The Tudor Society

17 September – Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford

On this day in Tudor history, 17th September 1558, Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford and grandfather of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex and a favourite of Elizabeth I, died at the Devereux family seat at Chartley in Staffordshire.

Devereux had a long and distinguished court career, serving Henry VIII, Princess Mary in Ludlow, and Edward VI. He also married at around the age of 11 and was imprisoned at one point. An interesting Tudor man.

Find out more about this soldier and royal servant in today's talk:

Also on this day in Tudor history, 17th September 1563, courtier and soldier Henry Manners, 2nd Earl of Rutland, died during an outbreak of the plague, which was rife in London that year and killed about 24% of London's citizens. He’d served King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I, so had a long and interesting career, which also saw him imprisoned at one point. Find out more about him in last year’s video:

Also on this day in history:

  • 1575 – Death of Heinrich (Henry) Bullinger, the Swiss reformer and theologian, in Zurich. Bullinger succeeded Huldrych Zwingli as pastor at Grossmünster and head of the church in Zurich. His main work was “The Decades”, a theological work, but his sermons were also translated and published, and he wrote historical works.
  • 1577 - The Edict of Poitiers ratified the Treaty of Bergerac, which had been signed between Henry III of France and the Huguenot princes.


On this day in Tudor history, 17th September 1558, Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford, died at the Devereux seat at Chartley in Staffordshire.

Devereux served Henry VIII as joint Constable of Warwick Castle, as a member of the jury at the trial of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, in 1521, in the government of the Welsh Marches, as Steward in Princess Mary's household at Ludlow and Chamberlain of the Court of General Surveyors. He also served Edward VI as a Privy Councillor.

But let me give you a few more facts about this Tudor man…

• Walter Devereux was born in around 1489 and was the eldest son of John Devereux, 2nd Baron Ferrers of Chartley, and Cecily Bourchier. Cecily was the daughter of William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier, and Anne Woodville, so a niece of Edward IV.
• Sometime before 1501, when he was about 11 or 12, Walter married Lady Mary Grey, daughter of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset, and in 1501 he became 3rd Baron Ferrers on his father’s death. Walter and Cecily had three sons: Richard, William and Henry.
• His father’s death meant that he became a royal ward and so went to court. In 1510, he was summoned to King Henry VIII’s first Parliament and was granted several stewardships, including Tamworth and Warwick, and was made joint constable of Warwick Castle.
• In 1513, Henry VIII chose him as captain of the ship the Great Harry Imperial and he also served in the crown forces at the Battle of Flodden, in which England was victorious against the Scots.
• In 1520, Walter attended the Field of Cloth of Gold and Henry VIII’s meeting with Emperor Charles V at Gravelines.
• He sat in on the jury at the trial of Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham in 1521, and then in 1523 served as Captain of the army campaigning in France.
• As I said at the beginning, Walter Devereux served the king in the governing of Wales. He served on the council in the Marches wand was steward of Princess Mary’s household in Ludlow, and his other offices included Chief Justice of South Wales and Chamberlain of South Wales, Carmarthen and Cardigan. Henry VIII’s grants to Walter stirred up trouble with Welsh landowner Rhys ap Gruffyd, who feuded with Walter and even threatened him with a knife at one point. He was eventually charged with treason and executed.
• In 1536, Walter’s eldest son, Richard, married Dorothy or Dorothea Hastings, daughter of George Hastings, 1st Earl of Huntingdon.
• In 1538, Walter’s wife, Mary, died, and Walter went on to marry Margaret Garneys, daughter of Sir John Garneys of Kenton, with whom he had two children: Edward and Katherine.
• In 1544, he took part in Henry VIII’s French campaign, accompanying the king when he took Boulogne in that September, following the siege of the town.
• In 1549, Francis, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon, and Henry Grey, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, sided with John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, in his coup against Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector. Walter was related to Huntingdon and Dorset by marriage and so also supported Northumberland. Walter was appointed to the privy council led by Northumberland in January 1550 and was created Viscount Hereford the following month. In 1551, he was made Vice-Lord Justice and Lieutenant of Stafford.
• In July 1553, following Mary I’s successful overthrown of Lady Jane Grey, Walter was imprisoned, along with others including Huntingdon and Dorset, who was now Duke of Suffolk, for their part in supporting Northumberland and Jane. He was later released but did lose a number of his offices.
• Walter Devereux, Viscount Hereford, died on this day in history, 17th September 1558. He was buried at St John’s Church in Stowe-by-Chartley. Mary I allowed his heir, his grandson, also named Walter Devereux to inherit his titles Viscount Hereford and Baron Ferrers of Chartley and she also granted him several stewardships in Wales. That Walter Devereux was father of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I.

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17 September – Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford