|SOME NOTES ON MEDIEVAL ENGLISH GENEALOGY|
Volume 9, page 483
He [John de Neville (d. by 1282)] m., probably as 2nd wife, Margaret, whose parentage has not been exactly ascertained.(j)
Note j (and continuation on page 484):
At first sight it would appear that one of her parents was probably a son or a daughter of Hugh Giffard of Boyton, Wilts (yr. s. of Elis Giffard III - see vol. v, p. 639, note "c"), by his wife Sibyl, da. and coh. of Walter de Cormeilles. Walter Giffard (1st s. of the said Hugh and Sibyl), Archbishop of York, Keeper of the Tower of London (Liberate Roll, 1 Edw. I, m. 4), gave order, 10 Mar. 1271/2 (Letters from the N. Registers, Rolls Ser., p. 43), that the Tower should be delivered to his nephew (by marriage) John de Neville. Godfrey Giffard, Bishop of Worcester, the Archbishop's brother, and one of the executors of John de Neville of Essex (Cal. Close Rolls, 1279-88 p. 187), in his will (Thomas, Survey of the Cathedral Church of Worcester, App., pp. 77-81), mentions his niece Lady Margaret de Neuville, widow of the late John Giffard (of Brimpsfield, the testator's 1st cousin). This relationship of John de Neville's widow to the Archbishop and Bishop of Worcester would produce the consanguinity in the 3rd and 4th degrees between herself and her 2nd husband referred to in their application for a dispensation ..., but since the Bishop on inquiry found judicially that they were each related in the 6th degree, the terms nephew and niece must apparently be used to denote a more distant relationship.
The discussion of the Giffards above is confused. Ivor West, in June 2002, stated that Hugh Giffard of Boyton was not a younger son of Elis III, but the son of Walter, a younger son of Elis II. This would be consistent with the alleged 3rd and 4th degree relationship, if Margaret had been a granddaughter of Hugh Giffard of Boyton. But as stated above, since the relationship was found instead to be one of the 6th degree, obviously Margaret was not a granddaughter of Hugh.
But the evidence remains that, as stated above, Margaret's first husband John Neville is referred to as archbishop Walter Giffard's nepos in 1271/2, and that Margaret appears in bishop Godfrey Giffard's will as his neptis. In addition, in the bishop of Hereford's register, immediately before the record of the enquiry into the consanguinity of John Giffard and Margaret, is a letter from bishop Giffard requesting that the enquiry into the marriage of his (unnamed) neptis be carried out as soon as possible [Canterbury and York Society, vol. 6, p. 113 (1909)]. It seems clear that John Neville was not a nephew of Walter and Godfrey Giffard, so the natural interpretation is that - as suggested above - John was Walter's nephew by marriage, and Margaret was their niece.
The obvious solution is that Margaret was the daughter of a half-sibling of Walter and Godfrey Giffard on their mother's side. It appears that their mother Sibyl de Cormeilles had previously been married to Ralph Belet, but that her heir was a son of her marriage to Hugh Giffard (whom she survived). Therefore it seems likely that Margaret's mother was a daughter of Ralph Belet and Sibyl de Cormeilles. If this solution is correct, the allegation that John Giffard and Margaret were close cousins was perhaps the result of the mistaken belief in some quarters that Margaret's mother was a daughter of Hugh Giffard, rather than his step daughter.
[This problem was discussed by Douglas Richardson, Rosie Bevan and Ivor West.]