Longueville, William (DNB00)


LONGUEVILLE, WILLIAM (1639–1721), friend of the poet Samuel Butler [q. v.], was the only son of Sir Thomas Longueville, knight, of Bradwell Abbey, Buckinghamshire, by his wife Anne, second daughter and coheiress of Sir William Ashcombe of Alvescott, Oxfordshire. The father, a reckless cavalier, spent his substance, and at last fell on his son for support. William was entered as a student of the Inner Temple in November 1654, when, through the sale of the paternal estate, he was described as of Alvescott; and on 25 July 1655 he matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford. At the university he did not keep his terms, and on 28 Sept. 1663 he was created M.A. in special congregation. In 1660 he was called to the bar at the Inner Temple, becoming in turn bencher of his inn (1677), autumn reader (1682), Lent reader (1685), and treasurer (1695). With the aid of a ‘good-natured six-clerk’ who took him up he filled the post of a six-clerk in chancery from 1660 to 1678. By this means he laid the foundation of a fine estate and revived the fortunes of his family, which were still further augmented by the great wealth he gained through his pre-eminence in conveyancing. He died on 21 March 1720–1, aged 82, and was buried on 30 March in the aisle at the north-east end of Edward the Confessor's Chapel, Westminster Abbey. His wife was Elizabeth, third daughter and coheiress of Sir Thomas Peyton, second baronet of Knowlton, Kent. She died 21 Jan. 1715–16, aged 69, and was buried in the north aisle within the tombs of Westminster Abbey. The burial of their son Charles and the marriage of their daughter Elizabeth are entered in Chester's ‘Registers of Westminster Abbey,’ pp. 40, 379. The names of their other children are given in Lipscomb's ‘Buckinghamshire,’ iv. 415.

Longueville was a friend of the Norths, and ranked among Lord-keeper Guilford's ‘much esteemed friends and companions. His discourse was fluent, witty, literate, copious, and instructive;’ he had the best Latin sentences at his tongue's end, but some critics thought that he talked too much. Such is the account of Roger North, who seems to have obtained his assistance on points of legal difficulty. Farquhar was indebted to him for part of his ‘Twin Rivals’ (Works, 1760, vol. ii.). Longueville lived on the east side of Bow Street, Covent Garden, and in his house Samuel Butler was often relieved. He was anxious that the poet's remains should be laid in Westminster Abbey, but as he could not find sufficient friends to bear a share of the expense, they were buried ‘with the greatest privacy, but at the same time very decently,’ at his own cost, in the churchyard of St. Paul, Covent Garden. The literary remains of Butler, which passed into his hands, are in the British Museum Addit. MS. 32625, and selections from them were published, with notes by R. Thyer, in two volumes in 1759. Numerous letters from Longueville are in the ‘Hatton Papers’ (Addit. MSS. 29555–86), and many, ranging from 1676 to 1688, are printed in the ‘Hatton Correspondence’ (Camden Soc. 1878). They show tory politics.

[Chester's Reg. of Westm. Abbey, pp. 285, 303; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Students of Inner Temple, p. 353; Masters of Bench of Inner Temple, p. 48; Wheatley and Cunningham's London, i. 229; Lives of the Norths, ed. 1826, ii. 188–90; North's Autobiog. ed. 1887, pp. 237–9.]

W. P. C.