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352 KINGS OF ARMS V WISEMAN
Sir William Le Neve, knt, Clarenceux King of Arms v Thomas Wiseman of St Lawrence Pountney, London, gent
November 1635 - April 1637
Clarenceux complained that Wiseman had directed the funeral of his mother Mary Wiseman at night, and without his order and direction, although he had the right to direct all funerals of gentry below the rank of baron in his capacity as Clarenceux. Wiseman had caused arms to be displayed and carried from his mother's house in St Botolph's without Aldersgate to the church of St Lawrence, Pountney, with at least sixteen coaches, and ordered the mourners in defiance of Clarenceux's authority. Wiseman's answer revealed that the Earl Marshal had sent for him when he understood that he intended to bury his mother with hearse and coaches and forbade him to do so, which Wiseman claimed he had complied with. However, he did admit to having hung a piece of black cloth with an escutcheon over his mother's gate, so that those who were invited would be better directed to the house, and that, at the burial, there were some escutcheons upon the body. Clarenceux entered the libel on 12 November 1635 and won the case in June 1636, when Wiseman was sentenced to pay £10 in costs. In February and April 1637, he was still being required to pay £20 damages and £6 expenses. Le Neve brought a parallel action against Richard Parker who supervised the funeral [see cause 349].
9/3/10, Libel [mainly in Latin]
Le Neve claimed the right to direct and order the funerals of all gentlemen and noblemen below the rank of baron (except Knights of the Garter) and their wives and widowsby the laws and customs of arms from time immemorial. Thomas Wiseman of the city of London, gent, performed the ordering and directing of the funeral of his mother, Mary Wiseman, who was the daughter of Robert Browne gent, and widow of Richard Wiseman esq, and who died in September or October 1635 in the parish of St Botolph without Aldersgate. Wiseman was her executor and caused her funeral to be performed without obtaining the order and direction of Le Neve and caused her to be buried at night. Wiseman caused arms to be displayed in and about his mother's house, and to be carried from her house to the church of St Laurence, Poultney, with twenty or at least sixteen coaches, and ordered the mourners without the direction of Le Neve who now requests relief.
Dated 12 November 1635
17/1j, Personal answer
1. 'He believes the same to be true.'
2. 'He answereth that he referreth himself to the lawes and customes of armes, and otherwise doth not believe the article to be true in any parte thereof.'
3. 'He answereth to these words 'Executore Testamenti sui Constituto Inclusive ' he believes the article to be true. And he further answers that my Lord Marshall, sending for [Wiseman] told him that he understood that he intended to bury his mother with hearse and coaches, but his lordship not liking it, he forbade him soe to doe, which [he] accordingly obeyed.'
4. 'At the burial he did cause a piece of black cloth with a scutchion to be hung out on the top of the gate, whereby those that were bidden might know better how to repair to the said house, and that at the burial, there were some scutchions upon the body and there were divers of her children, kindred and friends present.'
Dated 11 February 1636.
18/1u, Personal answer
This is an identical copy of 17/1j
Signed by Thomas Wiseman.
Summary of proceedings
Dr Duck acted as counsel for Le Neve and Dr Eden and Dr Merrick for Wiseman. On 7 May 1636 the court decreed that Wiseman be attached for not appearing, and Dr Merrick was to respond to the libel for him. In June 1636 the court decreed that Wiseman was to pay £10 in costs within two weeks and to pay the damages by Michaelmas 1636. On 11 and 16 February 1637 and 29 April 1637, Wiseman was still required to pay £20 damages and £6 expenses.
For another account of the case, see G. D. Squibb, Reports of Heraldic Cases in the Court of Chivalry, 1623-1732 (London, 1956), p.20.
S. Wright, 'Sir William Le Neve', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004).
Neither Richard nor Thomas Wiseman appeared in the Visitations of London of 1633-5: J. J. Howard and J. L. Chester (eds.), The Visitation of London in 1633, 1634, and 1635 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 15, 1880); J. J. Howard (ed.), The Visitation of London in 1633, 1634, and 1635 (Publications of the Harleian Society, 17, 1883).
The will of a Richard Wiseman of St Lawrence Pountney, free of the Goldsmiths' Company, was proved in 1618. The will of Mrs Mary Wiseman, widow of Richard Wiseman, esq., was proved in 1635.
Printed PCC index.
A Thomas Wiseman held the post of City remembrancer on the eve of civil war: K. Lindley, Popular Politics in Civil War London (Aldershot, 1997), pp. 170, 173, 210.
- Initial proceedings
- Libel: 9/3/10 (12 Nov 1635)
- Personal answer: 17/1j (11 Feb 1636)
- Personal answer: 18/1u (no date)
- Proceedings: College of Arms MS. 'Court of Chivalry' (act book, 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C] (hereafter 68C), fos. 64r-67r (c. Apr 1636)
- Proceedings before Arundel: 68C, fos. 89r-100r (May 1636)
- Proceedings before Maltravers: 68C, fos. 74r-83v (7 May 1636)
- Proceedings before Maltravers: 68C, fos. 112r-121v (Jun 1636)
- Proceedings before Arundel: 68C, fos. 51r-59r (28 Jan 1637)
- Proceedings: 68C, fos. 23r-36v (11 Feb 1637)
- Proceedings: 68C, fos. 1r-11r (16 Feb 1637)
- Proceedings: 68C, fos. 37r-41v (29 Apr 1637)
People mentioned in the case
- Browne, Mary
- Browne, Robert, gent
- Duck, Arthur, lawyer
- Eden, Thomas, lawyer
- Howard, Henry, baron Maltravers
- Howard, Thomas, earl of Arundel and Surrey
- Le Neve, William, knight
- Merrick, William, lawyer
- Parker, Richard
- Wiseman, Mary, widow
- Wiseman, Richard, esq
- Wiseman, Thomas, gent
Places mentioned in the case
- St Botolph without Aldersgate
- St Lawrence, Pountney
Topics of the case
- funeral ceremony
- King of Arms