Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Ranulph de Neville

Male 1262 - Aft 1331  (> 69 years)

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  • Name Ranulph de Neville 
    Born 18 Oct 1262  of Raby, Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Gender Male 
    Alternate death 18 Apr 1331  [4
    Died Aft 18 Apr 1331  [2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Buried Coverham Abbey, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Person ID I2314  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of AP, Ancestor of JTS, Ancestor of TNH, Ancestor of TSW, Ancestor of TWK
    Last Modified 9 Jan 2018 

    Father Robert de Neville,   b. Bef 1240, of Middleham, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Aug 1271  (Age > 31 years) 
    Mother Mary fitz Ranulph,   d. Bef 11 Apr 1320 
    Married Abt 1260  [1
    Family ID F527  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Euphemia de Clavering,   b. Aft 1265,   d. Abt 1320  (Age < 53 years) 
    Married Bef 12 Mar 1281  [2
    +1. Ralph de Neville,   b. Abt 1291, of Raby, Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Aug 1367  (Age ~ 76 years)
    Last Modified 11 Jul 2015 
    Family ID F4093  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • "Randolf or Ranulph (sometimes called, seemingly in error, Ralph, son and heir of Robert de Neville and Mary his wife, was born 18 October 1262, and was heir to the Neville estates on the death of his grandfather, in 1282 (having livery under writ of 11 January 1283/4), and to his mother's inheritance, April 1320. He was summoned, 15 July 1287, with horses and arms to a military council at Gloucester (before Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, in the King's absence abroad), and to attend the King at Westminster, June 1294. He was summoned to Parliament from 24 June 1295 to 18 February 1330/1, by writs directed Ranulpho (and Radulpho) de Neville, whereby he is held to have become Lord Neville. For service in Scotland he was summoned 1291 and in later years; for service in Gascony, 1294, 1297 and 1324; and against the rebels under the Earl of Lancaster, 1322. His seal, as Dominus de Raby, was attached to the letter of the Barons to the Pope, February 1300/1. In 1303 he was chief of the delegates summoned by the King to set forth the grievances of the people against the Bishop of Durham. He, or possibly his son Ralph, was commissioner of array in Durham, 1322, in the North Riding of Yorks, 1324, and in Northumberland, 1324 and 1326; in 1325 Keeper of the Peace and one of the specially appointed keepers of the coast in Northumberland, and in 1326 one of the commissioners to impress shipping in the ports of that county. He m., 1stly, Eupheme, daughter of Robert Fitzroger, Lord Fitzroger (see Clavering), and, 2ndly, Margery, dau. of John de Thweng, by whom he had no issue. He died shortly after 18 April 1331." [Complete Peerage IX:497-8.]

      Dugdale says of him that "It is reported of this Ranulph, that he little minded Secular business; but, for the most part, betook himself to conversation with the Canons of Merton and Coverham; as also, that he committed Incest with his own Daughter, and that Richard de Kellaw, Bishop of Durham, did for that crime compel him to do publick pennance." According to footnote (b) of the CP account quoted previously, this took place in 1313.

      A slightly different version of the incest story is found in the 1875 Preface to Volume III of The Register of Richard de Kellawe, Lord Palatine and Bishop of Durham, 1314-1316, by the volume's editor, Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy. Hardy devotes nearly a page to the conviction and punishment of Ranulph's daughter Anastasia for her adultery with John de Lilleford, dwelling at length on how "proving contumacious, sentence of the Greater Excommunication was pronounced against her." This sentence was subquently commuted by the bishop and replaced with six weeks of elaborate public penance. But "[t]his unhappy woman's troubles seem not to have ended even with this promulgation of her shame and disgrace. On the 9th of November following, a mandate was issued by the bishop for the condemnation of Sur Ranulph de Neville, knight, who had been 'judicially convicted of the crime of incest and adultery with the said Anastasia, his daughter, and wife of Sir Walter de Fauconberg;' to appear in the parish church of Aukland, on the Monday after the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, there to receive penance for the said crime and for the further offence of contumacy. Sir Ranulph failing to appear, on the 16th of the following month, a mandate was issued, directing him to be excommunicated, in the Galilee at Durham, and all parish churches within the archdeaconry of Durham. We have no further details of this lamentable story. Sir Ranulph de Nevill, of Raby, was a baron of Parliament by writ, succeeded his grandfather Robert, in 1282, and died in 1331. It is only just to add, that Sir Ranulph seems habitually to have been in disfavour with the church; as for other, and apparently, trivial offenses, he had been pronounced excommunicated in the month of August before; but on the Tuesday after Michaelmas day had been absolved. On the 13th of October following, we find him again cited, 'for certain crimes and excesses which he has confessed,' to appear before the bishop or his commissaries, in the Galilee at Durham. In this instance, the nature of his offenses is not named."

      There certainly seems to have been no love lost between the Neville family and the Durham ecclesiastical establishment. Dugdale reports that shortly after Ranulph assumed his inheritance in 1282, he had a feud with the prior of Durham over the terms of a customary presentation of a stag to the priory on St. Cuthbert's Day. And we see from his CP entry that in 1303 "Ranulph was chief of the delegates summoned by the King to set forth the grievances of the people against the Bishop of Durham." The incest case happened in 1313. In 1318, Ranulph's eldest son Robert attacked and killed Richard Marmaduke, seneschal to the bishop, on the Old Bridge of Durham. All of which suggests a cycle of offense and reprisal. (Later in the same year, Robert was killed by James, earl of Douglas, in single combat to which Robert had dared the earl.)

      It should also be noted that Dugdale's characterization of Ranulph as "little minding Secular business" accords oddly with the eventful life of military and civilian service set forth by Complete Peerage. And yet this characterization appears elsewhere. T. F. Bulmer's 1890 History and Directory of Old Yorkshire states that this Ranulph "was so indolent and careless in the management of his affairs, that his mother settled Middleham and the rest of her manors on her grandson, Robert Neville". One wonders if we aren't simply picking through the tattered leavings of a 700-years-gone propaganda war.

  • Sources 
    1. [S128] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant. Full citation details here.

    2. [S142] Royal Ancestry by Douglas Richardson. Kimball G. Everingham, ed. 2013.

    3. [S145] Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis and Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. 8th edition, William R. Beall & Kaleen E. Beall, eds. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2004, 2006, 2008., year only.

    4. [S1016] Medieval English Ancestors of Robert Abell by Carl Boyer III. Santa Clarita, California, 2001.

    5. [S128] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant. Full citation details here., year only.

    6. [S802] Andrew B. W. MacEwen, "A Clarification of the Dunbar Pedigree." The Genealogist 9:229, Fall 1998., year only.