Manners, Roger, 5th Earl of Rutland (1564 -1612)
Roger Manners was the eldest son of John Manners, 4th Earl of Rutland, and Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Charlton of Apley Castle, Shropshire. On 21 February 1587/8 he succeeded as 5th Earl of Rutland on the death of his father. He received his education at Queens’ College, and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, obtaining an M.A. in 1595. He continued his studies at Padua and at Gray’s Inn. At Cambridge he met Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, Shakespeare’s patron. On 5 March 1598 he married Elizabeth Sidney, daughter of Sir Philip Sidney and Frances Walsingham, and stepdaughter of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. It is claimed by some that Manners and his wife co-authored some of Shakespeare’s work, but there is no hard evidence to support the claim. Roger, and his younger brother George participated in the Earl of Essex’s ill-fated Irish expedition of 1599, in defiance of Queen Elizabeth’s orders. The elder Manners served as Colonel of Foot, and was knighted by Essex at Cahir Castle, Co. Tipperary, 30 May 1599. On his return to England he avoided prison through the intercession of influential friends. Roger, and his two younger brothers took part in Essex’s final revolt against Elizabeth, for which he was imprisoned in the Tower and fined £30,000 and was exiled from Belvoir Castle to his uncle’s house in Uffington, Lincolnshire. He found favour with James I who stayed at Belvoir on his grand procession from Edinburgh to London in 1603, where he was extravagantly entertained. Manners was made Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, and Steward of the Manor of Grantham, owned by James’ consort Queen Anne. He died at the age of thirty-five, some believe from poison administered by his wife, who herself died two weeks later, also from alleged poisoning. The marriage produced no children. Roger was succeeded by his brother Francis to the title, as 6th Earl of Rutland in 1612.