The Russell Family Tree
The first ancestor whom we can identify with certainty is Stephen Russell of Dorset, who in 1394 represented Weymouth in parliament. His great-great-grandson John established the family fortune. Having entered the service of Henry VII he later enjoyed the privileged position of a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, entrusted with many state offices and diplomatic missions under Henry VIII. Most of the family estates were granted in recognition of his services and he became Baron Russell. Henry died in 1547 but his son, Edward VI granted Woburn Abbey to John in the same year. In 1550, following the instructions in his father’s will, he created John, The First Earl of Bedford.
The Bloomsbury Estate came into the Russell Family’s ownership in 1669 when William son of the 5th Earl of Bedford, married a young widow, Lady Rachel Vaughan, one of the daughters of the 4th Earl of Southampton. Lady Rachel had recently inherited from her father the agricultural fields we now know as Bloomsbury.