NEVILLE, Francis I (-d.1628), of Sidlesham, Suss.; later of Chichester, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

4th but 2nd surv. s. of Edward Neville of Newton St. Loe, Som. with his 1st w. Katherine, da. of Sir John Brome of Holton, Oxon.; bro. of Edward†.1 m. (1) 30 Apr. 1579,2 Mary, da. of Thomas Lewknor† of Selsey, Suss.,3 6s. (4 d.v.p.) 2da.; (2) Nov. 1616, Alice (d.1618), da. of John Apsley of Pulborough, Suss., wid. of John Drury, chan. of Chichester dioc. 1607-14, s.p. bur. 17 Dec. 1628.4 sig. Francis Nevill.

Offices Held

J.p. Suss. 1597-d.;5 commr. sewers 1604-25,6 subsidy, Suss. 1608, 1621-2, 1624, Chichester 1622, 1624,7 Forced Loan, Suss. 1627;8 steward, Selsey 1627-d.9


Neville belonged to a cadet branch of the same family as the earls of Westmorland. A younger son, in 1579 he married the daughter of Thomas Lewknor, a member of a prominent West Sussex family who represented Midhurst in 1586.10 Shortly before his marriage he stayed in the parish of West Wittering, near Chichester, where his failure to attend church over Easter provoked the vicar to ‘doubt he is of another church and not of the church of God’, but thereafter his religion seems never to have been suspect.11 He subsequently settled at Keynor in the parish of Sidlesham, situated three and-a-half miles south of Chichester.12

Neville may have sought election in 1604 to assist his elder brother, who claimed the barony of Bergavenny. The expenses incurred in pursuing the claim required a sale of lands, and in 1601 a private Act had been obtained to break the entail on the family estates. However, because a flaw had been found in the wording of the statute an explanatory Act was now needed. He presumably owed his return for Midhurst to his Lewknor relations, who were influential in the borough. In the 1604 session he was appointed to two committees (14 May; 14 June), both concerning the Neville estate bill. He may also have been the ‘Mr. Nevill’ on whose behalf Richard Martin offered a proviso to the bill for limitation of prescription on 24 April. However, no connection between Neville and the unsuccessful bill, which was intended to amend an early sixteenth century statute limiting the time within which suits could be brought, has been found. He made no recorded speeches.13

Neville appears only twice in the surviving records of the remainder of the first Jacobean Parliament. In the second session he was appointed to the committee for the usury bill (3 Apr. 1606) and during the fourth he was named to consider a further bill to enable his brother to sell lands (7 July 1610).14 He may, indeed, have been incapable of taking a more active role, since he was marked ‘ill’ in the Sussex assize records in 1605 and ‘lame’ in 1608. He remained an ineffective justice, being labelled ‘old’ from 1615. By this time he had removed to Chichester, where he married the widow of a diocesan official. He was buried in the parish of St. Peter the Great in December 1628. No will or administration has been found.15

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Harl. 3882, f. 37v; Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 78; HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 122.
  • 2. Soc. Gen. Boyd’s Inhabitants of London 57372.
  • 3. D. Rowland, Historical and Genealogical Account of Noble Fam. of Nevill, 151.
  • 4. Harl. 3882, ff. 37v, 265v; W. Suss. RO, Sidlesham and St. Peter the Great, Chichester par. regs.; Acts of Dean and Chapter of Cath. Church of Chichester ed. W.D. Peckham (Suss. Rec. Soc. lviii), 234; PROB 11/132, f. 355; D.G.C. Elwes and C.J. Robinson, Hist. of Castles, Mansions, and Manors of W. Suss. 176.
  • 5. C231/1, f. 30v; E179/283/32, f. 75v.
  • 6. C181/1, f. 81v; 181/3, f. 166v.
  • 7. SP14/31/1; C212/22/20-1, 23.
  • 8. C193/12/2, f. 59.
  • 9. E. Heron-Allen, Selsey Bill, 182.
  • 10. HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 475.
  • 11. Add. 39454, f. 14.
  • 12. Goodwood Estate Archives ed. F.W. Steer and J.E.A. Venables, i. 166-7.
  • 13. CJ, i. 183b, 210a, 293b.
  • 14. Ibid. 292b, 447a.
  • 15. Cal. Assize Recs. Suss. Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 7, 20, 38, 50, 56, 61.