Sir Ralph Neville, 2nd Earl of Westmorland

Male 1406 - 1484  (78 years)

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  • Name Ralph Neville 
    Title Sir 
    Suffix 2nd Earl of Westmorland 
    Born 4 Apr 1406  Cockermouth, Cumberland, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 3 Nov 1484  (Brancepeth, Durham) England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried St. Brandon's Church, Brancepeth, Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I43424  The Hennessee Family
    Last Modified 5 Aug 2015 

    Father Sir John Neville, II, Knight,   b. Abt 1387, Castle Raby, Raby-Keverstone, Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 20 Mar 1420, (Castle Raby, Raby-Keverstone, Durham, England) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 33 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth Holland,   b. 0___ 1388, Upholland, Lancashire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Jan 1424  (Age ~ 36 years) 
    Married 29 Sep 1394  Brancepeth, Durham, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 4, 5
    Family ID F14877  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Lady Elizabeth Percy,   b. ~ 1395, Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland, England NE66 1NQ Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Oct 1437  (Age ~ 42 years) 
    Married 0___ 1426  [1
     1. Sir John Neville,   d. 1450
    Last Modified 24 Sep 2021 
    Family ID F15752  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 4 Apr 1406 - Cockermouth, Cumberland, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 3 Nov 1484 - (Brancepeth, Durham) England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - St. Brandon's Church, Brancepeth, Durham, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Family

      Ralph Neville, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, was born 4 April 1406[1] in Cockermouth, Cumberland, the eldest son of Sir John Neville (d.1420), and Elizabeth Holland (c. 1388 3 or 4 January 1423), the daughter of Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent, and Alice FitzAlan (d.17 March 1416).[2]

      He had two brothers, John Neville, Baron Neville (c.1410 1461), who was slain at the Battle of Towton on 29 March 1461, and Sir Thomas Neville (died c. 1461) of Brancepeth, Durham, and one sister, Margaret, who married Sir William Lucy of Woodcroft, Bedfordshire.[3]


      When his father died shortly before 20 May 1420 while campaigning in France,[4] Ralph Neville became heir apparent to his grandfather, Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland. He succeeded to the earldom in 1425, but spent much of the rest of his life attempting to recover his inheritance, which his grandfather, the 1st Earl, had settled on his second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort (d.13 November 1440), the legitimated daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and the children he had had by her.[5]

      In 1426, Westmorland had license to enter his lands, and on 14 May[6] of that year was knighted by King Henry VI.[7] In the same year he married Elizabeth Percy, the daughter of Henry 'Hotspur' Percy, and widow of John Clifford, 7th Baron de Clifford. They had one son, Sir John Neville, who married his cousin Lady Anne Holland, the daughter of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter, and died without issue shortly before 16 March 1450.[8]

      Westmorland married secondly, before February 1442, Margaret Cobham, 4th Baroness Cobham (d.1466x71), daughter and heiress of Reynold Cobham, 4th Baron Cobham of Sterborough, and sister-in-law of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. By her he had one daughter, Margaret, who died young.[9]

      As noted, Westmorland was involved in an ongoing struggle, sometimes violent, to regain his inheritance from his grandfather's second wife, Lady Joan Beaufort, and his great-uncle Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, Cardinal Henry Beaufort, and Thomas Langley, Bishop of Durham. Lady Joan Beaufort died in 1440, and eventually a settlement was reached in 1443 which, according to Pollard, represented a 'crushing defeat' for Neville, who regained the barony of Raby but was forced to concede the rest of the disputed lands to Salisbury.[10]

      Westmorland was appointed a Commissioner of Array in 1459 and 1461,[11] and in said to have led troops raised in his name on the Lancastrian side in Durham in November 1460, but otherwise took little part in the military campaigns or political affairs of the day, and according to Pollard had by this time 'succumbed to a mental disorder', and been placed under the guardianship of his brother, Sir Thomas Neville (died c. 1461).[12] Westmorland's two brothers gained some influence in the late 1450s, but the death of his brother John (c.1410-1461) at the Battle of Towton and his subsequent attainder on 4 November 1461 put an end to any renewed hope of the recovery of Westmorland's inheritance.[13] Sir Humphrey Neville (c.14391469), son and heir of Westmorland's brother, Sir Thomas (died c. 1461),[14] took up the cause for a time against his cousin Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, the 'Kingmaker', who championed the position taken earlier by the Beauforts, but Humphrey was beheaded on 29 September 1469.[15]

      According to Pollard, it is unclear who, if anyone, became Westmorland's guardian after the death of his brother, Sir Thomas Neville; however surviving documents indicate that Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the future Richard III, acquired an interest in Westmorland's estates, and occasionally used Raby Castle as his own residence.[16]


      Westmorland died 3 November 1484, and was buried at St. Brandon's church, Brancepeth, Durham. He was predeceased by his second wife, Margaret, who died between 20 November 1466 and 26 April 1471, and was buried in the church of the Greyfriars, Doncaster. Westmorland was succeeded in the earldom by his nephew, Ralph Neville, 3rd Earl of Westmorland.[17]

      Shakespeare and the 2nd Earl of Westmorland

      Westmorland is among the historical figures who appear in the opening scene of Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3. [1]

  • Sources 
    1. [S7314] "Ralph Neville, 2nd Earl of Westmorland (4 April 1406 - 3 November 1484)" biography,

    2. [S5008]

    3. [S7023] Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 40.

    4. [S7141]

    5. [S7025] Thomas Holland (also known as de Holland), [1] 2nd Earl of Kent, 3rd Baron Holand KG (1350/1354 - 25 April 1397), https:.