History

Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire

Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire, courtier and soldier, was buried in St Paul's chapel in Westminster Abbey on 7 May 1606. But there is no gravestone or monument for him.

Charles was a son of James Blount, 6th Baron Mountjoy, and his wife Catherine (Leigh). He was born in 1563 and educated at Winchester and at Oxford university. Then he studied law and was introduced to Court by his elder brother William (died 1594).  There he became a favourite with Queen Elizabeth I and fought a duel with the Earl of Essex. He took part in campaigns in the Low Countries with Sir John Norris and fought in Ireland. He was also governor of Portsmouth. During the 1588 Armada campaign he served in the Earl of Essex's squadron. As a Member of Parliament he represented St Ives and Bere Alston in Devon.  On the death of his brother he became 8th Baron Mountjoy and he was created Earl of Devonshire by James I. In 1597 he was made a Knight of the Garter and in the same year went with Essex to the Azores. He had five children, Mountjoy, St John, Charles, Penelope and Isabella, by Lady Penelope Rich (d.1607), daughter of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex. She divorced her husband and married Charles on 26 December 1605. But the marriage was not recognised and the children were deemed illegitimate. On his death at Savoy House in the Strand in London on 3 April 1606 his titles became extinct.

Westminster Abbey Muniment 6413 records allowances made to the Abbey officers and the Master of the Savoy at the funeral. William Camden, in the 1606 edition of his guidebook to the Abbey, places Blount in St Paul's chapel.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.

"The Complete Peerage" under Mountjoy, for the Blount family.

www.historyofparliamentonline.org