Essex, Robert Devereux, 3d earl of

Essex, Robert Devereux, 3d earl of,

1591–1646, English parliamentary general; son of Robert Devereux, 2d earl of EssexEssex, Robert Devereux, 2d earl of
, 1567–1601, English courtier and favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. Succeeding to the earldom on the death (1576) of his father, he came under the guardianship of Lord Burghley and
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. James I restored him (1604) to the estates of his father and arranged his marriage (1606) with Frances Howard, daughter of Thomas Howard, earl of Suffolk. The marriage ended in a famous trial when the countess, who had fallen in love with Robert Carr, earl of Somerset, sued for and obtained (1613) an annulment.

After 1620, Essex followed a military and naval career, and from 1626 he was associated with the parliamentary opposition to Charles ICharles I,
1600–1649, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1625–49), second son of James I and Anne of Denmark. Early Life

He became heir to the throne on the death of his older brother Henry in 1612 and was made prince of Wales in 1616.
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. He was second in command of the royal army in the first of the Bishops' WarsBishops' Wars,
two brief campaigns (1639 and 1640) of the Scots against Charles I of England. When Charles attempted to strengthen episcopacy in Scotland by imposing (1637) the English Book of Common Prayer, the Scots countered by pledging themselves in the National Covenant
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 in Scotland (1639) and was made privy councilor (1641), but Charles could not keep his allegiance thereafter. Essex commanded the parliamentary forces at the battle of Edgehill (1642). In 1643 he took Reading, relieved Gloucester, and took part in the first battle of Newbury. The next year, however, he quarreled bitterly with Sir William WallerWaller, Sir William,
1597–1668, English parliamentary general. He fought (1620–22) in the Thirty Years War and was knighted in 1622. A zealous Puritan, he sat in the Long Parliament (see English civil war), became a colonel in the parliamentary army, and achieved a
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 and, disobeying orders, pursued the royalists into the southwest. He was cut off in Cornwall and forced to escape with as many of his men as he could by sea. He opposed the formation of the New Model Army and reluctantly relinquished his command in 1645.


See biographies by G. B. Harrison (1937, repr. 1973) and V. F. Snow (1970).

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