The ever expanding Neville family

Ralph Neville and his two wives

Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland was married twice. He was married first to Margaret Stafford and had eight children. After Margaret’s death he married for a second time to Joan Beaufort and produced a further fourteen children of whom nine were sons (three of them didn’t live for long.) So far so many. The first family weren’t keen on the second family because whilst they got the title and eventually Raby Castle which was part of Joan Beaufort’s dower (so it was hers for her life) they didn’t get the loot which went to the second family – which doesn’t help much if you’re trying to keep track of who was fighting whom during the Wars of the roses.

The eldest son from the second marriage was Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury by right of his wife Alice Montagu or Montacute depending on how you feel like spelling it. The Salisburys had ten children, the eldest of whom was also called Richard and became the so-called Kingmaker. Three of the children died in infancy – but that’s still seven more Nevilles to extend the family influence.

Thomas Neville became his uncle Robert’s steward (Uncle Robert was the Bishop of Durham.) His marriage to Maud Stanhope triggered a violent upsurge in the Neville-Percy feud on Thomas and Maud’s wedding day. He also turns up as a deputy warden for his father and as a guarantor for his uncle, William Neville Lord Fauconberg. He was killed at the Battle of Wakefield along with his father and uncle-by-marriage Richard of York.

John Neville, 1st Marquess Montagu is usually associated with the Percy feud mainly because he became the Earl of Northumberland for a short time in 1464. It did not go down well with the locals and besides which Warwick’s relationship with the king began to deteriorate. Long story, short – he was booted out of the earldom, rebelled and was finally killed at the Battle of Barnet.

George Neville – youngest surviving son – always destined for the church became Bishop of Exeter in 1458 and Archbishop of York in 1465. He was also Lord Chancellor and when he was sacked from the post Warwick took it rather personally, blaming the Woodville faction for his loss of influence – as personified by the demotion of George – who then made matters even worse by marrying Edward IV’s brother the Duke of Clarence to Warwick’s daughter Isabel despite express instructions from the king that there should be no marriage.

Joan Neville became the Countess of Arundel.

Cecily (not the Rose of Raby – she was this Cecily’s aunt) married Henry Beauchamp, Duke of Warwick who died inconveniently young. She married for a second time to John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester.

Alice Neville was Katherine Parr’s great granny.

Eleanor Neville married Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby – three of their children survived into adulthood but after Eleanor died, Stanley remarried…to Lady Margaret Beaufort, becoming the step-father of Henry Tudor and the bloke who didn’t commit at Bosworth until he saw which way the wind was blowing.

Katherine Neville married in to another family feud when she married William Bonville. The Bonvilles and the Courtneys were fighting for pre-eminence in Devon. Her second husband was the Lord Hastings who got his head chopped off by Richard III without trial. Richard placed Katherine under his protection immediately after doing away with her philandering spouse (who had a bit of a thing going with Edward IV’s mistress Jane Shore.) Katherine’s buried in the parish church at Ashby de la Zouche.

Margaret Neville found herself married to John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford. John became the earl somewhat unexpectedly. Cecily’s husband executed his father and elder brother for treason…they were Lancastrians. John was also a Lancastrian which came in handy when Warwick turned his coat.

And my point? It’s not what you know, it’s who you know – or rather more importantly who you’re related to when it comes to the Neville Affinity.

4 thoughts on “The ever expanding Neville family

  1. Always amazes me that then woman was a baby making machine ,dragged across the nation penniless and hard worked as chattel in land grab of marriage .She supported her man to the upmost she could .Today woman is just so different its all me me me with so many off them. Seems the old saying keep them unshod and heavily in pig for a better life at home.16 kids to one wife to me is unfair to the wife but what do I know of the fair sex my poor darling girl died without issue .I had a good one never again I fear will life be so good

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