NEVILLE, Sir Henry (d.c.1415), of Prestwold, Leics.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Sept. 1397

Family and Education

s. of Sir John Neville of Wymeswold John’s and bro. of Sir John*. m. bef. Easter 1383, Joan, da. and h. of Walter Gotham of Gotham, Notts. by Maud, sis. and coh. of Robert Poutrel (d.1349) of Prestwold, 3s. Kntd. bef. June 1394.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Warws. and Leics. 9 Nov. 1395-1 Dec. 1396, 24 Nov. 1400-8 Nov. 1401, 15 Nov. 1408-4 Nov. 1409.

Commr. of inquiry, Leics. June 1396 (wastes, estates of Monks Kirby priory); array Dec. 1399, Aug. 1402, Sept. 1403; to collect an aid Dec. 1401; to make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well May 1402; raise forces to go against the Percys July 1403, against rebels in the north Mar. 1406; assess contributions to a subsidy Jan. 1412.

Jt. capt. (with Sir John Neville) of Carmarthen castle 20 Aug. 1404-5.

J.p. Leics. 27 Jan. 1406-Feb. 1415.


Henry was probably a younger son, for the Neville family property at Wymeswold near the border with Nottinghamshire passed to his brother, John. It was through his marriage to Joan Gotham that he acquired a third part of the manor of Prestwold, just a mile away, and property nearby at Cotes, as well as landed holdings across the border at Bunny and Nottingham. The value of his lands in Leicestershire is not recorded, but those in Nottinghamshire gave him an estimated annual income of £6.1

Like his brother, Henry made a career as a professional soldier, his earliest known military service beginning in March 1378 when he and John enlisted in the retinue of Ralph, Lord Basset of Drayton, for an expedition overseas. Seven years later (1385) they were both with Lord Roos’s company in the royal army which invaded Scotland. Yet of the two, although probably younger, Henry took the more prominent role in the sphere of local administration; indeed, he had served a term as sheriff before his first election to Parliament in 1397. When Henry IV came to the throne there was ample employment for men of military background. Sir Henry would appear to have actively participated in the suppression of the earls’ rebellion of January 1400, and before long he was made a ‘King’s knight’. Having been re-appointed sheriff later that year, in June 1401 he was pardoned the fines incurred for the escape of certain prisoners from his custody in Warwick gaol, and this was followed by a grant made on 9 Nov. of £30 from the profits of his bailiwick ‘in consideration of his great expenses on the King’s service’ as a member of the royal entourage on campaign in the marches of Scotland and Wales. In the meantime he had received a personal summons to attend the great council held in August, along with his brother and five other commoners from Leicestershire. A year later, in August 1402, he and Henry IV’s friend, Sir Thomas Rempston I*, were alone in being instructed to raise an armed force from the same county to march with the King from Shrewsbury into Wales against the rebels under Owen Glendower. Then, on 16 July 1403, Neville was among those (including his brother) commissioned to array the local gentry and with all speed to hasten to the King’s side to resist the army led by Sir Henry Percy (‘Hotspur’), who had raised his banner in insurrection; he almost certainly fought at Shrewsbury five days later, for on the eve of the battle he witnessed the agreement intended to end the differences between the earl of Stafford and Sir Hugh Shirley*, who were both slain on that field.2 In May 1404 Neville was granted letters of protection as retained for the pacification of South Wales in the company of Edward, duke of York, the King’s lieutenant, and three months later he and his brother were appointed joint captains of Carmarthen castle under the constableship of (Sir) Rustin Villeneuve*. All three encountered difficulty in obtaining adequate payment for their large garrison; and their grievances found expression in a petition presented to the Parliament of 1406 which both Nevilles attended as shire knights for Leicestershire. Their accounts as audited in November showed that they were owed more than £943, but the Commons’ support ensured that an order was given before the parliamentary session ended for the outstanding debt to be cleared by the Exchequer.3

Years of military campaigns apparently left Sir Henry Neville with a predisposition for violent behaviour; in 1410 he and his sons, Robert and William, were appealed by a widow for the manslaughter of her husband, and in the following year all three were bound over to keep the peace towards another lady. At that time Neville was also being sued for debt by a number of creditors, including Thomas Walgrave, the Leicester draper. He is not recorded after Hilary 1415, and may well have died about that time, for he was not re-appointed to the Leicestershire bench in February after nine years unbroken service.4 Before then his eldest son, Sir Robert, had been married to Joan, daughter and, since 1408, heir of Sir John Nowers of Gayhurst, Buckinghamshire. He himself died in 1426 and was succeeded at Prestwold by his son, John (1413-38).5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc. xvii. 4-5, 30, 35-37, 42-43; CCR, 1377-81, p. 241; G. Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 143-4; CP25(1)186/35/26; E179/159/48.
  • 2. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. xiv. 223; Belvoir Castle, acct. roll 918; CIMisc. vii. 74; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 447; 1401-5, pp. 14, 137, 297; PPC, i. 159, 162; CAD, v. A11358.
  • 3. CPR, 1401-5, p. 382; R.A. Griffiths, Principality of Wales, i. 200; RP, iii. 565 (wrongly ascribed to the Parliament of Oct. 1404); E404/22/246; E364/40 m. D.
  • 4. CCR, 1409-13, pp. 95, 202; Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc. xvii. 38-39.
  • 5. VCH Bucks. iv. 345.