John Neville was knighted on 5th January 1453. A son of the Earl of Salisbury and younger brother of the Earl of Warwick, John Neville was heavily involved in politics, feuds, and warfare from an early age.
His lineage led to him learning the intricacies of Anglo-Scottish relations. The Neville family held responsibility for guarding parts of the marches, the notoriously dangerous border region between England and Scotland. In respect of this, a young John Neville acted as a witness at diplomatic meetings. He was heavily involved in the long-standing feud between the Neville’s of Middleham and the Percy family, the earls of Northumberland. His reputation prior to his knighthood was that of being a worthy soldier.
As early as 1449 he was instructed in letters to not attend Parliament in order to maintain the security of the border. He was knighted by King Henry VI alongside his brother, Thomas and the half-brothers of the King, Edmund and Jasper Tudor. John was captured and imprisoned by the Lancastrians in the aftermath of the Battle of Blore Heath. He remained in their custody for over a year.
Upon his release he acted as his brother’s lieutenant, becoming elevated into positions of Government. In this capacity, he petitioned for the right of women to receive livery of their lands at the age of 14. He was created Lord Montagu in 1461 and was the first recipient of royal patronage in the reign of Edward IV, being granted gold and silver mines in the South West.
Montagu went on to fight at Hexham and Hedgely Moor which resulted in him being given the vacated Earldom of Northumberland. This was reversed upon the return to favour of the Percy family and led to Montagu defecting during the rebellion led by his brother.