Some additional correspondence of Ralph de Neville, Chancellor and Bishop of Chichester (d. 1244)

copyright Martha Carlin 2012
Not to be reproduced without permission

[Note:  The English texts of the following letters were taken verbatim from W. H. Blaauw, “Letters to Ralph de Neville, Bishop of Chichester (1222-24) [sic], and Chancellor to King Henry III,” Sussex Archaeological Collections, 3 (1850), pp. 35-76; available online at:

Letter A:

Letter from G. de Neville, chamberlain to the justiciar Hubert de Burgh, to Ralph de Neville, Bishop of Chichester, undated (October 1222 x March 1226).  The “Lord Richard” (1209-72) was the brother of Henry III; in 1227 he was made Earl of Cornwall.  The Earl of “Sarum” (i.e., Salisbury) was William “Longspee” (Longsword), 3rd Earl of Salisbury (d. 7 March 1226), illegitimate son of Henry II and uncle of Henry III:

“To the venerable Father in Christ and Reverend Lord, and if it so please, kinsman, Ralph, by the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, his own in all things, G. de Nevill, chamberlain, eternal greeting in the Lord. — I beseech your paternity earnestly, that for the sake of yourself, and at my entreaties, you will deign so kindly to listen to the entreaties which the Lord Richard, brother of the Lord King, and the Lord Earl of Sarum, pour forth to you, on behalf of him, who has carried himself so faithfully in the service of the Lord King, and of the lord his brother in Gascony, that it may result to your honour and advantage. Farewell in Christ.”

Source: Blaauw, “Letters to Ralph de Neville,” p. 73, no. 308 (now TNA, SC 1/6/71).

Letter B:

This letter is a follow-up to an earlier letter, no. 676 (Letter 9 in my online collection of Neville letters) in which Simon de Senliz requested that Bishop Neville ask the prior of Boxgrave to grant the vicarage of Wauburton to Philip, the bishop’s clerk:

To his Reverend Lord Ralph, by the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, his devoted Simon de Senliz, greeting, and both devoted and due obedience and reverence in all things. —I send to the feet of your holiness your clerk Philip, bearer of this, returning to your excellency manifold thanks upon bended knees, that by your favour you have been pleased to request the lord prior of Boxgrave about the vicarage of Wauburton. I hope, indeed, that the said prior will assent to your petition, if you would confer with him; which Philip indeed will inform you, by word of mouth, about your business in Sussex, and on that account I send you no other letters at present, and the said Philip will personally explain to you your affairs. May your holiness always fare well in the Lord.

Source: Blaauw, “Letters to Ralph de Neville,” p. 61, no. 677.

Letter C:

To his Reverend Lord Ralph, by the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, Chancellor of our Lord the King, his devoted Simon de Senliz greeting, and with the greatest reverence due, and devoted service (famulatum) in all things. — As I have otherwise informed you, the time for auditing the accounts of your reeves (prepositis) in your diocese is at hand, and it behoves you that they should be audited quickly; so that, if you please, most dear lord, be pleased to send into your diocese some one of your household (de familia vestra) to audit the account. You have moreover directed me to come to you in London within 15 days after the feast of St. Michael. Wherefore I should wish most freely to audit the account first with some one of your household, so that, on my arrival, I might be able reasonably to answer about the proceeds of your diocese. Deign to let me know your good will, if you please, about the aforesaid. Know, moreover, lord, that on the Saturday next after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14), there came to me a certain monk from Bordele, telling me that 40 lambs and two sheep (xl. agni et duo multones) had been sent to you from the abbot of Bordele, and were at a certain grange of the house of Waverle; in consequence of which I asked the said monk to lend you his shepherd (bercarium suum), until I could procure another suitable, and this he willingly granted me. May your holiness always prosper in the Lord.

Source: Blaauw, “Letters to Ralph de Neville,” p. 70, no. 686.