SNEYD, William I (c.1614-95), of Keele, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1614, 2nd s. of Ralph Sneyd (d.1643) of Keele by Felicia, da. of Nicholas Archbold of Uttoxeter; bro. of Ralph Sneyd. educ. Chell g.s. (Mr Stevenson); Caius, Camb., matric. 7 July 1632, aged 18; G. Inn 1634. m. Elizabeth, da. of Robert Audley of Great Gransden Hunts., 2s. suc. bro. 1650.1
Commr. for assessment, Staffs. 1657, Aug. 1660-80, 1680-90, oyer and terminer, Oxford circuit July 1660; j.p. Staffs. July 1660-d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-89 commr. for corporations 1662-3, sheriff 1663-4, commr. for recusants 1675.2
Sneyd’s family can be traced back in North Staffordshire to the 14th century, and first entered Parliament in 1547. His elder brother was returned for Stafford at both elections of 1640; an ardent Royalist, he was killed in the Isle of Man in 1650. Sneyd himself, who had been neutral in the Civil War, quickly cleared the estate by colliery development, and his income was estimated at £1,200 p.a. ‘Loyal and orthodox, a good, sober, understanding person’, he was returned for the county in 1660. Though doubtless a court supporter, he was not an active Member of the Convention, being named only to the committee for the bill to supply defects in the Poll Act on 3 Dec. His subsequent career was that of a country gentleman who, while not uninterested in national affairs, preferred to view them from his country residence.3
During the exclusion crisis Sneyd seems to have been a government supporter, though his eldest son Ralph was in opposition. The note by his name in a list of deputy lieutenants of 1680 reads, ‘if the father, right, if the son, stark naught’. Although he was reported to have been present when the Duke of Monmouth arrived at Stone during his progress in September 1682, in 1687 he consented to each of the queries on the Penal Laws and the Test Act, and in recommending him as a deputy lieutenant in 1688, Lord Aston, the Roman Catholic lord lieutenant, described him as ‘an ancient gentleman of the Church of England, always loyal, and at this present firm to his Majesty’s interest’. He seems to have accepted the Revolution, however, for Shrewsbury assured his son on 23 Nov. 1689 that he would be in the next commission of the peace. He died on 17 Jan. 1695. His great-grandson, a Jacobite, sat for the county in the last Parliament of Queen Anne.4