Thomas Frederick Halsey, 1st Baronet Gaddesden 428,499
- Born: 9 December 1839, Hitchin, Hertfordshire 428
- Marriage: Mary Julia Wells in 1865 500
- Died: 12 February 1927, Gaddesden Place, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire aged 87
From The Times, 27 June 1892
Halsey, Thomas Frederick (Hertfordshire, West or Watford) (C.), of Great Gaddesden Place, Hemel Hempstead, only s. of the late Mr. T. Plumer Halsey, M.P. for Herts 1864-54, by Frederica, d. of General F. Johnston, of Hilton, b 1829, and educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford (B.A. 1861, M.A. 1864). Is a J.P. and County Alderman for Hertfordshire, was major in the Herts Yeomanry Cavalry from 1872 to 1889, and the hon. lieut.-colonel from 1886, is Deputy Chairman of Quarter Sessions for Herts and Chairman of the Great Gaddesden School Board. M., 1865, Mary Julia, youngest d. of the late Mr. F.A. Wells, of the Bengal Civil Service. M.P. Hertfordshire 1874-1885, Watford division from 1885.
From The Times, February 14, 1927
Sir Frederick Halsey, of Gaddesden Place, Hemel Hempstead, who died
there on Saturday at the age of 87, was an excellent example of the
able and energetic country gentleman, versed in public affairs,
kindly, courteous, and self-sacrificing. It is a type in which this
country has in the the past been peculiarly rich. Halsey's long life
was spent in doing his utmost for his country and his county, to both
of which he was devotedly attached.
He was the head of one of the oldest of the Hertfordshire county
families, members of which have been landowners at Great Gaddesden
since the 15th century. They have from generation to generation taken
active parts in the affairs of the county, several of them having
filled the office of High Sheriff and others having been county
members. His father, Mr. Thomas Plumer Halsey, was first elected for
the county in 1847, and was reelected for the county in 1852. He
married Frederica, the daughter and heiress of General Frederick
Johnstone, of Hilton, and had issue Sir Frederick Halsey, born on
December 9, 1839, and Mr. Ethelbert Arthur Sackville Halsey. Mr. T.
P. Halsey, his wife, and his younger son lost their lives on April 24,
1854, while crossing the Gulf of Genoa in the steamer Ercolano. At
this time Sir Frederick was a boy at Eton. He had gone there the year
before, Mr. W. Evans was his "Dame" and the Rev. F. E. Durnford
("Judy" Durnford) was his tutor. In due course he went up to Christ
Church, and while there rowed No. 3 in the Oxford Eight in 1860.
After graduating in 1861, he took up his position in Hertfordshire,
joining the North Herts Yeomanry and becoming a Justice of the Peace
for the county, and he soon took an active part in county affairs.
From his Oxford days he was interested in the Thames, and at his death
was vice-chairman of the Thames Conservancy Board.
In 1874 Halsey was returned to Parliament with two colleagues as a
Conservative for Hertfordshire. When the county was divided in 1885
he stood for the Watford division and was elected after a close
contest with Sir George Faudel-Phillips, but he lost his seat in the
great Liberal reaction of 1906. He took his defeat with
characteristic good humour, and, in seconding the vote of thanks to
the returning officer, drily observed: "After all, gentlemen, I think
I have got the best of it, because, while your honourable member will
be engaged in Parliament in trying to perform the promises he has made
to electors, I shall be comfortably in bed." In Parliament Sir
Frederick made a reputation for sound common sense and loyalty to the
best traditions of the House, with the result that in 1899 he was
elected chairman of the Standing Orders and Selection Committee, an
important office for which he was eminently qualified by his strength
of character, knowledge of Parliamentary procedure, and judicial
fairness. During his tenure it became his duty to report Mr. Lloyd
George to the House for non-attendance on a Committee on which he had
been appointed to serve, and this incident was recalled by the erring
member in later years when he had become Prime Minister. In
recognition of his services on this Committee Sir Frederick was sworn
of the Privy Council.
Halsey won the respect and esteem of Hertfordshire people of all
shades of politics. To show their approbation of his services in
Parliament, the principal residents entertained him at dinner which
was presided over by the late Lord Salisbury, then Prime Minister, who
referred to the Halsey family as being one in the county compared with
which "those of the noble lords who sit around me and my own are but
as of yesterday". Halsey's defeat at the poll enabled him to devote
more time to local affairs. He had always been an active magistrate
and was chariman of Quarter Sessions for the St. Albans division of
the county from 1908 to 1918, having previously served as deputy
chairman since 1889. He had a sound knowledge of the criminal law,
and the decisions of his Court were never disturbed by the Court of
Criminal Appeal. His humanity and sympathy equalled his
fair-mindedness, and he was a great believer in the Poor Prisoners
Defence Act. On the reform of local government in 1888 he was elected
a county alderman, and was chosen as the first chairman of the
Standing Joint Committee, which controls, among other matters, the
county police. He took a personal interst in the Hertfordshire force,
which reached a high standard of efficiency. In 1905 Halsey became
chairman of the Hertfordshire County Council. He had already been
chairman of several of the principal committees, and his Parliamentary
experience stood him in good stead. Probably no county council has
ever had a more efficient chief, and on his resignation in 1920 he
received the honour of a baronetcy.
All through his life Sir Frederick took a keen interest in military
matters. He served in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry for many years,
eventually becoming second-in-command and retiring with the rank of
lieutenant-colonel. On the formation of the Territorial Force, he
joined the Hertfordshire Association, eventually becoming its
chairman, and rendering his customary diligent and conscientious
service. He did much to encourage recruiting; all through the war he
performed as vice-lieutenant the duties of the lord lieutenant, Lord
Hampden, who was abroad on active service.
The services rendered to Freemasonry by Sir Frederick Halsey are
without parallel in the history of the United Grand Lodge of England.
He had been a member of the craft for 66 years. As Deputy Grand
Master of England, to which office he was appointed in 1903 by the
Duke of Connaught, in succession to the late Lord Warwick, he rendered
signal service; his appointment as Second Grand Principal of the
Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masonry dated from the same time.
He held both these offices until April of last year, when he resigned
on the ground of advancing years, and was succeeded by Colonel (now
Lord) Cornwallis. During the Great War nearly every day he was to be
found at Freemasons' Hall in Great Queen-street, presiding at
committee meetings or taking part in other routine assemblies. The
thanks of the Masonic Craft were testified by the presentation of this
full-length portrait which now hangs in Freemasons' Hall, the cost of
which was defrayed by Grand Lodge.
Sir Frederick was a considerable landowner in the counties of Hertford
and Dorset. He was fond of sport, especially of fishing and shooting,
which he was able to enjoy almost to the end of his long and useful
life. He married Mary Julia, daughter of the late Mr. Frederick
Octavius Wells, of the Bengal Civil Service, and had seveon sons, of
whom six survive him - namely, Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Johnstone
Halsey, late of the Hertfordshire Militia, who succeeds him in the
baronetcy; Captain Arthur Halsey, R.N.; Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey, of
the Prince of Wales's Household; Major Reginald Halsey, late of the
Hertfordshire Yeomanry; the Rev. Gerald Halsey, all of whom served
with distinction in the war; and the Rev. Frederick Halsey, Rector of
Shenley. He also leaves two daughters, Mrs. Walter Edward Barnett, of
Red Hall, Croxley Green, and Mrs. Granville, of Wellebourne Hall,
Warwick. Lady Halsey died on December 8, 1922.
The funeral at Gaddesden will be private. A memorial service will be
held at St. Albans Abbey on Wednesday, at 3.20.
Noted events in his life were:
1. Census UK 1911: 1911, Gaddesden Place, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.
2. Memorial Service: 16 February 1927, St. Albans Abbey, Hertfordshire.
Thomas married Mary Julia Wells, daughter of Frederick Octavius Wells and Unknown, in 1865.500 (Mary Julia Wells was born c 1843 in India 428 and died on 8 December 1922 in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire 13.)