About Elizabeth Higgons, Countess of Essex
Elizabeth (bur. 16 Sept. 1656), da. of Sir William Powlett of Edington, Wilts., wid. of Robert, 3rd Earl of Essex, married 2nd to Thomas HIGGONS (c.1624-91), of Greywell, Hants.; 2 daughters
On 11 March 1630 Essex married Elizabeth Pawlett, daughter of Sir William Pawlett, of Edington, Wiltshire, past High Sheriff of Wiltshire and cousin of William Paulet, 4th Marquess of Winchester. Elizabeth was introduced at Court during the Great Parliament of 1628/29 just after her father died, as the eldest unmarried daughter needing to marry to improve her family prospects. Back from travels in military service on the Continent (see below) Robert was also pressured to marry again (and quickly) to show the Court the humiliation from his first marriage could be overcome. This marriage was also a disaster and failed, though not as publicly. They separated in 1631, the Countess remaining at Essex House in The Strand, London, Robert "playing soldiers" at his estates.
There was a son from the union, Robert, styled Viscount Hereford, who was born on 5 November 1636 and died of plague a month later. Essex, who had given the birth date as a deadline beyond which he would have disowned the child, grudgingly acknowledged him as his own; however, the father was widely suspected by the Court to be Elizabeth's alleged lover, Sir Thomas Uvedale (from the alleged prompting of William Seymour, 1st Marquess of Hertford, Robert's brother-in-law who leased part of Essex House in London, and expected to inherit if Robert had no issue). Elizabeth, through her funeral oration (years later) by her second husband Sir Thomas Higgons vigorously denied this.
- Stemmata Botevilliana Memorials of the families of De Boteville, Thynne, and Botfield, in the counties of Salop and Wilts. With an appendix of illustrative documents. Beriah BOTFIELD J. B. Nichols & Sons, 1858 - 204 pages. Page 104