Frances MANNERS

(B. Abergavenny)

Born: ABT 1530, Belvoir Castle, Leicesterhire, England

Buried: Sep 1576, Birling, Kent, England

Father: Thomas MANNERS (1 E. Rutland)

Mother: Eleanor PASTON (C. Rutland)

Married: Henry NEVILLE (4 B. Abergavenny) ABT 1553 /BEF 31 Jan 1555/56, Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, England

Children:

1. Mary NEVILLE (B. Despencer)


Third daughter of Thomas Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, and Eleanor Paston. Their children were Gertrude, Henry, Anne, Elizabeth, Sir John, Frances, Roger, Sir Thomas, Catherine, Oliver, and Isabel. Frances was thus a great-granddaughter of Anne of York, the elder sister of Edward IV and Richard III.

After the reign of Edward VI, the prominence of Eleanor Paston, Countess of Rutland, at the court of Queen Mary, may account for the appointment of Roger Manners as an Esquire of the Body and serving both Mary and Elizabeth. The same prominence should be influenced, before 1554, to achieve the marriage of her daughter, Lady Frances, with Henry Neville, fourth Baron Abergavenny, the son of George Neville, 3rd Baron Abergavenny and Lady Mary Stafford. Neville had succeeded to the title after his father's death in 1535. He held office of Chief Larderer at the coronation of Queen Mary in 1553. He relied on his wife to obtain a stay of a writ permitting seizure of his lands in Sussex from her brother Henry, 2nd Earl of Rutland.

When they could not travel to see each other, mothers and daughters expressed their mutual affection by exchanging gifts. Sometime between 1551 and 1555, for example, Frances, Lady Abergavenny, gave her mother, Eleanor, dowager countess of Rutland, some "gear", a word used generically for clothing. The Countess thanked her in "gentle letters" and reciprocated with a white linen cap called a creppyn. Frances then requested some Green silk for a shirt for her husband.

Lord and Lady Bergavenny had one daughter, Mary Neville.

The Earl of Rutland dissented on a bill, passed in Jan 1556, to restore to the heirs of Sir Edward Neville the remainder of the barony of Abergavenny. The bill had the effect of excluding (for lack of sons) Rutland's sister, Frances, wife of Henry Neville, Lord Abergavenny, and any of her possible heiresses from inheriting any portion of the barony.

Lady Abergavenny's protestant work appeared in The Monument of Matrones, an anthology of Protestant women writer's prayers. It was a series of "Praiers", edited by Thomas Bentley in 1582. In a deathbed dedication of her work to her daughter, she calls it a "jewell of health for the soule, and a perfect path to paradise". Her collection includes sixty-seven pages of prose prayers for private use and public worship linked to various occasions and times of day; a five-page acrostic prayer based on her daughter Mary Fanes name, and a concluding prayer based on her own name.

When Frances died in 1576, Neville remarried to Elizabeth Darrell, before 1586; they had no issue. He died 10 Feb 1586/7 without male issue.

Mary Neville gained the title of suo jure 3rd/7th Baroness le Despenser. She had claimed the succession to the Barony of Abergavenny, but this was settled on her cousin, Edward Neville. Mary married Sir Thomas Fane, son of George Fane, on 12 Dec 1574. They were parents to Sir Francis Fane, who gained the title of 1st Earl of Westmorland. The title of Earl of Westmorland was forfeit after the death of Mary's cousin, Charles Neville, 6th Earl of Westmorland. The title was revived in 1624 in favour of Fane because Mary was a descendant of Sir Edward Neville, 1st Baron Abergavenny, a younger son of the 1st Earl of the 1329 creation, Ralph Neville, husband of Lady Joan Beaufort and son-in-law to Prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster.

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