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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 392 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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EARL OF ROBERT SIDNEY LEICESTER (1563-1626), second son of Sir Henry Sidney (q.v.), was born on the 19th of November 1563, and was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, afterwards travelling on the Continent for some years between 1578 and 1583. In 1585 he was elected member of parliament for Glamorganshire; and in the same year he went with his elder brother Sir Philip Sidney (q.v.) to the Netherlands, where he served in the war against Spain under his uncle Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester., He was present at the engagement where Sir Philip Sidney was mortally wounded, and remained with his brother till the latter's death in October 1586. After visiting Scotland on a diplomatic mission in 1588, and France on a similar errand in 1593, he returned to the Netherlands in r506, where he rendered distinguished service in the war for the next two years. He had been appointed governor of Flushing in 1588, and he spent much time there till 1603, when, on the accession of James I., he returned to England. James raised him at once to the peerage as Baron Sidney of Penshurst, and he was appointed chamberlain to the queen consort. In 1605 he was created Viscount Lisle, and in 1618 earl of Leicester, the latter title having become extinct in 1588 on the death of his uncle, whose property he had inherited (see LEICESTER, EARLS OF). Leicester was a man of taste and a patron of literature, whose cultured mode of life at his country seat, Penshurst, was celebrated in verse by Ben Jonson. The earl died at Penshurst on the 13th of July 1626. He was twice married; first to Barbara, daughter of John Gamage, a Glamorganshire gentle-man; and secondly to Sarah, daughter of William Blount, and widow of Sir Thomas Smythe. By his first wife he had a large family. His eldest son having died unmarried in 1613, Robert, the second son (see below), succeeded to the earldom; one of his daughters married Sir John Hobart, ancestor of the earls of Buckinghamshire.
End of Article: EARL OF ROBERT SIDNEY LEICESTER (1563-1626)

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