I'm descended many times from different branches of the wealthy Nevill family, who were at one time the most powerful family in northern England, with a long history. The first Nevills were Norman nobles. Modern spelling is Neville, but the original spelling didn't have that e at the end. I use the original spelling in my family history. The family was closely entwined with the Plantagenets and their fortunes or misfortunes for decades.
My 18th great grandfather, John Nevill, 3rd Baron Nevill de Raby (d 1388), had Raby Castle built in County Durham between 1367 and 1390, which today is regarded as one of England's finest and best preserved medieval castles. John made a dynastic marriage in about 1357, to Maud de Percy (1335-1379) of the equally powerful Percy family of Northumberland. John and Maud had seven children. I descend from their son, Ralph, the first Earl of Westmorland (1364-1425).
Raby Castle was confiscated from the Nevill family in 1569 after the failed Northern Rebellion, also known as the Revolt of the Northern Earls, or the Rising of the North, led by the Nevills and Percys against Queen Elizabeth I, in support of Mary Queen of Scots and the Old Faith (Catholicism).
Raby Castle was in Nevill hands for almost 400 years before it was confiscated. It eventually passed into the hands of the Vane family, one of whom must at some point have married a Nevill descendant, as the names of the father of the current owner of Raby Castle included Neville.
Today, Raby Castle is open to visitors for several months each year. I can't begin to imagine the value of such a massive estate. Clearly, the British inheritance taxes played a large part in opening up Raby Castle to the public. Its website is full of fascinating information. I would love to tour this home of my ancestors one day.
For more background about the Nevills, I read this post at one of my favourite blogs, History...the interesting bits! I'll no doubt write further about the Nevills down the road. Theirs is a multi-faceted story.
The never ending story continues....
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