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THE HALLE OF JOHN HALLE,
CITIZEN, AND MERCHANT,
IN THE REIGNS OF HENRY VI. AND EDWARD IV.:
Notes, Illustrative and Explanatory.
BY THE REV. EDWARD DUKE,
M. A., F. A. S., & L. S.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
"RIDENTEM DICERE VERUM
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR:
W. B. BRODIE AND CO., CANAL.
LONDON:-NICHOLS AND SON, PARLIAMENT-STREET; W. PICKERING, CHANCERY-LANE; J. AND A. ARCH, CORNHILL; AND TO BE
HAD OF ALL OTHER BOOKSELLERS.
This, almost constituent, portion of a book is presumed to be the first written, but (as in the present instance) it is, generally, the expiring effort of the author's pen. It is, in reality, his postscript.
It often serves to develope the style, and character, of the book itself, and is an index to the mind of its author. It is the touch-stone of literature; and from the impressions created by its perusal, the work, of which it is the forerunner, or gentleman-usher, is often prejudged, and sometimes, mayhap, at once thrown aside.
The preface is rightly esteemed to be the most difficult part of a book to write-indeed, so much so—that many able authors have rejected it altogether, and permitted their works to jump at once into the world without the aid of a formal introduction, and—they have not done unwisely.
As the Author deems it necessary to impart to his readers some explanations relative to this
work, he must write his preface, and perform his unpleasing task as well as he can.
To exculpate himself from its imperfections he will candidly state its origin and progress, and thus, also, account for the apparent delay of its publication; and it is the more incumbent on him to do this, lest he should be challenged, in the outset of his work, as to the facts, whether John Halle, and his splendid room, had any other existence than in his own imaginationwhether it be not all the illusion of a dream.
From time immemorial the remains of an ancient mansion, forming a portion of certain premises, situate on the New Canal, in the City of Salisbury, were known to exist; and they were, ever and anon, visited by the antiquary, or the virtuoso. A large hall, or refectory, (divided, and sub-divided into many small upper, and lower, rooms,) was evidently developed to the curious investigator of antiquities, but its origin and its owner were veiled in the mists of time. When these premises were recently purchased by Mr. Sampson Payne, China-man, the present owner, and occupier of this ancient mansion, he, at considerable expense, removed the modern partitions, and renovated this curious Hall, which is now to be seen in its original size, and proportions. Its richly-storied windows, its antique chimney-piece, its massive, and elegant, roof, framed of oak, or chestnut, did suggest, that this was an ancient refectory; but, whether that of a
religious, or mercantile, fraternity, or of an affluent citizen of the olden time, was utterly unknown. Ages had past away—the building remained—but the memory of its master was lost. Many of the armorial shields were recognised by the heraldist, yet, one coat of arms (impaled with a merchant's mark) remained as a puzzle unto all enquirers-its owner could not be discovered. The arms displayed on this shield, and the merchant's mark, but on separate scutcheons, were again seen to ornament the transom-stone of the chimney-piece, showing thereby, that their honoured owner was, also, the builder of this interesting, ancient, Hall. After much research the author did, by chance, discover, that the arms alluded to were those of Halle of Salisbury. The name met his eye (where he should least have expected to have found it) amongst the “ Additions and Emendations” at the very close of Edmondson's “Complete Body of Heraldry.” On taking down the description of the arms as given in that work, and comparing it on the spot with those depicted on the, then, unknown shield, he, agreeably, found them to correspond.
Having thus obtained a clue, the author pursued, in an ardent chase, his researches; and, thinking it probable, that Aubrey, the Wiltshire Antiquary, (who lived about the middle of the 17th century, midway between the 15th and the 19th centuries—the respective days of John