NEVILLE, Richard (1615-76), of Billingbear, Binfield, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



12 Dec. 1670 - 7 Oct. 1676

Family and Education

b. 30 May 1615, 1st s. of Sir Henry Neville of Billingbear by Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Smythe of Westenhanger, Kent; bro. of Henry Neville. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1631, BA 1633. m. by 1646, Anne, da. of Sir John Heydon, lt. of the Ordnance, of Baconthorpe, Norf., 2s. 5da. suc. fa. 1629.1

Offices Held

Gent. of the privy chamber ?1641-6.2

Sheriff, Berks. 1643-4; high steward, Wokingham 1655-d.; j.p. Berks. July 1660-d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment 1661-d., loyal and indigent officers 1662, recusants 1675.3

Col. of horse (royalist) by 1644-6.4


Billingbear was among the Berkshire manors granted in 1552 to Sir Henry Neville, a younger son of the Lincolnshire family, who sat for the county in the following year. Neville was the grandson of the Jacobean diplomat and courtier, and the elder brother of a notable republican; but he himself was reported in 1641 as opposing the attainder of Strafford, and declaring that the citizens of London ‘deserved to have the city burned about their ears’. A zealous Royalist, he distinguished himself at Lostwithiel in 1644, and compounded under the Oxford Articles for £887, but seems to have remained quiet during the Interregnum. He was nominated to the proposed order of the Royal Oak, with an estate of £1,500 p.a. In 1667 his income was estimated at only £1,000 p.a., but he received Prince Cosmo of Tuscany at Billingbear ‘with as much dignity and splendour as any noble family in the kingdom’.5

Neville was returned for the county in 1670, but his parliamentary record was undistinguished. He was included in the opposition list of 1671 as a court supporter, and noted in Flagellum Parliamentarium as a ‘court cully’. He was named to only 11 committees in the Cavalier Parliament, including that for the bill of ease for Protestant dissenters in 1673. He was approached at this time in the lobby, perhaps in mistake for his brother, by a Dutch agent, who tried to persuade him ‘to use all means for breaking the league with France’. It is not disclosed whether he was concerned in securing the agent’s arrest. His name appeared on the Paston list, and he was among those who received the government whip from Henry Coventry for the autumn session of 1675. His name also appeared in the working lists and as a government speaker, though he is not recorded as speaking. During the recess Sir Richard Wiseman noted him as one of the Berkshire Members sure to vote with the Court ‘if they attend, which I believe they will not refuse to do upon the least hint’. He died on 7 Oct. 1676 and was buried at Waltham St. Lawrence. His son Richard sat for the county as a Whig in seven Parliaments from 1695 to 1710.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Berks. RO, Waltham St. Lawrence par. reg.; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 250; PCC 142 Bence.
  • 2. LC3/1.
  • 3. W. H. Black, Docquets of Letters Patent, 146; Berks. Arch. Jnl. xliii. 49.
  • 4. R. Bulstrode, Mems. 105; CSP Dom. 1645-7, p. 486.
  • 5. Berks. Arch. Jnl. xxx. 94; A. C. Baker, Historic Abingdon, 78; HMC Portland, i. 23; Bulstrode, 107; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1433; Salisbury Cathedral Lib., Bp. Seth Ward, Liber Notitiae, f. 53; L. Magalotti, Travels of Cosmo III, 280.