crossed to France when Henry attacked Francis in 1544. He was in command of an army in the west of England in 1545, and when Henry died in January 1547 was one of the executors of his will. Under Edward VI. Russell was lord high steward and keeper of the privy seal, and the defeat which he inflicted on the rebels at Clyst St Mary near Exeter in August 1549, was largely instrumental in suppressing the rising in Devonshire. In January 1550 he was created earl of Bedford, and was one of the commissioners appointed to make peace with France in this year. He opposed the proposal to seat Lady Jane Grey on the throne; supported Queen Mary, who reappointed him lord privy seal; and assisted to prevent Sir Thomas Wyat’s rising from spreading to Devonshire. In 1554 he went to Spain to conclude the marriage treaty between Mary and Philip II., and soon after his return died in London on the 14th of March 1555. By extensive acquisitions of land Bedford was the founder of the wealth and greatness of the house of Russell. Through his wife, Anne (d. 1550), daughter of Sir Guy Sapcote, whom he married in 1526, he obtained Chenies, and in 1539 was granted the forest of Exmoor, and also Tavistock, and a number of manors in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, which had formerly belonged to the abbey of Tavistock. In 1549 he received Thorney, the abbey of Woburn, and extensive lands in the eastern counties; and in 1552 Covent Garden and seven acres of land in London, formerly the property of the protector Somerset. He left an only son, Francis, who succeeded him in the title.
See Letters and Papers of Henry VIII. (London, 1862-1901); State Papers during the Reign of Henry VIII. (London, 1831-1852); Calendar of State Papers, Edward VI. and Mary (London, 1861); J. H. Wiffen, Historical Memoirs of the House of Russell (London, 1833); J. A. Froude, History of England, passim (London, 1881 fol.).
Francis Russell, 2nd earl of Bedford (c. 1527-1585), was educated at King’s Hall, Cambridge. He accompanied his father to the French war in 1544, and from 1547 to 1552 was member of parliament for Buckinghamshire, being probably the first heir to a peerage to sit in the House of Commons. He assisted to quell the rising in Devonshire in 1549, and after his father had been created earl of Bedford in January 1550, was known as Lord Russell, taking his seat in the House of Lords under this title in 1552. Russell was in sympathy with the reformers, whose opinions he shared, and was in communication with Sir Thomas Wyat; and in consequence of his religious attitude was imprisoned during the earlier part of Mary’s reign. Being released he went into exile; visited Italy; came into touch with foreign reformers; and fought at the battle of St Quentin in 1557. Afterwards he seems to have enjoyed some measure of the royal favour, and was made lord-lieutenant of the counties of Devon, Cornwall and Dorset early in 1558. When Elizabeth ascended the throne in November 1558 the earl of Bedford, as Russell had been since 1555, became an active figure in public life. He was made a privy councillor, and was sent on diplomatic errands to Charles IX. of France and Mary queen of Scots. From February 1564 to October 1567 he was governor of Berwick and warden of the east marches of Scotland, in which capacity he conducted various negotiations between Elizabeth and Mary. He appears to have been an efficient warden, but was irritated by the vacillating and tortuous conduct of the English queen. When the northern insurrection broke out in 1569, Bedford was sent into Wales, and he sat in judgment upon the duke of Norfolk in 1572. In 1576 he was president of the council of Wales, and in 1581 was one of the commissioners deputed to arrange a marriage between Elizabeth and Francis, duke of Anjou. Bedford, who was made a knight of the garter in 1564, was lord warden of the Stannaries from 1553 to 1580. He appears to have been a generous and popular man, and died in London on the 28th of July 1585. He was buried at Chenies. His first wife was Margaret (d. 1562), daughter of Sir John St John, by whom he had four sons and three daughters. His three eldest sons predeceased their father. His second wife was Bridget (d. 1601), daughter of John, Lord Hussey. He was succeeded as 3rd earl by his grandson, Edward (1572-1627), only son of Francis, Lord Russell (c. 1550-1585). The 3rd earl left no children when he died on the 3rd of May 1627, and was succeeded by his cousin.
Francis Russell, 4th earl of Bedford (1593-1641), was the only son of William, Lord Russell of Thornhaugh, to which barony he succeeded in August 1613. For a short time previously he had been member of parliament for the borough of Lyme Regis; in 1623 he was made lord-lieutenant of Devonshire; and in May 1627 became earl of Bedford by the death of his cousin, Edward, the 3rd earl. When the quarrel broke out between Charles I. and the parliament, Bedford supported the demands of the House of Commons as embodied in the Petition of Right, and in 1629 was arrested for his share in the circulation of Sir Robert Dudley’s pamphlet, “Proposition for His Majesty’s service,” but was quickly released. The Short parliament meeting in April 1640 found the earl as one of the king’s leading opponents. He was greatly trusted by John Pym and Oliver St John, and is mentioned by Clarendon as among the “great contrivers and designers” in the House of Lords. In July 1640 he was among the peers who wrote to the Scottish leaders refusing to invite a Scottish army into England, but promising to stand by the Scots in all legal and honourable ways; and his signature was afterwards forged by Thomas, Viscount Savile, in order to encourage the Scots to invade England. In the following September he was among those peers who urged Charles to call a parliament, to make peace with the Scots, and to dismiss his obnoxious ministers; and was one of the English commissioners appointed to conclude the treaty of Ripon. When the Long parliament met in November 1640, Bedford was generally regarded as the leader of the parliamentarians. In February 1641 he was made a privy councillor, and during the course of some negotiations was promised the office of lord high treasurer. He was essentially a moderate man, and seemed anxious to settle the question of the royal revenue in a satisfactory manner. He did not wish to alter the government of the Church, was on good terms with Archbishop Laud, and, although convinced of Stafford’s guilt, was anxious to save his life. In the midst of the parliamentary struggle Bedford died of smallpox on the 9th of May 1641. Clarendon described him as “a wise man, and of too great and plentiful a fortune to wish the subversion of the government,” and again referring to his death said that “many who knew him well thought his death not unseasonable as well to his fame as his fortune, and that it rescued him as well from some possible guilt as from those visible misfortunes which men of all conditions have since undergone.” Bedford was the head of those who undertook to drain the great level of the fens, called after him the “Bedford level.” He spent a large sum of money over this work and received 43,000 acres of land, but owing to various jealousies and difficulties the king took the work into his own hands in 1638, making a further grant of land to the earl. Bedford married Catherine (d. 1657), daughter of Giles, 3rd Lord Chandos, by whom he had four sons and four daughters. His eldest son, William (1613-1700), succeeded him as 5th earl, fought first on the side of the parliament and then on that of the king during the Civil War, and in 1694 was created marquess of Tavistock and duke of Bedford.
See Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, passim (Oxford, 1888); J. H. Wiffen, Historical Memoirs of the House of Russell (London, 1833); J. L. Sanford, Studies and Illustrations of the Great Rebellion (London, 1858).
The first duke, who married Anne (d. 1684), daughter of Robert Carr, earl of Somerset, was succeeded in the title by his grandson Wriothesley (1680-1711), who was a son of Lord William Russell (q.v.) by his marriage with Rachel, daughter of Thomas Wriothesley, 4th earl of Southampton, and who became second duke in 1700. Eleven years later the second duke was succeeded by his eldest son Wriothesley (1708-1732), who died without issue in October 1732, when the title passed to his brother John.
John Russell, 4th duke of Bedford (1710-1771), second son of Wriothesley Russell, 2nd duke of Bedford, by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Howland of Streatham, Surrey, was born on the 30th of September 1710. Known as Lord John Russell, he married in October 1731 Lady Diana Spencer, daughter of Charles, 3rd earl of Sunderland; became duke of