Earl of Kent

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Earls of Kent was a hereditary British title of nobility awarded once in Anglo-Saxon times, seven times in the Peerage of England and once in the Peerage of the United Kingdom .


For the first time, the title was bestowed on Godwin of Wessex in 1020 under the Anglo-Saxon-Nordic King Canute the Great . The title expired when his son Leofwine Godwinson fell on October 14, 1066 in the Battle of Hastings .

The victor of Hastings, William the Conqueror , as the new King of England in 1067 bestowed the title in the Peerage of England on his half-brother Odo , the Bishop of Bayeux . In 1088 he led an unsuccessful rebellion against Wilhelm's son and successor Wilhelm II , which is why his title was revoked and his lands were confiscated by the crown.

During the turmoil of the English Civil War ( The Anarchy ), King Stephan created the title in the Peerage of England for his Flemish mercenary leader Wilhelm von Ypres . Stephen's successor Heinrich II recognized the title from him again in 1155.

On February 11, 1227, King Johann Ohneland awarded the title to his Justiciar Hubert de Burgh . The title should be inheritable to his male descendants from his third marriage to Margaret of Scotland , and expired on his death on May 12, 1243, as he had only one daughter with her.

In the fourth award, the title was on July 28, 1321 by King Edward II to his half-brother Edmund of Woodstock in recognition of his support against the uprising of the Welsh Marcher Lords ( Despenser War ). In 1326 he participated in the conspiracy of Queen Isabella against her husband Edward II and after his forced abdication belonged to the Regency Council for the minor Edward III. In the same year, suspected of wanting to free Edward II, who had meanwhile been murdered but still believed imprisoned, Edmund was accused of high treason, beheaded on March 19, 1330 and stripped of his title. In 1331 the conviction was revoked and the title of his underage son Edmund as 2nd Earl was restored. When he died in the same year, the title fell to his younger brother John as 3rd Earl, who in 1349 inherited the subordinate title of 4th Baron Wake of Liddell from his mother . With John's childless death, both titles fell in 1352 to his sister Joan , whose husband Thomas Holland, 1st Baron Holand with Letters patent from November 20, 1360, was also newly awarded the title Earl of Kent in a separate fifth award. As early as 1353 he was given the subordinate title Baron Holand . Their son Thomas combined the parental titles as 5th and 2nd Earl in 1385. His son Thomas was also elevated to Duke of Surrey in 1397, but his duke domination was revoked in 1399. With the childless death of his younger brother Edmund Holland , the 7th and 4th Earls, on September 15, 1408, all his titles lapsed with the exception of the barony Wake of Liddell, which fell in Abeyance between his paternal aunts and their descendants.

In the sixth award, the title was recreated for William Neville by King Edward IV during the Wars of the Roses on June 30, 1461 . The title expired on his childless death on January 9, 1463. Eduard then awarded the title on May 30, 1465 in the seventh bestowal to his Lord Treasurer , Edmund Gray, 4th Baron Gray de Ruthyn . Already in 1440 he inherited the subordinate title of Baron Gray de Ruthyn from his grandfather . At the death of his great-great-great-grandson, the 8th Earl , on November 21, 1639, the hereditary barony of Gray de Ruthyn fell to Charles Longueville , his sister's son, as the 12th baron. The earl title fell to his third uncle as 9th Earl . His great-grandson, the 12th Earl , inherited the title of 2nd Baron Lucas from his mother in 1702 and became Marquess of Kent and Viscount Goderich on November 14, 1706, Duke of Kent on April 28, 1710 and May 19 Elevated to Marquess Gray in 1740 . Since he left no sons, his titles expired when he died on June 5, 1740, with the exception of the Marquessate Gray and the Barony of Lucas, which fell to his granddaughter Jemima Yorke due to special inheritance regulations in female succession .

In the last bestowal to date, the title was created on May 24, 1866 in the Peerage of the United Kingdom by Queen Victoria for her second-born son, Prince Alfred , together with the titles Duke of Edinburgh and Earl of Ulster . Since his only son Alfred died childless before him, the titles expired on his death on July 30, 1900.

List of the Earls of Kent

Anglo-Saxon Earls of Kent (1020)

Earls of Kent, first bestowal (1067)

  • Odo of Bayeux , 1st Earl of Kent († 1097) (title forfeited 1088)

Earls of Kent, second bestowal (1141)

Earls of Kent, third bestowal (1227)

Earls of Kent, fourth bestowal (1321)

Earls of Kent, fifth bestowal (1360)

Earls of Kent, sixth bestowal (1461)

Earls of Kent, seventh bestowal (1465)

Earls of Kent, eighth bestowal (1866)

See also


  • GW Bernard: The Fortunes of the Grays, Earls of Kent, in the Early Sixteenth Century. In: The Historical Journal , 25 (1982), 671-685

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