Le Neve, William (DNB00)

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LE NEVE, Sir WILLIAM (1600?–1661), herald and genealogist, was the son and heir of William Le Neve of Aslacton, Norfolk, by his first wife, the daughter of John Aldham of Shimpling. His father died in 1609, and he was probably born before 1600. It has been erroneously assumed that he was the William Le Neve, son of Geoffrey Neve of Aslacton, who was educated at Norwich School and Caius College, Cambridge, and was aged 16 in 1624 (Admissions to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, 1887). Le Neve was appointed Mowbray herald extraordinary under a warrant dated 24 June 1622 (Ashmolean MS. 857, p. 343); York herald, 25 Nov. 1625; Norroy, December 1633; and Clarenceux, 23 June 1635, having been previously knighted at Whitehall on 23 April 1634. In 1640 he was in correspondence with Sir Christopher Hatton (Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. p. 26).

In 1642 he is said to have been sent by Charles I, on the day before the battle of Edgehill, to the parliamentary army under the Earl of Essex, ‘with a proclamation of pardon to all such as would lay down their arms; but when he offered to read it aloud, the earl reproved him with much roughness, for obeying which order he was very uneasy ever afterwards.’ His mental powers failing him, he was declared to be a lunatic in October 1658, and Sir Edward Walker (Garter) was empowered to execute his office. Not long after he died at Hoxton, on 15 Aug. 1661, and was buried at St. Benet's, Paul's Wharf. He was not married. In Ashmolean MS. 1113, pp. 225 et seq., there is ‘A Short Account of the Life and Actions of King Edward III, and of his son Edward, Prince of Wales,’ by him.

[Authorities cited; Ashmolean MS. 1113.]

W. R.