Francis TALBOT

(5th E. Shrewsbury)

Born: 1500, Sheffield Castle, Yorkshire, England

Acceded: 1538

Died: 25 Sep 1560, Sheffield Manor, Yorkshire, England

Buried: 21 Oct 1560, St. Peter's, Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter. The Complete Peerage vol.XI,p.710-712.

Father: George TALBOT (4º E. Shrewsbury)

Mother: Anne HASTINGS (C. Shrewsbury)

Married 1: Mary DACRE (C. Shrewsbury) 30 Nov 1523


1. George TALBOT (6° E. Shrewsbury)

2. Anne TALBOT (B. Bray / B. Wharton)

3. Thomas TALBOT (unm. - d. BEF his father)

Married 2: Grace SHARKELEY (C. Shrewsbury) (d. Aug 1558 / 28 Sep 1560, Sheffield; i. 21 Oct 1560 St Peter, Sheffield) (dau. of Robert Sharkeley of Little Langsdon) (w. of Francis Carless) Aug 1553

Son of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, by his first wife Anne Hastings. His sisters were Elizabeth, married to William Dacre, 3rd Baron Dacre, Margaret, married, as his first wife, Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland and Mary, married Henry Percy, 6th Earl of Northumberland. His half sister Anne married first Peter Compton and second William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke. His daughter Anne married her father’s ward, John Bray, 2nd Baron Bray in 1542 and later Thomas, 1st baron Wharton.

A shrewd man, was able to accommodate himself to all the changes that took place over the difficult years between 1538 and 1560, the period of his lordship. Though a Catholic, the fifth Earl made himself agreeable to all and his religion did not prevent him from receiving certain of the Beauchief Abbey lands when they were broken up and distributed during the latter years of King Henry VIII. Steering a careful line between the Protestantism of Edward VI, the Catholic Queen Mary and the Protestant Elizabeth I, Francis was able to prevent trouble between the North and South of England.

The involvement of Francis Talbot, fifth Earl of Shrewsbury, in national political life in the reign of Henry VIII was limited. After his father´s death in 1538, he was an infrequent attender at Court. This should not be surprising. It was unnecessary for noblemen of ancient standing and possessed of large landed estates to serve the King constantly at court. Although, during the years of the Protector Somerset rule of England, he took part in the Scottish invasion.

The Imperial Ambassador described him as "one of the most powerful men in the kingdom". The Duke of Somerset attempted to recruit Shrewsbury when the Earls of Warwick, Arundel and Southampton, with Sir Richard Southwell and Thomas Arundell, began to plot against him. But Shrewsbury joined the large majority of Counsellors that was opposed to Somerset. In 1549 he replaced  Robert Holgate, Bishop of Llandaff as Lord President of the Council of the North, a post in which he proved to be an excellent administrator.

During the reign of Edward VI, Grace Shakerley, Countess of Shrewsbury wrote to her husband Francis Talbot, fifth Earl of Shrewsbury, from York, about domestic matters, telling him that his building at Sheffield goes well and that George, Lord Talbot and his wife Gertrude Manners are in good health. She asks the Earl to bring some cloth to make pillow-cases with when he next visits her, at the next meeting of the Council of the North. Other letter to her husband was wrote by the Countess from Erith, in support of Joan Beane of Handsworth, widow, a very poor woman.

At the death of Edward VI, both Shrewsbury and his son George signed the device for the succession to the crown. His son-in-law, John, Lord Bray was one of twenty-six peers who signed letters patent handing the Crown to Lady Jane Grey.

Shrewsbury both advocated and prepared for the Parliament of Mar 1553, and his involvement in the succession conspiracy was reluctant enough for him to make his peace with Mary and continue to wield his patronage during her reign.

Shrewsbury did not agree with with the religious settlement of 1559, on Elizabeth's accesion, but again his loyalty to the crown was overcoming any religious scruples. He play little part in government. Francis Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, was Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire and President of the Council of the North; a letter of him dated from Ferry bridge on 17 Jan 1559/60 to Sir William Cecil states that he was about to take some troops to Newcastle and that he had appointed his verie loving freend Sir Thomas Gargrave Vice President in his absence who "I right well knowe bothe canne and will execute the same accordinglie and in as willinge and painfull wise as if myself werre present". Francis died a few months after this, on 25 Sep 1560.

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