Robert Devereux 1591-1646

From Book Owners Online

Robert DEVEREUX, 3rd Earl of Essex 1591-1646

Biographical Note

Born at Walsingham House in Hart Street, London; eldest son of Robert Devereux, 2nd earl of Essex (1565-1601). Stripped of his title following his father's execution, he was sent to Eton College to study under Sir Henry Savile. His titles and fortunes were restored following the accession of James I. He was married to Frances Howard (1590-1632) in 1606 at age 15. The marriage was unsuccessful, resulting in annulment. Served in protestant armies in the Rhineland from 1619 to 1624, and later served as Captain-General and Chief Commander of the parliamentarian army during the Civil War until his resignation eighteen months prior to his death in 1646.


An inventory of the books in Essex House in London at the time of his death survives in British Library, fos.155-158. It lists 157 entries, some of which relate to multi-volume works, and is divided by format into 43 folios and 114 quartos or octavos. There are 24 manuscript volumes, mostly relating to Devereux estate or family matters. Many of the books are theological, including many works by popular divines of the period; otherwise, there are numerous titles on politics and current affairs, history and classics. The list has been edited and analysed by Vernon Snow, who commented on the lack of science, medicine and mathematics, but he also observed that it does not comprise all the Devereux books at the time of his death, as others were likely to be held in houses elsewhere.

Characteristic Markings

Books from Devereux's library have not been identified, although there is a small handful of books recorded in the Armorials database with a Devereux stamp which might be associated with the 3rd Earl.