William Reeve was the only son of William Reeve, apothecary/surgeon, of Harleston, a man of 'considerable prperty' and his wife Mary. William was privately baptised on the 1st February 1735/6 and received into the church on 22nd July..
He was educated at King Edward VI Free Grammar School at Bury St. Edmunds from January 1749. He was admitted to Emmanuel College, Cambridge in July 1753 when he was age 17. He achieved a B.A. in 1756 and an M.A. in 1761.
The Ipswich Journal of 29th August 1772 reported that:
"On Thursday the Rev. William Reeve was instituted to the vicarage of Denham and also to the vicarage of Hoxne in Suffolk."
From the churchwardens' accounts, the last expenses claimed by William Reeve were in 1777. Charles Ray, the next vicar of Hoxne, had been paid expenses since 1778 when the vicar was William Reeve. In the churchwardens accounts for 21st June 1786 Charles Ray is recorded as being his curate. As William Reeve appears under Harleston on the lists published of the members of the Hoxne Association for Prosecuting Felons, in 1783 and 1785, Rev. William Reeve must have returned to his family home, his father having died in 1780, aged 79.
William died unmarried and was buried at Redenhall with Harleston and Wortwell on the 21st September 1786, aged 51. He had been described as "a man of learning, piety and charity".