NEVILLE, Sir John I (1493-1543), of Snape, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 17 Nov. 1493, 1st s. of Richard Neville, 2nd Lord Latimer, by Anne, da. and h. of Sir Humphrey Stafford of Grafton, Worcs. and Blatherwyk, Northants. m. (1) by 1520, Dorothy (d. 7 Feb. 1527), da. of Sir George Vere, sis. of John, 14th Earl of Oxford, at least 1s. 1da.; (2) lic. 20 June 1528, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Edward Musgrave of Hartley, Westmld. and Edenhall, Cumb.; (3) 1533, Catherine, da. of Sir Thomas Parr of Kendal, Westmld., wid. of Sir Edward Burgh. Kntd. 14 Oct. 1513; suc. fa. as 3rd Lord Latimer Dec. 1530.2

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (N. Riding) 1528-39, (liberty of Ripon) 1538, (W. Riding) 1538-41, (E. Riding) 1538-41; commr. to inquire into all misdeeds, Yorks. 1536, musters 1539; steward, Ripon in 1536, Galtres forest May 1542; member, council in the north June 1530.3


John Neville was a descendant of Ralph, 1st Earl of Westmorland, by his second wife Joan Beaufort, the daughter of John of Gaunt: thus he was not only a distant kinsman of Henry VIII but he was also connected by blood and marriage with many noble families. His immediate forbears had been protagonists in the feuding which preceded the Wars of the Roses and in 1469 his grandfather had fallen in the cause of Henry VI at Edgecote. The fortunes of this branch of the Nevilles were rescued after that disaster by a sympathetic relative, Cardinal Bourchier, who procured the wardship of the 2nd Lord Latimer and preserved his inheritance. Latimer grew up to become a figure of importance in the north.4

The first glimpse of his son John Neville is of a 20 year-old warrior accompanying Henry VIII to northern France in 1513 and being knighted after the taking of Tournai. By 1522 he was recognized as a spokesman for his father by the northern magnates and the heads of monastic houses, but it was not until six years later that he was first named to the Yorkshire bench for his native Riding. His return to the Parliament of 1529 as one of the knights for Yorkshire was a further step in his progress, even if he owed it to his father: the representation of the county was something of a family affair, Neville’s fellow-knight being his cousin Sir Marmaduke Constable I, over whom he took precedence probably by reason of his noble lineage. He was not to be a Member of the Commons for long: his father died either a few days before the close of the first session or immediately after it and thenceforth he was to sit in the Lords. The resulting vacancy was not filled until three years later, when his kinsman and namesake of Chevet was chosen in his place.5

In 1530 the new Lord Latimer was appointed to the council in the north and signed the letter sent to Clement VII in favour of the King’s divorce. The opening of the second session of the Parliament saw him take his place in the Lords: the loss of the Journal of that House for all but one of the sessions obscures his attendance save at the sixth, when he was regularly present, but his two letters of 1534 and 1536 to Cromwell asking for leave of absence show that he journeyed to Westminster for the prorogations and in 1532 he used his attendance in Parliament to sue out livery of his inheritance.6

Business in Worcestershire kept Latimer from the opening of the Parliament of 1536; he reappeared there soon afterwards but although this was a brief Parliament he evidently quitted it early as for the last week his name lacks the "p" which would have signified his presence. He may have returned to Worcestershire to complete his business there, but by the time the Pilgrimage of Grace began in the autumn he was back in Yorkshire. As the leading figure in Mashamshire, one of the centres of the revolt, he was urged to spare no effort to prevent it from spreading, but his house in Snape was not strong enough to be held and he could not rely on the support of his neighbours. By 16 Oct. he was reported with his brother-in-law Sir Christopher Danby* to have been taken captive and his behaviourat the conference of York and later at Doncaster, where he put the Pilgrims' case to the 3rd Duke of Norfolk, prompted the suspicion that he secretly sympahized with his ostensible captors. Norfolk did not share this view and recommended Latimer's retention on the council in the north, but others were not so sure and Latimer was to spend the following year enlisting the aid of friends to clear his name. Cromwell still harboured doubts even after Sir Francis Bigod's* insurrection of January 1537 in Yorkshire had given Latimer the chance to prove his loyalty by decisive action, and he cultivated the minister with an annuity of 20 nobles and perhaps be surrending to him the Latimer house in London: he followed this up in 1538 by selling one Buckinghamshire manor to Cromwell's friend John Gostwick* and another to Cromwell himself, although these sales were also designed to pay for lands at Nun Monkton and elsewhere to Yorkshire which he bought about the same time.7

Latimer attended the Parliament of 1539 nearly every day, but he did absent himself on 19 May 1539, when the attainder of Thomas, Lord Darcy, for complicity in the Pilgrimage was made final, and during the final session a year later he missed the last week of May. The deterioration of relations with Scotland and the troubled state of the borders soon demanded his presence in the north, but he was able to attend the first session of the Parliament of 1542. By the summer he was back in the north fighting the Scots and advising the 1st Earl of Rutland on the conduct of the campaign. He prepared for the hazards of war by making a will on 12 Sept. 1542 in which he provided for his wife, family and servants, but he was not to die in the field. When the second session of the Parliament opened in the following January he did not make an appearance in the Lords, but he must have journeyed to London to attend the session for it was there that he died on 2 Mar. 1543 and in St. Paul's that he was buried. He was succeeded in the barony by his son John, then aged 23 years. His widow was sought in marriage by Sir Thomas Seymour II but in the following July she became the sixth wife of the King and only after his death did she marry Seymour.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Authors: L. M. Kirk / Alan Davidson


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Date of birth given in Coll. Top. and Gen. ii. 174. CP; Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 225; Glover’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 628; Test. Ebor. iii (Surtees Soc. xlv), 374.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv, x-xvii; R. R. Reid, King’s Council in the North, 490.
  • 4. R. L. Storey, The Fall of the House of Lancaster, 95 seq.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, i; Clifford Letters (Surtees Soc. clxxii), 63-67; NRA 6160, p. 52.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, v, vii, x, xi; LJ, i. 58-83.
  • 7. LJ, i. 85-101; LP Hen. VIII, xi-xv; Elton, Policy and Police, 51; M. H. and R. Dodds, Pilgrimage of Grace, 184-6; R. B. Smith, Land and Politics, 173-4, 229, 241, 246.
  • 8. LJ, i. 166-212; LP Hen. VIII, xvi-xviii; PCC 17 Spert.