Baron Bergavenny

The title Baron Bergavenny (or Abergavenny) was created several times in the Peerage of England and once in the Peerage of Great Britain, all but the first being baronies created by error. Abergavenny is a market town in South East Wales with a castle established by the Norman lord Hamelin de Balun c. 1087.

The feudal barony of Abergavenny came into existence shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066.[1] The barony by writ was first created in 1392 for Sir William de Beauchamp, a younger son of the 11th Earl of Warwick. This creation passed to his son, who succeeded as 2nd Baron, and who was subsequently created Earl of Worcester. On his death, the Earldom of Worcester became extinct, but the Barony passed to his daughter, who by modern doctrine succeeded as 3rd Baroness. She died in 1447 when the Barony descended to her son, who succeeded as 4th Baron.

In 1450, Sir Edward Nevill, widower of the 3rd Baroness, was summoned to Parliament as Lord Bergavenny. It has been assumed that this summons was intended to be in the right of his wife, but as she was already dead and the Barony was already vested in her son by Nevill, by modern doctrine this served to create a new Barony by writ. This second creation merged with the first creation in 1476, when the 1st Baron (of the second creation) died and his son, the aforementioned 4th Baron of the first creation, also became 2nd Baron of the second creation.

In 1587, on the death of the 6th Baron (of the first creation) and 4th Baron (of the second creation), by modern doctrine both Baronies descended to his daughter, Mary, Lady Fane, wife of Sir Thomas Fane, who thus became de jure 7th and 5th Baroness. The title (for it was believed at the time only to be one Barony) was claimed by Edward Nevill, the heir male of the 4th and 2nd Baron, and in 1604 he was summoned to Parliament as Lord Bergavenny. As he was not entitled to either of the existing Baronies, this served to create a further Barony by Writ. By modern doctrine, the first and second creations descended to the Earls of Westmorland, heirs of the 7th and 5th Baroness, until both became abeyant on the death of the 7th Earl (and 14th and 12th Baron) in 1762.

The wrongful assumption that the Barony descended to heirs male continued, and this pattern (heirs general being deprived of their rightful title and heirs male being summoned to Parliament, with a new title being created in the process) was repeated several times, resulting in the fourth to seventh creations. The fourth and fifth creations became extinct on the death of the first holder of each, who both died without heirs, and the sixth became abeyant in 1811. The provenance of the third creation is unclear. None of these new creations were recognised as such at the time.

The last creation, and the only one in the Peerage of Great Britain, came in 1724, in favour of William Nevill. His son, who succeeded as 2nd Baron, was created Earl of Abergavenny in 1784, and the 5th Earl was created Marquess of Abergavenny in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1876. The Barony descended with the Earldom and then also the Marquessate (both of which were limited to heirs male) until 1938 when the 3rd Marquess died leaving no surviving sons but two surviving daughters, whereupon the Barony fell into abeyance between them. The heirs of those daughters, the 6th Marquess Camden and the 23rd Baron Hastings by the principle of moiety title are the co-heirs to one half of the Barony each and neither has petitioned for the title to be settled upon one or the other (c.f. Baron Arlington).

Feudal Barons of AbergavennyEdit

Dates below are the dates when they possessed Abergavenny.

Barons Bergavenny, first creation (1392–) (abeyant 1762)Edit

Arms of Nevill, Barons Bergavenny: Gules, a saltire argent charged with a rose of the field (barbed and seeded proper).[11] These are the ancient arms of Neville differenced by a rose, the symbol of a 7th son, in reference to Sir Edward Neville, 1st Baron Bergavenny (died 1476), husband of Elizabeth de Beauchamp & 7th son of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland. These arms are borne today by the Neville Marquesses of Abergavenny

Barons Bergavenny, second creation (1450–) (abeyant 1762)Edit

Thereafter held with the first creation

Barons Bergavenny, third creation (1604 – ?)Edit

Thereafter to her heirs?

Barons Bergavenny, fourth creation (after 1641 – 1662)Edit

Barons Bergavenny, fifth creation (after 1666 – 1695)Edit

Barons Bergavenny, sixth creation (1695–) (abeyant 1811)Edit

Barons Bergavenny, seventh creation (1724–) (abeyant 1938)Edit


Traditional male-line successionEdit

The succession to the notional male-line Barony of Bergavenny as it was generally assumed to be at the time was as follows:

On the death of the 5th Marquess of Abergavenny in 2000, the pretense that the Barony of Bergavenny descended to heirs male was finally dropped, and so the 6th Marquess of Abergavenny does not claim to hold it.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Sanders, I.J. English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086-1327, Oxford, 1960, p7, Barony of Miles of Gloucester & p.66, Braose Baronies in Wales: Radnor, Brecon, Abergavenny, Builth
  2. ^ Cokayne 1910, p. 19.
  3. ^ Sanders, p.66, Barony of Much Marcle, note 2: "Hamelin was at one time lord of Abergavenny but he lost control of this estate"
  4. ^ a b c Cokayne 1910, p. 20.
  5. ^ Sanders, p.7, Barony of Miles of Gloucester: "In (1140/2) Brian FitzCount was allowed to enfeoff Miles (of Gloucester) with the castle and honour of Abergavenny for the service of 3 knights' fees. This holding became a permanent possession of Miles' heirs as Brian FitzCount d.s.p. (died without children) ante 1154"
  6. ^ Sanders, p.7
  7. ^ a b c d e Cokayne 1910, p. 21.
  8. ^ Cokayne 1910, pp. 21–22.
  9. ^ a b c d e Cokayne 1910, p. 22.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Cokayne 1910, p. 23.
  11. ^ Blazon per Debrett's Peerage, 1968, which gives no tinctures for rose, which are however given as stated in brackets for Neville Barons Braybrooke
  12. ^ Her position is discussed by The Complete Peerage, 2nd edition, Volume 1, Page 34
  13. ^ Complete Peerage, 2nd edition, Volume 1, page 38


  • Cokayne, George E. (1910). Gibbs, Vicary (ed.). The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant. Vol. I, Ab-Adam to Basing. London: St. Catherine Press.
  • Kidd, Charles, ed. (1903). Debrett's peerage, baronetage, knightage, and companionage. London: Dean and son. p. 64.

External linksEdit

Cracroft's Peerage: