NEVILLE, Edward I (c.1550-1622), of Birling, Kent.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1550, 1st s. of Edward Neville of Newton St. Loe, Som. by his 1st w. Katherine, da. of Sir John Brome of Holton, Oxon. educ. G. Inn 1563. m. c.1574, Rachel, da. of John Lennard of Chevening and Knole, 6s. inc. Sir Henry II 5da. suc. fa. 1589; recognised as Lord Bergavenny 1604.2

Offices Held

Burgess, New Windsor 1588, j.p.q. Mon., Kent and Suss. by 1595.


On 10 Oct. 1588, Henry Neville, Edward’s cousin, was chosen burgess for New Windsor, where his father was high steward; on 24 Oct. Edward Neville was sworn ‘brother assistant’ of Windsor, and the following day was returned to Parliament for the borough, ‘because Henry Neville, esquire, was chosen a knight for Sussex’. This record of the election on 24 Oct., quoted from Ashmole’s transcripts of the borough manuscripts (the originals are now lost), continues: ‘but he [Edward Neville] served not, for that the Lord Bergavenny died before the Parliament’. Clearly, the remark ‘but he served not’, cannot have been a part of the original entry in the borough minutes for 24 or 25 October, and may well be Ashmole’s own comment. In fact, Neville’s father did not die until 10 Feb. 1589, when the Parliament was a week old, and it was another 16 years before Neville was summoned to Parliament as a peer. Therefore, it is quite likely that he did sit in the Commons in 1589, although he is not reported to have taken part in its proceedings. It is improbable—since, like his father, he called himself Lord Bergavenny—that he sought to be returned to another Parliament as a Member of the Commons; the ‘Edward Neville, gentleman’ who sat for New Windsor in 1593 was probably another of his cousins.3

The protests of Lady Fane against Neville’s assumption of the title led to a hearing of the dispute in 1598, before the Earl of Essex and other commissioners for the office of earl marshal. Despite Neville’s vigorous advancement of precedents for the descent of titles by entail, the matter was left in suspense until an arrangement between the parties was reached at the beginning of James I’s reign, as a result of which Neville was summoned to Parliament in May 1604. Lady Fane carried her feud with Neville into the 1601 Parliament, endeavouring unsuccessfully to prevent him disposing of certain copyhold lands.4

At the hearing before the Earl of Essex, Neville had as ally his brother-in-law, Sampson Lennard, who was himself claiming the barony of Dacre of the South. Endowed with great estates, Neville was able to arrange good matches for his children. His eldest son, Sir Henry Neville, married the daughter of his Kent neighbour, Thomas Sackville, Lord Treasurer Buckhurst; at the election of 1601 Sir Henry was supported by (Sir) Robert Sidney as a candidate for the senior seat in Kent, for which he competed with Lady Fane’s son. One of Neville’s daughters married Sir John Grey; another George Goring, later 1st Earl of Norwich. Neville himself held no great offices and had little influence of his own: he and his sons were returned to Parliament in Elizabeth’s reign through the influence of their Berkshire relatives or Kent friends. Neville lost three of his younger sons, drowned off Gravesend, in March 1616, and was himself, according to John Chamberlain, killed by the cold of December 1622.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Alan Harding


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. CP; D. Rowland, Fam. of Neville, 150-1, 162; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvii), 181.
  • 3. Bodl. Ashmole 1126, f. 50; CP.
  • 4. Rowland, 154; CSP Dom. 1598-1601, pp. 122-3, 130-1; HMC Hatfield, xiv. 83; D’Ewes, 610, 611.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 639; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 56, 616; ii. 466; PCC 106 Savile.