The Neale Family (later Vaughan-Neale) are an important component of our extended family. When Tom Foster died in 1947, contact was effectively lost with the Welsh side of the family, and for the generation consisting of Ivor, Michael, Jill, and Ray, the Neales were the only known Aunts and Uncles. Here we trace the family down to William Neale who married Lydia Holliday, the mother of Pearl and her brothers and sisters.


Paul Neile - died 1574

The first members of the family that history makes mention of, are Paul Neile - a Tallow-Chandler (a maker and seller of candles) in the City of London - his wife Sybil, and their nine children.

Paul died in 1574, and the following April, Sybil re-married at St. Margaret's, Westminster. Her new husband was called Robert Newell, and he and Sybil had two further boys, the eldest of whom, also Robert, was to become close friends with Sybil's existing sons, William, Richard, and Walter.

Robert died in 1602, and Sybil in 1611.

The second oldest of Sybil's original children with Paul Neile - Richard - is the next in the direct ancestral line of today's family.


Archbishop Richard Neile (sometimes spelt Neale or Neall) 1562-1640

Richard was born when the family lived in King Street, Westminster, and he was subsequently sent to Westminster School, winning a scholarship to St. John's College, Cambridge when he was 14. He obtained his Bachelors and Masters degrees there, and took holy orders, being ordained deacon and priest on 6 July, 1589.

Richard seems to have acquired powerful patrons, amongst them Lord Burghley, to whom he became a household chaplain in 1590, the same year in which Burghley appointed him vicar of Cheshunt in Hertfordshire. After the death of Lord Burghley, Richard continued to be household chaplain to his son, Sir Cecil Percy, whose great political influence gained Richard progressive advancements until he became Royal Chaplain to James 1, in July, 1603.

At this point, at the age of 41, Richard's career really took off. Previously vicar of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, in 1605 he was installed as Dean of Westminster - the first local man ever to have been appointed. He was also the first married Dean, having just married Dorothy Dacre of the powerful Dacre family. Dorothy became a considerable asset to Richard in his career, not just because of her family connections, but also by her warm personality and intelligence which helped draw to the couple a number of young churchmen who were later to become very powerful in the Church of England. (Incidentally, Richard's step-brother, Robert Newell, succeeded Richard as vicar of Cheshunt. In fact - doubtless partly due to Richard's patronage - Robert was to attain high position within the Church, eventually becoming archdeacon of Buckingham. Along the way he was Rector of Clothall in Hertfordshire, of which more later.)

St. Mary's, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire

In 1608, Richard was elected bishop of Rochester, the first of a record six bishoprics to be held in sequence by one bishop, and in 1610 made his first speech in the House of Lords. After Rochester, Richard became bishop of Lichfield and Coventry in 1610, of Lincoln in 1614, of Durham in 1617, of Winchester in 1629, and finally as archbishop of York in 1632. During this progression Richard had gathered around himself a remarkable team of church lawyers and administrators who would descend en masse on each new bishopric awarded to Richard, and generally transform it. During Richard's time as bishop of Durham his large London home, Durham House in the Strand, became home to many of his team and other clergy, who were collectively known as the Durham House Group, a famous entity in the annals of the Church of England. He was also powerful politically, as a Privy Councillor to the King and as the Lord Lieutenant of Durham, presiding over local troops during the war years of the 1620s.

Richard is viewed today as having been a very able and effective administrator, and also a devoted and loyal family man. His brother William, two years his elder, kept house for Richard for over twenty years - the important role being taken over by his brother-in-law William Holmes in 1625. His half-brother Robert Newell - who became a Royal Chaplain, archdeacon of Buckingham, and is buried in Winchester Cathedral - and his nephews, Richard and John, all gained good positions within the Church through his influence.

Richard died in York on 31 October, 1640, and was buried in York Minster. He was apparently rather wealthy, having just lent King Charles £2,000 - an enormous sum at the time - and leaving all his servants a year's salary each, as well as providing for his extended family. His wife, Dorothy, survived him by 5 years, dying on 3 May, 1647. The couple's son Paul was the main beneficiary in Richard's Will, and he becomes the subject of the next chapter in the family history.

Note: The above genealogical link is provided by the obituary of Edward St. John Neale (1813-1866), as published in the Illustrated London News, and is not as yet fully substantiated

Bishopsthorpe Palace - Richard Neile's residence in Yorkshire


Sir Paul Neile 1613-1686

Paul was born in Westminster, and baptised at St. Margaret's on 11 May, 1613. He entered Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1627, and gained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1631.

By 1633, Paul was living on his estate at Hutton Bonville, near Northallerton in Yorkshire, (an estate he held until 1667) and it was in this year that he was knighted by King Charles 1 at Paul's father's palace in nearby Bishopthorpe. He then seems to have gone somewhat astray, as in January of 1636 he was indicted for the manslaughter of a carman, and for other felonies. The family was held in high regard by King Charles however, and on the intercession of Paul's father, he was given a Royal pardon.

Paul married Elizabeth, the daughter of the Rev. Gabriel Clarke, Archdeacon of Durham, and had 5 children - Richard in 1636 who died the following year, Elizabeth (March 1637), William (December 1637), Richard (1640), and Mary (1641). The birth of his children were recorded by Sir Paul in the family bible which still survives, and a photograph of which is below. As Sir Paul Neile, he is mentioned several times by Samuel Pepys in his famous diary. On May 8, 1656, Pepys wrote "I went to visite Dr Wilkins at Whitehall, where I first met with Sir Paul Neile, famous for his optic-glasses", and again on March 2, 1660, when Pepys spent the morning with his lawyer discussing the possible sale of some land to Paul.

Sir Paul Neile's family bible recording the birth-dates of his children 










Sir Paul was a Member of Parliament on two occasions, briefly representing Ripon from April to May 1640 and then Newark from 1673-9. He was one of the original investors in the Hudson Bay Company, and was also a founder member of the Royal Society, consisting of the country's foremost scientists, in 1660. He specialised in optics and astronomical lenses, and when, in 1671, Sir Isaac Newton first announced the invention of his reflecting telescope to the King and the Royal Society, it was Sir Paul and the scientist Sir Christopher Wren (later the architect of St. Paul's Cathedral) who were asked to test it. Sir Paul's telescopes were the most powerful seen in England up to that time, and were used by Wren in developing his theories on the Rings of Saturn. Paul was a friend and colleague of most of the prominent personalities of his day, and his influence with the King was said to be of great benefit to the Royal Society.

Paul died in 1686, and in his Will dated 1682, Sir Paul is recorded as resident at Codnover Castle, Derbyshire, bought by his father in 1634. Interestingly, Margaret, Dowager Countess of Marlborough, was his sole executor.

Paul's son William, born on the 7th. of December, 1637, at his Grandfather's Palace in Bishopsthorpe, Yorkshire, is well documented by history. A mathematical genius who entered Oxford University at the age of 14, William was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 7th January 1663 and became a Privy Councillor and close confidant of King Charles ll. Sadly, he did not see eye to eye with his father on the subject of suitable marriage partners, and died at the age of 33, on August 24, 1670 - allegedly of a broken heart (oh, come on!) after his father refused him permission to marry. He had lived at his father's house, Waltham Place, White Waltham, Berkshire, and is commemorated by a white marble monument in the parish church. An inscribed slab in the floor marks his burial-place.

This left his brother, Richard as the progenitor of the line down to today's Neales.


Waltham Place








Sir Richard Neile - 1640-1692

According to one report, at some stage during his early life Richard fell out of favour with his father, who disinherited him for escapades considered damaging to the family's reputation. He appears to have come back into the fold, however, as he was later the sole beneficiary of his father's Will - and he anyway seems to have done well enough on his own account. He entered the law profession, becoming a solicitor, and was a Justice of the Peace by the age of 22. He subsequently rose, over the years, to become the Under-sheriff of Durham - and eventually the Sheriff of Northumberland.

Along the way Richard married Anne Widdrington, and thereby became the owner of Plessey Hall, near Cramlington, Northumberland, which Anne inherited from her father. Anne was a widow, and Richard became step-father to her sons, the eldest of which, Robert Brandling, inherited Alnwick Abbey from his father.
(There is also mention in a contemporary document of Anne's last name being Pudsey, but it is currently felt that this is probably a mistake on the part of the author of that document.)

Richard was knighted on 29 November, 1686, and died five years later, on 3 March, 1692.

It should be noted that generations recorded above this note have not been fully proven. They are based on a statement in the the obituary of Edward St. John Neale, Diplomat, in the Illustrated London News of February 23, 1867. Efforts continue to substantiate or discount the link. All generations below this note are fully proven and substantiated.

William Neale - dates unknown

Nothing is known of this ancestor, except that he lived in St. Albans, his occupation was given as 'Gentleman', and he was the father of the Reverend William Neale, the subject of the next section.

Rev. William Neale - 1705-1773

William attended Balliol College, Oxford, matriculating on 3 April, 1723, at the age of 18. He was awarded his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1726, and his Master of Arts in 1729. In due course he became vicar of Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, and from 1752 to 1773 Rector of Clothall in the same County - following in the footsteps of at least two of his ancestors, as noted above. He and Elizabeth Rotheram Combs, daughter of John and Ann Combs, married at St. Peter's Church, in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, on 9 August, 1732. In due course they had three children: William, Sarah, and Elizabeth Rotheram Neale. The last named married Thomas Hobson in Cheshunt on 21 May, 1760, and bore three children, whilst their son William presented them with 10 grandchildren.

Clothall Parish Church, Hertfordshire, where William was Rector for 21 years

A document dated 1912, notes that William presented an engraved cup and cover paten, 1571, and a paten of 1693 for use during communion, to the church in Clothall. One has to wonder if either of these pieces had anything to do with his ancestor, Robert - mentioned previously in this page - who was Rector of Clothall some 100 years earlier. In any event, in 1912 these items still formed part of the church's communion silver - and possibly still do today.

William died in 1773, and Elizabeth some seven or eight years later. In her Will of 1780, Elizabeth leaves the bulk of her estate to her children William and Elizabeth - no mention is made of Sarah so she presumably predeceased her parents. At the time of writing her Will, Elizabeth had come into quite an estate of freehold property inherited from her sister Mary, consisting of land in Barnet Heath, Middlesex, and a barn in Peter Street, St. Albans. She requested that she be buried in the North Aisle of St. Peter's Church, St. Albans, near to her parents.

William, now with a generous share of his parent's property, became the next in the direct line to today's family.

Rev. William Neale MA 1733-1790

William was born at St. Albans, Hertfordshire, and baptised on the 10th of July, 1733. He attended Eton College from 1745 to 1751, matriculating in 1752, and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1755. His Master of Arts degree followed in 1759.

William entered the Church whilst still studying, becoming Curate of St. Mary the Virgin in Clothall, Hertfordshire in 1756, and being ordained at Lincoln on 18 December, 1756. He served as Rector of Little Berkhampstead, Berkshire between 1767 and 1770, of Hatfield from 1769 to 1772, and of Essendon (also called Essenden, and Easenden) from 1770 to 1790.

 William married Sarah Salmon, of Wybunbury, Cheshire, in 1759, and they produced a family of ten children between 1762 and 1776. At least four of these children, Elisabeth, Harriet, George, and Daniel, went to India in the early 1790s and spent the rest of their lives there. In October, 1795, Harriet married the splendidly named Cotton Bowerbank Dent, Esq., who was a senior member of the Board of Trade in Madras. Elisabeth married Richard Chase, an officer in the East India Company army, later a successful merchant, and Mayor of Madras. George, a Lt. Colonel in the EIC army, died at his camp in Ahowla, India in 1815. Daniel, who is the direct ancestor of the current family members, is described in the next section.

Six of William and Sarah's daughters remained unmarried, and, so far as can be seen lived together - much of the time in a large house in Sloane Street, Chelsea - until they all eventually passed away in old age.

Sarah died in 1781, and was buried at St. Mary's, the parish church of Stoke Newington in London, and William died in Essendon in October 1790.

Essendon Church, Hertfordshire










Daniel Neale 1772-1827

 Daniel, as mentioned, went to India in the early 1790s, and met and married Elizabeth Buchanan, daughter of John Beavor Buchanan, probably originally from Fintona, in County Tyrone, Ireland.

Daniel was a lawyer who later in life served within the legal establishment in India, becoming a member of the Supreme Court in Madras.

He and his wife Elizabeth remained all their lives in Madras, bringing up their nine children there. Three of their daughters married in Madras, starting with Caroline Matilda who, in 1822, married Anstruther Cheape, a noted Circuit Judge. A year later Ellen married Major Edmund Conry, who, as a Lt. Colonel, was killed at the storming of Rangoon. She later remarried - to Thomas Ebenezer Boileau, also a Judge in the Madras Presidency. And in 1829 Mary Ann (Jessy) married Lieutenant Nathaniel Hill Fishe of the Artillery. A fourth daughter, Harriet Georgina, left India to live in England, and remained single throughout her life.

Two of their sons, Henry and George Chase, both in the East India Company army, died young, Henry at 19, and George Chase in his early twenties.

Of their three remaining sons, the life of Edward is described in considerable detail on his own page elsewhere on this website; William, the direct antecedent of today's family, follows in the next section; and the youngest, Frederick, became an adventurer and author of books and magazine articles about his extensive and exotic travels.

Daniel himself died in 1827, and, although no date is available, it would seem that Elizabeth did not survive him by much.

(Note: A more detailed history of the family's time in India is contained in the 'Neales in India' page on this site.)


William Beavor Vaughan Neale 1816-1868

 William, was born on the 10th of May, 1816, in Madras, India. After Primary school he followed the customary path of the Neale children living in India, and left Madras on February 5, 1830, aboard the 'Mary Ann', under the command of Capt. Hornblow, bound for London, to continue his education in England. Whilst studying, he lived with six maiden aunts, his uncle, Edward Dent, and another Dent relative, Lady Caroline Anbury, in a large house in Sloane Street, Chelsea.

 At the age of 24, now qualified as a lawyer, he authored a pamphlet, still quoted even today, on the effects of social deprivation on juvenile crime.

Entering the Diplomatic Service, he became Her Britannic Majesty's Consul in Greece, and in 1852 he married Sarah Rachael Smith, with whom he had 10 children. Sarah's sister, Susan, was later to marry Lord Henry Gordon-Lennox, brother of the Duke of Richmond. Most of William and Sarah's children were born in Greece, and christened at St. Paul's, Athens. He died in 1868, while in London.


William Beavor Buchanan Neale 1857-1932

Educated at private school in Pimlico, and then Magdalen College School, Oxford, William was originally destined for the Diplomatic Service but, in consequence of the death of his father, he instead entered the offices of the industrialist Sir Charles Tennant. At the age of 23, he married Janette Burne, the daughter of the late Colonel Godfrey Burne, of The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), and the couple set up home at The White Lodge, Bridge Street, Barnes, where they lived in relative comfort with 2 servants and Janette's mother. In 1881, a daughter, Vere, was born, and they apparently then lived in Brighton for a while, as their second daughter, Val, was born there in 1884.

William was the Manager of a Tea Company by 1891, living with his wife, daughters, Mother-in law, and one servant, at 50, Thistles Road, Penge, S. London. His wife, Janette was by then an actress, and William seems to have joined her in the theatrical world, specialising in Flying Ballet, a means of propelling performers around above the stage - and often out over the auditorium. He had invented several improvements to the complex equipment required, and achieved considerable success, working with all the great producers of the day, including Beerbohm Tree in the 1899 production of 'A Midsummers Night Dream' at His Majesty's Theatre. Over the Christmas period of 1895-6 he set a record which perhaps still stands, when he took rehearsals at 9 different theatres located in Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Bristol - all within a forty hour period.

















Sadly, Janette died on 21 October, 1897, while the couple were living at 6, Regent's Park Road, and by 1901 William was living alone at 10, Gray's Inn Place, Holborn, London, and had adopted Vaughan as a middle name (this was later hyphenated to become Vaughan-Neale). In 1901, he met Lydia Holliday, and the couple were together for the next 31 years, raising a family of 8 children. He was a noted inventor of everything from an anti-torpedo device, for which a patent was granted in 1917, to children's games. At the 1908 Franco-British Exhibition, for example, he exhibited an invention, called the Stereomatos, which proved popular in creating special effects in theatres by projecting highly enlarged images of three-dimensional objects onto the stage. (Note. As a child, I loved playing a darts-cricket game that he had invented.)


William, from the October17, 1908 edition of 'The Era'
















William also spent considerable time in Nigeria prospecting for, and operating, tin mines in the Naraguta area of the Bauchi Plateau - as well as touring the country as a special correspondent for the London Evening Standard newspaper, between 1912 and 1914. His postal address in 1913 was, 'Neale's Camp, Bogin Gigi River, P.O. Naraguta' - which seems fairly exotic! (Note: Nearby is an area called Rayfield, the first part of which was taken by William for his daughter Noreen's middle name. When her sister Pearl was pregnant with the author of this website, Noreen asked that the baby be named after her. As I turned out to be a boy, Pearl thankfully didn't call me Noreen, and I was given Noreen's middle name of Ray instead.)


The lady with William in this photograph is described as a 'pagan cannibal Priestess'!
















William did, however, like the occasional comfort, as illustrated by the 128lbs of shopping delivered by Fortnum & Mason to SS 'Falaba', for the outbound journey to Lagos on September 18, 1912. Amongst the delectables were:

12 1lb tins of Fine Blended Tea
96 tins of Ideal Milk
12 1lb tins of Golden Syrup
12 tins of fresh lobster
2 tins of Port du Salut cheese
6lbs shelled walnuts
1 case assorted liqueurs
100 Larranaga Doricos cigars

Oh, and 2 packets of medicated toilet paper.

The above represents just a fraction of the 130 items on the list, which must be considered the minimum if any of you are thinking of visiting Africa.

William always involved himself in the charity concerts onboard ship to and from Africa. He made the journey at least three times on the RMS 'Mendi', and on each occasion played a prominent part in the concerts - especially on April 3, 1912, when he was the Chairman of the organising committee. (Note: The RMS 'Mendi' came to a sad end in January, 1917. Requisitioned as a troopship, she sank with the loss of 646 lives following a collision in the English Channel while carrying members of the 5th Battalion, South African Native Labour Corp, en route from Cape Town to the battlefields of France.)

After the excitement and travel of his earlier life, William settled down in London with his family, becoming the London Representative of Vickers Limited in 1918. He continued to work as a company promoter and finance agent, right up to his last days.

All the children moved out over the years, and William died on 25 January, 1932, aged 74, at 16, Applegarth Road, London, W14, with Lydia at his side.