Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sheppard, William (d.1675?)

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SHEPPARD, WILLIAM (d. 1675?), legal writer, born at Horsley in Gloucestershire, was educated for the law and enjoyed a large country practice. About 1653 he was invited to London by Cromwell, and made one of the clerks of the upper bench. In 1656 he became a serjeant-at-law, and was nominated with three others to prepare the charters granted to town corporations (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1655–6, p. 370). In November 1657 he petitioned Cromwell that his salary of 300l. a year might be increased, representing that he had suffered by abandoning his country practice. He obtained an addition of 100l. a year (ib. 1657, pp. 178, 183). In September 1659 he was appointed a puisne justice of the County Palatine. On the Restoration he was deprived of his offices and fell into obscurity. He appears to have been alive so late as 1675. He had six children: John, a clergyman (Alumni Oxon, early ser.), Elizabeth, Sarah, Samuel, Anne, Dorothy (Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, ii. 508).

He wrote: 1. ‘The office and duties of Constables, or tythingmen … and other lay ministers. Whereunto are adjoined the several offices of church ministers and church wardens,’ London, 1641, 8vo; 4th ed. 1657. 2. ‘The Court Keeper's Guide,’ London, 1641, 8vo; 7th ed. by William Browne, 1685. 3. ‘A Catechism,’ London, 1649, 8vo. 4. ‘Four Last Things,’ 1649, 4to. 5. ‘Guide to Justices of the Peace,’ 1649, 8vo; 5th ed. 1669. 6. ‘The Faithful Counsellor,’ London, 1651–4. 7. ‘England's Balme,’ London, 1651, 12mo. 8. ‘The People's Privilege and Duty guarded against the Pulpit,’ London, 1652. 9. ‘A Collection of Choice Declarations,’ 1653, 8vo. 10. ‘Justice of the Peace his Clerk's Cabinet,’ 1654, 8vo. 11. ‘The Parson's Guide or the Law of Tithes,’ London,’ 1654, 4to; 2nd ed. 1670. 12. ‘The Precedent of Precedents,’ London, 1655, 4to; ed. by T. W. Williams, 1825, 8vo. 13. ‘View of the Laws concerning Religion,’ London, 1655, 8vo. 14. ‘Epitome of the Common and Statute Laws,’ London, 1656, fol. 15. ‘Survey of the County Judicatories,’ London, 1656, 16mo. 16. ‘Office of Country Justice of Peace,’ London, 1655–6, 8vo. 17. ‘Concerning Sincerity and Hypocrisy,’ Oxford, 1658, 8vo. 18. ‘Of Corporations, Fraternities, and Guilds,’ London, 1659, 8vo. 19. ‘A New Survey of the Justice of the Peace his Office,’ London, 1659, 8vo. 20. ‘Actions upon the Case for Slander,’ 1662, fol.; 2nd ed. London, 1674, 8vo. 21. ‘Office of the Clerk of the Market,’ London, 1665, 12mo. 22. ‘The Practical Counsellor in the Law,’ London, 1671, fol. 23. ‘Actions upon the Case for Deeds,’ 2nd ed. London, 1675, 8vo; 3rd ed. 1680. 24. ‘A Grand Abridgement of the Common and Statute Law of England,’ London, 1675, 4to.

He also published the ‘Touchstone of Common Assurances,’ 1641, 4to, which he is said to have found in manuscript in Sir John Doddridge's library. The eighth edition of this work, by E. G. Atherley, was published in 1826. Sheppard wrote a second part, published with the first, under the title, ‘Law of Common Assurances,’ 1650, fol.

[Clarke's Bibl. Leg.; Allibone's Dict. of Authors.]

E. I. C.