How be a Successful Noble Family

800px-Neville_Warwick_Arms

After Easter, we’ll he heading towards the Wars of the Roses. En route, I thought it might be fun to start looking at some of the big noble names. Remember, we’ll be king rating soon. Might do some for big noble names too. so…. to start… 

HOW TO MAKE IT BIG AS A NOBLE FAMILY: THE NEVILLES

Warwick-Kingmaker-Family-Tree-1024x577

We tend to remember the Nevilles because of the big cheese in the Wars on the Roses: Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, known to history as Warwick the kingmaker (that’s his immediate family tree above).  In the talk that follows, I trace the family right back to their beginnings, and then to the top, in 15 steps

ONE… BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME: IN THIS CASE BE IN THE NORTH AT THE TIME OF THE CONQUEST

  • The prince-bishops
  • Uhtred is claimed as the first in line, and he was actually English
  • His son was called Dolfin
  • The held the manor of Staindrop, from the prior of Durham

TWO…CASTLES: YOU NEED A CASTLE… RABY

THREE… MARRY WELL AND GET NORMAN

  • DolfIn was succeeded by his son, Meldred
  • He in turn was succeeded by his son Robert FitzMeldred: married Isabel de Neville, daughter of a Norman noble Geoffrey de Neville

FOUR… GET IN WITH THE ROYALS AND GET  JOBS

  • Royal offices: Sheriff, castellan, justice of the forest, and justice of the peace 
  • Offices from the prince-bishops

FIVE… CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIDE, GET A GONG

  • Robert Neville supported Henry III against Simon de Montfort 
  • So when Edward I called the first full parliament, in 1295, Robert’s grandson, was in the House of Lords as Ralph, Baron Neville de Raby

SIX… FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, WELL FIGHT ANYWAY

  • 13th and 14th centuries against Scotland
  • Hundred Years’ War 
  • Ralph Neville, Lord of Raby
    • warden of the marches
    • Battle of Neville’s Cross 
    • Captured the Scottish king, David III, in 1346
    • Admiral of the North

SEVEN… GO TO COURT, BUT KEEP YOUR HEAD

  • Ralph Neville: Steward of the Royal Household
  • As was his eldest son John Neville
  • John’s brother Alexander Neville became archbishop of York and was a close advisor of Richard II … oh dear

EIGHT… LAND, LOVELY LAND

  • By the late 14th century, the family had acquired an extensive array of estates across northern England: their main bases were County Durham and Middleham, in Yorkshire, became a second base of the family.

NINE… OH, YOU AND YOUR SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT

  • In 1397, Ralph Neville, Lord of Raby was created earl of Westmorland by Richard II

TEN… KNOW THINE ENEMY

  • Percy family, earls of Northumberland 

ELEVEN… CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIDE, AGAIN… NOTHNG PERSONAL, IT’S JUST POLITICS. AND MARRIAGE

  • 1399, Richard II overthrown by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV)
  • Westmorland married new king’s half-sister Joan Beaufort

TWELVE… BE ON THE WINNING SIDE IN THE FAMILY FEUD

  • Westmorland had been married to Margaret Stafford: their eldest son became earl of Westmorland, the Westmorland Nevilles
  • The Middleham Nevilles, descended from Joan Beaufort, got the richest lands

THIRTEEN… LOVE AND MARRIAGE

  • Ralph’s eldest son by Joan (the Middleham Nevilles), Richard Neville, got himself made earl of Salisbury by marrying the heiress
  • Salisbury’s own eldest son, Richard Neville (again) became earl of Warwick by marrying the Warwick heiress
  • Salisbury’s daughter, Cecily Neville, married Richard, duke of York

FOURTEEN… WAR, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? THE NEVILLES, OF COURSE, AS LONG AS YOU’RE THE ONE THAT DOESN’T GET HIMSELF KILLED

  • 1450s: Wars of the Roses. and Richard of York claimed the throne. Salisbury and Warwick sided with Richard of York 
  • The Salisbury Neville was killed in 1460, in the battle of Wakefield. So was Richard of York.
  • Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, helped Richard of York’s son Edward win in 1461. With the Yorkist victory at Towton, and Edward IV king, Warwick was the greatest noble in the land. He was Warwick, the kingmaker…

FIFTEEN… DON’T GET TOO BIG FOR YOUR BOOTS AND MESS UP… SPOILER ALERT!!!

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