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George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury

George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury English magnate and military commander

English magnate and military commander
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro English magnate and military commander
A.K.A. George Talbot, Shrewsbury, George Talbot, 6:e earl av
Countries England
Occupations Politician
Type Politics
Gender male
Birth 1528
Death 18 November 1590
Father: Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury
Spouse: Bess of Hardwick
Children: Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of ShrewsburyEdward Talbot, 8th Earl of Shrewsbury
The details

George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, 6th Earl of Waterford, 12th Baron Talbot, 11th Baron Furnivall, KG, Earl Marshal (1528 – 18 November 1590) was an English magnate and military commander.


Talbot was the only son of Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury and Mary Dacre. In early life he saw active military service, when he took part in the invasion of Scotland under the Protector Somerset. He was sent by his father in October 1557 to the relief of Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland pent up in Alnwick Castle. He then remained for some months in service on the border, with five hundred horsemen under his command.

In 1560, he inherited the Earldom of Shrewsbury, the Barony of Furnivall and the position of Justice in Eyre, which had been his father's. He also took over his father's position of Chamberlain of the Exchequer. One year later, he was created a Knight of the Garter, and in 1567, he married Bess of Hardwick in a double wedding with their two eldest children from previous marriages. Elizabeth Shrewsbury, Bess, commemorated her new initials in magnificent style, her house at Hardwick is topped with a balustrade within which the scrolling letters ES appear four times.

Shrewsbury was selected as the keeper of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth I in 1568 after she had escaped to England from Scotland following the disastrous Battle of Langside. Elizabeth imposed the responsible task of guarding Mary on him, and did not allow him to resign the charge for over 15 years. For this and other reasons his marriage became rocky. Slowly increasing poor health (rheumatism) causing chronic pain and the money issues that inevitably came about as caretaker/jailor of the Queen of Scots ruined his health, further making him caustic.

Shrewsbury received his ward at Tutbury Castle on 2 February 1569, but in June he removed to Wingfield Manor. There a rescue was attempted by Leonard Dacre. The Earl had several houses and castles in the interior of the kingdom, in any of which Mary might be kept with little danger. In September the household was back again at Tutbury, where an additional guard or spy, temporarily joined the family in the person of Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. In November took place the Northern Rebellion, with the revolt of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland, who planned to march on Tutbury. Mary was for the time being moved to Coventry, and did not return until the following January. In May 1570 Shrewsbury conducted her to Chatsworth, and he foiled another cabal for her release. Cecil and Mildmay visited Chatsworth in October, and agreed on Mary's removal to Sheffield Castle (Shrewsbury's principal seat), which took place shortly afterwards. At Sheffield, apart from occasional visits to the baths at Buxton, to Chatsworth, or to the old Hardwick Hall, she remained under Shrewsbury's guardianship for the next fourteen years. During the winter of 1571–72 the earl was in London, the queen during his absence being left in charge of Sir Ralph Sadler.

Meanwhile, in 1571, Lord Shrewsbury was appointed Lord High Steward (the premier Great Office of State) for the trial of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk (regarding the Ridolfi plot). Finally, in 1572, Lord Shrewsbury was appointed Earl Marshal, a position that he held (along with the aforementioned position of Justice in Eyre) until his death in 1590. He was buried in the Shrewsbury chapel at Sheffield Parish Church (now Sheffield Cathedral), where a large monument to him can still be seen.

Marriages & progeny

1580 portrait of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury

He married twice:

Letters and papers

Many of Shrewsbury's papers found their way in the College of Arms and were re-united with others in the Lambeth Palace library in 1983 as the "Shrewsbury-Talbot papers". This historical resource was first published in 1791 by Edmund Lodge, and all the letters were more recently summarized in calendar form.

  • Lodge, Edmund, ed., Illustrations of British History, 3 vols., London (1791)
  • Lodge, Edmund, ed., Illustrations of British History, 3 vols., Oxford, (1838)
  • Bill, E. G. W., ed., Calendar of Shrewsbury papers in the Lambeth Palace Library, Derbyshire Record Society (1966)
  • Batho, G. R., ed., Calendar of the Shrewsbury and Talbot manuscripts in the College of Arms, HMC (1971)

In fiction

George Talbot is a primary character in the Philippa Gregory historical fiction novel, The Other Queen.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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