Marshall of England, 6th Baron Raby and Lord of Brancepeth
Sir Ralph Neville was born in 1364 at Raby Castle. The eldest son of John Neville 5th Baron Raby and Maval Percy. Little is known about his childhood and he first came to notice in 1380 serving Richard II’s army, commanded by Richards uncle Thomas of Woodstock, Earl of Buckingham and soon to be Duke of Gloucester. He returned in 1381 and spent the winter in residence with his cousin Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy who had a Neville mother. He then reappears in 1385 as the Govorner of Carlisle and then as The Warden of the West March.
Sir Ralph became the 6th Baron Raby and Lord of Brancepeth upon the death of his father at Newcastle on 17th October 1388 and was summoned to parliament on the 6th December and by mid 1390 was in negotiations with the Scots and was asked to head a commission and perform the duties of the Constable of England. 1393-1394 saw more talks with the Scots.
Sir Ralph’s main powerbase was the North where his titles and lands matched him in status with his cousin Henry Percy, the other northern magnate. This he had built up by a series of marriages and connections within the royal circle and ultimately marriage to John of Gaunts daughter Joan Beaufort, this eventually led to him being appointed Earl of Westmoreland on the 29th Spetember 1397.
The main event that changes the direction of his career was the deterioration of relations between Henry Earl of Derby and King Richard. This ended up with the banishment of Henry and the refusal to grant him the land left by the newly deceased John of Gaunt. Neville sided against the King and was one of the first to offer support to Henry when he landed in Yorkshire in 1399. Sir Ralph and his cousin Northumberland were the senior lords temperal in attendance at Richards’ abduction and the next day Ralph was granted for life the office of Marshal of England.
In 1402 Sir Ralph was awarded the Garter vacated by the death of Edmund Duke of York.