349 Kings Of Arms v Parker

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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'349 Kings Of Arms v Parker', in The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640, (, ) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/court-of-chivalry/349-kings-of-arms-parker [accessed 4 March 2024]

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Sir William Le Neve, knt, Clarenceux King of Arms v Richard Parker, a provost marshal of London

November 1635 - c. April 1636


Clarenceux complained that on 20 October 1635, Parker, under instruction from Thomas Wiseman of the city of London, gent, directed the funeral of Wiseman's mother, Mary Wiseman, in the parish of St Botolph without Aldersgate, in contempt of his authority. At the time, William Penson, Lancaster Herald, had asked Parker 'who made you marshall to marshal funerals?', to which Parker replied, 'I will doe it for he that sett me on worke will beare me out'. Le Neve's libel was dated 12 November 1635 and Dr Duck was required to enter it on his behalf c. April 1636. No indication of sentence survives, but in the parallel case against Wiseman, Le Neve won the verdict [see cause 352].

Initial proceedings

9/1c, Libel

For the past 4-5 months Le Neve had served as Clarenceux King of Arms which gave him the authority 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 widows, by the laws and customs of arms from time immemorial. On 20 October 1635 Richard Parker, under the direction of Thomas Wiseman of the city of London, gent, performed the ordering and directing of the funeral of Mary Wiseman, mother of Thomas Wiseman, who was the daughter of Robert Browne, gent, and widow of Richard Wiseman, esq, causing her body to be carried from her house in the parish of St Botolph without Aldersgate to the church of St Laurence, Poultney, in contempt of the authority of Le Neve. At the time William Penson, Lancaster Herald, had asked him 'who made you marshall to marshal funerals', to which Parker had replied, 'I will doe it for he that sett me on worke will beare me out', for which Le Neve requested relief.

Dated 12 November 1635.

Signed by Thomas Eden as attorney for Le Neve.

Summary of proceedings

Dr Duck, acting for Le Neve, was required to prove the libel around April 1636.


For another account of this case, see G. D. Squibb, Reports of Heraldic Cases in the Court of Chivalry, 1623-1732 (London, 1956), p.21.

S. Wright, 'Sir William Le Neve', Oxford DNB (Oxford, 2004).


  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: 9/1c (12 Nov 1635)
  • Proceedings
    • Proceedings: College of Arms MS. 'Court of Chivalry' (act book, 1636-8) [pressmark R.R. 68C] (hereafter 68C), fos. 64r-67r (c. Apr 1636)

People mentioned in the case

  • Browne, Mary
  • Browne, Robert, gent
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Eden, Thomas, lawyer
  • Le Neve, William, knight
  • Parker, Richard, provost marshal
  • Penson, William, herald
  • Wiseman, Mary, widow
  • Wiseman, Richard, esq
  • Wiseman, Thomas, gent

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • St Botolph without Aldersgate
    • St Laurence Poultney

Topics of the case

  • funeral ceremony
  • Herald
  • King of Arms