NEVILLE, Richard Aldworth (1750-1825), of Stanlake and Billingbear, Berks.
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Family and Education
bap. 29 June 1750,1 o.s. of Richard Neville Aldworth† (afterwards Neville) of Stanlake and Billingbear by Magdalen, da. of Francis Calandrini, first syndic of Geneva. educ. Eton 1759-67; Merton, Oxf. 1768; Grand Tour. m. 9 June 1780,2 Catherine, da. of George Grenville† of Wotton, Bucks., 4s. 4da. suc. fa. 1793; distant cos. John Griffin Griffin†, 1st Baron Braybrooke, under spec. rem. as 2nd Baron Braybrooke 25 May and took name of Griffin in lieu of Neville 27 July 1797.
Provost-marshal, Jamaica 1763-?1816.
Ld. lt. Essex 1798-d; recorder, Saffron Walden 1797; high steward, Wokingham.
At the contested election of 1790, Neville retained his seat for Reading, where he had the support of the corporation and an interest deriving from his family’s wealth and Berkshire estates, and came in again without opposition in 1796. On 31 Oct. 1790 he observed to Lord Bulkeley that ‘those who abuse Pitt for secrecy and mystery show their own folly’;3 and, as befitted the brother-in-law of Lord Grenville, Pitt’s Home and later Foreign secretary, he continued to be a reliable, though evidently silent supporter of government. He was listed among opponents of the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791. He frequently acted as teller for the ministerial side in important divisions, including those on the Spanish convention, 13 Dec. 1790; the Oczakov crisis, 29 Mar. and 12 Apr. 1791; religious toleration, 11 May 1792; parliamentary reform, 7 May 1793; unauthorized loans, 28 Mar. 1794; peace proposals, 26 Jan. 1795; the seditious meetings bill, 17 Nov. and 3 Dec. 1795, and public expenditure, 6 May 1796. He also voted, though not without misgivings, for Pitt’s proposals for the Prince of Wales’s establishment, 14 May 1795.4
In 1791 Neville applied to Pitt for the vacant lord lieutenancy of Berkshire, basing his pretensions, if the office were to be conferred on a commoner, ‘upon the belief that my family is the oldest in the county, and that the extent of our property in it is inferior only to that of Lord Craven’. Pitt had already recommended Lord Radnor, but he assured Neville that had the lieutenancy ‘been to go in the line of commoners there certainly could have been no one with stronger pretensions than yours, and no one whom on every account I should have had so much pleasure in proposing’. Privately, Neville expressed some disappointment.5 On 28 Sept. 1795 he complained to James Grenville that Pitt ‘does not much trouble himself about those who contributed to his rise, and have supported him ever since’.6
For all this, Neville, though heart-broken by the recent death of his wife, forced himself to attend the House to vote against Fox’s peace amendment, 30 Dec. 1796, and was gratified to think that this ‘great effort’ had been recognized as such by Pitt.7 He was teller for the ministerial majorities against peace negotiations, 10 Apr., Grey’s motion criticizing advances from the Bank, 16 May, and, two days before he succeeded to a peerage, the repeal of the Seditious Meetings Act, 23 May 1797.
As a peer Neville, who was later said to have pocketed some £120,000 from his colonial sinecure,8 followed Lord Grenville’s political line. He died 28 Feb. 1825.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. New Windsor par. reg.
- 2. Berks. RO, Braybrooke mss, Neville to Grenville, 13 June 1780.
- 3. Essex RO, Braybrooke mss C5/21.
- 4. Berks. RO, Braybrooke mss, Neville to Grenville, 20, 28 May 1795.
- 5. PRO 30/8/163, f. 15; Essex RO, Braybrooke mss C5/26, Pitt to Neville, 5 Oct.; C5/27, Neville to Bulkeley, 22 Oct. 1791.
- 6. Berks. RO, Braybrooke mss.
- 7. Berks. RO, Braybrooke mss, Neville to Grenville, 4 Jan. 1797.
- 8. Black Bk. (1820), 406-7.