NEVILLE, Sir Henry II (c.1575-1641), 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.1575, 1st s. of Edward Neville I by Rachel, da. of John Lennard, educ. Queens’ Camb. 1586 BA 1589, incorp. MA Oxf. 1594; travelled abroad. m. (1) by c.1596, Mary (d.1612), da. of Thomas Sackville, 2s. 5da.; (2) bef. 1616, Catherine, da. of George Vaux (d.1594), s. of William, 3rd Lord Vaux of Harrowden, 2s. 3da. Kntd. 1596. suc. fa. as 9th Lord Bergavenny 1622.2

Offices Held


During Sir Henry Neville’s early manhood, his father was engaged in asserting his rights to the barony of Bergavenny. Edward Neville’s possession of the extensive lands of the barony was secure, since they had been entailed to heirs male, but his claim to the title was disputed by his cousin’s daughter, Lady Fane, and was not successful till 1604. Neville’s own marriage to the daughter of Lord Buckhurst no doubt assisted his father’s efforts. Neville may already have been connected with Buckhurst (who was chancellor of Oxford University) when he was incorporated as MA at Oxford in the summer of 1594. The next few years he spent travelling in Europe. He was at Venice in July 1594, being approached there by English Catholics. In 1596 he served under Essex at Cadiz. In June 1597 he was licensed to travel abroad for two years with Thomas Sackville, Buckhurst’s son. The alliance with Buckhurst had a commercial aspect: the each owned several iron foundries, and by December 1596 Henry Neville and Thomas Sackville had a patent giving them a monopoly in the production of ordnance. This patent was mentioned during the attack on monopolies in the Parliament of 1601. The only other mention of Neville by name in this Parliament is of his sitting on a committee considering penal laws, 2 Nov., but as knight for Kent he was entitled to attend the main business committee (3 Nov.), the clothworkers committee (18 Nov.) and the monopolies committee (23 Nov.).3

After his service at Cadiz, Neville may have been in the following of the Earl of Essex, though he did not become as deeply involved in the Earl’s enterprises as his cousin and namesake of Billingbear, Berkshire. Four days after Essex’s rising in February 1601, Neville was approached by Captain Thomas Lee with a proposal to put the Queen under duress till she signed a warrant for the Earl’s release. This scheme he revealed to the government.4

Perhaps it was through Essex that Neville gained the friendship of (Sir) Robert Sidney, with whose support he was chosen knight of the shire for Kent in 1601. There were more than two candidates for the county seats on that occasion, Neville’s chief rival being Francis Fane, son of the Lady Fane who was claiming the barony of Bergavenny against Neville’s father. Fane was supported by Lord Cobham, Sidney’s great rival in Kent. There was consequently some thorough canvassing, Sidney directing his agent by letter from Flushing. Neville and Fane were both returned. According to a servant of Fane, his master had the ‘first voice’ in the election, and this statement is supported by Manningham, the diarist, but in the Crown Office list Neville’s name stands first.5

The Nevilles’ great estates seem to have given them no parliamentary patronage, except possibly at Lewes, where Neville himself was returned in 1604. Neville sat for Wilton at a by-election in 1621, presumably on the nomination of the Earl of Pembroke, Sir Robert Sidney’s nephew. He succeeded as Baron Bergavenny in the following year. In 1646 he was named in a Commons petition as a suspected Catholic. He died in 1641.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Alan Harding


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. CP; Al. Ox. (Neville, Thomas); Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 429; Hasted, Kent, ii. 240, 486.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 536; 1595-7, p. 442; HMC Hatfield, vi. 505; ix. 131; xvi. 299; EHR, xlviii. 91 seq.; D’Ewes, 623, 624, 642, 649, 650.
  • 4. CSP Ire. 1600-1, p. 201 (both Sir Henry Nevilles are mentioned in the letter); CSP Dom. 1598-1601, p. 598; Chamberlain Letters, i. 119.
  • 5. Neale, Commons, 72-4; Collins, Sidney State Pprs. ii. 231-2; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 16; Manningham Diary (Cam. Soc. xcix), 13.
  • 6. Harl. 160, art. 15, f. 91v.