Family Group Sheet
Family Group Sheet
NameRalph NEVILLE 1st Earl of Westmorland
Other spousesMargaret STAFFORD
SpouseJoan BEAUFORT Countess of Westmorland
FatherJohn PLANTAGANET Of Gaunt (1340-1399)
MotherKatherine DE ROET (1349-1403)
Notes for Ralph NEVILLE 1st Earl of Westmorland
Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, 4th Baron Neville de Raby, Earl Marshal, KG, PC (c. 1364 – 21 October 1425), was an English nobleman of the House of Neville.


Ralph Neville was born about 1364, the son of John Neville, 3rd Baron Neville de Raby, and The Hon Maud Percy (d. before 18 February 1379), daughter of Henry de Percy, 2nd Baron Percy of Alnwick, Northumberland, by Idoine de Clifford, daughter of Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford.[1] Neville had a younger brother, and five sisters:[2]

Thomas Neville, 5th Baron Furnivall, who married Joan Furnival.
Lady Alice Neville, who married William Deincourt, 3rd Baron Deincourt.
Lady Maud Neville
Lady Idoine Neville
Lady Eleanor Neville, who married Ralph de Lumley, 1st Baron Lumley.
Lady Elizabeth Neville, who became a nun.
Neville's father married secondly, before 9 October 1381, Elizabeth Latimer (d. 5 November 1395), daughter of William Latimer, 4th Baron Latimer. By his father's second marriage Neville had a brother and sister of the half blood:[3]
John Neville, 6th Baron Latimer (c.1382 – 10 December 1430), who married firstly, Maud Clifford (c. 26 August 1446), daughter of Thomas Clifford, 6th Baron Clifford, whom he divorced before 1413x17, and by whom he had no issue. She married secondly, Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge, beheaded 5 August 1415 for his part in the Southampton Plot.[4]
Lady Elizabeth Neville, who married Sir Thomas Willoughby.


Neville's first military service was in Brittany under King Richard II's uncle, Thomas of Woodstock, who knighted him at Saint-Omer in July 1380. On 14 November 1381 he and his cousin, Henry 'Hotspur' Percy, were commissioned to preside over a duel between an Englishman and a Scot, and on 1 December 1383 he and his father were commissioned to receive from the Scots 24,000 marks for the ransom of King David. On 26 October 1385 he was appointed joint governor of Carlisle with Sir Thomas Clifford, and on 27 March 1386 was appointed, together with Clifford, joint Warden of the West March.[5]

Neville inherited the title at the age of 24 after his father's death on 17 October 1388, and was summoned to Parliament from 6 December 1389 to 30 November 1396 by writs directed to Radulpho de Nevyll de Raby. On 25 October 1388 he was appointed, with others, to survey the fortifications on the Scottish border, and on 24 May 1389 was made keeper for life of the royal forests north of the Trent. In 1393 and 1394 he was employed in peace negotiations with Scotland.[6]

In 1397 Neville supported King Richard's proceedings against the King's uncle, Thomas of Woodstock, and the Lords Appellant, and by way of reward was created Earl of Westmorland on 29 September of that year. However his loyalty to the King was tested shortly thereafter. His first wife, Margaret Stafford, had died on 9 June 1396, and Neville's second marriage to Joan Beaufort before 29 November 1396 made him the son-in-law of King Richard's uncle, John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster. Thus when King Richard banished John of Gaunt's eldest son and heir, Henry Bolingbroke, on 16 September 1398, and confiscated Bolingbroke's estates after John of Gaunt's death on 3 February 1399, Westmorland threw his support behind his brother-in-law Bolingbroke when he landed with a small force at Ravenspur in July 1399. Westmorland and the Earl of Northumberland were in the deputation at the Tower which received King Richard's abdication, and Westmorland bore the small sceptre called the 'virge' at Bolingbroke's coronation as King Henry IV on 13 October 1399.[7]

For his support of the new King, Westmorland was rewarded with a lifetime appointment as Earl Marshal on 30 September 1399 (although he resigned the office in 1412), a lifetime grant of the honour of Richmond on 20 October (although the grant was not accompanied by a grant of the title Earl of Richmond), and several wardships.[8] Before 4 December he was appointed to the King's council, in March 1401 was one of the commissioners who conducted negotiations for a marriage between the King's eldest daughter, Blanche of England, and Louis, son of Rupert, King of the Romans, and in 1403 was made a Knight of the Garter, taking the place left vacant by the death of Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York.[8]

According to Tuck, Westmorland had little influence on the Scottish borders in the first years of Henry IV's reign, where the wardenships of the marches were monopolized by the Percys, leading to a growing rivalry between the two families. However in 1403 the Percys, spurred on by various grievances, took up arms against the King, and suffered defeat at the Battle of Shrewsbury on 21 July 1403. Northumberland's son, Henry 'Hotspur' Percy, was slain at Shrewsbury, and Northumberland's brother, the Earl of Worcester, was beheaded two days later. After Shrewsbury, King Henry ordered Westmorland to raise troops and prevent Northumberland's army, which was still in the north, from advancing south. On 6 August 1403,as a reward for his service in driving Northumberland back to Warkworth Castle, Westmorland was granted the wardenship of the West March which Northumberland had held since 1399, the wardenship of the East March, formerly held by Henry 'Hotspur' Percy, being granted to the King's 14-year-old son, John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford.[8]

Two years later Northumberland, joined by Lord Bardolf, again took up arms against the King. It had been Northumberland's plan to capture Westmorland by surprise at the outset, and in early May 1405, with 400 men, Northumberland made a surprise attack at the castle of Witton-le-Wear, where Westmorland had been staying. The attempt failed, as Westmorland had already fled. Westmorland speedily gathered an army, defeated a force of Percy allies at Topcliffe, and then marched towards York with Henry IV's son, John of Lancaster, to confront a force of some 8000 men gathered on Shipton Moor under the leadership of Archbishop Richard Scrope, Thomas de Mowbray, 4th Earl of Norfolk, and Scrope's nephew, Sir William Plumpton.
Outnumbered by Scrope's forces, Westmorland resorted to trickery,[9] and led Scrope and his allies to believe that their demands would be accepted and their personal safety guaranteed. Once Scrope's army had been disbanded on 29 May, Scrope, Mowbray and Plumpton were arrested, summarily condemned to death for treason, and beheaded outside the walls of York on 8 June 1405. Although Westmorland handed Scrope and his allies over to the King at Pontefract, he played no role in their hasty and irregular trial and execution, having been sent north by the King on 4 June to seize Northumberland's castles. It is unclear whether Northumberland had initially planned to rebel openly in concert with Scrope, but in the event he gave Scrope no support, and fled to Scotland after his failed attempt to capture Westmorland. His estates were subsequently forfeited to the crown, and Westmorland, as a reward for his quelling of the 1405 rebellion without significant bloodshed, received a large grant of former Percy lands in Cumberland and Northumberland in June 1405.

After the death of Henry IV Westmorland was mainly engaged in the defence of the northern border in his capacity as Warden of the West March (1403–1414). In 1415 he decisively defeated an invading Scottish army at the Battle of Yeavering.[1] Westmorland played no part in King Henry V's French campaigns, and Tuck notes that his relationship with Henry V was not close, perhaps partly because of the involvement of Westmorland's son-in-law, Sir Thomas Grey of Heaton, in the Southampton Plot.[11] After Henry V's death, Westmorland was a member of the Council of Regency during the minority of King Henry VI.[12]

According to Tait, Westmorland was 'no inconsiderable builder', citing his rebuilding of Sheriff Hutton Castle on a scale so magnificent that Leland saw 'no house in the north so like a princely lodging', his doubling of the entrance gateway of Raby Castle and the corresponding tower, and possibly his responsibility for the 'tall and striking tower' of Richmond parish church. On 1 November 1410 Westmorland was granted licence to found a college for a master, six clerks, six 'decayed gentlemen' and others at Staindrop, towards the completion of which he left a bequest in his will.[12]
Notes for Joan BEAUFORT Countess of Westmorland
Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (c. 1379 – 13 November 1440) was the third or fourth child (and only daughter) of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster and his mistress, later wife, Katherine Swynford; and, in her widowhood, a powerful landowner in the North of England.

Early life and marriages

She was likely born at the Swynford manor of Kettlethorpe in Lincolnshire. Her surname probably reflects her father's lordship of Beaufort in Champagne, France, where she might also have been born.[2] In 1391, at the age of twelve, Joan married at Beaufort-en-Vallée, Anjou, Robert Ferrers, 5th Baron Boteler of Wem, and they had two daughters before he died in about 1395.


Along with her three brothers, Joan had been privately declared legitimate by their cousin Richard II of England in 1390, but for various reasons their father secured another such declaration from Parliament in January 1397. Joan was already an adult when she was legitimized by the marriage of her mother and father with papal approval. The Beauforts were later barred from inheriting the throne by a clause inserted into the legitimation act by their half-brother, Henry IV of England, although it is not clear that Henry IV possessed sufficient authority to alter an existing parliamentary statute. Soon after this declaration, on 3 February 1397, when she was eighteen, Joan married Ralph de Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, who had also been married once before.


When Ralph de Neville died in 1425, his lands and titles should, by law of rights, have passed on to his eldest surviving son from his first marriage, another Ralph Neville. Instead, while the title of Earl of Westmorland and several manors were passed to Ralph, the bulk of his rich estate went to his wife, Joan Beaufort. Although this may have been done to ensure that his widow was well provided for; by doing this, Ralph essentially split his family into two, and the result was years of bitter conflict between Joan and her stepchildren, who fiercely contested her acquisition of their father's lands. Joan however, with her royal blood and connections, was far too powerful to be called to account, and the senior branch of the Nevilles received little redress for their grievances. Inevitably, when Joan died, the lands would be inherited by her own children.


Joan died on 13 November 1440 at Howden in Yorkshire. Rather than be buried with her husband Ralph (who was not buried with his first wife, though his monument has effigies of himself and his two wives) she was entombed next to her mother in the magnificent sanctuary of Lincoln Cathedral. Joan's is the smaller of the two tombs; both were decorated with brass plates — full-length representations of them on the tops, and small shields bearing coats of arms around the sides — but those were damaged or destroyed in 1644 during the English Civil War. A 1640 drawing of them survives, showing what the tombs looked like when they were intact, and side-by-side instead of end-to-end, as they are now.


Joan Beaufort was the grandmother of Edward IV of England and Richard III of England, whom Henry VII defeated to take the throne. (Henry then married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, and their son became Henry VIII of England). King Henry's sixth wife, Catherine Parr was also a descendant through Joan and Ralph's son, Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury making the couple third cousins. Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, 'the Kingmaker', was also a descendant.

Children of Joan Beaufort and Robert Ferrers

In 1391, at the age of twelve, Joan married Robert Ferrers, 5th Baron Boteler of Wem at Beaufort-en-Vallée, Anjou. They had 2 children:

Elizabeth Ferrers, 6th Baroness Boteler of Wem (1393–1474). She is buried at Black Friars Church, York. She married John de Greystoke, 4th Baron Greystoke (1389–1436) on 28 October 1407 in Greystoke Castle, Greystoke, Cumberland, and had issue.

Margaret (or Mary) Ferrers (1394 – 25 January 1457/1458). She married her stepbrother, Sir Ralph Neville, son of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmoreland, c. 1413 in Oversley, Warwickshire and had issue
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