Essex, Walter Devereux, 1st earl of, 1541?–1576, English soldier. He helped in the suppression of the Northern Rebellion of 1569 and was created earl of Essex in 1572. In 1573 he volunteered to colonize a part of Ulster, then controlled by the O'Neill clan, and bring it under English rule. Famine, desertion of his troops, and the vacillation of Queen Elizabeth I negated his ruthless efforts to subdue the Irish. He was recalled (1575) and died soon afterward. His son, Robert, became the 2d earl of Essex.