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Richard Cornwallis Neville,
Baron Braybrooke (1820-1861)

Born: 17th March 1820 at Hanover Square, Westminster, Middlesex
4th Baron Braybrooke
d: 22nd February 1861 at Audley End, Littlebury, Essex

Richard, the third son of Richard Griffin-Neville, 3rd Baron Braybrooke, was born in Charles Street in the parish of St. George, Hanover Square, Westminster, on 17th March 1820, and was educated at Eton from 1832 till 1837. On 2nd June 1837, he was gazetted an Ensign and Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards, and served with that regiment in Canada during the rebellion in the winter of 1838. On 5th November in that year, he had a narrow escape from drowning in the St. Lawrence. On 31st December 1841, he was promoted to be Lieutenant and Captain and, on 2nd September 1842, retired from the service.

For some years, aided by his sister, Richard devoted himself to the study of natural history and to the investigation of the Roman and Saxon remains in the neighbourhood of his father’s Essex estate at Audley End, and ultimately attained a distinguished position among the practical archaeologists of his day. At one period, geology was his favourite pursuit and he formed a collection of fossils, which he presented to the Museum at Saffron Walden. He also brought together a beautiful series of stuffed birds. However, the most remarkable feature of his collections at Audley End was the museum of antiquities of every period, the creation of his own exertions, and consisting almost exclusively of objects brought to light at the Roman station at Great Chesterford, or at other sites of Roman occupation in the vicinity of Audley End, and at the Saxon cemeteries excavated under his directions near Little Wilbraham and Linton in Cambridgeshire during 1851 and 1852. On 25th March 1847, he had been elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and, from time to time, he made communications to that body regarding his explorations. To the 'Journal of the British Archaeological Association,' he also communicated memoirs. To the ' Journal of the Archaeological Institute,' of which society he became a vice-president in 1850, he was a frequent contributor. To the ‘Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society' he sent a list of potters' names upon Samian ware and other notes on Roman Essex. On the death of John Disney in 1857, he was elected president of the society.

In March 1858, Richard succeeded as 4th Baron Braybrooke. He was Hereditary Visitor of Magdalene College, Cambridge, Vice-Lieutenant of the County of Essex and High Steward of Wokingham, near his Berkshire estate of Billingbear Park. He died at Audley End on 22nd February 1861, having married, on 27th January 1852, Lady Charlotte Sarah Graham Toler, the 6th daughter of the 2nd Earl of Norbury. She was born 26th December 1826; married secondly, on 6th November 1862, Frederic Hexley M.D. of Norwood, and died on 4th February 1867.

Lord Braybrooke's separately issued works were: 1. 'Antiqua Explorata, being the result of Excavations made at Chesterford' (1847); 2. 'Sepulchra Exposita, or an Account of the Opening of some Barrows' (1848); 3. 'Saxon Obsequies, illustrated by Ornaments and Weapons discovered in a Cemetery near Little Wilbraham, Cambridgeshire, during the Autumn of 1851' (1852); 4. 'Catalogue of Rings in the Collection of R.C. Neville' (1856); 5. 'The Romance of the Ring, or the History and Antiquity of Finger Rings' (1856).

Edited from Sidney Lee's 'Dictionary of National Biography' (1894)

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