Earl of Chester

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Original coat of arms of the Earl of Chester

Earl of Chester is a hereditary British title of nobility that has been awarded many times in the Peerage of England , the Peerage of Great Britain and the Peerage of the United Kingdom .

The Earl of Chester was one of the most powerful lords in medieval England . Since 1301, the title has usually been conferred on the heir to the throne, and from the late 14th century onwards , always together with that of the Prince of Wales .

History of the title

Since the late 11th century, Chester has belonged to the Earls of Chester, who owned land scattered across England that was known as "the honor of Chester". By the end of the 12th century they had established a position as regents of Cheshire , which became the basis for their later name as "county palatine". The county fell to the Crown in 1237 with the death of John of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon , the seventh and last Earl, and was conscripted as a Crown Estate in 1246. King Henry III gave the reign of Chester (but not the title of Earl) in 1254 to his son Edward, later King Edward I , who in turn gave title and land to his son, the first English Prince of Wales. At the time, Cheshire consisted of two counties: Cheshire and Flintshire.

The establishment of royal rule in Chester enabled King Edward I's conquest of North Wales , and Chester played an essential role as a supply base during the Welsh Wars (1275–1284), so that the separate organization as a "county palatine" was justified. This remained so until the time of King Henry VIII.

King Richard II raised Cheshire to a principality in 1398 and himself Prince of Cheshire , which King Henry IV reversed in 1399. While the sovereign's eldest son is the Duke of Cornwall , he has yet to be named Earl of Chester (and Prince of Wales). Prince Charles was named Earl of Chester on July 26, 1958, the same day he became Prince of Wales and Earl of Carrick .

The independent jurisdiction of the County Palatine of Chester lasted until Henry VIII brought the county under the control of the Crown. The Palatinate courts of Great Sessions and Exchequer even survived until the reforms of 1830.

List of the Earls of Chester

Earls of Chester, first bestowal (1070)

Earls of Chester, second bestowal (1071)

Earls of Chester, third bestowal (1121)

Earls of Chester, fourth award (1232)

Earls of Chester, fifth bestowal (1264)

(There is no evidence that Alfonso (1273–1284), Edward I's elder son, who died young, was bestowed the title of Earl of Chester, despite calling himself that.)

Earls of Chester, sixth award (1301)

Earls of Chester, seventh bestowal (1312)

From here the title was awarded together with that of Prince of Wales .


  • BE Harris: Administrative History , in: CR Elrington (ed.): The Victoria County History of Chester (University of London Institute of Historical Research, London, 1979), Volume II, pp. 1-97

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