Thursday, August 28, 2008

Question from Mike - Fate of Frances Walsingham, Countess of Essex

Does any one know what happened to Lady Essex I believe her name was Frances daughter of Sir Waslingham after the death of Robert Devereau? I also think they had one or two children at the time of his death.




Blogger kb said...

Frances Walsingham, daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham married first Sir Philip Sidney on September 21 1583. He was killed in 1586 after receiving a mortal blow at the battle of Zutphen. Frances had one child by Sidney, Elizabeth, b.1585, d.1612. She was also pregnant at the time of Sidney's death but the child died shortly after birth. Some historians consider Sidney's funeral to have been the first English state funeral. Sidney had been Robert Dudley earl of Leicester's heir. After Sidney's death the baton was passed, along with his sword to Robert Devereux earl of Essex. He was Leicester's step-son, son of Lettice Knollys Devereux Dudley.

Along with Sidney's sword, Essex became one of Leicester's heirs and married Sidney's widow - Frances - in February 1590. She was pregnant 6 or 7 times by Essex. Only Robert b. 1591, Frances, b.1599 and Dorothy b.1600 lived past childhood.

Frances was active in trying alleviate Essex's house arrest and imprisonment and seems to have grown close to his sister Penelope during this time. After Essex's execution for treason in 1601, Frances married Richard De Burgh 4th earl of Clarincade who apparently looked a great deal like Essex. This was in 1603. King James sent her word that he wanted her son by Essex to be brought up with his sons - a great honour and perhaps a partial payback for her support for James's accession.

Frances is a fascinating woman who married two of the most charismatic men of her times. Little is known about her and archival sources seem to be few and far between.

August 28, 2008 6:17 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

Oh geez, I had completely forgotten that her first husband was Philip Sidney. Just being married to one of those men is interesting enough, but like you said kb, to be married to both of them... wow. Too bad there isn't more known about her.

August 28, 2008 7:39 PM  
Blogger kb said...

I forgot to add tat she lived to the age of 64. She was buried 17 Feb 1631 at Tunbridge Church.

August 28, 2008 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She also had a sister named Mary that some sites don't show.

November 05, 2008 6:07 PM  
Blogger kb said...

I thought that Mary died as a child?

November 06, 2008 1:57 PM  
Anonymous D bowsher said...

Does anyone know much about Rickard deBurgh who was supposedly involved with Sidney as well as Essex.

July 05, 2009 8:15 PM  

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