GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2011-05 > 1306731251
From: John <>
Subject: Re: Alice Nevill
Date: Sun, 29 May 2011 21:54:11 -0700 (PDT)
On May 25, 3:03 pm, John <> wrote:
> On May 25, 12:35 pm, Brad Verity <> wrote:
> > Robert Surtees was another antiquarian, writing in the early 19th
> > century. It seems he is the earliest source that has come to light,
> > to assign Archbishop George as Alice's father. He needs to be checked
> > to see why he came to this conclusion. And his monumental multi-
> > volume work on the History of the County of Durham is not available on
> > Google Books, so someone is going to have to track it down at a major
> > research library and report back to a very grateful newsgroup
> > audience.
> I've requested the appropriate volume of Surtees' Durham through my
> library. With luck it should be here in the next week or so.
Surtees' Durham, 1:lxvi-lxxii, has a fairly long narrative on Bishop
Cuthbert Tunstall in a section on the bishops of Durham.
Unfortunately I don't think it adds much to our discussion of the
maternity of Bishop Cuthbert or the maternity of his father Thomas'
wife Alice Neville.
The narrative begins as follows:
Bishop Tunstall is generally stated to have been the illegitimate son
of Sir Richard Tunstall, K.G. of Thurland Castle in Lancashire. He
was rather perhaps the son of Thomas Tunstall, brother and heir of Sir
Richard, and was consequently brother of Sir Brian Tunstall, who fell
at Flodden. [end of quote]
At this point a footnote is referenced which contains the following
statements [next 3 paragraphs are quoted]:
Leland mentions Tunstall's illegitimate birth as a report, without
affirming it of his own knowledge: "Hacforth in Richemontshire wher
as Cuthebert Tunstale, Bishop of London, was borne, base son to
Tunstal, as I hard [sic] by one of the Coniers doughters." Itin. IV.
19. He has been followed by Wood (Athen. I.127) and subsequent
writers; and Miss Conyers, who was at least a gentlewoman, has been
metamorphosed into a kitchen wench.
17 Jan. 1537, Grant of lands forfeited by Sir John Bulmer, &c. to
berian Tunstall, filio fratris nostri. 19 June 1549, patent of the
office of Constable of the Castle to Marmaduke Tunstall, Miles,
carissimus neptos noster, et Franc. Tunstall, fel. ejus, &c. The
above evidence establishes Bishop Tunstall's descent as stated in the
text, and throws considerable doubt on the truth of the assertion
regarding his illegitimacy.
The following statement is taken from a Pedigree of Tunstall amongst
the collections of the late laborious antiquary, J. Beckwith, of
York. The Pedigrees of Tunstall, in the College of Arms, are
unusually meagre and unsatisfactory.
[end of quote]
I won't retype in full the pedigree following at this point which
extends over the four generations from Sir Thomas Tunstall and his
wife Eleanor FitzHugh to the two sons of Sir Brian Tunstall who fell
at Flodden. A couple of key points are worth noting, however:
1) The children of Thomas Tunstall and Alice Neville are listed as
being two sons, Bishop Cuther and Sir Brian, and two daughters, Agnes
(m. (1) Kirkby of Kirkby, (2) Copley; and Joan, Abbess of St. Mary's
Priory in York, 1507-1521.
2) Alice Neville is "said to be a natural daughter of George Neville,
Archbp. of York". The text in quotes here is in italics in Surtees
(unlike the rest of the pedigree) - which might indicate that this is
an addition by Surtees and not from his Beckwith source.
My conclusions from all of this are as follows - comments are welcome:
1) Surtees provides no evidence for the new (to us) assertion that
Cuthbert was a son of Sir Richard, brother of Thomas. He discards
this idea, and I think we should too. And we can certainly agree with
his statement that the Tunstall pedigrees are "meagre and
2) I don't think Surtees adequately supports his claim that Cuthbert
was legitimate rather than illegitimate, basing it solely on
Cuthbert's statement that Brian was his brother rather than his half-
brother. At the least Surtees was unaware of the papal indult we've
discussed - so, having discarded the Conyers mistress, he had no
choice but to assume the two men were by the same mother and thus
Cuthbert was legitimate.
3) At this point I'm agnostic about whether Leland's story of the
Conyers daughter as a mistress of Thomas Tunstall is valid, but the
existence of the papal indult indicating that Thomas and Alice Neville
had children before their marriage casts some doubt on the story.
4) Most important, Surtees doesn't really provide any support for the
assertion that Alice Neville was the base daughter of Archbishop
George - especially if it's based just on a comment added by him and
not by material from his Beckwith source (which we probably can't
Bottom line: I think that the discussion in this thread has managed
to at least cast considerable doubt on (if not disprove) three
possibilities for the father of Alice Neville: Bishop Robert Neville,
Archbishop George Neville, and William Neville the Earl of Kent. As
Brad has suggested, Alice may well be from an entirely different
branch of the Nevilles (perhaps of Thornton Bridge?) and thus deprived
of the desirable ancestry she is usually thought to have had. Perhaps
the best that be said now is that her paternity is unknown and there
is inadequate support for any of the "usual suspects".
|Re: Alice Nevill by John <>|