Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford

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The Earl of Bedford
2ndEarlOfBedford.jpg
Spouse(s) Margaret St John
Bridget Hussey
Father John Russell
Mother Anne Sapcote
Born c. 1527
Died 28 July 1585

Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford, KG (c. 1527 – 28 July 1585) was an English nobleman, soldier and politician and godfather to Francis Drake.

Life[edit]

Early life[edit]

Quartered arms of Sir Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford, KG

Francis was the son of John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford and Anne Sapcote. He was educated at King's Hall, Cambridge and accompanied his father, to sit in the House of Commons. He represented Buckinghamshire in parliament in 1545-47 and 1547-52. In 1547 he was appointed High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. He assisted to quell the rising in Devonshire in 1549, and after his father had been created Earl of Bedford in January 1550, was known as Lord Russell, taking his seat in the House of Lords under this title in 1552.

Russell was in sympathy with the reformers, whose opinions he shared, and was in communication with Sir Thomas Wyatt; and in consequence of his religious attitude was imprisoned during the earlier part of Mary's reign. Being released he visited Italy, came into touch with foreign reformers. He led the English contingent fighting for Philip II of Spain, then England's King Consort, at the Battle of St. Quentin in 1557.

Elizabeth[edit]

When Elizabeth ascended the throne in November 1558 the Earl of Bedford, as Russell had been since 1555, became an active figure in public life. He was made a privy councillor, and was sent on diplomatic errands to Charles IX of France and Mary, Queen of Scots.

From February 1564 to October 1567 he was governor of Berwick and warden of the east marches of Scotland, in which capacity he conducted various negotiations between Elizabeth and Mary. Bedford represented Elizabeth as her ambassador at the baptism of Prince James on 17 December 1566 at Stirling Castle, and was guest of honour at the subsequent banquet and masque. He appears to have been an efficient warden, but was irritated by the vacillating and tortuous conduct of the English queen. When the northern insurrection broke out in 1569, Bedford was sent into Wales, and he sat in judgment upon the Duke of Norfolk in 1572.

In 1576 he was president of the council of Wales, and in 1581 was one of the commissioners deputed to arrange a marriage between Elizabeth and François, Duke of Anjou. Bedford, who was made a Knight of the Garter in 1564, appears to have been a generous and popular man, and died in London. He was buried at the family chapel next to Chenies Manor House, the family estate which he had made his principal home and where he had entertained Queen Elizabeth in 1570.

Marriage and issue[edit]

His first wife was Margaret St John (Bletsoe, Bedfordshire, 1533 - 27 August 1562), daughter of Sir John St John (great-grandson of Margaret Beauchamp of Bletso) and Margaret Walgrave, by whom he had four sons and three daughters:

His second wife was Bridget (d. 1601), daughter of John Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford, twice widowed. He was succeeded as third Earl by his grandson, Edward (1572–1627), only son of Francis, Lord Russell (c. 1554–1585).

See also[edit]

Chenies Manor House

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Nash Ford. Royal Berkshire History, Nash Ford Publishing, 2001. Elizabeth Cooke
  2. ^ The Complete Peerage, Volume II. St Catherine's Press. 1912. p. 77. 
  • tudorplace.com.ar Accessed 27 October 2007
  • thepeerage.com Accessed 27 October 2007
  • Richardson, Douglas, Kimball G. Everingham, and David Faris. Plantagenet Ancestry A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. Royal ancestry series. Baltimore, Md: Genealogical Pub. Co, 2004. Accessed 28 October 2007
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Francis Bryan
Custos Rotulorum of Buckinghamshire
bef. 1547–c.1578
Succeeded by
Lord Grey de Wilton
Preceded by
The Earl of Bedford
Lord Warden of the Stannaries
1553–1580
Succeeded by
Sir Walter Raleigh
Preceded by
Unknown
Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall
1584–1585
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Godolphin
Sir William Mohun
Peter Edgcumbe
Richard Carew
Vacant
Title last held by
The 2nd Earl of Bath
Lord Lieutenant of Devon
1584–1585
Succeeded by
The 3rd Earl of Bath
Preceded by
Unknown
Lord Lieutenant of Dorset
1584–1585
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Winchester
Legal offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Sussex
Justice in Eyre
south of the Trent

1584–1585
Succeeded by
The Earl of Leicester
Peerage of England
Preceded by
John Russell
Earl of Bedford
1555–1585
Succeeded by
Edward Russell
Baron Russell
(writ in acceleration)
(descended by acceleration)

1553–1581
Succeeded by
John Russell
Preceded by
John Russell
Baron Russell
1584–1585
Succeeded by
Edward Russell