(2) ‘An Latimer ay Kernow, a Dictionary of the Cornish Language;’ (3) an amended transcript of Keigwin's ‘Mount Calvary,’ 1679–1680 (Addit. MS. 28554, ff. 51–8).
[Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. 1874, i. 204, iii. 1214; Polwhele's Hist. of Cornwall, 1806, v. 203; D. Gilbert's Parochial Hist. of Cornwall, passim; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. xii. 22; Gent. Mag. 1790 pt. ii. pp. 608, 711, 1791 pt. i. p. 32; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. 1858, i. 525; Lysons's Magna Britannia, 1814, cv. 2; H. Merivale's Historical Studies, 1865, p. 357; Journal of Brit. Archæol. Assoc. xxxiii. 37; information from Mr. Stokes; see also note in Mr. Stokes's Voyage of Arundel.]
HALSE, Sir NICHOLAS (d. 1636), inventor, was the son of John Halse or Halsey of Efford, near Plymouth. He acquired considerable property in Cornwall during the reign of Elizabeth, was knighted by James I at Greenwich 22 May 1605 (Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 155), and in 1608 was made governor of Pendennis Castle, in which capacity he approved of the foundation of the town of Falmouth, and at the request of the council gave his reasons (Gilbert, ii. 9, 10). In 1608 and 1609 he addressed two discourses to James I on the Dutch fisheries on the English coast (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1603–1610, pp. 426, 529). Halse was the inventor of a new mode of drying malt and hops by means of iron plates, ‘without the annoyance of smoke,’ and James I, in acknowledgment of his public merit, granted him ‘the benefit of all salt marshes won from the seas in Ireland’ (ib. 1634, pp. 390, 391). His name occurs many times as a petitioner to Charles I in 1634, 1635, and 1636 in connection with his invention, and also in connection with some proposals of his whereby his majesty might gain money to replenish the treasury and supplement the tax of ship-money which was then being levied. He prays King Charles ‘to employ the first seven years' profit of the writer's invention of kilns for sweet-drying malt without touch of smoke.’ He suggests further that Charles should undertake to govern the Low Countries on behalf of the king of Spain, on consideration of an annual payment of 2,000,000l. by the latter, especially as the ‘Hollanders’ had already become ungrateful and insolent to the English, and if not checked might soon keep the Newcastle coals from coming to London, and entirely deprive this country of the supply of cables, cordage, and other such matters. In another petition (ib. 1635–6, p. 34), Halse estimates that his invention would save London alone 40,000l. yearly in wood and fuel, or 400,000l. for all England and Ireland. In the following year, accordingly, an order dated Hampton Court, 11 June, directs that ‘malt-kilns erected by Halse be confirmed, and those by Page [his principal rival] be suppressed;’ and 17 Jan. 1637 ‘the assigns of Sir Nicholas Halse, deceased,’ petitioned the king ‘to take order for vacating all patents in prejudice to the grant to Sir N. Halse for the sole use of his new invented kilns.’ During the same year a commission was appointed, dated 2 June, ‘to enquire whether Nicholas Page, clerk, or Sir Nicholas Halse was the first inventor of certaine kilns for the drying of malt;’ and subsequent entries in the ‘State Papers Collection’ (e.g. under 27 April) seem to establish the claims of the assigns of Halse.
Halse married Grace, daughter of Sir John Arundell of Tolverne, and had by her four sons: John; William, who was a captain in the navy and served in the expedition to La Rochelle in 1628; Richard, who was purser of the king's ship S. Claude; and James, who was father of William Hals [q. v.] Halse is sometimes called Hall and sometimes Hales; his sons appear in the ‘State Papers’ as Hals.
The most interesting relic of Halse is a small manuscript volume in the ‘Egerton Collection’ entitled ‘Great Britain's Treasure, unto the sacred majestie of the great and mightie monarch Charles the first of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland king, most humbly presenteth Francis Stewart—by whose loyall care the subsequent treatises have been painefully recollected out of the old papers and fragments of that worthy and lately deceased knight, your Majestie's faithfull and ingenuous servant, Sir Nicolas Halse, anno Domini 1636.’ The treatises, five in number, are written in a beautiful Old English character, and inscribed outside, ‘Tibi soli O Rex Charissime.’ The contents refer mainly to various revenues, giving Halse's estimate of the amount realised, and certain improvements that could be effected on behalf of the crown. King Charles is advised to increase his income ‘by ordaining, after the example of the King of France, that all foraigne shipps shall pay 15s. for eache tun’ on landing. Another proposal is to grant ‘a Lease of 21 years of your Majesty's fishing unto the Hollenders.’ One treatise suggests the ‘coynage of Mundick and sinder Tinne’ instead of the copper then current; but perhaps the most ingenious proposal for improving matters was the conversion ‘of 100,000 sturdie vagabonds and idle beggars’ into ‘laborious and industrious tradesmen in the fishing craft.’ The book consists of 114 pages, followed by about forty unpaged, which contain an ‘Epilogue,’ several statistical notes, and a Medulla or abstract of the topics discussed.