Sir Henry NEVILLE of Billingbere

Born: ABT 1564, Billingbere, Berkshire, England

Christened: 30 May 1564, St Anne Black Friars, London, Middlesex, England

Died: 10 Jul 1615, Waltham, St. Lawrence, Berkshire, England

Father: Henry NEVILLE (Sir)

Mother: Elizabeth GRESHAM

Married 1: Anne KILLIGREW (d. 1632) (daughter of Sir Henry Killigrew and Catherine Cooke)


1. Henry NEVILLE

2. Frances NEVILLE

3. Catherine NEVILLE


5. Elizabeth NEVILLE

6. Dorothy NEVILLE

7. William NEVILLE

8. Richard NEVILLE

9. Edward NEVILLE

10. Charles NEVILLE

11. Mary NEVILLE

Sir Henry Neville

From an artist of the circle of George Gower

of Richard Aldworth Neville, Esqr.

Neville,Henry(Sir)01.jpg (23413 bytes)

Sir Henry Neville

from an original picture in the collection

of Richard Aldworth Neville, Esqr.

© Copyright of David Nash Ford.

Biography reproduced by kind permission of the Royal Berkshire History Website.

Courtier and diplomat, was born in 1564, probably at Billingbear House in Berkshire, the home of his parents, Sir Henry Neville and his first wife, Elizabeth, dau. of Sir John Gresham; matriculated from Merton College, Oxford, 20 Dec 1577; created MA, 30 Aug 1605; introduced to the court by Lord Burghley, sat in parliament from coming of age till his death, identified himself with the popular party;

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 iron-founder in Sussex. He succeeded, in 1593, on his father's death, to property in Sussex, but, in 1597, sold Mayfield, his residence in that county.

As a man of high character, Neville was soon selected for an important service. First, in 1599, he was sent as Ambassador to France to the Court of Henri IV, and was knighted. While at Calais, on his way to Paris, he had a dispute with the Spanish Ambassador as to precedency. At Paris, he negotiated the Treaty of Boulogne, but complained that he was not over well treated by the French. In Feb 1600, he was troubled with deafness and asked to be recalled. He, afterwards, complained that he had spent £4,000 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 the Earl of Southampton. Consequently, when the rebellion failed, Neville was confined to his father-in-law’s house in Lothbury, London. Killigrew forbade his daughter to see her husband until the Privy Council ordered him to let her visit. Neville was later was imprisoned in the Tower, brought before the Council on 8 Jul, dismissed from his place and fined £5,000. In the last year of Queen Elizabeth's reign, he agreed to pay that sum in yearly instalments of £1,000. During that time, his wife worked actively for his release. On James I's accession, he was released (10 Apr 1603) by Royal warrant. There is an allusion to his danger in one of Ben Jonson's Epigrams.

Under James I, Neville played a more prominent role in politics. He inclined to the popular party. While in 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 House of 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, later the same year, 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 on Neville's behalf but, by Oct 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. About this time Neville was much interested in commercial affairs and, in 1613, he had drawn up a scheme for an overland trade route from India. He died on 10 Jul 1615.

He married Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Killigrew, and had five sons and six daughters. Of the sons, Sir Henry, the eldest, succeeded him and was father of Henry Neville (b. 1620 - d. 1694), the political writer, dying 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; and Edward, a fellow of King's College, Cambridge, died in 1632. Of the daughters, Elizabeth married, firstly, William Glover, secondly, Sir Henry Berkeley, and, thirdly, Thomas Dyke. Catherine married Sir Richard Brooks; Frances married, firstly, Sir Richard Worseley, and, secondly, Jerome Brett; Mary married Sir Edward Lewknor; Dorothy married Richard Catlyn; and Anne remained unmarried.

After Henry Neville's death, Lady Neville married George Carleton, Bishop of Chichester (b. 1557/8 - d. 12 May 1628) ABT 1619, by whom she had a son, Henry.


Dictionary of National Biography (1891).

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