Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/328

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

commander, judging further defence impossible, ordered the colours to be struck, and that Leake countermanding the order, and sending Rooke off the quarter-deck, took the command on himself, saying, 'The Royal Prince shall never be given up while I am alive to defend her.' His two sons, Henry and John, gallantly supported him; the men recovered from their panic; the fireships were sunk, the man-of-war beaten off, and the Royal Prince brought to Chatham, but Henry Leake, the eldest son, was killed (The Old and True Way of Manning the Fleet, or how to retrieve the Glory of the English Arms by Sea, 1707, p. 15). The story is probably founded on fact, but is certainly much exaggerated.

The Royal Prince being unserviceable, Leake was moved into the Neptune, and shortly afterwards was given the command of one of the yachts, and appointed also to be master-gunner of Whitehall. By patent, 21 May 1677, he was constituted master-gunner of England and storekeeper of his majesty's ordnance and stores of war at Woolwich. In 1683 he attended Lord Dartmouth to Tangier to demolish the fortifications [see Legge, George, first Lord Dartmouth]. He is described as skilful and ingenious in his art, as the originator of the method of igniting the fuzes of shell by the firing of the mortar, and as the contriver of the 'infernals' used at St. Malo in 1693. He invented also what seems to have been a sort of howitzer, which is spoken of as a 'cushee-piece,' to fire shell and carcasses; in theory it seemed a formidable arm, but in practice it was found more dangerous to its friends than to its enemies, and never came into general use [see Leake, Sir John]. In practising with it at Woolwich Leake's youngest son, Edward, was killed in September 1688. Leake died and was buried at Woolwich in July 1690. One son, John, who is separately noticed, and a daughter, Elizabeth, survived him.

[Life of Sir John Leake, by Stephen Martin Leake.]

J. K. L.

LEAKE, STEPHEN MARTIN (1702–1773), herald and numismatist, born 5 April 1702, was the eldest son of Captain Martin, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Captain Richard Hill of Yarmouth, Norfolk. Martin, who belonged to a Devonshire family, was for some time senior captain in the royal navy, served in Admiral Sir John Leake's ship at the victory of La Hogue [see Leake, Sir John], was an elder brother of the Trinity House, and deputy-lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets. In 1721 he assumed the surname and arms of Leake, on being adopted as the heir of Admiral Leake, who had married his wife's sister, Christian. Stephen Martin Leake was educated at the school of Michael Maittaire [q. v.] In 1723 he was admitted of the Middle Temple, and sworn a younger brother of the Trinity House. In 1724 he was appointed deputy-lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets, and in this capacity distinguished himself during the rebellion of 1745. In 1725, on the revival of the order of the Bath, he was one of the esquires of the Earl of Sussex, deputy earl-marshal. He was appointed Lancaster herald in 1727, Norroy in 1729, Clarenceux in 1741, and Garter by patent dated 19 Dec. 1754. Leake was a constant advocate for the rights and privileges of the College of Arms. In 1731 he promoted a prosecution against Shiels, a painter, who pretended to keep an office of arms in Dean's Court. On 3 March 1731-2 he took a principal part in the solemn opening of the Court of Chivalry in the Painted Chamber. In 1733 he asserted his right as Norroy to grant arms in North Wales. In January 1737-8 he drew up a petition to the king in council for a new charter with the sole power of painting arms, but this proved unsuccessful. In 1744 he printed 'Reasons for granting Commissions to the Provincial Kings-at-Arms for visiting their Provinces.' In connection with the proposal of Dr. Cromwell Mortimer to establish a registry for dissenters in the College of Arms, Leake had many meetings with the heads of the several denominations, and the registry was opened on 20 Feb. 1747-8; but it did not succeed, 'owing to a misunderstanding between the ministers and deputies of the congregations.' In 1755 Leake was chosen to make abstracts of the register books belonging to the order of St. George. He continued the register from the death of Queen Anne, and a Latin translation of his work was deposited in the registrar's office of the order. In October 1759 he went as plenipotentiary, together with the Marquis of Granby, to Nordorf on the Lahne, to invest Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick with the ensigns of the order of St. George. On 4 June 1764 he invested at Nieu Strelitz the Duke of Mecklenburg Strelitz with the order of the Garter. An account of the ceremony is given by Noble (College of Arms, pp. 410-12).

Leake was elected on 2 March 1726-7 a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and was also fellow of the Royal Society. He died at his house at Mile End, Middlesex, on 24 March 1773 (Gent. Mag. 1773, xliii. 155), and was buried in the chancel of Thorpe Soken Church, Essex, of which parish he was long impropriator, and in which he owned the estate of Thorpe Hall, inherited from his