Rev. James Hallifax, DD, Vicar of St Mary's Ewell (1753 -1777)

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries,
and other members of the Hallifax family with connections to the village

The New Hallifax Arms
The New Hallifax Arms
With kind permission of © Tim Powys-Lybbe


The history of the town and township of Barnsley in Yorkshire by Rowland Jackson (of Barnsley), 1858, contains an introduction to the family which is the subject of this article: -
"The family of Hallifax were originally of the town bearing the same name, the surname, according to family tradition, having been assumed by Robert Waterhouse, rector of Springthorpe, county of Lincoln, whose grandson, John, settled at Barnsley in the beginning of the eighteenth century, where he followed the business of a clockmaker. Many articles of his manufacture may be met with in the neighbourhood. From the inscription on his tombstone in St. Mary's churchyard, a copy of which is given below, it would appear that he was of an ingenious turn of mind:-
'In memory of Mr. John Hallifax of this town, whose abilities and virtue few in these times have attained. His art and industry were such as his ingenious inventions will be a lasting monument of his merit, such as recommended him to the favour and esteem of all good men that knew him. He departed this life, Sept. 25, 1750'.
What his inventions were I have not been able to ascertain; they probably related to his business.*

He had a numerous family; amongst them was family of Thomas, whom we may justly consider to have been one of the most eminent men this town has produced. Thomas Hallifax was originally apprenticed to a grocer at Barnsley, but before his indentures were fully expired, he exchanged that situation for one in the metropolis, where, by unremitting industry, he acquired an ample fortune. In 1762 he was a partner with Sir Richard Glyn as a banker, at No. 18, Birchin Lane. He was elected alderman of Aldersgate ward in 1766, in succession to Mr. Nelson. He served the office of sheriff in 1768-9; and that of Lord Mayor- in 1777; received the honour of knighthood, 1778; was a member of the Goldsmiths' Company, in whose hall his arms [# Appendix] are set up, and M.P. for Aylesbury, 1784; he married the eldest daughter of Thomas Savile, Esq. of Enfield, by whom he had two sons. He died intestate, although supposed to have accumulated 100,000, and was buried in the family vault of the Saviles in Enfield churchyard, nearly opposite to the south entrance of the church, under a plain altar monument of white stone, enclosed with iron rails, which bears the following inscription:-
'In the vault under this tomb lie the remains of Thomas Savile, Esq., late of Clayhill in this parish, who departed this life the 23rd of April, 1767, aged fifteen years. Also, are deposited the remains of Dame Margaret Hallifax, wife of the Right Honourable Sir Thomas Hallifax, Knight, late Lord Mayor of the city of London, who departed this life the 17th of November, 1777, aged twenty-eight years. She was the eldest daughter of John Savile, Esq. of this parish, and has left issue two sons, Thomas, borne on the 9th of February, 1774, and the youngest, named Savile, borne on the 6th of November, 1777. Also are deposited the remains of John Savile, Esq., late of Clayhill in this parish, and father of the above, who departed this life the 8th of April, 1778, aged sixty-six years. Also of Sir Thomas Hallifax, Knight, member of Parliament for the borough of Alesbury, in Buckinghamshire, Alderman of London, and of Gordon House in this parish, who departed from us on the 7th day of February, in the year of our Lord 1789, in the 58th year of his age.
He was interred the Tuesday after his death in great funeral pomp; the hearse was decorated with escutcheons, and attended by seven mourning coaches, and eight private coaches, besides his own chariot. The pall was supported by Aldermen Lewes, Le Mesurier, Pickett, Clarke, Wright, and Hopkins; Deputy Harding, a relation by marriage, walked as chief mourner, followed by Sir Thomas's two sons."
The following appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine, March 7, 1789:-
'Died at Kenilworth, county Warwick, Mrs. Hallifax, wife of John Hallifax, Esq., brother to the late Sir Thomas Hallifax of Birchin Lane."
The story of descent from a Waterhouse of Springthorpe has come to be viewed with scepticism.

[*John Hallifax also made barometers]

Thomas Hallifax ( 1722 - 1789)

Further biographical details may be found at - and in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography accessible through the Surrey Libraries website.

In May 1732 Richard Thomson purchased the office of second Prothonotary (principal clerk), of the Court of Common Pleas at Westminster. Late of Furnivals Inn, he came to be admitted to Lincoln's Inn, 3 June 1732. On 31 August 1733, Richard Thomson, of Lincoln's Inn, Esq., married Miss Pen Cave, youngest daughter of the Lady Cave of Southampton Row. A daughter from this union, Penelope born 25 January 1737, baptised 14 February 1737 in Lincoln's Inn Chapel, Holborn, does not appear to have survived infancy. Her sister also named Penelope was born 28 November 1742 to be christened at Ewell, 17 December 1742. Richard Thomson, Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas, is reported to have died in 1745 and was buried at Ewell, appearing there in the Parish registers as Richard Thompson, 12 November 1745. [Will 'of Lincoln's Inn' proved 27 November 1745 - PROB 11/743/228].

The Marriage Settlement of Thomas Hallifax and Penelope Thomson (only child of Richard Thomson, Esq., of Lincoln's Inn, and his wife Penelope) was dated 26 April 1762. The parties were (1) Penelope Thomson, widow, of Ewell, Surrey & (2) Thos. Hallifax, citizen and banker, of London with Trustees (3) Sir Thos. Cave, Bt., of Stanford Hall, Leics., Verney Lovett, Esq., of East Sheen, Surrey, Sir Richard Glynn, Kt. and Bt., Alderman of London, and James Hallifax, D.D., Vicar of Ewell, Surrey.

An allegation for a Marriage Licence, 5 Apr., 1762, detailed: - Thos. Hallifax, Esq., of St. Edmund the King, City of London, banker, abode 12 months, bachelor, 21, and Miss Penelope Thomson of Ewell, abode several years, spinster, a minor 19; at Ewell. Mrs. Penelope Thomson, widow, the mother of the said Penelope Thomson, the minor, consenting, she having no father or testamentary guardian appointed by the will of her father. Verney Lovett of Sheere, Esq., 2nd s. Both sign.

On 27 April 1762 Thomas Hallifax married, at Ewell, Penelope, daughter of Richard Thomson of Lincoln's Inn, who 'brought him 20,000', but she survived only until 6 December of that year. She may have succumbed in childbirth because a son Thomas expired 6 January 1763 and joined her in a grave at Ewell. [ The headstone is recorded as having been inscribed:- Penelope / The wife of Thomas Hallifax died Decr. 6Th 1762 / Aetat 20 / also of Thomas their son died 4th January following aged 29 (?) days]

Her mother was Penelope, nee Cave (daughter of Sir Thomas Cave, Bart, of Stanford Hall.), baptised 10 May 1709, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, Middlesex, England, who survived at Ewell until 3 Oct 1786 [She appears in the Parish Register as Mrs Penelope Thompson, widow, buried 13 October 1786 with an illegible marginal note which could be interpreted 'formerly wife of Richard Thompson'. Will, Widow of Surrey, proved 14 November 1786 by Sir Thomas Hallifax- PROB 11/1148/26 ].

In 1742, Catherine Forman, sister and heir of Henry Forman, Jnr, surrendered Spring House, Ewell, to George Lewen who in turn surrendered to the use of Richard Thompson and John Starke.

The Thomsons appear to have held another estate in Ewell called 'Monks' which came to be described in James Edwards' Companion from London to Brighthelmstone (1789) on South Street: -
'Opposite [John Pollard], a small distance to the west, is a large square house and pretty high, the greatest part of the different fronts are cased with brick tiles ['Mathematical tiles' used as a building material in the 18th century] and commands an agreeable prospect over the common fields which bounds it on the south and west.
It was for many years in the possession of Mrs Thomson, an aged maiden lady [widow], lately deceased, now descended to _ Mayer, Esq.'
The real estate had been bequeathed to John Mayer, junior, Richard Thomson's godson, whose name subsequently appeared on the 1803 Enclosure Map of Ewell. This property, facing The Grove, Ewell, later became known as The Old Manor House, Grove Road/Cheam Road, Ewell with over 7 acres of land.

Extract from the Ewell Enclosure Map showing plots 289 & 412, The Old Manor House
Extract from the Ewell Enclosure Map showing plots 289 & 412,
'The Old Manor House'

We are told that Thomas Hallifax had become a clerk in the banking house of John Martin and Co. He quickly rose to be chief clerk, and at the end of 1753 left Martin's to found a banking house in partnership with Joseph Vere, a banker, and Richard Glyn, a city merchant. Sir Richard Glyn is considered elsewhere on this website.

Rev James Hallifax, DD, (1719-1781)

James, son of William Hallifax of Rugby, co. Warwick, gent., had entered Balliol to matriculate 20 Oct 1736, aged 17, then BA 1740, MA 1743 and DD 1758. He was ordained deacon,1740, before becoming priest in 1743. Evidently, James was not the brother of Thomas as sometimes has been suggested but their involvement in each other's marriage settlement seems to imply some kinship.

Circumstantial evidence supports a suggestion that James father may be identified as William Hallifax, apothecary, of Brackley, Northamptonshire.

He may have become a schoolmaster before his first clerical appointment as Vicar of Ewell, under the patronage of Robert Lewen, which took place on 6 February 1753 - coincident with his brother joining Sir Richard Glyn in partnership.

Marriage 1

Daniel Chardavoyn, Apothecary of Sunbury, married secondly Elizabeth Lockley 2/12/1728. A daughter from that union, Elizabeth, was baptised at Sunbury on 3 February 1729 She married James Hallifax on 5 May 1752, At St Clement Danes, Westminster, but had died by 1754 and is buried in Sunbury churchyard

As may also be seen from the record of tombs in the churchyard at Sunbury, the former Vicar of Ewell eventually joined her there in 1781.

Marriage 2

Indenture of 4 Sept 1756 between James Hallifax (1) Martha Louisa Cutler, of Holborn, spinster (2) Samuel Cutler of Threadneedle St., goldsmith, and Thomas Hallifax of Lombard St., goldsmith (3). Marriage intended between James Hallifax and Martha Luisa Cutler. 1,500 3% Consols to be vested in Samuel Cutler and Thomas Hallifax, the interest to be paid to the couple for life, then transfer of Consols to the children of the marriage. Martha Louisa Hallifax died on 22 Sept. 1757 leaving James Hallifax and one child only, Martha Hannah.


Following a dispensation to hold a rectory 'in plurality', James Hallifax was inducted on 30 November 1765, additionally to St Giles Cheddington, Bucks., under the patronage of the Duke of Bridgewater.

The marriage at St Maylebone of the Rev'd James Hallifax, D.D., Vicar of Ewell, Surrey, widower, & Frances Cotes, spinster, took place on 8 August 1767.

In The Life of Governor Joan Gideon Loten (1710-1789), 2010, Alexander J. P. Raat, reports comments from a letter written about this time by the widow of the Rev William Welchman, late Vicar of Dodford and Rector of Westcote Barton. She had remarked that James Hallifax 'was the son of a little country apothecary' and 'he himself was descended from such gentry that lived by being little country apothecaries & surgeons in some poor country villages and hamlets'. Her husband appears to have been linked via John Welchman of Brackley, Northamptonshire, who presented his successor at Dodford, to William Hallifax, apothecary, of Brackley, one of the Trustees of [John] Welchman's Charity, established in Brackley on 12 September 1744.

Smallpox Inoculation

Jeremy Harte tells us 'The first Sunday of August, 1766, saw an unusual gathering at St. Mary's church in Ewell. A crowd of 156 people - young and old, women and children - attended to give thanks for their health after being inoculated with smallpox in the previous month. Prayers were led by James Hallifax the vicar, who had organised the inoculation, bringing in the surgeon Robert Sutton to provide the medical skills needed. When the service was over, he retired to the vicarage and wrote it all up in a letter to the Gentleman's Magazine. ' [LINK - SmallpoxEwell.html ]

On Thursday, 28 April 1768, the Rev Mr Hallifax preached a sermon (on Job ii,7) in the Parish-Church of St. Bride, London, before the president, vice presidents, and governors of the hospitals for the small-pox and inoculation, subsequently published 'at their request and for the sole benefit of the Charity' [Founded in 1746 in Windmill Street to treat smallpox patients and carry out research into treatments for the disease- it provided free inoculations for the poor].

Departure from Ewell

On 11 March 1777, again under the patronage of The Duke of Bridgewater, James Hallifax was inducted to St Alkmund's Church, Whitchurch.

Having resigned his office at Ewell on 1 May 1777, making room for Rev John Lewes, brother in law of the patron Sir George Glyn, he also vacated Cheddington, 18 June 1777.

Martha Hannah, James' daughter by Martha Louisa, married The Rev. John Bather, jnr., Vicar of Meole Brace, during 1779.

Rev. James Hallifax died on 11 February 1781 at Whitchurch but his remains were taken back to Sunbury for interment with his first wife, as noted above. [Will of Reverend James Hallifax, Doctor in Divinity, Rector of Whitechurch, Shropshire proved 19 February 1781 - PROB 11/1074/263].

Frances Hallifax, nee Cotes

Memorial to Frances Hallifax in St Mary's Church, Ewell.
Memorial to Frances Hallifax in St Mary's Church, Ewell.
Image courtesy of Clive Gilbert © 2013

In Memory of Frances Hallifax, widow of the Rev. James Hallifax, rector of Whitchurch, in Shropshire. She was the daughter of the Rev. Digby Cotes, and of Elizabeth Bannister his wife, and grand-daughter of Charles Cotes, of Cotes. and Westcotes, esq., and of his wife, Lettice, daughter of Kildare, Lord Digby. She died June 27th , 1795, aged 60 years. T.A. BANKS, R.A., SCULP.

Curiously, Surrey Archaeological Collections, Vol. 68, 1971, p. 203, reveals that the piece had been sold as lot 80 in the catalogue for a posthumous sale of the sculptor's work, at Christies, described as 'Monument - a female weeping over an Urn in Plaister'. The inscribed marble must, therefore, have been set up after 1805.

Rhoda Hallifax (1757 ? but calculated from MI 1766 - 1848)

The death of Frances' daughter, who remained unmarried, had been registered at Cheltenham for the September Quarter1848 as Rhoda Halifax. A transcription of the MI on her gravestone erected in St Mary's Cemetery, Cheltenham was recorded for Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, 1887 : - 'Sacred to the memory of Rhoda Hallifax, the youngest daughter of the late Revd. James Hallifax, DD, Rector of Ewell, who departed this life the 3rd day of September 1848, aged 82 years.'

The kind assistance of Margaret Bower is gratefully acknowledged

Brian Bouchard
October 2013

# Appendix - Regularisation of the use of a Coat of Arms by grant in 1788

Regularisation of the use of a Coat of Arms by grant in 1788
With kind permission of © Tim Powys-Lybbe

HV Usill
HV Usill
Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page
Page Family
Page Family
TH Snow
TH Snow
JA Larby
JA Larby
J Harrison
J Harrison
Nonsuch Mansion
Nonsuch Mansion
New Stables
New Stables