Neville, Henry (1564?-1615) (DNB00)

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NEVILLE, Sir HENRY (1564?–1615), courtier and diplomatist, born in 1564 in all probability (Rowland, Table No. v.; but cf. Foster, Alumni Oxon. s.v.), was son of Sir Henry Neville of Billingbear, Berkshire, by his first wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Gresham. He matriculated from Merton College, Oxford, on 20 Dec. 1577, and on 30 Aug. 1605 was created M.A. He was introduced to the court by Lord Burghley, and throughout his life sat in parliament. He was member for New Windsor 1584–5 and 1593, Sussex 1588–9, Liskeard 1597–8, Kent 1601, Lewes 1603–4, and Berkshire 1604–11 and 1614. Neville doubtless for a time carried on the business of an ironfounder in Sussex. He succeeded in 1593, on his father's death, to property in Sussex, but in 1597 sold Mayfield, his residence in the county (Sussex Arch. Coll. ii. 187, 210, 245). A man of high character, he was soon selected for an important service. In 1599 he was sent as ambassador to France and was knighted. While at Calais, on his way to Paris, he had a dispute with the Spanish ambassador as to precedency (cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. p. 32, and more fully Harl. MS. 1856). At Paris he negotiated the treaty of Boulogne, but complained that he was not over well treated by the French. In February 1600 he was troubled with deafness, and asked to be recalled. He afterwards complained that he had spent 4,000l. while in France. He returned to England in time to take some part in Essex's plot. Although he was not in intimate relations with Essex and his friends, he knew of their designs, and was in the confidence of Southampton (cf. Spedding, Bacon, ii. 207, &c.) Consequently, when the rebellion failed, Neville was imprisoned in the Tower, brought before the council on 8 July, dismissed from his place, and fined 5,000l. In Elizabeth's last year he agreed to pay that sum in yearly instalments of 1,000l. On James I's accession he was released (10 April 1603) by royal warrant (cf. Court and Times of James I, i. 7). There is an allusion to his danger in one of Ben Jonson's Epigrams (Works, ed. Gifford and Cunningham, 1871, iii. 250).

Under James I Neville played a more prominent rôle in politics. He inclined to the popular party. While at Paris he had been called a puritan. His advice was at all events not to James's taste. In the first session of 1610 he advised the king to give way to the demands of the commons. In 1612 he urged the calling of a parliament, and drew up a paper on the subject, in which he recommended what James could not but regard as a complete surrender; he expressed the opinion that supplies would be easily voted if grievances were redressed. On Salisbury's death in 1612 Neville was a candidate for the secretaryship of state. His appointment would have been popular, but the king had no liking for him or for the policy with which he had identified himself. Southampton used his influence in Neville's behalf, but in October 1613 his chances were hopeless. Winwood was made secretary in 1614, much to Neville's irritation, and he refused Rochester's offer of the office of treasurer of the chamber as a compensation. In the Addled parliament of 1614 the paper of advice which Neville had drawn up in 1612 was discussed by the commons (May 1614), and with his view the commons could find no fault (cf. Spedding, Bacon, v. 1, 3, 34, &c.) About this time Neville was much interested in commercial affairs, and in 1613 he drew up a scheme for an overland route from India (Anderson, Histor. and Chron. Deduction of the Origin of Commerce, ii. 258). He died on 10 July 1615. A portrait of Neville is in the possession of the Earl of Yarborough.

He married Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Killigrew, and had five sons and six daughters. Of the sons, Sir Henry, the eldest, succeeded him, was father of Henry Neville (1620–1694) [q. v.], and died in 1629; William, the second son, was fellow of Merton College, Oxford; Charles died in 1626; Richard was sub-warden of Merton, died in 1644, and was ancestor in the female line of the Nevilles, barons of Braybrooke [see Neville, Richard Aldworth Griffin]; and Edward, a fellow of King's College, Cambridge, died in 1632. Of the daughters, Elizabeth married, first, William Glover; secondly, Sir Henry Berkeley; and, thirdly, Thomas Dyke. Catherine married Sir Richard Brooke; Frances married, first, Sir Richard Worseley, and, secondly, Jerome Brett; Mary married Sir Edward Lewknor; Dorothy married Richard Catlyn; Anne remained unmarried.

[An account of his French embassy and many letters are in Winwood's Memorials. Letters to Cecil are in Harl. MS. 4715; Gardiner's Hist. of England, i. 230, ii. 147, &c.; Nichols's Progresses of James I, i. 52, &c., ii. 37, &c., iii. 1063, &c.; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. ii. 307, vi. 48, 154; Bacon's Letters and Life, ed. Spedding, especially ii. 207, &c., iii. and v.; Birch's Memoirs of Queen Elizabeth; Cal. of State Papers, Dom. 1591–1618; Devereux's Lives of the Earls of Essex, ii. 198, &c.; Owen's Epigrams, 1st col. ii. 66; Metcalfe's Knights; Official Returns of Members of Parliament; Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. pp. 84, 174; Foster's Alumni Oxon.]

W. A. J. A.