(B. Dacre of the South)

Born: 1524, Abergavenny, Monmouth, Wales

Died: 18 Dec 1565 / 1576, London, England

Buried: St Sepulchre's

Father: George NEVILLE (3 B. Abergavenny)

Mother: Mary STAFFORD (B. Abergavenny)

Married: Thomas FIENNES (3 B. Dacre of the South) 1536, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales


1. Thomas FIENNES

2. Gregory FIENNES (4 B. Dacre of the South)

3. Margaret FIENNES (5 B. Dacre of the South)

Married 2: John WOOTON of North Tuddenham BEF 1546

Married 3: Francis THURSBY of Congham








Neville,Mary(B.Dacre)02.jpg (85614 bytes)

Mary Neville, baroness Dacre of the South, 

with a portrait of her death husband

by Hans Eworth (1554)

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Daughter of George Neville, third Lord Abergavenny, by his 3rd wife, Mary, dau. of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Her father had died and her brother Henry was the new Lord Abergavenny when she married, as first husband, Thomas Fiennes, third B. Dacre of the South, in 1536. They had two sons, Thomas and Gregory, and one daughter Margaret.

On the arrival of Anne of Cleves in 1540, when '... as she passed towards Rochester on Newyeares euen on Reinam downe met hir the Duke of Norfolke, and the Lord Dacres of the South, and the lord Montioie (Mountjoy), with a great company of Knights, and esquires, of Norffolke and Suffolke, with barons of the escheker, which brought hir to Rochester where she laie in the Palace all New Yeares daie...', Lady Dacre was one of those appointed to receive the bride.

On the eve of May Day, 1541, Lord Dacre was tempted by his own folly or that of his friends to join a party to kill deer in Laughton Park, Sussex, which belonged to a neighbor, Sir Nicholas Pelham. Pelhams gamekeeper, John Busbrig, objected. A fight broke out in which Busbrig was killed. Even though Dacre was not the one who delivered the fatal blow and was in fact in another part of the park at the time, he was held responsible, convicted of manslaughter following deer stealing, and hanged at Tyburn. His estates and title were forfeit, leaving Mary and her children destitute.

Upon Lord Dacre's execution and attainder, his widow was left quite penniless, but no time was lost in obtaining an Act of Parliament in order to provide a dower for her from out of her late husband's estates. An ancient copy of this Act, which was passed in the same year as he was executed, says:

Mary Fynes widowe, late the wief of Thomas Fynes late lorde Dacres, commonly called Lord Dacres of the Sowthe lately atteynted of wilfull murther by the lawes of this Realme of England is not dowable nor oughte to be indowed of any the Manors lands &c. which were in the possession &c. of the said late Lord Dacres &c. nor yet had any jointure in her late husband's lands for that the said Mary was espowsed & maryed unto her saide late Husband he being within the age of Twenty & one yeares & in the custody & ward of the King. The King's Majestie &c. according to his accustomable goodness of his liberalitie inclyned to mercy & pitty willing to extend his grace & clemency to the said Mary Fynes at the humble sute &c. of the said Mary for the relief of her and her children &c is contented & pleased that it be enacted by His Highnes with the assent of this present parliament, & by authority of the same, that the said Mary Fynes shall possess & enjoy for the term of her natural life, from Michaelmas last past, the Manors of Burham & Codham co. Kent-of Fromquinton & Belchwell co. Dorset, of Nashall co. Essex, & all their rights & privileges &c. the said attainder &c. not withstanding.'

'An acte whereby certen landes are passed to the Lady Dacres.
'Anno xxxiij Henry VIII.' [1541-2]

Neville,Mary(B.Dacre)01.jpg (123284 bytes)

Mary Neville, baroness Dacre of the South, with her son Gregory

by Hans Eworth (1558)

National Portrait Gallery

But on 2 Jul the King ordered her to be paid 50. at once, and directed that the Sheriff of Sussex should deliver to her 'All her apparel of velvet, satin, pearls, stones or goldsmiths work pertaining as well to her head as to the rest of her body'. And during the course of the month the King, being 'moved with pity' for the destitute position of the widowed Mrs. Mantell, sister of Lord Dacre who's husband was executed with her brother, said that upon being fully informed as to her circumstances he would take order for her relief.

She was one of the ladies appointed to assist at Queen Mary's funeral, and drove with three other peeresses in the fyrste chariot'; these ladies were directed to be 'apperelled accordinge to their Estates viz manteles and their Barbes above their chines'.

Lady Dacre married as second husband a man named Wootton, Esq., of N. Tuddenham, Norfolk. She outlived him and married, as her third husband, Francis Thursby, Esq., of Congham in the same county; by whom in 1559 she had living three sons and three daughters. Lady Dacre died in or about 1576.

Thomas, her eldest son by her first husband, died on 25 Aug 1553, as appears by the following document:

'The extente &r clere yerely vallew of all the Castelles Lordships Manors &c.1ate of the enheretans of Thomas Fynes Lorde Dacre of the South deceased; the xxvth of Aug anno 1 Q. Marie [1553] being then of the age of xv yeres & warde to her Majestie; all wch sayd Castelles &c. descended to Gregory Fynes Lord Dacre his brother & next heyre beynge of the age of xiij yeres & a half at the deathe of his sayd brother.'

Gregory married Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Sackville, and sister to Thomas, Lord Buckhurst, 1st Earl Dorset, by whom he had issue only a daughter, who died young, and whose effigy is on his tomb, although she is not mentioned in the inscription on that monument. Margaret Fiennes married Sampson Lennard, eldest son of John Leonard of Chevening, Kent, High Sheriff.
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