Neade, William (DNB00)

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NEADE, WILLIAM (fl. 1625), archer and inventor, began experiments in James I's reign with a ‘warlike invention of the bow and the pike,’ a simple arrangement by which a bow could be attached to a movable pivot in the middle of the pike, thus making a combined weapon for offence or for close quarters. In 1624 he exhibited his invention before the king in St. James's Park, and the Honourable Artillery Company soon afterwards made trial of it (Double-armed Manne, Epistle Ded.) In July 1633 (State Papers, Dom. ccxliii. 70) he petitioned the council to approve ‘a direction for a commission to authorise the inventor to teach the service and for a proclamation to command the general exercise thereof.’ On 12 Aug. following (Record Office, Collection of Proclamations, Car. I, No. 166) the proclamation was issued at Oatlands, and five days later a commission was given to Neade and his son William to instruct lieutenants of counties and justices of the peace in the exercise. The specification of the patent which was granted to Neade in the following year (16 May, Patent Specifications, 1634, No. 69) recites that he had spent many years in practising the weapon. In 1635 and again in 1637 Neade informed the king that he had laid out his whole estate of 600l. on his invention, ‘but by the evil example of the city of London the service is now wholly neglected,’ although three hundred of the Artillery Company had given an exhibition of the weapon in action before King Charles in St. James's Park. The council seems to have meditated some fresh concessions to Neade, but no further reference to the matter exists (State Papers, Dom. May 1637).

Neade wrote: ‘The Double-armed Man, by the New Invention, briefly showing some Famous Exploits achieved by our British Bowmen, with several Portraitures proper for the Pike and Bow,’ London, 1625 (Brit. Mus.), with six plates, which have all been reproduced in Grose's ‘Military Antiquities.’ Ward, in his ‘Animadversions of Warre,’ 1639, gives an engraving of a similar weapon, and Captain Venn, in his ‘Military Observations,’ 1672, strongly recommends ‘the gallant invention of the Half Pike.’

[Hewitt's Ancient Armour in Europe, Supplement, p. 705; Grose's Military Antiquities, i. 354; Ward's Animadversions of Warre; Venn's Military Observations; Specifications of Patents, 1634, No. 69; State Papers, Dom. ubi supra; Epistle Dedicatory to Neade's Tract; Cat. of Huth Library, iii. 1020–1; Lowndes's Bibliographical Manual.]

W. A. S.