Ferne, Sir John

, an English antiquary, was the son of William Feme, of Temple Belwood, in the isle of Axholme, in Lincolnshire, esq. by Anne his wife, daughter and heir of John Sheffield, of Beltoft; and was sent to Oxford when about seventeen years of age. Here he was placed, as Wood conceives, either in St. Mary’s-hall, or University college: but leaving the university without a degree, he went to the Inner Temple, and studied for some time the municipal law. In the beginning of the reign of James I. he received the honour of knighthood, being about that time secretary, and keeper of the king’s signet of the council established at York for the north parts of England. He probably died about 1610, leaving several sons behind him, of whom Henry, the youngest, was afterwards bishop of Chester, the subject of our next article. In 1586 sir John published “The Blazon of Gentry, divided into two parts, &c.” 4to. This is written in dialogues, and, though in a language uncommonly quaint and tedious, contains critical accounts of arms, principles of precedence, remarks upon the times, &c. which are altogether curious. | The nobility of the Lacys, earls of Lincoln, which forms a part of it, was written in consequence of Albert a Lasco, a noble German, coming to England in 1583, and claiming affinity to this family of Lacy, and from this, Feme says, he was induced to open their descents, their arms, marriages, and lives. The discourse is curious, and during the century that elapsed after its publication, before the appearance of Dugdaie’s Baronage, must have been peculiarly valuable. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. —Gent. Mag. vol. LXII.