Neville Family

   One of the most important magnate families in fifteenth-century England, the Nevilles supplied Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, with the political and military resources that allowed him to contend for the English Crown.
   The family’s preeminent position in the local government and society of northern England was established by Ralph Neville, earl of Westmorland (1354–1425). A series of fortunate family marriages in the fourteenth century brought Neville an extensive landed inheritance, including castles at Raby, Brancepeth, Middleham, and Sheriff Hutton. A RETAINER of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster (1340–1399), Neville was created earl of Westmorland in 1397 after marrying Joan Beaufort (d. 1440), Gaunt’s legitimated daughter, as his second wife. In 1399, Westmorland tied his family’s fortunes to the house of LANCASTER by supporting Joan’s half brother, Henry of Bolingbroke, when he assumed the throne as Henry IV (r. 1399–1413) (see Richard II, Deposition of). Westmorland backed Henry throughout all the rebellions of his reign, including those raised by the Percy family, the Nevilles’ main rivals for political predominance in northern England.
   As a favored councilor of both Henry IV and Henry V (r. 1413–1422), Westmorland established a family claim to the wardenship of the West March (i.e., border) with SCOTLAND. He also acquired a lifetime grant as marshal of England, the wealthy lordship of Richmond, and a series of wardships that allowed him to make prominent and profitable marriages for many of his twenty-three children. Of his thirteen children by Joan Beaufort, the eldest son, Richard NEVILLE, became earl of Salisbury through his marriage, while second son William NEVILLE became Lord Fauconberg through his. Three daughters became duchesses, including the youngest, Cecily NEVILLE, who became duchess of York and mother of two kings of England. By the 1450s, the Nevilles were related to most of the noble families of the kingdom. At his death in 1425,Westmorland left the bulk of his lands to Salisbury, Joan’s eldest son, thereby initiating a violent feud between the earls of Westmorland, the descendants of his first marriage, and the sons of his second marriage. This quarrel was later absorbed by the WARS OF THE ROSES, with the Westmorland branch of the family remaining loyal Lancastrians while their cousins became prominent Yorkists. In the mid-1450s, Salisbury, his brothers, and his sons supported York in his quarrel with Edmund BEAUFORT, duke of Somerset, the favorite of HENRY VI. Although related to both York and Somerset, the Nevilles backed the former because he was in the best position to support them in their escalating feud with the Percy family (see Neville-Percy Feud). Thus, even though the Nevilles rose to national prominence through loyalty to the house of Lancaster, Neville support was vital in allowing the house of YORK to seize the throne in 1461. Although Salisbury was killed with York at the Battle of WAKEFIELD in 1460, the earl’s eldest son, Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, became the chief support of York’s son EDWARD IV until 1469, when Edward’s favoring of the WOODVILLE FAMILY, his wife’s relatives, alienated Warwick and caused him to place the extensive Neville AFFINITY in the service of Henry VI. In 1470,Warwick earned his appellation of kingmaker by overthrowing the house of York and restoring the house of Lancaster (see Edward IV, Overthrow of). After Warwick’s death at the Battle of BARNET in 1471, the Neville estates and affinity were absorbed into the house of York though the marriages of Warwick’s daughters to the brothers of Edward IV.
   See also North of England and the Wars of the Roses; all entries under Neville and Percy
   Further Reading: Hicks, Michael,Warwick the Kingmaker (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998); Kendall, Paul Murray,Warwick the Kingmaker (New York:W.W. Norton, 1987);Young, Charles R., The Making of the Neville Family in England, 1166-1400 (Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell and Brewer, 1997).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Neville-Percy Feud — (1450s)    In the mid 1450s, a violent feud erupted between the sons and RETAINERS of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Salisbury, and Henry PERCY, second earl of Northumberland, leaders of the two most powerful noble families in northern England. This… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Neville, George — Archbishop of York (1432–1476)    A younger brother of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, George Neville, archbishop of York, supported his brother’s various attempts to overthrow EDWARD IV.    The fourth son of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Salisbury …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Neville, Sir Humphrey — (c. 1439–1469)    A cousin of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, and a leader of the Lancastrian branch of the NEVILLE FAMILY, Sir Humphrey Neville raised a rebellion in 1469 that forced Warwick to end his own uprising, release EDWARD IV from… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Neville, Richard, Earl of Warwick — (1428–1471)    Known as “the kingmaker,” Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, was a central figure in the coming and continuation of the WARS OF THE ROSES.Warwick’s support for the house of YORK allowed Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, to claim… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Neville, John, Lord Neville — (d. 1461)    A member of the Westmorland branch of the NEVILLE FAMILY and a partisan of the house of LANCASTER, John Neville, Lord Neville, played a prominent part in the Battles of WAKEFIELD and FERRYBRIDGE. Neville was a son of John Neville,… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Neville, Cecily, Duchess of York — (1415–1495)    Cecily Neville, duchess of York, was the matriarch of the house of YORK and its link with its most important wartime allies, the NEVILLE FAMILY.    Cecily was the last of twenty three children born to Ralph Neville, earl of… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Neville Inheritance Dispute — (1471–1475)    The Neville inheritance dispute, a quarrel between EDWARD IV’s brothers over possession of the vast landholdings and regional influence of the late Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, weakened the house of YORK and contributed to the …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Neville, Richard, Earl of Salisbury — (c. 1400–1460)    In the mid fifteenth century, Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, was one of the wealthiest and most politically influential nobles in England. By bringing the extensive Neville interest into alliance with Richard PLANTAGENET,… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Neville, Sir Thomas — (c. 1429–1460)    Sir Thomas Neville, the second son of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Salisbury, and the younger brother of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, played a prominent role in the NEVILLE PERCY FEUD of the 1450s. HENRY VI knighted Thomas and… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Neville, John, Earl of Northumberland and Marquis of Montagu — (c. 1430–1471)    John Neville, marquis of Montagu, the younger brother of Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, was a leading political and military figure in northern England during the WARS OF THE ROSES.    The third son of Richard NEVILLE, earl… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

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