Richard Hall 02

MR comments on Snooke's regular stock investments. Hall also started to dabble in stocks and shares while still young and throughout adult life kept jottings of stock movements and changes in Bank of England interest rates. The letter in the Angus Library from Beddome to Hall is on this matter. Snooke and Hall made some joint purchases – presumably, says MR, using the income from the Seward estate, since it belonged to both equally. Bengeworth was a problem. The Mansion House was run-down and neglected and it took time to find a willing tenant.
The births of Hall's children are mentioned in his Journals. By the time Francis, the third, arrived in 1757 it was clear the family had out-grown the “rooms above the shop” and in 1758 we read “we moved house – Slept at our country house at Stockwell 14th May”. Eleanor may not have known it but by then she was already a couple of months pregnant. The Journal goes on to record “November 12th 1758 my daughter Frances was born - she died 23rd December, 1758 . A most sorrowful Christmas for us all.” Later on he recalled “So, in total my dear Eleanor bore me four children, apart from ten miscarriages”.
“January 8th 1759 at the age of 60 died my father Francis Hall after a declining state of health.” After her husband’s death Hall’s step-mother removed to South Lambeth. Richard inherited the business and premises in Red Lion Street and set about expanding. From making and selling silk hosiery he progressed to selling all manner of fine silks, etc.
Reviewing his father’s life at the start of the following century Hall’s son Benjamin records that in 1763 Hall “was baptized by Dr Gill under whose ministry he had sat with much pleasure for several years. This circumstance took place at the Barbican chapel on 14th December and on the 18th he was received into full communion with Dr Gill’s Church at Carter Lane Southwark.” Hall himself notes that he gave his experience in to Dr Gill’s Church December 5, 1763. On March 17 1757 he had given a generous gift “towards Dr Gills new Meeting £20/0/0”. This was linked with the move to Carter Lane, a few hundred yards from Red Lion Street. Hall was regular at the meetings on Friday nights and on Sundays.
On his birthday (January 15) in 1767 Hall writes “The Lord has spared Me to ye return of another Birth Day – may I live more in his Fear, and to his Glory”. In that same year he moved his shop to the end of the newly refurbished London Bridge – only a few hundred yards from the old premises but in many ways a different world. He notes “November 1766 - entered into an agreement for finishing a new-built house on the corner of Lower Thames Street London Bridge”. On April 3 he “Remov’d shop Goods to my New House, the Corner of Thames Street” He opened on April 6 and that night Dr Gill dined with him (“Spent a little time in Prayer”).
At around the same time the family moved from Stockwell “to a fine house … leased in Peckham in Surry”. We read “1767 June 13th Slept at New House for first Night”.
It was the custom for the Snookes to come up to Town once a year to see the Halls, usually in April. They would stay for as long as seven or eight weeks. They would all go on various trips.
Another note says - 1770 July 6th Bound my Son William Seward Hall Apprentice to me. William would have been just under 16. In time he would inherit a very different business from the one founded by his grandfather.
In October 1771 John Gill died, aged 73. Of this bereavement Hall writes “Great is his loss in the Church and much felt by me. It is a great affliction when we know the worth of our privileges by the want of them, especially our spiritual mercies. It is possible to set too great an esteem on man - perhaps I did not prize my faithful Minister as I ought to have done. I wish I had improved more under his sound Ministry. I now will greatly miss him. Will the Lord be pleased, as a token for good to me, to bring me into a good fold and give me an appetite for His Word and Ordinances. I desire to be thankful I have my pastor’s works to consult, which I much value.” Hall had written out every sermon he had heard Gill preach over the past 25 years and had them bound. In January 1772 Hall decided to have printed – at his own expense (£1.14.6) – 200 copies of “What I remember of Dr Gill”, which he then proceeded to hand out to friends and acquaintances.

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