1678-1743. Best known as the historian of the Puritans. Educated at Merchant Taylor's School and in a Dissenting academy, he later studied at Utrecht and Leyden. In 1704 he became assistant minister of a Congregational church in Aldersgate Street, London. Two years later he himself became pastor and the church flourished. For his History of New England (1720) Harvard College gave him the honorary M.A. degree. His interests were wide and included the commendation of the practice of inoculation against smallpox. The first volume of his History of the Puritans was published in 1732; other volumes followed in 1733, 1736, and 1738, covering the period from the Reformation to 1689. It was severely criticized by some Anglicanse.g., Zachary Grey. Nevertheless it has often been reprinted and is best used in the revised edition prepared by Dr. Joshua Toulmin. Neal was buried in Bunhill Fields.