The Bourchier and Bowker Pages

Discovering the ancestry of the South African Bowkers, and the English Bourchiers

Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, Baron Bourchier

Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, Baron Bourchier[1]

Male 1539 - 1576  (37 years)

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  • Name Walter Devereux  [2
    Suffix 1st Earl of Essex, Baron Bourchier 
    Born 18 Sep 1539  Carmarthen Castle, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died 22 Sep 1576  Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 26 Sep 1579  Carmarthen Castle, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I1097  Bourchiers
    Last Modified 3 Apr 2020 

    Father Sir Richard Devereux,   d. 13 Oct 1547 
    Mother Dorothy Hastings 
    Married Abt 1541  Bedenham, Herefordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Family ID F515  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Lettice Knollys 
    Married Abt 1562  [1
    Children 
     1. Penelope Devereux
    +2. Sir Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, Baron Bourchier,   b. 10 Nov 1565, Netherwood near Bromyard, Herefordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Feb 1601, Tower of London, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 35 years)
     3. Dorothy Devereux
     4. Walter Devereux,   d. 1591
     5. Francis Devereux
    Last Modified 27 Jul 2015 
    Family ID F516  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Walter_Devereux,_1st_Earl_of_Essex_from_NPG
    Walter_Devereux,_1st_Earl_of_Essex_from_NPG
    Caption Note: Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex as Earl Marshal of England, 1575
    Picture Note: from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Devereux,_1st_Earl_of_Essex
    Keywords: Picture

  • Notes 
    • Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, KG (16 September 1541 – 22 September 1576), was an English nobleman and general. From 1573 until his death he fought in Ireland in connection with the Plantation of Ulster, where he ordered the massacre of Rathlin Island. He was the father of Elizabeth I's favourite of her later years, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.

      Family
      Walter Devereux was the eldest son of Sir Richard Devereux, who was created a Knight of the Bath on 20 February 1547 and died that same year, in the lifetime of his father, Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford. Walter Devereux's mother was Dorothy Hastings, daughter of George Hastings, 1st Earl of Huntingdon and Anne Stafford, said to have been a mistress of Henry VIII. Through his paternal ancestry he was related to the Bourchier family, to which previous Earls of Essex had belonged:[a] John Devereux, son of Walter Devereux who died at the Battle of Bosworth, married Cecily Bourchier, sister of Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex.
      [a The Bourchier Earldom of Essex and Viscountancy of Bourchier went extinct with the death of Henry Bourchier in 1540. Henry’s daughter, Anne Bourchier, was repudiated by her husband, William Parr, on 17 April 1543 and her children declared bastards and incapable of inheriting. William Parr was created Earl of Essex on 23 December 1543 “with the same place and voice in Parliament as his wife’s [Anne Bourchier’s] father had in his lifetime.” Parr was attainted in 1553 whereby the Earldom of Essex and all his other honors were forfeited. William Parr died 28 October 1570 and Anne Bourchier 28 January 1570/1, and both lacked legitimate heirs causing these titles to go extinct.]

      Career
      On his grandfather's death, Devereux became on 27 September 1558 the 2nd Viscount Hereford and 10th Baron Ferrers of Chartley. He was entrusted with joint custody of the Queen of Scots in 1568, and appointed Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire in 1569 (which he held through the end of his life). Devereux provided signal service in suppressing the Northern Rebellion of 1569, serving as high marshal of the field under the Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick and Lord Clinton. For his zeal in the service of Queen Elizabeth I on this and other occasions, he was made a knight of the Garter on 17 June 1572 and was created Earl of Essex and Ewe, and Viscount Bourchier on 4 May 1572.
      The titles assumed by the 1st Earl of the Devereux family are attributed to his son in the act of restoration, which recites that “the said Robert, late Earl of Essex, before his said attainder, was lawfully and rightly invested … with the name, state, place, and dignity of Earl of Essex and Ewe, Viscount Hereford and Bourchier, Lord Ferrers of Chartley, and Lord Bourchier and Louvaine.”

      Eager to give proof of "his good devotion to employ himself in the service of her Majesty," he offered on certain conditions to subdue or colonise, at his own expense, a portion of the Irish province of Ulster. At that time, Ulster was completely under the dominion of the O'Neills, led by Sir Brian MacPhelim and Turlough Luineach, and of the Scots led by Sorley Boy MacDonnell. His offer, with certain modifications, was accepted. He set sail for Ireland in July 1573, accompanied by a number of earls, knights and gentlemen, and with a force of about 1200 men.

      His enterprise had an inauspicious beginning; a storm dispersed his fleet and drove some of his vessels as far as Cork and the Isle of Man. His forces did not all reach the place of rendezvous till late in the autumn, and he was compelled to entrench himself at Belfast for the winter. Here his troops were diminished by sickness, famine and desertion to not much more than 200 men.

      Intrigues of various sorts and fighting of a guerilla type followed, and Essex had difficulties both with his deputy Fitzwilliam and with the Queen. He was in dire straits, and his offensive movements in Ulster took the form of raids and brutal massacres among the O'Neills. In October 1574, he treacherously captured MacPhelim at a conference in Belfast, and after slaughtering his attendants, had MacPhelim, his wife and brother executed at Dublin. He arrested William Piers, who had been active in driving the Scots out of Ulster, and accused him of passing military intelligence to Brian mac Phelim O'Neill. Essex ordered Piers's arrest and detention in Carrickfergus Castle in December 1574, but Piers was freed and he successfully executed Brian mac Phelim O'Neill for treason.

      After encouraging Essex to prepare to attack the Irish chief Tirlogh Luineach, apparently at the instigation of the earl of Leicester, the queen suddenly commanded him to "break off his enterprise." However, she left him a certain discretionary power, and he took advantage of that to defeat Turlogh Luineach and chastise County Antrim. He also massacred several hundreds of Sorley Boy's following, chiefly women and children, who had hidden in the caves of Rathlin Island in the face of an amphibious assault led by Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Norreys.

      He returned to England at the end of 1575, resolved "to live henceforth an untroubled life." He was however persuaded to accept the offer of the queen to make him Earl Marshal of Ireland. He arrived in Dublin in September 1576, but died three weeks later of dysentery. It was suspected that he had been poisoned at the behest of the Earl of Leicester, who married his widow two years later. A post-mortem was carried out and concluded that Essex had died of natural causes. He was succeeded in the Earldom of Essex by his son Robert.
      above from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Devereux,_1st_Earl_of_Essex

      ~~~

      English nobleman, was the eldest son of Sir Richard Devereux and Lady Dorothy Hastings. His grandfather was the 2nd Baron Ferrers, who was created Viscount Hereford in 1550 and by his mother was a nephew of Henry Bourchier, a former earl of Essex. Walter Devereux succeeded as 2nd Viscount Hereford in 1558, and in 1561 or 1562 married Lettice, dau. of Sir Francis Knollys. In 1569 he served as high marshal of the field under the Earl of Warwick and Lord Clinton, and materially assisted them in suppressing the northern insurrection.

      For his zeal in the service of Elizabeth I on this and other occasions, he in 1572 received the Garter and was created earl of Essex, the title which formerly belonged to the Bourchier family.

      Eager to give proof of "his good devotion to employ himself in the service of her majesty", he offered on certain conditions to subdue or colonize, at his own expense, a portion of the Irish province of Ulster, at that time completely under the dominion of the rebel O'Neills, under Sir Brian MacPhelim and Turlough Luineach, with the Scots under their leader Sorley Boy MacDonnell. His offer, with certain modifications, was accepted, and he set sail for Ireland in Jul 1573, accompanied by a number of earls, knights and gentlemen, and with a force of about 1200 men.

      The beginning of his enterprise was inauspicious, for on account of a storm which dispersed his fleet and drove some of his vessels as far as Cork and the Isle of Man, his forces did not all reach the place of rendezvous till late in the autumn, and he was compelled to entrench himself at Belfast for the winter. Here his troops were diminished to little more than 200 men by sickness, famine and desertions.

      Intrigues of various sorts, and fighting of a guerilla type, followed with disappointing results, and Essex had difficulties both with the deputy Fitzwilliam and with the Queen. Essex was in dire straits himself, and his offensive movements in Ulster took the form of raids and brutal massacres among the O'Neills; in Oct 1574 he treacherously captured MacPhelim at a conference in Belfast, and after slaughtering his attendants had him and his wife and brother executed at Dublin.

      Elizabeth, instigated apparently by Leicester, after encouraging Essex to prepare to attack the Irish chief Tirlogh Luineach, suddenly commanded him to "break off his enterprise"; but as she left him a certain discretionary power, he took advantage of it to defeat Tirlogh Luineach, chastise Antrim, and massacre several hundreds of Sorley Boy's following, chiefly women and children, discovered hiding in the caves of Rathlin.

      He returned to England in the end of 1575, resolved "to live henceforth an untroubled life"; but he was ultimately persuaded to accept the offer of the Queen to make him earl marshal of Ireland. He arrived in Dublin in Sep 1576, and three weeks afterwards died of dysentery. There were suspicions that he had been poisoned by Leicester, who shortly after his death married his widow, but these were not confirmed by the post-mortem examination. The endeavours of Essex to better the condition of Ireland were a dismal failure; and the massacres of the O'Neills and of the Scots of Rathlin leave a dark stain on his reputation.

      Essex during his time in Ireland also came to own large estates, including a residence at Durhamstown Castle, a small converted tower house outside Navan in County Meath.
      above from http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/WalterDevereux(1EEssex).htm
      ~~~

  • Sources 
    1. [S6] Tudor Place Website, (http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/BOURCHIER1.htm), http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/DEVEREUX.htm#Walter DEVEREUX (1° V. Hereford).

    2. [S1870] Wikipedia, (en.wikipedia.org), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Devereux,_1st_Earl_of_Essex.