William Beauchamp Nevill

Lord William Beauchamp Nevill (23 May 1860 – 12 May 1939) was an English aristocrat who was born into the wealthy family of William Nevill, 1st Marquess of Abergavenny, grew up in Eridge Castle, and attended Eton College. His marriage to Mabel Murietta, daughter of an alleged mistress of Edward VII, Jesusa Murietta, was a glittering affair, attracting many royal and aristocratic guests and 600 wedding gifts. However Nevill lost much of his good fortune when his father wanted to reject him for converting to Catholicism and turning to trade, and the remainder of it when his wife's rich father's business failed soon after the wedding.


William Beauchamp Nevill
William Beauchamp Nevill, 1898
Born(1860-05-23)23 May 1860
Died12 May 1939(1939-05-12) (aged 78)
Kensington, London, England
Known for
  • 1898 trial and imprisonment for fraud
  • 1907 trial and imprisonment for theft
Notable work
Book, Penal Servitude (1903)

Nevill did not attract newspaper attention in his lifetime for any kind of high living, foreign tours (other than his honeymoon), business ventures or mistresses. He kept one house in London, and had no children to put through public school or provide dowries for. He nevertheless accrued huge debts within eight years of his marriage, and was arrested for a fraudulent attempt to acquire money to pay debts in 1898, putting shame on his family and causing a national scandal. For this he was sentenced to five years of penal servitude with hard labour in Wormwood Scrubs and Parkhurst.

Having earned an early release for good behaviour, Nevill wrote his only book, Penal Servitude, under the pen-name W.B.N., detailing his prison experiences. The book attracted much public attention, and some controversy, although his concern for prison reform, and his considered approach and fair treatment of prison staff, was noted by most reviewers. Nevertheless, by 1907 he was back in prison serving a one-year sentence for another fraud, again committed for the purpose of obtaining money to pay debts. Throughout his incarcerations, his wife continued to support him faithfully.

After leaving prison for a second time, Nevill lived a quiet life, suffering his last years in pain following a road accident.

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