Page:The house of Cecil.djvu/125

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THE FIRST EARL OF EXETER 101

marry. The last few years of the Earl's life were overshadowed by these and other troubles.

The unhappy marriage of his daughter, Eliza- beth, the young and beautiful widow of Sir William Hatton, to Sir Edward Coke, the Lord Chief Justice, reached its climax soon after her husband's disgrace in 1616, when she made up her mind not to live with him any more and appealed against his tyranny to the Privy Council. Her misery, and, we may be sure, that of her father, to whom she came with all her troubles, was increased by the marriage between her daughter Frances and Sir John Villiers, afterwards Viscount Purbeck, Buckingham's elder brother, which was brought about by the intrigues of the bridegroom's mother, backed up by the King. Coke was bribed by being restored to his seat at the Council, and his wife's protestations were of no avail. 1 In addition to these misfortunes, Lord Roos, Exeter's grandson and future heir, died in Naples under very suspicious circumstances in 1618 ; another grandson, Lord St. John, son of the Marquess of Winchester, died in 1621; and most grievous of all, the only child of the Earl's second marriage, a daughter, named in

1 A full account of this disgraceful transaction, " the issue of which was a tragedy hardly inferior to that which sprung from the marriage of Lady Essex," is given by Gardiner (History of England, 1603 1642, Vol. III., Chap. XXIV.). Lady Purbeck deserted her husband in 1621, and, having given birth to a child in October, 1624, was convicted in the High Court of Commission of adultery with Sir Robert Howard. She died in 1645. Another grandchild of the Earl of Exeter got into trouble over his marriage. This was the son of Lady Dorothy Cecil, who married Sir Giles Alington. Sir Giles (the younger) married his niece, and was fined in the High Court ^32,000, the marriage being pronounced void (April, 1631).

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