Richard de Grenville - Granville

Neath Castle
Neath Castle, Neath-Port Talbot, south Wales
Photo © Chris Shaw, August 2005

Richard, surnamed de Grenville, from one of his Lordships, was younger brother of the renowned conqueror of Glamorganehire, Robert Fitz-Hamon, and derived in direct descent from Rollo, the Dane. Accompanying his royal, kinsman to England, he fought at Hastings, and participated in the spoils of victory. He inherited also the Norman honours of his house, and was Earl of Corbeil and Aaron of Thorigny and Granville. From him sprang the Granvilles of Stow, in Cornwall, a race of men distinguished in each successive generation, but pre-eminently illustrious in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the achievements of the Granvilles illumine with their brilliancy the page of their country's annals. We can only glance in passing at the heroic death of the gallant Admiral Granville, the friend and relative of Raleigh, and exclaim with John Evelyn, than this, "what have we more? What can be greater?" His two grandsons, however, acted so conspicuous a part in the Civil War, that we cannot omit a slight reference to their exploits. The elder, the famed Sir Bevil Granville, one of the boldest and most successful of the Cavalier leaders, joined the Royal Standard on the first outbreak of the rebellion; and marching into Cornwall, rescued that whole county from the Parliament, attacked the partisans of the Commons, who had risen in great numbers in the west, and routed them at Bodmin, Launceston, and Stratton. His last and most brilliant action was at Lansdown Hill, near Bath, where he fell in the arms of victory, on the 5th July, 1643. "On the king's part," says Clarendon in detailing this engagement, "there were more officers and gentlemen of quality slain than common men, and more hurt than slain. That which would have clouded any victory and made the loss of others less spoken of was the death of Sir Bevil Granville."

The younger brother of this gallant soldier, Sir Richard Granville, was also a Cavalier commander of great celebrity, who advanced the Royal cause, in an especial degree, by his consummate skill and chivalrous bravery. He eventually fixed his residence in France, and dying at Ghent, was interred in the English church, where this simple inscription marks the sacred spot: "Sir Richard Granville, the king's general in the west." In more recent times, the name of Granville again became distinguished in the person of George Granville, Lord Lansdowne, a poet of considerable reputation. The present representative of this illustrious face is Court Granville, Esq., of Calwich Abbey, co. Stafford. --(Battle Roll).

Neath Castle was bult by Richard de Granville (Grana Villa), Lord of Neath, in the reign of Henry the First.

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