Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Neville, Richard Griffin

NEVILLE, RICHARD GRIFFIN, third Baron Braybrooke (1783–1858), first editor of Pepys's ‘Diary,’ eldest son of Richard Aldworth Griffin Neville, second baron Braybrooke [q. v.], was born at Stanlake, near Twyford, in Berkshire, 26 Sept. 1783. He was educated at Eton from 1796 until 1801. On 17 Jan. 1801 he matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, and was created D.C.L. 5 July 1810. He then passed to Magdalene College, Cambridge, whence he graduated M.A. in 1811. During the panic of the French invasion in 1803 he served with the Berkshire militia. He sat in the House of Commons as M.P. successively for Thirsk 1805–6, Saltash 1807, Buckingham 1807–12, and Berkshire 1812–25. In 1825 he succeeded his father as third Baron Braybrooke, assumed the name of Griffin, and at the same time removed from Billingbear, the family seat of the Nevilles, near Wokingham, Berkshire, to Audley End in Essex, which had been left to his father in 1798 by his distant relative, Lord Howard. As owner of Audley End he became visitor of Magdalene College, and patron of the mastership. He was recorder of Saffron Walden till the passing of the Municipal Reform Act in 1835, and was also high steward of Wokingham. He was an active county magistrate and chairman of the bench at Saffron Walden. He spent much care upon his stately residence at Audley End, and upon the estate and its neighbouring villages. In politics he supported the Reform Bill and the measures which admitted dissenters and Roman catholics to the right of sitting in parliament. Although generally friendly to the ministry of Earl Grey, he subsequently grew more conservative in his political views. From 1834 he voted with Sir Robert Peel, and after the rupture of 1846 he was a follower of Lord Derby.

Braybrooke is now chiefly remembered for the part he took in publishing Pepys's ‘Diary’ for the first time. The manuscript of this work, belonging to Magdalene College, was deciphered about 1821 from the stenographic characters by John Smith, a member of the college. Lord Braybrooke brought out a carefully abridged and expurgated version, with a selection of Pepys's private correspondence and many useful notes, in two volumes, in 1825; this was several times reprinted. An enlarged text was published by Mynors Bright [q. v.] in six volumes, in 1875–9. Mr. H. B. Wheatley edited an improved and fuller edition, 1893–9.

Braybrooke also published the ‘History of Audley End and Saffron Walden’ in 1835, and in 1842 he edited the ‘Life and Correspondence of Jane, Lady Cornwallis.’ On 13 March 1858 he died at Audley End, and was buried at Littlebury, Essex. He married, 13 May 1819, Jane, eldest daughter and coheiress of Charles, second marquis Cornwallis. She was born at Culford, Suffolk, 5 Oct. 1798, and died 23 Sept. 1856. Their eldest son, Richard Cornwallis Neville [q. v.], succeeded as fourth baron Braybrooke.

[Gent. Mag. June 1858, pp. 669–70; Times, 15 March 1858, p. 9.]

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