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Robert Fitz-Maldred, lord of Raby, married Isabella, sister and heiress of Henry de Nevill, a Norman of distinguished family, who had himself been heir, through their mother, to Bertram de Bulmer, lord of Brancepath and Sheriff-Hutton. Out of gratitude for this large inheritance, or in compliance with the fashion of that day to Normanize, the Saxon lords of Raby thence assumed the appellation of Nevill.
Robert Nevill, the son of Robert Fitz-Maldred and Isabella Nevill, held several important situations during the latter part of the reign of Henry III. His grandson, another Robert Nevill, added again to the family patrimony by marrying Mary, daughter and heiress of Ralph Fitz-Randulph, lord of Middleham, * in Yorkshire; and from that period the fortunes of the family rapidly culminated, till they eclipsed, by their more recent splendours, the Saxon honours of the house.
Their son, Ralph Nevill, who was summoned to parliament, 23 Edward I, A.D. 1295, was father of Ralphf lord Nevill of Raby. He it was who, in the absence of Edward III, was one of the prin
Nevill, the great grandson of Dolfin, is acknowledged, while his death is lamented, in the antique verse given in the Legendary Division, Vol. I. p. 80.
* By this marriage the Nevills obtained the manor of Snape in Richmondshire, where they afterwards built a magnificent castle, which continued long the residence of their flourishing scion the lords Latimer. See Whitaker's Richmondshire, Vol. II.
+ His eldest brother Robert, called the peacock of the North, had no issue; and was slain at Berwick in the life time of his father.
cipals in command at the victory of Nevill's cross,* gained over the Scots, the 17th October, 1346. After having in the course of a long life filled several high offices, he died A.D. 1367, and was buriedan honour never before conceded to a layman—in the nave of Durham Cathedral, + where the mutilated altar-tomb and effigies of himself and his lady still exist between the pillars of the southern aisle. He left a son, John lord Nevill of Raby, who degenerated neither in spirit nor in conduct; and, extending our view to the next generation beyond, and thus including the first earl of Westmoreland, we find that the line of Raby were forwarded in their ascent to the highest honours to which a subject can aspire, by the unusual fortune of three successive chiefs of the house possessing exactly the species of talent which suited the age in which they were placed.
To John lord Nevill, who was at different periods warden of the East Marches, governor of Bamborough, high adniiral of England, lieutenant of Aquitaine and seneschal of Bourdeaux, is to be chiefly attributed the building of the splendid pile of Raby, which in 1379,
• See Historical Division, Vol. I. p. 120. + We may not, however, believe that it was his services that principally gained for him this distinction; for we are told that this “favour he obtained from the Prior and convent for a vestment of red velvet richly embroidered with gold silk, great pearls, and images of saints standing in tabernacles by him given to St. Cuthbert. His body being brought in a chariot drawn with seven horses unto the bounds of the church-yard, and carried upon the shoulders of knights into the middle of the church, where the Abbot of St. Maries in York (by reason of the bishop's absence and impotency of the Prior) performed the office of the dead and celebrated the morrow mass.” Dugdale's Baronage, Vol. I. p. 295. Where follows an account of the costly offerings made on this occasion to the church, for which see also Historical Division, Vol. I. p. 132,
he had a licence to castellate. In 1385, he attended Richard II. on his expedition to Scotland. The nobility of the North formed the rearward, and lord Nevill's train consisted of two hundred men-atarms, and three hundred archers. He died at Newcastle on Tyne, in 1388, and lies buried in Durham cathedral, where his altar-tomb still remains between the pillars of the south aisle.
His son and successor, Ralph lord Nevill, was created earl of Westmoreland, 17 Rich. II, He soon afterwards deserted (together with Henry Percy first earl of Northumberland) the falling fortunes of Richard, and was one of the principal instruments in placing the house of Lancaster on the throne. The new monarch showered dignities on the family of Nevill. The earl was invested in the honour of Richmond and made earl marshal: and by his second marriage—that with Joan,* daughter of John of Gaunt, "timehonour'd Lancaster"_became brother-in-law to his sovereign. When the Percys revolted, he adhered faithfully to Henry. On his side he fought at the battle of Shrewsbury; on the eve of which, to this greeting given to sir Richard Vernon by Hotspur :
“My cousin Vernon! Welcome by my soul," Vernon answers :
“Pray God my news be worth a welcome, lord.
The earl of Westmoreland, seven thousand strong,
Is marching hitherwards ; with him prince John ”—+ thitherwards to that field from which soon the gallant young Percy
“ Threw many a northward look to see his father
Bring up his powers; but he did look in vain,"I ere the dubious victory of the rebels was changed by his own death to a ruinous defeat.
In a second insurrection in the North, he was the “well-appointed leader” who, being sent, together with prince John, with an inferior force against the rebels, dispersed their army, without bloodshed, at Shipton moor, near York, and delivered up their chiefs, Mowbray and
• She (as well as John earl of Somerset, through whom Henry VII. claimed the representation of the house of Lancaster) was born before the marriage of the Duke of Lancaster to their mother, Catherine Swynford, who was his third wife. The issue, who were afterwards legitimized by act of parliament, were surnamed De Beaufort from the castle where they had been born. The connection of the family with this castle was commemorated also in their armorial bearings, its portcullis having been assumed as their crest. This crest, on the failure of their legitimate male issue, was continued to their illustrious illegitimate scions the Somersets, earls of Worcester and duke of Beaufort.
+ 1 Part, Henry IV., Act 4, scene 1. This Prince John was afterwards the celebrated duke of Bedford, regent of France in the time of llenry VI.
| 2 Part, Henry 1V., Act 2, scene 3.
Scrope archbishop of York, to Henry and the scaffold. Some say that he effected this by deceiving the simplicity of the aged prelate in agreeing to all his proposals ; others that he persuaded him to disband his followers, as the only means of appeasing the king and procuring a favourable answer to his petitions.*
In the next reign he followed Henry V. into France, and shared in the victory of Agincourt. With the discrimination of character which Shakspere invariably exhibits, Westmoreland the veteran experienced warrior, recommends Henry to subdue first his troublesome neighbours on the other side the Tweed :
“ For once the eagle England being in prey,
Comes sneaking, and so sucks the princely eggs." + In the roll of Agincourt the earl marshal had in his train five knights, thirty lances and eighty archers. Of these, the names of some strike familiarly on a northern ear, as sir Thomas Rokesby, sir John Hoton, Edmond Rodham, Roger Ratclife, John Swinborne, John Wardale, John Wytton.
Shakspere preserves the consistency of his character by making him wish, as any reasonable man would do before the commencement of so doubtful a battle,
“ Oh that we now had here
That do no work to day.”'S
“ The fewer men the greater share of honour.” The strong light in which Shakspere brings out Westmoreland in his Henry IV. and Henry V. is a proof that he was even then remembered as a subtile and powerful agent in the intrigues of his age. He died full of years and honours in 1426, and is buried under “a right stately tomb of alabaster" || in the choir of his own collegiate church of Staindrop. The earl had twenty-one children. From his first bed sprung the earls of Westmoreland. But none of his descendants in this, the elder, line seem to have inherited his
Ste Lingard's Hist. of England. Shakspere adopts the former and less creditable version. 2 Part, Henry IV., Act 4, scene 1 and 2.
† Henry V., Act 1, scene 2.
§ Henry V., Act 4, scene 3. | It bears elaborately attired effigies of himself and his two wives: the lady Margaret Stafford, and the daughter of John of Gaunt. Of this tomb two beautiful engravings are given in Surtees' Durham.
talent or his ambition.-From his second bed arose the princely houses of Salisbury, Warwick, and Montagu, whose blood mingled with that of Plantagenet, and the lords of Fauconberg, Latimer, and Abergavenny: and to this second family their father had given an evident preference. Our first business, however, is with the senior branch.
During the next three successions, the earldom of Westmoreland, never past from father to son. The eldest son, John lord Nevill, was a gallant soldier in the fields of France in the victorious days of Harry the Fifth, and was that “ John Nevill knight of England who, with thirteen glayves, discomfited, by Estampes, fifty Frenchmen taking divers of them.” He died in the lifetime of his father, leaving two sons, Ralph and sir John Nevill.
Ralph, the elder, succeeded to the earldom of his grandfather ; but he did not inherit the whole of the ample fortune of his ancestors. The Yorkshire castles of Middleham, Sheriff-Hutton and Snape, with many a dependent manor, and many a fair southern lordship, were settled on the issue of the first earl's second princely alliance. He had by Elizabeth Percy, the daughter of Hotspur, an only son, John lord Nevill, who died without issue, in the lifetime of his father. The earl himself died* in 1481, having survived also his younger brother sir John.
There are two recumbent monumental effigies in Brancepath church, which are supposed to be those of this earl, and one of his wives, he having been twice married.
The remarkable points in these effigies are the collars which decorate the necks of