Baron Arlington

Barony of Arlington
Creation date 14 March 1665
Monarch Charles II of England
Peerage Peerage of England
First holder Sir Henry Bennet
Present holder Jennifer Forwood, 11th Baroness Arlington (Baroness Arlington)
Remainder to grantee's heirs of the body lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titles Viscount Thetford; Baron Arlington

Baron Arlington is a title in the Peerage of England which was created, on 14 March 1665, for Sir Henry Bennet,[1] younger brother of John Bennet, 1st Baron Ossulston, with a special remainder allowing it to descend to male and female heirs, rather than only male heirs, as was customary with most peerages. In 1672, he was made Earl of Arlington and Viscount Thetford, and was regranted the title of Baron Arlington, with the same special remainder. Its territorial designation is the birthplace of its first holder Harlington, London, which was also known as Arlington.

The first Earl died, as anticipated, without male heirs so the titles went to his daughter Isabella. At age five, Isabella was engaged to Henry FitzRoy, the illegitimate son of Charles II of England and his mistress Barbara Villiers. Henry would be created Duke of Grafton in 1679.

Co-descent with the Duchy of Grafton

As this boy Charles was an illegitimate son of King Charles II he therefore took the Norman-style surname Fitzroy. Upon the death of his parents Charles FitzRoy inherited the Arlington and Grafton substantive titles.

The two titles continued united until the death of the 9th Duke in a high-speed racecar accident in 1936.

Separation from Dukedom

The Grafton dukedom passed to a cousin yet the three Arlington/Thetford titles fell into abeyance under the principle of moieties between his two sisters, neither of whom petitioned the Sovereign to terminate this. After the death of the elder sister, her eldest child Jennifer petitioned the Sovereign, and the abeyance of the barony of Arlington was terminated in her favour, restoring it upon her, rather than her aunt's descendants. The earldom of Arlington, however, remains abeyant, along with the viscountcy of Thetford.

Abeyance of senior title

In the Peerage of the United Kingdom the earldom (including the viscountcy as a courtesy title) presents a rare example of a peerage more senior than a barony falling into abeyance, another case being that of the earldom of Cromartie in 1893.

Barons Arlington (1665)

The heir apparent is the present holder's elder son Hon. Patrick John Dudley Forwood (b. 1967).

The heir apparent's heir presumptive is his younger brother Hon. James Roland Nelson Forwood (b. 1969).

Co-heirs to the earldom of Arlington and the viscountcy of Thetford - in abeyance


  1. Alan Marshall, ‘Bennet, Henry, first earl of Arlington (bap. 1618, d. 1685)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008.

See also

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