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 Robert Devereux

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Robert Devereux

  • Birth 19 Nov 1566 Bromyard, Herefordshire Unitary Authority, Herefordshire, England
  • Death 25 Feb 1601 Tower Hamlets, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Greater London, England
  • Burial London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Greater London, England
  • Memorial ID 16137019

Earl of Essex. Royal Favorite. Born the son of Walter Devereux, first Earl of Essex, and his wife, Lettice Knollys, at Netherwood, Herefordshire, England. He was nine when he inherited the earldom on his father's death. At twelve he attended Trinity College, Cambridge. His mother's second husband was the Earl of Leicester who was a favorite of Queen which placed young Essex in good position for a career at court. Essex was presented at court in 1584, and within three years became himself a favorite of the Queen. He gained notice in action against the Spanish in the Netherlands in 1586, and distinguished himself at Zutphen where he was knighted on the field. After the Earl of Leicester's death in 1588, Essex replaced him as the Queen's Master of the Horse. He disobeyed her, however, to join the counter Armada against Spain in 1589 but returned to England in response to an angry command from Elizabeth. In 1590, he brought upon himself the Queen's displeasure by marrying Sir Philip Sidney's widow. In 1591, however, he was given command of an expeditionary force in aid of Henry IV of France. Essex sent the next four years at court. He became a privy councilor and a leader of a liberal faction. In 1596 Philip of Spain apparently planned an expedition to support Roman Catholics in Ireland. Elizabeth countered with an attack on Cádiz for which Essex was a commander of the English force. He distinguished himself with the capture of the city. He was made Earl Marshal of England, an unmistakable sign of Royal favor. In 1599, Essex wheedled an appointment as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from his mistress. He led the largest expeditionary force ever sent to Ireland and was charged with putting an end to the worst rebellion yet seen there. Once in Ireland, Essex made no bold advance but a series of inconclusive engagements throughout the south. The rebels won several victories and Essex was compelled to enter a truce with the rebel leader that was considered humiliating to the crown. With the queen furious with him, Essex abandoned the field and sailed for England in September 1599 despite the queen expressly forbidding his return. He presented himself to Elizabeth who ordered him confined to his rooms. Within a week, Essex appeared before the full Privy Council interrogation. The council concluded that the truce with the Irish rebels was indefensible and his departure from Ireland tantamount to a desertion of duty. He was committed to house arrest in his York House. In June 1600, Essex was tried before a commission and upon conviction, was deprived of public office and his chief source of revenue was cut off. No actual sentence beyond this was recorded against Essex, but he had lost the favor of the Queen, and the disgrace was apparently one he would not endure quietly. Essex broke house arrest with a small band of followers including the Earl of Southampton and attempted to force an audience with the queen, instigating a small riot when he was seized and sent to the Tower. The queen's advisors declared him traitor and held him for trial. In February 1601, Essex was tried on charges of treason. He was found guilty and beheaded on Tower Green.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Iola
  • Added: 11 Oct 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 16137019
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Devereux (19 Nov 1566–25 Feb 1601), Find A Grave Memorial no. 16137019, citing Chapel of Saint Peter-ad-Vincula, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .