I received an E-Mail on 13 June 1997 from Brian Hickey follows:-

In my general research I have found that a Sir William Capel was Lord Mayor of London in 1503.

Whether or not the Earls of Essex were descended from him is not really established from the data I have looked at. All I know from history is that Essex (Robert Devereaux) the 2nd Earl 10.11.1566/7 d. 25.2.1601 was a cousin of QE 1 on his mothers side. Robert succeeded to the title when only 9 (1576) from his father Walter.

An Arthur Capel was created Earl Of Essex in 1661 (This is where I believe there is some "Historic Licence" with the Capel story of "an affair with QE 1". ) Perhaps the lineage was from Sir William in 1503! It is an interesting Caplice ancestral story.

Does it really matter? However, I wonder how much accuracy is involved in these "World Books of ...(Family) where these stories emanate from.

All I know, historically, is that an Arthur Capel succeeded to the title in 1661 (after Elizabeth 1's death) and that this Capel family still holds the Earldom.

Just thought that I would add some historical content to your Home Page!




I received another E-Mail from Brian Hickey on 10 July 1997 as follows:-

Subject: Capel : Capell: Caplice - Family Name History : FAMOUS NAMESAKES

Hi Peter,

I just thought that I would add some further data to the "CAPLICE Family Name" history.


In 1707 I note that one of the Constables of the Tower of London was an Earl of Essex. This important and prestigious position and title was formed in the days of William The Conqueror. In the early days it was an heriditary title.

The King gave the Constable control of the City of London as representative of the Crown, and he enjoyed permanent quarters in the Tower. He was also given the right of immediate access to his Sovereign.

In more modern times, the position has become nominal and ceremonial and is usually bestowed upon a soldier with an outstanding military career.

I believe that the above Constable was a CAPEL/CAPELL.

To my mind there has always been some confusion in writings about the Earls of Essex - mainly through:

Walter Devereaux ESSEX : 1541 - 1576 1st Earl.

Robert Devereaux ESSEX : 1566 - 1601 2nd Earl - he was the ageing QE 1 favourite; but he was eventually to meet his end - executed after being guilty of treason.

Robert Devereaux ESSEX : 1591 - 1646 3rd Earl (the last DEVEREAUX earl)

These were not of CAPEL ancestry.

Then we have ESSEX Arthur Capel : 1st Earl. - b. 1631/32 d. July 13, 1683 whose descendants still hold the title. This was bestowed upon him, his heirs and successors by Charles II.

The following Earl of ESSEX is a CAPEL/CAPELL descendant -

I came upon this connection while scanning through the names : STEPHENS.

Catherine STEPHENS (1794-1882), Countess of Essex, was a vocalist and actress, and the daughter of Edward Stephens, a carver and gilder of London. She was said to have had the sweetest soprano voice of her time, both in opera and as a concert singer.

She married George Capell Coningsby, an octogenarian widower and the 5th Earl of Essex, and survived him by 43 years.

It's amazing what one finds without really looking.

Best wishes,



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This page first produced 14 June 1997

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