lay officers interfering in ecclesiastical matters in a highhanded way.’ By January 1636 he had ordered his province much more successfully. In his own diocese he ‘scarce finds a beneficed minister stiffly unconformable,’ and very large sums had been spent in repairing and adorning churches. The report of the diocese for 1636–7 states that he had not found ‘any distractions of opinion touching points of divinity lately controverted.’ He declared himself a ‘great adversary of the puritan faction … yet (having been a bishop eight and twenty years) he never deprived any man, but has endeavoured their reformation.’
Though an old man, he continued till his death to be active in political as well as in ecclesiastical business. Till within a fortnight of his death his correspondence was kept up with Laud, Windebanke, and Sir Dudley Carleton. Neile died ‘in the mansion house belonging to the prebend of Stillington, within the close of the church of York,’ on 31 Oct. 1640, and was buried at the east end of the cathedral, in the chapel of All Saints, without a monument. He was a man of little learning, but of much address and great capacity for business, and he possessed in a marked degree the power of influencing and directing the work of others. He was popular both at court and among his clergy. Ready and humorous of speech, conscientious in his attachment to the principles advocated by men more learned than himself, hard working and careful of opportunity, he became prominent and successful where greater men failed. His best quality was a sound common-sense, his worst a lack of prescience. He was ‘a man of such a strange composition that whether he were of a larger and more public soul, or of a more uncourtly conversation, it were hard indeed to say’ (Heylyn). Laud spoke of him as ‘a man well known to be as true to, and as stout for, the church of England established by law as any man that came to preferment in it’ (Works, iv. 293). Baillie mentions him on his death as ‘a great enemy to us’ (Baillie, Letters, ed. Lang, i. 270). He left one son, Paul Neile of ‘Bowdill,’ Yorkshire, who was knighted 27 May 1633, and was father of William Neile [q. v.]
He published: 1. Articles for his primary visitation as Bishop of Winchester, printed by R. Young, London, 1628. Containing inquiries as to the ministering of the sacraments, ordering of penances, and maintenance of church discipline. 2. Articles for his metropolitical visitation, London, printed by John Norton, 1633. Almost exactly the same as the above. 3. ‘By commandment of King James he printed in English and Latin the conference that he had with the Archbishop of Spalatro after he had discovered his intention to return to Rome’ (Le Neve, Lives of the Bishops since the Reformation, p. 149, quoting from Neile's manuscript defence of himself in parliament).
[Calendars of State Papers, Dom. 1625–40; Laud's Works; Anthony Wood's Athenæ Oxon.; Gardiner's Hist. of England; Heylyn's Cyprianus Anglicus; Perry's Hist. of the Church of England; Waller's Poems, 1722, p. vi; Yorks Diaries (Surtees Soc.), vol. lxv.; Gardiner's Reports of Cases in the Courts of Star Chamber and High Commission (Camd. Soc.), 1886.]
NEILE, WILLIAM (1637–1670), mathematician, was the eldest son of Sir Paul Neile and the grandson of Richard Neile [q. v.], archbishop of York, in whose palace at Bishopthorpe he was born on 7 Dec. 1637. Entering Wadham College, Oxford, as a gentleman-commoner in 1652, but not matriculating in the university till 1655, he soon displayed mathematical genius, which was developed by the instructions of Dr. Wilkins and Dr. Seth Ward. In 1657 he became a student at the Middle Temple. In the same year, at the age of nineteen, he gave an exact rectification of the cubical parabola, and communicated his discovery—the first of its kind—to Brouncker, Wren, and others of the Gresham College Society. His demonstration was published in Wallis's ‘De Cycloide,’ 1659, p. 91. Neile was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 7 Jan. 1663, and a member of the council on 11 April 1666. His theory of motion was communicated to the society on 29 April 1669 (Birch, Hist. of the Royal Society, ii. 361). He prosecuted astronomical observations with instruments erected on the roof of his father's residence, the ‘Hill House,’ at White Waltham in Berkshire, where he died, in his thirty-third year, on 24 Aug. 1670, ‘to the great grief of his father, and resentment of all virtuosi and good men that were acquainted with his admirable parts’ (Wood). A white marble monument in the parish church of White Waltham commemorates him, and an inscribed slab in the floor marks his burial-place. He belonged to the privy council of Charles II. Hearne says of him, ‘He was a virtuous, sober, pious man, and had such a powerful genius to mathematical learning that had he not been cut off in the prime of his years, in all probability he would have equalled, if not excelled, the celebrated men of that profession. Deep melancholy hastened his end, through his love for a maid of honour, to marry whom he could not obtain his father's consent.’