1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Westmorland, Earls of

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

WESTMORLAND, EARLS OF. Ralph Neville, 4th Baron Neville of Raby, and 1st earl of Westmorland (1364–1425), eldest son of John, 3rd Baron Neville, and his wife Maud Percy (see Neville, Family), was knighted by Thomas of Woodstock, afterwards duke of Gloucester, during the French expedition of 1380, and succeeded to his father's barony in 1388. He had been joint warden of the west march in 1386,and was reappointed for a new term in 1390. In 1391 he was put on the commission which undertook the duties of constable in place of the duke of Gloucester, and he was repeatedly engaged in negotiations with the Scots. His support of the court party against the lords appellant was rewarded in 1397 by the earldom of Westmorland. He married as his second wife Joan Beaufort, half-sister of Henry of Lancaster, afterwards Henry IV., whom he joined on his landing in Yorkshire in 1399. He already held the castles of Brancepeth, Raby, Middleham and Sheriff Hutton when he received from Henry IV. the honour and lordship of Richmond for life. The only rivals of the Nevilles in the north were the Percies, whose power was broken at Shrewsbury in 1403. Both marches had been in their hands, but the wardenship of the west marches was now assigned to Westmorland, whose influence was also paramount in the east, which was under the nominal wardenship of the young Prince John, afterwards duke of Bedford. Westmorland had prevented Northumberland from marching to reinforce Hotspur in 1403, and before embarking on a new revolt he sought to secure his enemy, surrounding, but too late, one of Sir Ralph Eure's castles where the earl had been staying. In May the Percies were in revolt, with Thomas Mowbray, earl marshal, and Archbishop Scrope. Westmorland met them on Shipton Moor, near York, on the 29th of May 1405, and suggested a parley between the leaders. By pretending accord with the archbishop, the earl induced him to allow his followers to disperse. Scrope and Mowbray were then seized and handed over to Henry at Pontefract on the 3rd of January. The improbabilities of this narrative have led some writers to think, in face of contemporary authorities, that Scrope and Mowbray must have surrendered voluntarily. If Westmorland betrayed them he at least had no share in their execution. Thenceforward he was busily engaged in negotiating with the Scots and keeping the peace on the borders. He did not play the part assigned to him by Shakespeare in Henry V., for during Henry's absence he remained in charge of the north, and was a member of Bedford's council. He consolidated the strength of his family by marriage alliances. His daughter Catherine married in 1412 John Mowbray, second duke of Norfolk, brother and heir of the earl marshal, who had been executed after Shipton Moor; Anne married Humphrey, first duke of Buckingham; Eleanor married, after the death of her first husband Richard le Despenser, Henry Percy, 2nd earl of Northumberland; Cicely married Richard, duke of York, and was the mother of Edward IV. and Richard III. The sons by his second marriage were Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, William, Baron Fauconberg, George, Baron Latimer, Robert, bishop of Salisbury and then of Durham, and Edward, Baron Abergavenny. The earl died on the 21st of October 1425, and a fine alabaster tomb was erected to his memory in Staindrop church close by Raby Castle.

See J. H. Wylie, History of England under Henry IV. (4 vols., 1884–1898).

Ralph, 2nd earl of Westmorland (c. 1404–1484), the son of John, Lord Neville (d. 1423), succeeded his grandfather in 1425, and married as his first wife Elizabeth Clifford, daughter of Sir Henry Percy (Hotspur), thus forming further bonds with the Percies. The 3rd earl, Ralph Neville (1456–1499), was his nephew, and the son of John Neville, Lord Neville, who was slain at Towton. His grandson Ralph, 4th earl of Westmorland (1499–1550), was an energetic border warrior, who remained faithful to the royal cause when the other great northern lords joined the Pilgrimage of Grace. He was succeeded by his son Henry, 5th earl (c. 1525–1563).

Charles, 6th earl (1543–1601), eldest son of the 5th earl by his first wife Jane, daughter of Thomas Manners, 1st earl of Rutland, was brought up a Roman Catholic, and was further attached to the Catholic party by his marriage with Jane, daughter of Henry Howard, earl of Surrey. He was a member of the council of the north in 1569 when he joined Thomas Percy, 7th earl of Northumberland, and his uncle Christopher Neville, in the Catholic rising of the north, which had as its object the liberation of Mary, queen of Scots. On the collapse of the ill-organized insurrection Westmorland fled with his brother earl over the borders, and eventually to the Spanish Netherlands, where he lived in receipt of a pension from Philip II of Spain, until his death on the 16th of November 1601. He left no sons, and his honours were forfeited by his formal attainder in 1571. Raby Castle remained in the hands of the crown until 1645.

The title was revived in 1624 in favour of Sir Francis Fane (c. 1574–1629), whose mother, Mary Neville, was a descendant of a younger son of the first earl. He was created baron of Burghersh and earl of Westmorland in 1624, and became Lord le Despenser on his mother’s death in 1626. His son Mildmay Fane, 2nd or 8th earl of Westmorland (c. 1602–1666), at first sided with the king’s party, but was afterwards reconciled with the parliament. John Fane, 7th or 13th earl of Westmorland (1682?–1762), served under Marlborough, and was made in 1739 lieutenant-general of the British armies.

John Fane, 11th or 17th earl (1784–1859), only son of John, 10th earl, was known as Lord Burghersh until he succeeded to the earldom in 1841. He entered the army in 1803, and in 1805 took part in the Hanoverian campaign as aide-de-camp to General Sir George Don. He was assistant adjutant-general in Sicily and Egypt (1806–1807), served in the Peninsular War from 1808 to 1813, was British military commissioner to the allied armies under Schwarzenberg, and marched with the allies to Paris in 1814. He was subsequently promoted major-general (1825), lieutenant-general (1838) and general (1854), although the latter half of his life was given to the diplomatic service. He was British resident at Florence from 1814 to 1830, and British ambassador at Berlin from 1841 to 1851, when he was transferred to Vienna. In Berlin he had mediated in the Schleswig-Holstein question, and in Vienna he was one of the British plenipotentiaries at the congress of 1855. He retired in 1855, and died at Apthorpe House, Northamptonshire, on the 16th of October 1859. Himself a musician of considerable reputation and the composer of several operas, he took a keen interest in the cause of music in England, and in 1822 made proposals which led to the foundation in the next year of the Royal Academy of Music. His wife Priscilla Anne (1793–1879), daughter of William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd earl of Mornington, was a distinguished artist.

His published works include Memoirs of the Early Campaigns of the Duke of Wellington in Portugal and Spain (1820), and Memoir of the Operations of the Allied Armies under Prince Schwarzenberg and Marshal Blucher (1822).

Francis William Henry, 12th or 18th earl (1825–1891), fourth son of the preceding, was also a distinguished soldier. He entered the army in 1843 and served through the Punjab campaign of 1846; was made aide-de-camp to the governor-general in 1848, and distinguished himself at Gujrat on the 21st of February 1849. He went to the Crimea as aide-de-camp to Lord Raglan, and was promoted lieutenant-colonel in 1855. On his return to England he became aide-de-camp to the duke of Cambridge, and received the Crimean medal. The death of his elder brother in 1851 gave him the style of Lord Burghersh, and after his accession to the earldom in 1859 he retired from the service with the rank of colonel. He died in August 1891 and was succeeded by his son, Anthony Mildmay Julian Fane (b. 1859), as 13th earl.