Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury
Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, 7th Earl of Waterford, 13th Baron Talbot, KG (20 November 1552 – 8 May 1616), styled Lord Talbot from 1582 to 1590, was a peer in the peerage of England. He also held the subsidiary titles of 16th Baron Strange of Blackmere and 12th Baron Furnivall.
In 1568, Gilbert was married to Mary Cavendish, daughter of his new stepmother, Bess of Hardwick; Mary had inherited much of her formidable mother's strength of character. When Bess and her husband fell out, Gilbert took the side of his wife and his mother-in-law against his own father. However, when the old earl died in 1590, Gilbert refused Bess the widow's portion that was her due, and consequently they fell out. He appears to have been a highly quarrelsome individual, feuding with not only his stepmother but his brother and other family members, his tenants, and even Elizabeth I herself. He was overshadowed by his formidable wife: Francis Bacon remarked that she was undoubtedly "greater than he".
The children from his marriage to Mary Cavendish were:
- Lady Mary Talbot (1580–1649), who married William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke
- Lady Elizabeth Talbot (1582–1651), who married Henry Grey, 8th Earl of Kent
- Lady Alethea Talbot (1585–1654), who married Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel
Two sons, George and John, died in infancy.
He was elected knight of the shire (MP) for Derbyshire in 1572. In 1576 Talbot and his wife stayed at Goodrich Castle in Herefordshire and sent his father a gift of local produce, a Monmouth cap, Ross boots, and perry. On 1 May 1578 Talbot was walking in the tiltyard, the tournmament ground, at Greenwich Palace, and by chance saw Queen Elizabeth at the window of the gallery overlooking the yard, in her nightgown. Later she slapped him on the forehead and told the Lord Chamberlain, Earl of Sussex about the morning's incident. Talbot saw this as a mark of favour and wrote to his father about it. He was summoned to the House of Lords as Baron Talbot in 1589 and became 7th Earl of Shrewsbury on his father's death in 1590.
In 1592, he was created a Knight of the Garter, but feuded with his former friend John Stanhope when John's brother got the post of Earl Marshal of England, which Gilbert had assumed would be his. Gilbert's stepbrother Charles Cavendish challenged Stanhope to a duel for his sake, which was not fought. (Stanhope was discovered to be wearing a sword-proof doublet). Elizabeth I was displeased and took Stanhope's side. After this Gilbert challenged his own brother Edward to a duel over a lease, but Edward refused to fight him. Gilbert accused his brother of planning to poison him, but lost his case against him.
Shrewsbury employed a clockmaker, Michael Neuwers to make striking clocks in 1599. He hosted a magnificent dinner in London for a French ambassador Aymar Chaste in May 1600 and afterwards a large crowd was entertained by a French acrobat performing on a rope.
He became a patron of the arts, as was his daughter Alethea, who became Countess of Arundel by her marriage to Thomas Howard in 1606. Shrewsbury was also interested in sport, and wrote in September 1607 that he was laid up on a couch at Sheffield Lodge, "neither fit for football nor tennis".
As well as bringing up their three daughters, Gilbert and Mary Talbot spent a good deal of time with their orphaned niece, Arbella Stuart. The downfall of Arbella, who as the closest relative of King James I of England had greatly offended him by marrying without his consent, had serious consequences for Gilbert and Mary: Mary, who had aided the marriage, went to the Tower of London as a result, and Gilbert lost his seat on the Privy Council.
In the absence of a male heir, he was succeeded in the earldom of Shrewsbury by his younger brother, Edward. However, some of the extensive estates passed then (or after Edward's death) to his daughters.
- "Person Page". thepeerage.com.
- Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. .
- Edmund Lodge, Illustrations of British History, vol. 2 (London, 1791), pp. 152-4.
- Edmund Lodge, Illustrations of British History, vol. 2 (London, 1791), p. 170.
- "History of Parliament". History of Parliament trust. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
- John Gage, History and Antiquities of Hengrave (London, 1822), pp. 184-6.
- Lovell, Mary S. (2005). Bess of Hardwick, First Lady of Chatsworth. Little, Brown. pp. 398–402. ISBN 0-349-11589-3
- HMC 6th Report: Frank (London, 1877), p. 449.
- Michael Brennan, Noel Kinnamon, Margaret Hannay, The Letters of Rowland Whyte to Sir Robert Sidney (Philadelphia, 2013), p. 477.
- HMC 9 Salisbury Hatfield, vol. 19 (London, 1965), p. 248.
The 6th Earl of Shrewsbury
| Lord High Steward of Ireland
The 8th Earl of Shrewsbury
| Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire
Title next held byThe Earl of Devonshire
Lord Cavendish of Hardwick
|Peerage of England|
| Earl of Shrewsbury
| Baron Talbot
(writ in acceleration)
Title next held byAlethea Howard
as sole heiress
| Baron Furnivall|
| Baron Strange of Blackmere|
|Peerage of Ireland|
| Earl of Waterford