Ralph NEVILLE

(4th E. Westmoreland)

Born: 21 Feb 1497

Acceded: 1499

Died: 24 Apr 1549, Holywell House, Shoreditch, Middlesex, England

Buried: 17 May 1555, St Leonard's, Shoreditch, Middlesex, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter. The Complete Peerage v.XIIpII,p.553.

Father: Ralph NEVILLE (B. Neville)

Mother: Elizabeth (Edith) SANDYS

Married: Catherine STAFFORD (C. Westmoreland) BEF Jun 1520, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales

Children:

1. Henry NEVILLE (5 E. Westmoreland)

2. Dorothy NEVILLE (C. Oxford)

3. Ralph NEVILLE (d. 1565)

4. Margaret NEVILLE (C. Rutland)

5. Thomas NEVILLE

6. Christopher NEVILLE (Sir)

7. George NEVILLE

8. Edward NEVILLE

9. Elizabeth NEVILLE

10. Cuthbert NEVILLE

11. Eleanor NEVILLE

12. Mary NEVILLE

13. Eleanor NEVILLE

14. Anne NEVILLE

15. Ursula NEVILLE

16. William NEVILLE (Sir)?


Born 21 Feb 1497, was styled as Lord Neville from 1498 to 1499. His grandfather, Ralph, third earl (b, 1456 - d. 1523), who was nephew of Ralph, second earl (d. 1484), was captain in the army which invaded Scotland in 1497 to oppose the alliance between James IV and Perkin Warbeck. He was father of Ralph, called Lord Neville (d. 1498), who married, first, a daughter of William Paston (she died in 1489), and, secondly, Editha, daughter of Sir William Sandys of the Vine, sister of Sir William Sandys. Ralph, lord Neville, was father of the fourth earl by his second wife. After Lord Neville's death his widow married Thomas Darcy (afterwards Lord Darcy). Her daughter by Lord Darcy married Sir Marmaduke Constable of Flamborough, Yorkshire.

He succeeded to the title of 4th Lord Neville [E., 1459]; 4th Earl of Westmorland [E., 1397]; 7th Lord Neville of Raby [E., 1295] on 6 Feb 1498/99. On 9 Jul 1510 he was made a ward of Edward Stafford, third duke of Buckingham. Ralph Neville, Earl of Westmorland was to have married one of the Duke's daughters, Elizabeth Stafford, at Christmas 1512, but shortly before that she acquired a new suitor, Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey. Westmorland finally married Catherine, second daughter of Buckingham. By her he had seven sons, included Henry, Christopher and Cuthbert, and eleven daughters, included Dorothy, Margaret, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Mary and Anne.

In 1520 Ralph was at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and at the reception of the Emperor at Calais, and the same year he received livery of his lands, at which time he is said to have been under age. He took part in the reception of Carlos V in England in 1522. He was a vigorous commander on the borders, and is spoken of as being carried when ill in a horse litter over from Durham to Brough. He fought in the campaigns against the Scots from 1522 to 1523. He was invested as a Knight in 1523 at Scotland, by the Earl of Surrey. He was invested as a Knight of the Garter on 25 Jun 1525. He held the office of Chief Commissioner to treat with the Scots on 27 Aug 1525. He held the office of Vice Warden of the East and Middle Marches, under the Duke of Richmond between Oct 1525 and Sep 1526. He held the office of Deputy Captain of Berwick between Oct 1525 and Sep 1526. On 15 Jan 1525/6 at Berwick, he concluded, with Thomas Magnus and Brian Higden, a truce with the Earl of Angus which followed Henry VIII's change of policy of 1525. He was invested as a Privy Counsellor (P.C.) before 5 Feb 1525/6. He held the office of Commissioner to enquire into treasons in Cumberland on 23 May 1534. In May 1534 Westmorland, the Earl of Cumberland, and Sir Thomas Clifford made a search at Auckland Castle among the effects of Tunstall, but they found very little of a traitorous nature (ib. v. 986, vii. App. 18). He held the office of Commissioner to suppress disorders in Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland between Jun 1535 and Jul 1535. On 15 May 1536 he was one of the Peers who tried Anne Boleyn.

On 3 Jul 1536 his daughter Dorothy married John De Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, in a dynastic triple marriage, in the same ceremony that her sister Margaret married Henry Manners, heir of the Earl of Rutland and her brother Henry married Anne Manners, also daughter of RutlandHenry VIII attended the festivities with her new queen, Jane Seymour, just 6 weeks after beheading Anne Boleyn.

Westmorland remained loyal during the Pilgrimage of Grace, which is surprising considering his family connections. He was captured by the rebels in his castle, took the Pilgrim oath under pressure from a large rebel presence and sent his thirteen yearl old son to represent him at the taking of Pontefract castle. He said of the pilgrims that he preserved himself from the infection of their traitorous poison. In the years after the rebellion he remained deeply traumatized by the disloyalty of his household and tenants. He refused an appointment as Warden of the East and Middle Marches at this time, allegedly because his men supported the rising. At the time the Duke of Norfolk described him as 'a man of such heat and hastiness of nature' as to be 'unmeet' for the appointment. However, Norfolk may have been disparaging a potential rival. On 14 Jan 1537 he was made a member of the Council of the North.

On 12 Nov 1537 Westmoreland attended the funeral of the King's third wife, Jane Seymour. In 1538 he was again disparaged, on this occasion being described by an anonymous writer as a man 'of great power without wit or knowledge'.

He was in command of the East and Middle Marches, while Hertford invaded Scotland in May 1544, and member of the council of the north in 1545.

By the end of 1544, Henry Neville had developed a serious gambling habit. Ralph, disapproved of the gambling, or at least of the debt, and relations between father and son became further strained. Worse, Lord Henrys relationship with his wife, Anne, was icy. On 1 Oct 1546 he was committed to the Fleet for plotting to murder his father and wife by witchcraft. Gregory Wisdom, a self-taught physician, magician and master conman, offered to solve Nevilles financial woes by murdering his father, Ralph Neville, the incumbent 4th Earl of Westmorland, and his wife, Anne Manners, by magic. Inevitably, the plot fell flat, and 18 months later Neville was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. For a few weeks its a major scandal and it looks as though he might be hanged. He confessed, but in Mar 1547, after the death of Henry VIII, he was pardoned and released in early 1547. His father was ordered on 24 Mar 1546/7 to take him back and pay his debts.

He died on 24 Apr 1549, and was buried at Staindrop, Durham. His widow, Catherine, died 14 May 1555 at Holywell in Shoreditch, the house of her son-in-law, Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland, and was buried 17 May 1555 at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch.

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