NEVILLE, Grey (1681-1723), of Brownlow Street, Covent Garden, Mdx. and Billingbear, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. 23 Sept. 1681, 1st s. of Richard Neville*, and bro. of Henry Grey* (formerly Neville). educ. privately; M. Temple 1699; travelled abroad (Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France) 1699–1700. m. 14 Feb. 1706 (with £8,000), Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Boteler of Watton Woodhall, Herts. and h. to her bro. Philip (d. 1712), 1da. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1717.1
Freeman, Abingdon 1705, Wallingford 1708.2
Commr. stating army debts 1715–22.
Neville’s extensive grand tour, besides affording him opportunities for the observations that he dutifully recorded in a somewhat lifeless travel diary, evidently brought him into contact with continental exponents of his real intellectual enthusiasm, theology. At his return this earnest young man, whom more cynical contemporaries nicknamed ‘Bishop Neville’, subscribed to the recently formed SPCK and its offshoot, the SPG, and was for a while a regular attender at their meetings. After a few years, however, his involvement ceased. Perhaps to someone of his Low Church, quasi-Presbyterian, family background, the societies seemed to have become too exclusively Anglican; indeed by 1709 he had left the Established Church altogether, joining Thomas Bradbury’s Independent congregation in Fetter Lane.3
After his election at Abingdon in 1705, which had been classed by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) as a gain for the Whigs, Neville voted on 25 Oct. for the Court candidate for Speaker. His regular attendance at the House in this first session is evidenced by his identification as the author of an anonymous diary covering a number of debates that occurred between 4 Dec. 1705 and 21 Jan. 1706. However, he did not speak in any of these debates himself. He was absent from the list of Court supporters in the proceedings on the regency bill on 18 Feb. 1706, the first indication that he shared his father’s Country principles. However, his further parliamentary activity is impossible to distinguish from that of his father, who sat for Berkshire from 1695 to 1710. By 1708 Neville’s affiliation to the Country wing of his party was well established, and he was classed as a Whig in two analyses of Parliament that year, before and after the general election, in which he was returned for Wallingford. He wrote to the Duke of Montrose at the opening of Parliament:
the absence of our friends will be attended with dismal consequences, for if the Court carry four or five points at the beginning, they will draw in some fools who love to be on the side of the majority, and the labouring will be on our side.
In strictly party matters, however, he was a Whig loyalist. In the 1708–9 session he supported the naturalization of the Palatines, and in the following session voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell.4
Defeated at Wallingford in 1710, Neville informed his brother in June 1712 that, had the House been prorogued instead of adjourned, ‘I would have gone to Walpole’, presumably meaning that he would have visited Robert Walpole II*, then a prisoner in the Tower. He stood bail in September 1712 for George Ridpath, a Whig journalist committed to Newgate for ‘scandalous reflections’ on the Queen and government, and in January 1713 for Bishop Burnet’s son Thomas, under prosecution for the pamphlet A Certain Information . . . In 1713 Neville was defeated in the general election at both Berwick-upon-Tweed and Wallingford. In the latter constituency he contemplated prosecuting the returning officer but in the event desisted. At the next general election his brother brought him in for Berwick, alongside his friend and fellow Dissenter John Barrington†, with whom he worked to secure the repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts. He was classed as a Whig in a comparison of the 1715 Parliament with its predecessor. Neville died at Standlake, Oxfordshire on 24 Apr. 1723.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / D. W. Hayton
- 1. CSP Dom. 1699–1700, p. 173; Berks. RO, Braybrooke mss D/EN/F/18/1; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 17; Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 477.
- 2. Abingdon bor. mins.; Berks. RO, Wallingford bor. statute bk. 1648–1766, f. 226.
- 3. Braybrooke mss D/EN/F/18/1; Glos. RO, Hardwicke Ct. mss, Lloyd pprs. 2025, [–] Tronchins to Neville, 20 Sept. 1702; 593, Neville to [Bp. Lloyd], 2 Sept. 1712; Thoresby Diary, ii. 28; Chapter in Eng. Church Hist. ed. McClure, 3, 130; Cocks Diary, pp. xvii, xxx; W. W. Manross, SPG Pprs. in Lambeth Palace Lib. 216; Bodl. Rawl. C.933, ff. 14, 31, 38; SPCK Archs. min. bk. 4, pp. 93–94; info. from Dr C. M. Rose.
- 4. Cocks Diary, p. lxvii; Cam. Misc. xxiii. 29–81; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 365.
- 5. Braybrooke mss D/EN/F16/2, Neville to Henry Grey, 21 June 1712; Boyer, Anne Annals, xi. 395; Add. 38507, f. 194; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxix. 287, 716; Letters of Burnet to Duckett ed. Nichol Smith, 30, 232–3; Huntington Lib. Hastings mss HM44710, George Ridpath to [–], 8 Nov. 1713; Ryder Diary, 154, 372; Hist. Reg. Chron. 1723, p. 20; The Gen. n.s. vi. 21.