Roger MANNERS

(5th E. Rutland)

Born: 6 Oct 1576

Died: 26 Jun 1612

Buried: St. Mary the Virgin Church, Bottesford, Leicesterhire, England

Father: John MANNERS (4° E. Rutland)

Mother: Elizabeth CHARLTON (C. Rutland)

Married: Elizabeth SIDNEY (C. Rutland) 5 Mar 1598


Manners,Roger(5ºE.Rutland)01.jpg (79424 bytes)

Tomb of the Earl and his wife at Bottesford

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Detail of the tomb of the Earl and his wife at Bottesford


Born 6 Oct 1576, was son of John, fourth Earl of Rutland, and nephew of Edward, third Earl. His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Charlton of Apley Castle, Shropshire. He was educated for a time at Queen’s College, Cambridge, and had a man and a boy to look after him. On 21 Feb 1587-8 he succeeded as fifth Earl of Rutland on the death of his father, and, passing through London on his way to Cambridge, he had an interview with Queen Elizabeth, who spoke kindly to him and said that ‘she knew his father for an honest man.’ In 1590 his tutor, John Jegon, removed to Corpus Christi College, and among other of his pupils, Rutland went with him; Burghley wrote approving of the change, and also of his going down to Belvoir for the hunting season. Jegon took great care of him, writing many letters to his mother. On 20 Feb 1595 he became M.A. Burghley approved of his making tour, though he wrote that the young Earl knew very little about his estate, and in Sep 1595 he received leave to travel abroad. For his guidance a manuscript of ‘Profitable Instructions’ was draw up, which was printed, with two similar essays, in 1633, and was then assigned to Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex. Bacon was more probably the author. His old tutor Jegon warned him against the character of the French. Rutland sailed early in 1596 from Plymounth, and passed by way of Paris to Switzerland and Italy. Fellow 1596 classmate at Padua University with a certain Rosencrantz & Guildenstern. In North Italy he had a dangerous illness. He seems to have been fond of learned men, and met Caspar Waser at Zurich. On 2 Feb 1597-8 was admitedd member of Gray’s Inn. Very close companion to the Earl of Southampton. As he had announced some time before his intention of joining Essex in his Irish expedition, he was made a colonel of foot in 1599. Essex knighted him 30 May 1599, but he passed only a short time in Ireland, as he was in England in Jun 1599, in some disgrace with the court. On 10 Jul 1599, he was incorporated M.A. at Oxford. Wood describes him as ‘an eminent traveler and good soldier. He passed a short time on service with the Dutch in company with the Earl of Northumberland, and 14 Jun 1600 became constable of Nottingham Castle and stewrd of Sherwood Forest. On 8 Feb 1600-1 he took part in Essex’s rebellion, and was one of those who were captured at Essex House. His uncle Roger, an old servant of the Queen, who had three nephews implicated, lamented that they had ever been born. In the Tower, Rutland soon came to his senses, wrote very penitently, was examined and rated by the council, and was fined 30.000£. His fortunes recovered under James I, who stayed at Belvoir in his progress southwards, witnessing the performance of Ben Jonson’s ‘Metamorphosed Gypsies,’ and made him a K.B. at his coronation. On 9 Jun 1603 Rutland received the keepership of Birkwood Park, Yorkshire, and Clipstone Castle, Northamptonshire, and from Jun to Aug 1603 was engaged on a mission to Christian IV, King of Denmark, to present him with the order of the Garter, and to represent James at the christening of his son. On 20 Sep 1603 he became lord-lieutenant of Lincolnshire, and the same year high steward of Grantham. In 1609 he received also the stewardships of Long Bennington and Mansfield. His constitution seems to have been worn out prematurely, and he died on 26 Jun 1612. He was buried at Bottesford, Leicestershire. He is noted as being engaged in two duels when the subject attracted attention in 1613.

Rutland married, early in 1599, Elizabeth (b. 1584 - d. 1612), daughter of Sir Phillip Sidney and Frances Walsingham. Some reports say that Phillip's wife, Frances, visited him on his deathbed at Arnhem and was heavily pregnant at the time. If this was true then this puts into doubt the date of Elizabeth's birth of 1584 - or raises the possibility of a second child.

Several sources claim Elizabeth Sidney poisoned Roger Manners to free herself from an unhappy marriage and that a short time later she was herself killed by his family or friends in revenge for his death. However, biographies of her father and grandfather, give the date 1614 for Elizabeth’s death, and the Earl of Rutland died in 1612. The Oxford DNB (under "Manners, Roger"), however, says that she died "within a fortnight of her husband's funeral, occasioning wild rumours that she had been poisoned by medicine" supplied by Sir Walter Raleigh. The entry also reports gossip that Sir Thomas Overbury was in love with her. Elizabeth was buried near her father Phillip at St. Paul's, although she shares a memorial at Bottesford with her husband.

The title passed to a brother, Francis, sixth Earl of Rutland. Many of Rutland’s letters are preserved at Belvoir, Hatfield, and Longleat.

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