Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Say, William (1604-1665?)

SAY, WILLIAM (1604–1665?), regicide, born in 1604, was probably second son of William Say of Ickenham, Middlesex, by his wife Anne, daughter of Sir Edward Fenner, one of the judges of the king's bench (see pedigree in Harl. Soc. v. 252). He matriculated at University College, Oxford, 9 Dec. 1619, aged 15, and graduated B.A. in June 1623. He entered at the Middle Temple in 1631, becoming a bencher twenty-three years later. He took up the parliamentary cause, and in 1646 obtained a grant of the sequestered lands of John, lord Abergavenny, receiving the profits of them up to 1655 (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. pp. 95 b, 122 b). On 12 April 1647 he was returned to the Long parliament as member for Camelford, Cornwall, in the place of William Glenvill, disabled to sit (Return of Members, i. 486). He was one of the members of the high court which tried Charles, and was required to peruse the proceedings before they were presented to the house (Cal. State Papers, 1649, p. 353). He attended the trial regularly (Noble), and signed the death warrant (Gardiner, Civil War, iv. 309). In May 1649 he was appointed one of the council for the Commonwealth on the trial of John Lilburne [q. v.] (Council Book, Record Office, I. lxii. 249) and on 11 Feb. 1650 was admitted to the council of state (Commons' Journals; Whitelocke, Memorials, p. 488). He subsequently sat on numerous committees up to 1653. In November 1659 he with Ludlow and a few others attempted to reconcile the army and parliament (Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. Firth, ii. 145). He was nominated one of the committee of safety, 30 Dec. 1659 (Commons' Journals, viii. 800; Parl. Hist. xx. 36). On 13 Jan. 1659–60 Speaker Lenthall was allowed ten days' absence during illness, and during this interim Say filled his place (Commons' Journals, viii. 811; Whitelocke, Memorials, p. 693). At the Restoration he was exempted from the act of indemnity by a vote of the House of Commons, 30 May 1660 (Ludlow, Memoirs, ii. 275). He escaped to the continent, and in October 1662 joined Ludlow at Lausanne (ib. ii. 343), but after some stay left to seek a place of greater safety in Germany (ib. p. 373). In 1665 he was at Amsterdam, and in the following year was concerting in Holland a movement against England (ib. ii. 373, 391). He probably died soon afterwards.

[Authorities as in text; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Manning's Speakers, pp. 340–346; Noble's Regicides, ii. 164 sqq.]

W. A. S.