Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Neville, Robert (d.1694)

NEVILLE or NEVILE, ROBERT (d. 1694), dramatist and divine, a native of London, was son of Robert Neville of Sunninghill Park, Berkshire. He received his education at Eton, whence he was elected to King's College, Cambridge; he was admitted a scholar there 17 April 1657 (Cole, Hist. of King's College, iii. 231). He graduated B.A. in 1660, M.A. in 1664, and was created B.D. by royal mandate on the occasion of Charles II's visit to Cambridge in 1671. On 22 May 1671 he was instituted, on the presentation of Sir Rowland Lytton, to the rectory of Anstie, Hertfordshire, which had become vacant by the resignation of Dr. James Fleetwood [q. v.] Neville died before 7 June 1694, when he was succeeded in the rectory by Thomas Fairmeadow, M.A. (Clutterbuck, Hertfordshire, iii. 344). He married a daughter of Dr. Fleetwood, and had a son, who, as Cole surmises, was Fleetwood Neville, afterwards rector of Rampton, Cambridgeshire.

He was the author of ‘The Poor Scholar,’ a comedy in five acts, partly in prose and partly in verse, London, 1673, 4to. Langbaine says: ‘I know not whether it was acted, but I may presume to say 'tis no contemptible play for plot and language’ (Dramatick Poets, p. 385). Neville also published a number of single sermons.

[Beloe's Anecdotes, 1807, p. 319; Bodleian Cat. iii. 481; Cooke's Preacher's Assistant, ii. 242; Harwood's Alumni Eton. p. 251; Jacobs's Lives of Poets, i. 189; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. xi. 367, 436, 3rd ser. i. 80; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Whincop's English Dramatic Poets, p. 133.]

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