Neville, Geoffrey de (d.1225) (DNB00)

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NEVILLE, GEOFFREY de (d. 1225), baron, was the younger son of Alan de Neville (d. 1191?) [q. v.] and nephew of Gilbert de Neville, an ancestor of the Nevilles of Raby [see Neville, Robert de]. He was probably connected with Hugh de Neville [q. v.] Geoffrey first appears as the recipient of grants from John in 1204, and from 1205 was a constant witness of royal charters. In 1207 he was king's chamberlain, an office which he held till the end of his life, and in the same year received the custody of Wiltshire (Rot. Litt. Claus.) In 1212 he witnessed the treaty between John and the Count of Boulogne. In 1213 he was sent on an embassy to Raymond, count of Toulouse, and Peter, king of Aragon. Next year he went to Poitou, to secure for John the support of the Poitevin barons, and his fidelity was rewarded by further grants of lands belonging to the barons in opposition, and of the shrievalty of Yorkshire. In 1215 Neville was appointed seneschal of Poitou; but on 1 Oct. of that year he was with John at Lincoln, and, receiving the grant of Scarborough Castle, was employed during the winter in defending it and York against the rebel barons. Early in 1216 he was at Newcastle on a similar errand, and received grants of money to enable him to fortify Scarborough. Faithful to John to the end, Neville had his appointments of chamberlain and seneschal of Poitou and Gascony confirmed on the accession of Henry III.

In 1217 he signed the reissue of Magna Charta (Registrum Malmesburiense, i. 38); in 1218 he was present when Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (d. 1240) [q. v.] submitted to Henry III, and was commissioned to take possession of certain castles in Wales. But next year he was back again in Gascony, opposing Hugh de Lusignan, who was besieging Niort. In April 1219 he wrote to Henry, threatening to start for the Holy Land unless he were better supported from home; in July he wrote again, saying that unless steps were taken to defend Poitou and Gascony it was no good his remaining there; in October he resigned the seneschalship (Shirley, Royal and Historical Letters, passim). He landed at Dover on 1 Nov. 1219, leaving William Gauler in charge of Gascony. He left behind him debts incurred in the king's service, and in 1220 the citizens of Dax petitioned for repayment. In the same year he resumed his duties as sheriff of Yorkshire, and was despatched to Scotland on business connected with the marriage of the king's sister to Alexander II. On 23 Jan. 1221 he was summoned to meet Henry at Northampton to concert measures against the Earl of Albemarle, who had seized Fotheringay Castle. In 1222 he paid 100l. to the king for the guardianship of Alexander de Neville, probably a second cousin, who held lands in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, and Cumberland. On 4 Dec. in that year Neville was commissioned to see that the compromise arranged between Hugh de Lusignan and certain towns in Gascony was carried out; in the following year Hugh wrote to Henry complaining of the conduct of Neville's successor, and recommending his reappointment. This suggestion was apparently adopted. At any rate, Neville was in Poitou in 1224, and again with Richard, earl of Cornwall, next year. He received in the same year a grant of two hundred marks for his custody of Pickering and Scarborough Castles, but died apparently in Gascony in October 1225. Several of Neville's letters are printed in Shirley's ‘Royal and Historical Letters’ (Rolls Ser.) He married Mabel, daughter and coheiress of Adam FitzSwane, who founded the abbey of Monk-Bretton, Yorkshire. By her he had issue two sons, John and Alan. John was granted custody of Pickering and Scarborough Castles on his father's death, and was in the battle of Chesterfield with Robert de Ferrers, earl of Derby, in 1264, and subsequently fought on the barons' side at Evesham. Neville must not be confused with a namesake Geoffrey de Neville (d. 1194), great-grandfather of Robert de Neville (d. 1282) [q. v.]; the two Geoffreys may have been cousins.

[Rotuli Literarum Claus. i. ii., Rotuli Chartarum, Calendar. Rot. Pat. in Turri Londinensi, Rotuli Lit. Pat., Rymer's Fœdera, i. passim; Hardy's Rotuli de Liberate, passim; Roberts's Excerpta e Rot. Fin. vol. i; Rotulus Cancellarii, 1202, p. 164; Shirley's Royal and Historical Letters, passim; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 287; Rotulorum Originalium Abbreviatio; Roger Wendover's Chronica, Rolls Ser.; H. J. Swallow's De Nova Villa, Newcastle, 1885.]

A. F. P.