John Russell,1st Earl of Bedford

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John Knight of the Garter Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, Lord High Admiral

Birthplace: Kingston Russell, Doretshire, Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England
Death: Died in Russell House, Strand, Middlesex, England
Place of Burial: Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of James Russell and Alicia Russell
Husband of Anne Anne Countess of Bedford Sapcote, Countess of Bedford
Father of Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford and Dorothy Russell
Brother of Elizabeth Russell; Francis Russell; James Russell; Ann Napier and Thomas Russell

Occupation: 1st earl of bedford, Knight
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Russell,1st Earl of Bedford

John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford

  • was born in 1485 at Kingston Russell, Dorset, England.3
  • He was the son of James Russell and Alice Wyse.1
  • He married Anne Sapcote, daughter of Sir Guy Sapcote and Margaret Wolston, in 1526.4
  • He died on 14 March 1554/55 at Russell House, Strand, Middlesex, England.4
    • He was buried on 20 March 1554/55 at Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England.4
    • His will (dated 2 February 1554/5) was probated on 2 May 1556.4
    • He died intestate and his estate was administered on 16 July 1605.5
  • In January 1506 he made himself of service to Philip of Austria and Juana (King and Queen of Castile), when wrecked off Weymouth.3
  • He held the office of Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to King Henry VII in 1507.3
  • He held the office of Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to King Henry VIII in 1509.3
  • He fought in the French Expedition in 1513, accompanying King Henry VIII.6
  • He fought in the capture of Morlaix, Brittany in 1522, where he lost his right eye to an arrow.6
  • He was invested as a Knight on 2 July 1522 by the Earl of Surrey.3
  • He was invested as a Knight-Marshal in 1523.3
  • He fought in the Battle of Pavia on 24 February 1524/25.3
  • He held the office of Sheriff of Somerset in 1528.3
  • He held the office of Sheriff of Dorset in 1528.3
  • He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Buckinghamshire between 1529 and 1536.4
  • He held the office of Comptroller of the Household between 1537 and 1539.4
  • He was invested as a Privy Counsellor (P.C.) in 1538.4
  • In 1539 he had a grant of the manor of Agmondesham, [Amersham], Buckinghamshire, part of the estates of the * attainted Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham.3
  • He was created 1st Baron Russell [England] on 9 March 1538/39.3
  • He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) on 24 April 1539.3
  • He held the office of Warden of the Stannaries in July 1539.3
  • He held the office of High Steward of Cornwall in July 1539.3
  • He held the office of Lord High Admiral between 1540 and 1542.3
  • He held the office of Privy Seal between October 1542 and 1555.3
  • He held the office of High Steward of Oxford University between 1543 and 1555.3
  • He was Captain-General of the Vanguard of the army for the attack on Boulogne in 1545.3
  • He was created 1st Earl of Bedford [England] on 19 January 1549/50.4
  • He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset in 1552.3
  • He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset in 1552.3
  • He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Devon in 1552.3
  • He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall in 1552.3
  • On 4 May 1552 he obtained the grant of seven acres called 'Long Acre', Middlesex (now Covent Garden), forfeited by the Duke of Somerset.3
  • He held the office of Lord Privy Seal on 16 June 1553.3
  • Child of John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford and Anne Sapcote
    • 1.Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford+4 b. 1527, d. 28 Jul 1585


  • 1.[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, page 73. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • 2.[S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
  • 3.[S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume II, page 74.
  • 4.[S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume II, page 75.
  • 5.[S2] Peter W. Hammond, editor, The Complete Peerage or a History of the House of Lords and All its Members From the Earliest Times, Volume XIV: Addenda & Corrigenda (Stroud, Gloucestershire, U.K.: Sutton Publishing, 1998), page 80. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage, Volume XIV.
  • 6.[S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 318. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.


Historical memoirs of the house of Russell: from the time of the ..., Volume 1 By Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen



  • (1st Earl of Bedford)
  • Born: 1485
  • Died: 14 Mar 1554/5, The Strand, Midlessex, London, England
  • Buried: Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England
  • Notes: Knight of the Garter.
  • Father: James RUSSELL of Kingston Russell
  • Mother: Anne (Alice) WYSE
    • dau. of John Wise of Sydenham, Devon.
  • Married: Anne SAPCOTE (C. Bedford) in spring 1526
    • d. 14 Mar 1559
    • dau. of Sir Guy Sapcote and Margaret Wolston
    • w.1 of Sir John Broughton of Toddington (d. 1517/19)
    • w.2 of Richard Jerningham of London (d. 1525/26)
  • Children:
    • 1. Francis RUSSELL (2° E. Bedford)
  • John Russell came from a Dorset family of moderate standing whose estates had been acquired gradually during the 14th and 15th centuries from the profits of trade and the fortunes of marriage.
    • His grandfather, another John, who broke with family tradition by making a career in the service of the crown, had been a knight of the shire for Dorset in 1472 and died in 1505 leaving a son and heir James who did not long survive him.
  • Of John Russell's early life nothing is known for certain, but in the 17th century Thomas Fuller heard that he had been ‘bred beyond the seas’, an upbringing which would accord with his command of foreign languages.
  • Early in 1506 the fleet taking the Archduke Phillip of Austria and his wife Juana were caught in a storm into Weymouth Bay.
    • Juana was proud for she was the daughter of Isabel of Castile, the patron of Columbus.
    • Juana put on all her fine clothes, so that when her drowned body was found on the shore she might be buried as a Spanish princess should be; but she was not buried: the ship managed to creep into Weymouth, and the people sent the royal strangers to the finest house they knew, Wolfeton, the great house owned by Sir Thomas Trenchard ten miles away.
    • Sir Thomas was at home, but he could not speak Spanish, so he sent for his kinsmen John Russell, who was living at the farmhouse Kingston Russell House at Long Bredy Dorset.
    • John had been in Spain and could interpret, the Spaniards were so delighted with his manner that they took him to see the King.
  • The King Henry VII made Russell a gentleman of the privy chamber.
    • Prior to his elevation to court he was the last of a long line of successful wine importers.
    • Through his mother first marriage, he was brother in law to Sir Thomas Cheney, Warden of the Cinque Ports, who married Anne Broughton.
    • Russell's appointment in the privy chamber was confirmed by Henry VIII, his junior by some six years.
    • Henry quickly selected Russell for special employment, first in the war and than in diplomacy.
  • In 1513 he fought as a captain in the campaign in northern France and after the capture of Tournai he received an administrative post there and was knighted.
    • He became a familiar figure in the city during its occupation, often serving as an intermediary between its council and Cardinal Wolsey and once being involved in a scheme to capture, or even to assassinate the Yorkist claimant to the throne Richard De La Pole.
  • In 1514 he went to Paris for the marriage of Louis XII to Princess Mary and six years later he accompanied the King to the Field of the Cloth of Gold.
  • In 1522 his valour at the siege of Morlaix cost him an eye but gained him a knighthood. Wolsey employed him as an agent between 1523 and 1527 in a search for alliances against Francois I and during his journeys he witnessed the battle of Pavia and narrowly escaped the sack of Rome. His travels came to an end shortly before he was pricked sheriff of Somerset and Dorset: the appointment may have been intended in part to reimburse him for the expenses he had incurred, for he had been obliged to dispose of some of his Dorset property.
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John Russell,1st Earl of Bedford's Timeline

Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England
Age 41
3rd husband
April 1527
Age 42
Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England
Age 54

301st Knight of the Garter

Age 65
London, Greater London, UK
March 14, 1555
Age 70
Russell House, Strand, Middlesex, England
March 20, 1555
Age 70
Chenies, Buckinghamshire, England