Sir Charles DANVERS

Born: 1568, Dauntsey, Wiltshire, England

Died: 18 Mar 1601

Father: John DANVERS of Dauntsey (Sir Knight) (See his Biography)

Mother: Elizabeth NEVILLE


Eldest son of Sir John Danvers of Dauntsey, Wiltshire, by Elizabeth, fourth daughter and coheiress of John Neville, last baron Latimer, was probably born about 1568. As early as 1584 he had commenced a continental tour, and wrote to thank Sir Francis Walsingham for giving him permission to leave England. Like many other youths of good family he served under Lord Willoughby in the Netherlands, and was knighted by his commander in 1588. On 16 Jun 1590 he, with Sir Charles Blount, was created M.A. at Oxford.

A local dispute in Wiltshire proved a disastrous turning in his career. The accounts vary in detail. According to the best-authenticated report in the ĎState Papers,í Sir Walter Long and his brother Henry, neighbours of the Danvers, had been committed to prison on a charge of theft by Sir John Danvers, Charlesís father, who died in 1593. To avenge this insult the Longs killed one of Danversís servants, and liberally abused all the Danvers, and especially Sir Charles. Henry Long finally challenged Sir Charles Danvers, and in a subsequent encounter was killed by Sir Charlesís brother Henry. Henry Wriothesley, third earl of Southampton, permitted both brothers to take temporary refuge in his house at Whitley Lodge, near Tichfield, Hampshire. Henceforth Charles was Ďexceedingly devoted to the Earl of Southampton upon affection begun first upon the deserving of the same earl towards him when he was in trouble about the murder of one Longí. Charles and Henry were subsequently outlawed, and took refuge in France. Henri IV received them kindly, and interceded with Elizabeth on their behalf, but to little immediate purpose. Charles, who was friendly with Sir Thomas Edmondes, the English Ambassador at Paris, and constantly petitioned Sir Robert Cecil to procure the reversal of the order of banishment.

The Earl of Shrewsbury met the exiled brothers at Rouen, France in Oct 1596, and applauded their soldierly bearing in a note to Cecil. On 30 Jun 1598 they were pardoned, and in Aug were again in England. It was generally admitted that Danversís intimacy with Southampton had led him into the Essex's conspiracy. In 1599 Charles Danvers was given a colonelís commission in the army that accompanied the Earl of Essex to Ireland. He was wounded in an early engagement in Jul, and had few opportunities of displaying further military capacity, but his intimacy with Southampton was renewed at Dublin, and Essex treated him with consideration. He returned to London with Essex in Sep 1599, and was in frequent communication with the Earl during his subsequent imprisonment. He was staying with Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, at Wanstead, in Sep 1599, and on 26 Apr 1600 he was with Southampton at Coventry. In Oct 1600 at the request of Henry Cuffe, Essexís secretary, he took part in the conferences among Essexís friends regarding the best means of restoring the Earl to the Queenís favour. Dury House, where Essexís partisans met regularly in the winter of 1600, belonged to the Earl of Southampton, and Danvers seems to have lodged there at the end of 1600 with the view to aiding them more effectively in their secret negotiations. His friend, Sir Christopher Blount, easily induced him to vote for a forcible insurrection, by which the queen and her palace should be placed at Essexís disposal. On Saturday, 7 Feb 1600/1, when the details of the rising were finally determined, Danvers was entrusted with the part of seizing the presence-chamber and Ďthe halberds of the guardí at Whitehall. On the following day the attempt was made to raise the city in rebellion, and failed miserably. Danvers was carried prisoner to the tower, made a full confession on 18 Feb 1600/1, and signed a declaration setting forth all he knew of Essexís secret negotiations with Scotland. He was tried with Cuffe and others on 5 Mar, admitted his guilt, and was beheaded on Tower Hill together with Blount on 18 Mar. He confessed on the scaffold to a special hatred of Lord Grey, merely on the ground that Grey was Ďill-affected to Southamptoní. He was buried in the Tower church. Danversís large property in Wiltshire was escheated, but in Jul 1603 his brother Henry was declared heir by James I.

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