This great and noble surname is of Norman origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. It is a French locational name from "Neuville" in Calvados or "Neville" in Seine-Maritime, Normandy, both so called from the Old French "neu(f)" new, with "ville", a settlement. Locational names were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their village or place of origin to settle elsewhere. The Anglo-Norman family of Neville acquired the surname when Robert FitzMaldred, who came of age in 1195, married the heiress to Henry de Neville, from Neuville in Calvados; their son was known by his mother's surname. The Nevilles became extremely powerful during the Wars of the Roses, supporting each of the factions at various times; Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (1428 - 1471), was nicknamed "the Kingmaker". They have since held the dukedom of Bedford, marquessate of Montagu, and earldoms of Salisbury, Westmorland, Warwick, Kent and Northumberland. In more recent years they have been Earls and Marquesses of Abergavenny. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is red and on a silver saltire a red rose, the Crest being out of a gold ducal coronet, a bull's head pied proper. The motto "Ne vile velis" translates as "Wish nothing base". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Neuilla, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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