NEVILL, George (c. 1623-66)

NEVILL, George (c. 1623–66)

suc. bro. 23 Oct. 1662 as 11th Bar. ABERGAVENNY (BERGAVENNY)

First sat 20 Feb. 1663; last sat 17 May 1664

b. c. 1623, 2nd surv. s. of Henry Nevill, 9th (or 2nd) Bar. Abergavenny (d. 1641), and Catharine (d. 1649), da. of George Vaux; bro. of John Nevill, 10th Bar. Abergavenny. educ. unknown. m. bef. Feb. 1664, Mary (c. 1630–99), da. of Dr. Thomas Gifford of Dunton Waylett, Essex, 1s. 1da. d. 2 June 1666; will 29 May, pr. 16 July 1666.1

Associated with: Shirburn (Sherburne) Castle, Oxon., and Birling, Kent.

Nevill succeeded to the peerage in the autumn of 1662.2 The succession to the barony has prompted some confusion: some authorities seem to indicate that the 11th Baron Abergavenny’s peerage should be considered a new creation, presumably on the grounds that the barony could be argued to have gone into abeyance on the death of the previous holder. The Complete Peerage states inaccurately that he was never summoned to the House. Whatever the apparent concerns over the descent of the peerage, Abergavenny, a Catholic like his brother, took his seat on 20 Feb. 1663 unchallenged, and was awarded the precedency of the ancient barony. He attended 78 per cent of all sitting days and on 25 Feb. was named to the committee for petitions.

Money, which had been the previous holder’s greatest preoccupation, also proved to be Abergavenny’s principal concern during his brief tenure of the barony. He succeeded to a depleted estate following the land sales presided over by his brother, though he retained land in Kent, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, and Warwickshire.3 Shortly after taking his seat, Abergavenny was the subject of a petition from his sister-in-law, the dowager baroness, who complained that he had refused her rights to dower. On 7 May 1663 she entered a further petition claiming that Abergavenny had impeded her ability to seek restitution at law by insisting on his privilege as a peer. With Abergavenny’s agreement, the House determined that the matter should be referred to the arbitration of a committee comprising the lord privy seal, John Robartes, 2nd Baron Robartes (later earl of Radnor), James Compton, 3rd earl of Northampton, John Lovelace, 2nd Baron Lovelace, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Baron Ashley (later earl of Shaftesbury), and the lord chamberlain, Edward Montagu, 2nd earl of Manchester. Ashley was deputed to act on behalf of the dowager Lady Abergavenny. At the same time, the House also received petitions from Abergavenny’s sister, Frances Nevill, seeking the payment of her portion, and from his cousins the Nevills of Bathwick, who claimed not to have received the £200 promised to them by the previous lord in return for their agreement to the act enabling him to sell lands.4

In common with a number of other Catholic peers, Abergavenny appears to have aligned himself with the opposition to Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, and on 13 July Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton, listed Abergavenny among those who he believed would support Clarendon’s impeachment.5 Abergavenny quit the chamber for the remainder of the session on 18 July. On 25 July 1663, the referees to his dispute with his sister-in-law reported in her favour. It was possibly in response to this that Abergavenny commenced an action in chancery in December. He protested at the efforts of the dowager and of Henry Pinkney and John Prosser, two creditors of the former baron, to burden him with his brother’s unpaid debts. Pinkney, Prosser, and the dowager insisted that Abergavenny had made himself liable by virtue of an agreement made with his brother in 1659.6

Abergavenny took his seat in the new session on 2 Apr. 1664. He attended on 61 per cent of all sitting days and on 21 Apr. he was named to the committee considering the bill against gaming. He sat for the last time on 17 May. On 23 Nov. he entrusted his proxy to Northampton, which was vacated by the close of the session on 2 Mar. 1665.

On 29 May 1666 Abergavenny composed his will, in which he devised his manors of Birling and Huddesdon in Kent to his daughter, Winifred (there seems only to have been one daughter, though she is referred to also as Bridget or Mary). She later married her stepbrother, Sir John Shelley of Michelgrove.7 Lady Abergavenny was left the entire personal estate and appointed guardian to their infant son, George Nevill, who succeeded his father as 12th Baron Abergavenny. In the event of his wife’s death, Abergavenny appointed his brother-in-law Gregory Gifford, Francis Talbot, 11th earl of Shrewsbury, and Northampton as guardians to his heir. Abergavenny died four days later and was buried at Birling on 14 June. His widow later married Sir Charles Shelley.8


  • 1 TNA, PROB 11/321.
  • 2 D. Rowland, An Historical & Genealogical Account of the Noble Family of Nevill, 169.
  • 3 VCH Worcs. iii. 160–1.
  • 4 HMC 7th Rep. 168, 170.
  • 5 Jones, Party and Management, 7.
  • 6 TNA, C10/72/11.
  • 7 Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. lxxxix), 99; Rowland, Noble Family of Nevill, 169.
  • 8 Noble Family of Nevill, 169.