HARE, Sir Ralph, 1st Bt. (1623-72), of Stow Bardolph, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1661 - 28 Feb. 1672

Family and Education

b. 24 Mar. 1623, 1sts. of Sir John Hare of Stow Bardolph by Margaret, da. of Sir Thomas Coventry, 1st Baron Coventry of Aylesborough. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1638; travelled abroad (France) 1643-6. m. (1) lic. 26 Oct. 1647, Mary, da. and coh. of Sir Robert Crane, 1st Bt., of Chilton, Suff., 1s. 6da.; (2) 30 Aug. 1660, Vere (d.1669), da. of Sir Roger Townshend, 1st Bt., of Raynham Hall, Norf., s.p.; (3) lic. 12 July 1671, Elizabeth Chapman (d. 17 Mar. 1684) of Westminster, 1s. (posth.). suc. fa. 1637; cr. Bt. 23 July 1641.2

Offices Held

J.p. Norf. 1646-d., commr. for assessment 1647-50, 1656, Jan. 1660-9, militia 1648, Mar. 1660, sheriff 1650-1; freeman, King’s Lynn 1660; col. of militia ft. Norf. Apr. 1660-7, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d.; commr. for sewers, Lincs. Aug. 1660, corporations, Norf. 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, oyer and terminer, Norfolk circuit 1665.3


Hare’s ancestors were living in Suffolk in the 15th century, but the family was raised by Sir Nicholas Hare, Speaker of the 1539 Parliament and lord keeper under Mary, who bought Stow Bardolph in 1557. Hare was abroad for most of the Civil War, but held local office throughout the Interregnum and represented the county in two of the Protectorate Parliaments. He signed the Norfolk address for a free Parliament in 1660, and was returned for King’s Lynn, some 12 miles from his home, presumably with the support of Edward Walpole, his brother-in-law. Lord Wharton marked him as a friend, to be managed by Sir John Potts, but he was not active in the Convention. He was named to five committees, including the committee of elections and privileges, and twice acted as teller. On 30 June he supported a complicated proviso to the indemnity bill to enable the courts to give relief from extorted releases and discharges, and on 24 July he opposed a proviso to the tunnage poundage bill allowing the surveyor-general of customs to take the established fees. He was appointed to the committees for settling the revenue and the establishment of Dunkirk, and added after the recess to that considering the defects in the poll bill.4

Hare presumably gave satisfaction to the Court, for in 1661 he moved up to the county seat vacated by Sir Horatio Townshend, another brother-in-law, and was returned unopposed. A moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was named to 49 committees, and acted as teller in three divisions. Although no longer included in Wharton’s list, he took no part in the Clarendon Code or in any other legislation of high political significance, though he was among those appointed to consider the bill restoring the temporal jurisdiction of the clergy and acted as teller against the proviso to the corporations bill to prevent any Member or unsuccessful candidate from acting as commissioner for the borough where he had stood. In 1663 he was appointed to the committees for hindering the growth of Popery, and acted as teller for an unsuccessful motion against deleting any commissioners’ names from the subsidy bill. On matters of local interest he helped to consider the bill for repairing Wells quay and the estate bill promoted by Sir Jacob Astley. His attitude to the fall of Clarendon is not known, though in 1667 he was appointed to committees for assigning debts in the Exchequer and preventing the growth of Popery, as well as one on a private bill promoted by Townshend to enable him to exchange land with the rector of East Raynham. In 1669 Sir Thomas Osborne included him among the Members who might be engaged for the Court by the Duke of York. He died on 28 Feb. 1672 and was buried at Stow Bardolph.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Excluded.
  • 2. The Gen. n.s. xxvii. 241; N. and Q. cc. 297; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 625.
  • 3. Lynn Freeman, 192; Parl. Intell. 9 Apr. 1660; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 73; Blomefield, Norf. iii. 405.
  • 4. Blomefield, vii. 440; Address from Gentry of Norf. ed. Rye, 29.
  • 5. CJ, viii. 291, 524; Blomefield, vii. 445.