wife ; also that Emanuel Hall's will is sealed with the arms of Hall as borne by Bishop Hall, so that it would seem that he and not his son first assumed these arms. 

                    O. A. R. Murray.