Neville, Humphrey (DNB00)

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NEVILLE, Sir HUMPHREY (1439?–1469), insurgent, was son of Sir Thomas Neville, third son of John Neville, eldest son of Ralph Neville, first earl of Westmorland [q. v.] His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Henry, fifth lord Beaumont, who died in 1413, and he is said to have been born in 1439 at Slingsby Manor, near Malton, in Yorkshire (Surtees, Hist. of Durham, iv. 163; Swallow, De Nova Villa, p. 66).

Humphrey shared the Lancastrian sentiments of the elder branch of the house of Neville, the offspring of Westmorland's first marriage, and he declared for King Henry when, on 26 June 1461, he, with Lord Roos and others, made a descent into Durham as far as Brancepeth from Scotland, whither he had fled after Towton. Neville, who is described as ‘esquire of Brancepeth,’ and filled the office of bailiff of Hexham, was captured and attainted in the parliament held in the following November (Rot. Parl. v. 478, 480; Hexham Priory, Surtees Soc., vol. i. p. ci). A Thomas Neville, clerk of Brancepeth, also attainted for the same offence, was no doubt a relative. Humphrey remained some time in the Tower, but ultimately managed to break out, and, returning to Northumberland, ‘made commotion of people against our sovereign lord the king’ (ib. p. 511). But finally suing for pardon, the king, ‘having respect to his birth,’ took him into his grace by letters patent (3 Edw. IV, 1463–4), and he was knighted (ib.; Cal. Rot. Pat. p. 306). The family influence had doubtless been exerted in his favour. Nevertheless, in April 1464 he was again in arms with the Lancastrians at Bamborough Castle, and, with eighty spearmen and some archers, lay in ambush in a wood near Newcastle for his distant cousin, John Neville, lord Montagu [q. v.], who was on his way to the border to escort the Scottish peace commissioners to York (ib.; Gregory, p. 224). But Montagu, warned in time, escaped the snare. Sir Humphrey would seem to have fought at Hexham, and, flying southwards, took refuge in a cave on the banks of the Derwent, which here for some distance forms the boundary between Northumberland and Durham (Lingard, iv. 169, from Year Book, 4 Edward IV). He and Sir Ralph Grey, the defender of Bamborough Castle, were alone excepted from the amnesty proclaimed on 11 June, and one contemporary document, printed in the notes to Warkworth's ‘Chronicle’ (p. 36), almost implies that he, too, was in Bamborough (Fœdera, xi. 527). But, as Bamborough surrendered to Warwick at the end of June, this is improbable. He is said to have remained in his cave, leading the life of a freebooter for five years, until, in the summer of 1469, King Edward fell into the hands of the Earl of Warwick and was carried captive into the north (Hexham Priory, vol. i. p. cxiii). The Lancastrians had given their assistance to the movement against Edward, and were apparently dissatisfied with the use Warwick made of his victory. Humphrey Neville, whose attainder had been renewed in January 1465, once more came forward and raised the standard of revolt on the border. Warwick had to release the king before he could get forces to follow him against Neville, but then easily suppressed the rising. Humphrey and his brother Charles were captured, carried to York, and executed there on 29 Sept. in the presence of King Edward (Croyland Cont. p. 552; Warkworth, p. 7). The Latin extract quoted by Surtees (iv. 163) without giving his authority, according to which Neville was captured in Holderness, may possibly contain a confusion of the Yorkshire with the Durham Derwent.

According to Surtees, Neville left a son, Arthur Neville (d. circ. 1502) of Scole Acle, who had two sons: Ralph Neville of Scole Acle and Coveshouses, in Weardale; and Lancelot Neville, who married Anne, daughter of Rowland Tempest of Holmeside. Ralph Neville's grandson, Ralph Neville, died in 1615, leaving only a daughter Anne, and with her this branch of the Nevilles, the Nevilles of Weardale, seems to have died out.

[Rotuli Parliamentorum; Rymer's Fœdera, original edition; Calendar. Rotulorum Patentium, ed. Record Commission; Gregory's Chronicle and Warkworth's Chronicle, published by the Camden Soc.; Continuation of the Croyland Chronicle in Fulman's Scriptores Rerum Anglicarum, Oxford, 1684; Lingard's History of England, ed. 1849; Swallow, De Nova Villa, 1885; Surtees's History of Durham, vol. iv.; Ramsay's Lancaster and York, ii. 302, 344.]

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