Earl of Leicester

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Earls of Leicester (pronounced "Lester") is a hereditary British title of nobility . It was first created in the 12th century within the Peerage of England ; today it is a title within the Peerage of the United Kingdom , which was awarded in 1837.

The ancestral home of the current Earl of Leicester is Holkham Hall at Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk .


The first title holder was Robert de Beaumont around 1107 , who at the same time bore the title of French Count of Meulan . Three generations of his successors, all with the first name Robert, called themselves the Earl of Leicester.

The Beaumont male line ended with the fourth earl. His property was divided between his two sisters; Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester , the son of the eldest sister, acquired Leicester and the rights to the county, Saer de Quincy , the husband of the younger sister, was named Earl of Winchester . Montfort was never formally recognized as an Earl due to the enmity between England and France at the time. It was not until his second son, Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester , that he succeeded in taking possession of the county and the associated land. This is that Simon de Montfort, who in the reign of Henry III. occurred and was killed in the Battle of Evesham on August 4, 1265. With him the title became extinct.

The lands of Montfort with the Honor of Leicester were soon given to Edmund , the king's youngest son , on October 26, 1265 . In January 1267, Edmund was then raised to Earl of Leicester. His son Thomas of Lancaster, 2nd Earl of Lancaster , lost his earliest dignity and was executed in 1322 for high treason. Thomas' younger brother Henry was allowed to hold the title again from 1324; his son Henry of Grosmont left only two daughters, to whom the property was divided: the older daughter, Maud of Lancaster , received the county, which was then held by her husband William V, Count of Holland . Since Maud died a short time later, the title went to John of Gaunt , the husband of the younger sister, Blanche of Lancaster , who was later elevated to Duke of Lancaster . Both the duchy and the earliest dignity inherited from John of Gaunt's son Henry Bolingbroke , and both titles were extinguished when Henry ascended the throne as the title was now united with the crown. The land belonging to the county became part of the later Duchy of Lancaster.

Queen Elizabeth I recreated the title on September 29, 1564 for her favorite Robert Dudley . The day before she had given him the minor title of Baron Denbigh . Since Dudley died in 1588 without an heir, his titles expired with his death, but the next bestowal of the earldom on August 2, 1618 went to Dudley's nephew Robert Sidney, 1st Viscount L'Isle . This had previously been raised to Baron Sydney on May 13, 1603 and Viscount L'Isle on May 4, 1605 . His descendants carried the title until the death of the seventh earl, who died in 1743 without an heir. The next bestowal went on May 9, 1744 to Thomas Coke, 1st Baron Lovell , who was also given the subordinate title Viscount Coke . Already on May 28, 1728 he had been raised to Baron Lovell . But he too died without an heir on April 20, 1759, so that his titles became void.

The next bestowal went on May 18, 1784 to George Townshend , 16th Baron Ferrers of Chartley , who also inherited the title of 2nd Marquess Townshend in 1807, and expired again with the death of the 3rd Marquess in 1855. Previously, on August 12, 1837 , however, another Thomas Coke had been given the title of Earl of Leicester , of Holkham in the County of Norfolk . The latter was given the subordinate title Viscount Coke together with the Earldom . His title heir ( Heir Apparent ) carries the courtesy title Viscount Coke .

List of the Earls of Leicester

Earls of Leicester, first bestowal (1107)

Earls of Leicester, second bestowal (1265)

Earls of Leicester, third bestowal (1564)

Earls of Leicester, fourth bestowal (1618)

Earls of Leicester, fifth bestowal (1744)

Earls of Leicester, sixth award (1784)

Earls of Leicester, seventh award (1837)

The heir ( Heir Apparent ) is the son of the current Earl, Edward Coke Horatio, Viscount Coke (* 2003).


  • Levi Fox: The Honor and Earldom of Leicester. Origin and Descent, 1066-1399. In: English Historical Review , 54 (1939), 385-402

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