NEVILLE, Sir Henry (c.1520-93), of Billingbear, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1520, 2nd s. of Sir Edward Neville of Addington Park, Kent by Eleanor, da. of Andrew Windsor, 1st Baron Windsor. m. (1) 1551/55, Winifred, da. of Hugh Loss of Whitchurch, Mdx., ?s.p.; (2) by 1561, Elizabeth (d.1573), da. of Sir John Gresham of Titsey, Surr., 4s. inc. Edward† and Henry† 2da.; (3) May 1578, Elizabeth (d.1621), da. of (Sir) Nicholas Bacon of Redgrave, Suff., wid. of Sir Robert Doyley† of Greenlands, Bucks., s.p. Kntd. 11 Oct. 1551.1
Groom, the privy chamber by 1546, gent. by Oct. 1550; master of the harriers 1552-5; steward, Mote park, Windsor forest 1557, honor of Donnington and bailiff, crown lands. Newbury Berks, 1562, j.p.q. Berks. 1558/59-d., Wilts. 1573/74-d., jt. (with (Sir) William Fitzwilliam) ld. lt. Berks. 1559, (with (Sir) Thomas Parry) 1560, dep. lt. c.1587; collector for loan, Berks, 1562; commr. eccles, causes 1572; sheriff Berks. 1572-3; custos rot. by 1583-d.; high steward, New Windsor and Reading 1588.2
Sir Henry Neville’s father was the third surviving son of George Neville, 4th Lord Bergavenny, and brother of the 5th Lord, whose vast estates were entailed in June 1535 on himself and his heirs, with remainder to the lines of his brothers (Sir) Thomas and Sir Edward. Lord Bergavenny died in the same year and was succeeded by his only son, a boy of eight, but prospects of wealth for Sir Edward Neville’s branch ended with his involvement in the destruction of the Courtenays and the Poles. His sister Jane had married Henry Pole, Lord Montagu, who was arrested with the Marquess of Exeter on 4 Nov. 1538 and condemned for treason a month later. Four more victims followed, including Neville himself, who was alleged to have called the King ‘a beast and worse than a beast’; alone of the defendants he maintained his innocence, but he was beheaded, with Exeter and Montagu, on Tower Hill on 9 Jan. 1539.3
Unlike the sons of his fellow-sufferers, who were kept in the Tower, Neville’s children were not penalized for long under his attainder. The eldest son, another Edward, secured his restoration in blood during the Parliament of 1542 (34 and 35 Hen. VIII, c.36), and an order of 1 Mar. 1537 for the payment of £20 a year to Henry Neville, the King’s godson, was allowed to continue. In the original grant he had been described as being with the French ambassador, so that he may have been intended for a diplomatic career. In March 1546 he was given a further annuity of £20, to be paid out of the augmentations, and nine months later he was listed as a groom of the chamber in the King’s will, and was bequeathed £100.4
Advancement came to Neville with the ascendancy of the reformers. As a gentleman of the privy chamber he was granted in October 1550 another £50 a year, and 12 months later, when John Dudley made himself Duke of Northumberland, he was knighted and given £100 on his departure to France with Admiral Clinton for the christening of the Duke of Angoul’me. In March 1552 Neville succeeded the recently executed (Sir) Michael Stanhope as master of the harriers. On 17 June 1553 he was licensed to retain 20 men besides his household attendants and official subordinates, and four days later he was among the signatories of Edward VI’s letters patent devising the crown upon Lady Jane Grey.5
Neville’s commitment to Northumberland laid the basis of his position in Berkshire and so of his parliamentary career. By a grant of 22 Sept. 1551 he and Winifred Loss were to receive lands worth £115 a year: he was described as affianced to Winifred Loss, whose father was a surveyor of augmentations and a great speculator in ex-monastic property. The lands consisted of the manors of Billingbear, Culham, Waltham St. Lawrence, Warfield and Wargrave, with the advowsons of the churches there, all in Berkshire and recently extorted from John Ponet as the price of his appointment to the see of Winchester. A prebend and various livings in Yorkshire, formerly held by Sir Michael Stanhope and worth £84 a year, were added early in 1553. In the pardon roll of October 1553 Neville is described as ‘alias of Sunninghill Park’, a part of Windsor forest, so that he may already have been domiciled in Berkshire by virtue of an office connected with the forest, although he does not appear to have held land there before 1551. His attachment to Northumberland presumably secured his return as a knight of the shire in March 1553, when he sat with Sir William Fitzwilliam, likewise a newcomer to that honour.6
Nothing is known about Neville’s part in the succession crisis of 1553 and the details of his career under Queen Mary are obscure. In December 1553 the two annuities of £20 each granted by Henry VIII were replaced by one of £40 and in May 1554 he was licensed to alienate his Yorkshire rectory of Wadsworth. He then went abroad, having granted letters of attorney to John Lovelace and John Whitwood. Thomas Hoby met him at Padua in August 1554, but two years later John Brett, who had been sent by the Marian government with ‘certain letters and commandments’ to various of the exiles, including Neville, reported that he had already returned to England. He had, indeed, acquired a wardship in Nottinghamshire on 24 May 1555 and, although he surrendered the mastership of the harriers in 1555, he received the keepership of Mote park, with 4d. a day and attendant profits, in July 1557. The keepership may have been conferred because of a decision to restore Wargrave and other manors to the bishop of Winchester, after John White had succeeded Gardiner; compensation was usually given in such cases but there is no evidence that Neville was offered anything more substantial. An Act restoring the heirs of Sir Edward Neville to the remainder of the barony of Bergavenny (2 and 3 Phil. and Mary, c.22) was passed in the Parliament of 1555.7
Neville’s past activities were enough to ensure that he would welcome the accession of Elizabeth. A more distinguished career was to follow, mainly in Berkshire where it seems unlikely that his candidature for the county seat was ever seriously challenged. He died on 13 Jan. 1593 and was buried in the church of Waltham St. Lawrence.8
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: T. F.T. Baker
- 1. Date of birth estimated from family history and career. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvii), 181; VCH Berks. iii. 183; PCC 29 More; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 1), ii. 317-18; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 109; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 35.
- 2. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; CPR, 1549-51, p. 222; 1550-3, p. 381; 1555-7, pp. 184, 252; 1560-3, pp. 234, 434, 523; 1563-6, pp. 39, 41-42; 1569-72, pp. 219, 221, 440-2; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 152; APC, iii. 416; NRA 6803, p. 52; E163/14/8; Osborn Coll. Yale Univ. Lib. 71-6-41; HMC Hatfield, i. 429, 443, 473 seq.; HMC 2 Foljambe, 6; Reading Recs. i. 388, 410; Bodl. Ashmole 1126, f. 50.
- 3. DNB (Neville, Sir Edward); D. Rowland, Nevill Fam. table III, p. 140.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, xvii, XXI; CPR, 1553-4, p. 61; Wealth and Power, ed. Ives, Knecht and Scarisbrick, 94.
- 5. CPR, 1549-51, p. 222; 1550-3, p. 381; 1553, p. 78; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 35; APC, iii. 416; Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 100.
- 6. CPR, 1550-3, pp. 151-2, 406; 1553-4, p. 411; M. C. Rosenfield, ‘The disposal of the property of London monastic houses’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1961), 298; VCH Berks. iii. 135.
- 7. CPR, 1553-4, pp. 61, 353; 1554-5, p. 308; 1555-7, pp. 184, 252; NRA 6803, p. 52; C. H. Garrett, Marian Exiles, 235-6; Cam. Misc. x(2), 116; Trans. R. Hist. Soc. n.s. xi. 129; VCH Berks. iii. 193.
- 8. C142/240/95.