George Neville - Encyclopedia

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GEORGE NEVILLE (c. 1432-1476), archbishop of York and chancellor of England, was the youngest son of Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, and brother of Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, known as the "Kingmaker." He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and was from his childhood destined for the clerical profession, in which through the great influence of his family he obtained rapid advancement, becoming bishop of Exeter in 1458. From this time forward Neville took a prominent part in the troubled politics of the period. He was present with his brother Warwick at the battle of Northampton in July 1460, immediately after which the great seal was committed to his keeping. He took part in the proclamation of Edward of York as king, who confirmed his appointment as chancellor. In 1463 he was employed on a diplomatic mission in France; and in 1464, after taking part in negotiation with the Scots, Neville became archbishop of York. During the next few years he as well as his brothers fell into disfavour with Edward IV.; and in 1469, after a successful rising in Yorkshire secretly fermented by Warwick, the king fell into the hands of the archbishop, by whom, after a short imprisonment, he was permitted to escape. When Warwick was in turn defeated by the king's forces at Stamford. in 1470, Archbishop Neville took the oath of allegiance to Edward, but during the short Lancastrian restoration which compelled Edward to cross to Holland, Neville acted as chancellor to Henry VI.; and when the tide once more turned he again trimmed his sails to the favouring breeze, making his peace with Edward, now again triumphant, by surrendering Henry into his hands. The archbishop for a short time shared Henry's captivity in the Tower. Having been pardoned in April 1471, he was re-arrested a year later on a charge of treason and secretly conveyed to France, where he remained a prisoner till 1475, when he returned to England; he died in the following year, on the 8th of June 1476. Archbishop Neville was a respectable scholar; and he was a considerable benefactor of the university of Oxford and especially of Balliol College.

See Thomas Rymer, Foedera, eec. (London, 1704); John Warkworth, Chronicle of the first Thirteen Years of the Reign of Edward IV., ed. J. O. Halliwell (Camden Soc., London, 1839); Paston Letters, ed. J. Gairdner (London, 1872-1875); The Historical Collections of a Citizen of London in the 15th century, ed. J. Gairdner (Camden Soc., London, 1876); Sir James H. Ramsay, Lancaster and York 1 3991485 (Oxford, 1892).

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