About the Neve family name

    • by
    • Jun 03, 2013

    Coat of arms


    Sola proba quae honesta - these things alone are honourable


    Family History

    The Neve family came from France about the period of the Conquest. Tradition gives the first of the name in England as Sir Richard Le Neve. The name is derived from the French Le Neveu, and is variously spelled as Le Neve, Neve, and Neave. The earliest record is a small deed dated about 1100, still in existence, by which two oxgangs of land in Ancaster, county York, were granted to Robert Neve by William de Malebisse on payment of a pound of pepper at Christmas annually. At a later date -- 1229 -- is attached a general release from Joseus de Frem, a Jew of York, to Henry Neve, a descendent of Robert Neve.

    The family were well settled in Norfolk in the early part of the reign of Edward 1st, and they continued there until the reign of Charles II when they became somewhat impoverished and scattered.

    It is difficult to say when the family first appeared in Kent but Robert Le Neve owned the manor of Woldham Hall alias Benlys Court in Woldham, and held it as one quarter of a Knight's fee. His heirs sold it to John atta Celar or Selere in 1350.

    In the reign of Elizabeth the name appears well distributed in many parishes in East Kent : the wills of John Neve of Barham-1469 and Thomas Neve of Gravenye-1569 are at Canterbury. In 1603 Robert, son of Sir Thomas Cotton of Oxenheath in Kent, married Eleanor Neve and the wills of John Neve-1590 and Thomas Neve-1591 of Kent are at Somerset House.


    Family Poem

    It was many and many a year ago
    In the year twelve hundred and three,
    There dwelt a knight in the land of France
    In the county of Picardie.

    And the poor called blessing on his head
    For tender of heart was he,
    And for none other such praises rung
    In all the faire countrie.

    Now all good men it is their fate
    Envy and dread to raise;
    And there was one whose jealous heart
    Angered to hear his praise.

    Henri of Artois (Duke was he
    Of the Royal blood of France)
    A vow he made that come what would
    This knight should feel his lance.

    Now the banner of the cross was raised
    In the fair summer time,
    And all true knights who loved their soul
    Went forth to Palestine.

    So the knight of Picardie went forth
    And the Duke of Artois as well,
    To fights for the Sepulchre of their Lord
    In the hands of the Infidel.

    Of the noble men and the deeds they did,
    My tale won't let me say;
    But the Duke and the Knight met all alone
    At the end of a battle day.

    Now cried the Duke, "Be on your guard
    For one of us must die;
    " And the blows fell thick on their armour bright
    They fought so lustily.

    At last the Knight struck such a blow
    It brought him to his knees,
    "Strike, Sir Knight," now called the Duke,
    "For you've won such a victory."

    "No, Lord Duke, I give you your life,
    It shall never be said of me
    That I killed a man when I had him down,
    Though my deadly enemy."

    "Not enemies now, O peerless Knight,
    For now I know full well
    That none more noble or true than thou
    In Picardie doth dwell."

    "Thy shield hath our Crusader's Cross
    And now to thee I give
    Five snow white lilies off my shield
    As pure as the name, Le Neve."

    "And for thy crest I bid thee wear
    What thou hast fairly won,
    A golden lily, seeded and stalked
    Thrust through my Ducal crown.

    Sola proba quae honesta :
    That shall thy motto be,
    That all posterity shall know
    Noblesse oblige : Honesty."