Vera deCordova Sanville, 98, a former New York stage actress who worked with war relief groups there during both world wars, died Monday at the Manor Care nursing home in Adelphi of cerebral arteriosclerosis.

Mrs. Sanville was born on the island of Jamaica in the West Indies, where her father operated sugar refineries. She grew up there and in New York City and graduated from Hunter College.

As an actress, she worked in New York with Richard Bennett, the late stage matinee idol, and in Jamaica with an American stock company. She also was instrumental in founding the Washington Square Players in 1914, the forerunner of the Theater Guild.

During the first world war, Mrs. Sanville was a hospital volunteer with the Stage Woman's War Relief. During World War II, she worked with the women's volunteer services division of the American Theater Wing.

She was the widow of Arthur J. Sanville, a New York advertising executive.

Mrs. Sanville moved to the Washington area about 30 years ago to live with a daughter, Margaret S. Colton, of Bethesda. She recently moved to Manor Car in Adelphi.

Besides Mrs. Colton, survivors include another daughter, Beatrice Lancelot of Hopewell, N.J., four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. lA son, Richard, died in the mid-1970s.