The castle at Sheriff Hutton, a few miles from York, was not always in the hands of the Neville family. It lay originally in the hands of the Lord of Bulmer who became the Sheriff of York during the reign of King Stephen. The family was also responsible for the building of Brancepth Castle. Sheriff Hutton passed out of the possession of the Bulmer family in 1166 and into the hands of the Neville family when Emma de Bulmer became its sole heiress after the death of her brother William. It is believed – though I will have to check more thoroughly- that the bull element of the Neville family crest is a reference to the Bulmer family.
A generation later Emma’s daughter, Isabella, became heiress in her turn after her brother Henry died without any heirs. She was married to a member of the FitzMaldred family which held Raby. When Isabella’s son inherited his parents property which included Raby castle he changed his name to Neville – becoming the first Neville owner of Raby Castle. Marriage also saw the Neville family acquire Middleham Castle.
The stone castle at Sheriff Hutton was built by John Neville during the fourteenth century and in 1377 he attained a charter to hold a regular market. John’s son Ralph became the first Earl of Westmorland. In 1425 land holdings which had been built up across Yorkshire and Durham by the Nevilles thanks to several centuries of judicious marriages was split. The earldom of Westmorland was inherited by Ralph’s eldest son from his first marriage whilst the Yorkshire properties were retained by his eldest son, Richard, from his second marriage to Joan Beaufort, the youngest of the four Beaufort children born to John of Gaunt and his long term mistress (not to mention third wife) Katherine Swynford.
Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury by right of his wife, lost his life at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460. The Yorkshire estates were inherited by his son, Richard Neville, the Kingmaker, once Edward IV ascended to the throne after the Battle of Towton the following year. He retained his Yorkshire castle inheritance until he was killed at the Battle of Barnet fighting against the Yorkists. The properties then passed by right of his younger daughter Anne Neville in the the hands of her husband, Richard Duke of Gloucester whose power base in the north was based on the old Neville affinity. Edward IV had no wish to hold the castles as Crown property. Richard was his loyal lieutenant in the north.
Senior, Janet, Sheriff Hutton and its Lords, (Leeds: Rosalba Press, 2000)
‘Parishes: Sheriff Hutton’, in A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London, 1923), pp. 172-187. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/north/vol2/pp172-187 [accessed 21 January 2022].