Earl of Warwick

Countess of Warwick redirects here; for the apple of that name see Beauty of Kent (apple).
Warwick Castle, traditionally the seat of the Earls of Warwick, on the River Avon.

Earl of Warwick (i/ˈwɒrɪk/ WORR-ik) is a title that has been created four times in English history and is one of the most prestigious titles in the peerages of the United Kingdom. The first creation came in 1088, and was held by the Beaumont, and later by the Beauchamp families. The 14th Earl was created Duke of Warwick in 1445, a title which became extinct on his early death the following year. The best-known Earl of this creation was the 16th Earl, who was involved in the deposition of two kings, a fact which later earned him his epithet "Warwick the Kingmaker". This creation became extinct on the death of the 17th Earl in 1499. The title was revived in 1547 for the powerful statesman John Dudley, 1st Viscount Lisle, who was later made Duke of Northumberland. The earldom was passed on during his lifetime to his eldest son, John, but both father and son were attainted in 1554. The title was recreated or restored in 1561 in favour of Ambrose, younger son of the Duke of Northumberland. However, Ambrose was childless and the earldom became extinct on his death in 1590. It was created for a third time in 1618 for Robert Rich, 3rd Baron Rich, in spite of the fact that the Rich family were not in possession of Warwick Castle. From 1673 the Earls also held the title Earl of Holland. All the titles became extinct on the death of the 8th Earl in 1759. The earldom was revived the same year in favour of Francis Greville, 1st Earl Brooke. The Greville family were in possession of Warwick Castle and the title and castle were thereby re-united for the first time in over a century. The 1759 creation is extant and currently held by Guy Greville, 9th Earl of Warwick. However, Warwick Castle was sold by the family in 1978, and they currently live in Australia.

1088 creation

Arms of Newburgh/Beaumont Earls of Warwick, adopted c. 1200-1215 at start of the age of heraldry: Checky azure and or a chevron ermine[1]
Arms of Beauchamp: Gules, a fesse between six cross crosslets or

The medieval earldom created in 1088 was held to be inheritable through a female line of descent, and thus was held by members of several families. It was traditionally associated with possession of Warwick Castle. The heraldic device of the Earls of Warwick, the bear and ragged staff, is believed to derive from two legendary Earls, Arthal and Morvidus. Arthal is to mean "bear", while Morvidus was to have slain a giant "with a young ash tree torn up by the roots."[2]

The first Earl of Warwick was Henry de Beaumont, younger son of Roger de Beaumont, Count of Meulan and brother to Robert de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester. The family name of Beaumont was Latinised to de Bello Monte ("from the beautiful mountain"); the family was also known as de Newburgh, Latinised to de Novo Burgo ("from the new borough/town"). Henry changed his name to de Newburgh, after the Castle de Neubourg, his home in Normandy.[3] Henry became constable of Warwick castle in 1068 and Earl in 1088 as reward for his support for the king during the Rebellion of 1088.

The title passed through several generations of the Beaumont family until Thomas, the 6th earl, died in 1242 without a male heir. The earldom then went to his sister Margaret and her husbands and on her death to her cousin William Maudit. When he died also without a male heir the title passed to his daughter Isabel and her husband William Beauchamp and thence her son William, who became 9th earl. During this period the earldom and the Beauchamps were elevated to the highest levels until Henry, the 14th earl was created Duke of Warwick with precedence over all except the Duke of Norfolk.

This precedence was disputed however and with Henry's death in 1445, also without male heir, the dukedom was extinguished. The earldom went to his infant daughter, and on her death a few years later passed to Henry's sister Anne and her husband Richard Neville, who became 16th earl and was known to history as "Warwick the Kingmaker". After Richard Neville's death the title was created for his son-in-law, George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, husband of Neville's eldest daughter Isabella Neville, on 25 March 1472.[4] It then passed to Richard and Anne’s grandson Edward, son of George, Duke of Clarence, and with his death in 1499 the title became extinct.

1547 creation

Arms of Dudley: Or, a lion rampant double-queued vert

The title was next conferred upon the powerful statesman and soldier John Dudley, 1st Viscount Lisle. He had already been created Viscount Lisle in right of his deceased mother, Elizabeth Grey, in 1543, and was made Earl of Warwick in the Peerage of England in 1547. In 1551 he was further honoured when he was created Duke of Northumberland. In January 1553 Parliament passed the earldom to his eldest son John, the second Earl. He died young in 1554, and having been attainted along with his father in August 1553, the title became extinct until it was revived in 1561 for his younger brother Ambrose, the third Earl. He served as Master-General of the Ordnance and Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire. On his death in 1590 the earldom became extinct.

1618 creation

Arms of Rich: Gules, a chevron between three crosses botonée or

The title was re-created when Robert Rich, 3rd Baron Rich, was made Earl of Warwick in 1618. This was despite the fact that the Rich family were not in possession of Warwick Castle (this was in the hands of the Greville family; see the 1759 creation below). His second son the Honourable Henry Rich was created Baron Kensington in 1623 and Earl of Holland in 1624. Lord Warwick was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Earl. He represented Maldon in the House of Commons and served as Lord Lieutenant of Essex.

His eldest son, the third Earl, sat as Member of Parliament for Essex. He died without surviving male issue and was succeeded by his younger brother, the fourth Earl. He represented Sandwich and Essex in Parliament. On his death the line of the second Earl of Warwick failed and the titles were inherited by his first cousin Robert Rich, 2nd Earl Holland, who became the fifth Earl of Warwick as well. He was the son of the aforementioned Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland, younger son of the first Earl of Warwick (see the Earl of Holland for earlier history of this branch of the family). This line of the family failed on the early death of his grandson, the seventh Earl, in 1721. The late Earl was succeeded by his second cousin Edward Rich, the eighth Earl. He was the grandson of the Hon. Cope Rich, younger son of the first Earl of Holland. On his death in 1759 all the titles became extinct.

Lady Mary Rich, daughter of the first Earl of Holland, married Sir John Campbell, 5th Baronet, who was created Earl of Breadalbane and Holland in 1681. Also, Lady Elizabeth Rich, only daughter and heiress of the fifth Earl of Warwick and second Earl of Holland, married Francis Edwardes. Their son William Edwardes succeeded to parts of the Rich estates and was created Baron Kensington in the Peerage of Ireland in 1776,[5] a revival of the barony attached to the earldom of Holland.

Charles Rich, son of the Honourable Sir Edward Rich, younger son of the second Baron Rich, was created a baronet in 1676 (see Rich baronets).

1759 creation

Arms of Greville: Sable, a cross engrailed or all within a bordure engrailed of the second

The title was again created in 1759 when Francis Greville, 8th Baron Brooke was made Earl of Warwick in the Peerage of Great Britain.[6] In 1746 he had been created Earl Brooke, of Warwick Castle in the County of Warwick, in the Peerage of Great Britain.[7] The earldom and Warwick Castle were thereby re-united for the first time in over a century. In 1767 the Earl petitioned the House of Lords for permission to use just the more prestigious title and style of "Earl of Warwick" only, with the precedence of 1746. Such permission was never granted but the Earls nevertheless ceased to use the Brooke earldom in style, and have always been known (except in the House of Lords) simply as The Earl of Warwick.

The first Earl was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Earl. He represented Warwick in Parliament and served as a Lord of Trade and as Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire.[8] His eldest son from his second marriage, the third Earl, sat as Member of Parliament for Warwick and held minor office in the second administration of Sir Robert Peel. He was also Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire.[9] He was succeeded by his son, the fourth Earl. He represented Warwickshire South in the House of Commons.[10] His eldest son, the fifth Earl, was Conservative Member of Parliament for Somerset East and served as Lord Lieutenant of Essex.[11] As of 2012 the titles are held the latter's great-great-grandson, the ninth Earl, who succeeded his father in 1996.[12]

Other members of the Greville family

Several other members of the Greville family may also be mentioned. The Honourable Algernon Greville, second son of the fifth Baron, sat as Member of Parliament for Warwickshire.[13] His son Fulke Greville was Member of Parliament for Monmouth Boroughs[14] and the husband of Frances Greville.[15] He was the father of 1) Frances Crewe, Lady Crewe,[16] 2) Captain William Fulke Greville,[17] the father of the Liberal politician Fulke Greville-Nugent, 1st Baron Greville (see Baron Greville for further history of this branch of the family), and 3) Captain Charles Greville,[18] the father of Charles Greville,[19] Algernon Greville,[20] and Henry William Greville.Major Brooke Southwell Greville Hon Kings Messenger,son of Major Southwell Greville,brother of Baron Greville of Clonyn,Marquess of Westmeath.The Honourable Charles Francis Greville, second son of the first Earl, was an antiquarian, collector and politician.[21] The Honourable Robert Fulke Greville, third son of the first Earl, was a politician and courtier.[22] His son and namesake was Robert Fulke Greville. The Honourable Sir Charles John Greville, third son of the second Earl, was a Major-General in the British Army.[23] The Honourable Sir Sidney Greville (1866–1927), younger son of the fourth Earl, was a courtier.[24] Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick, wife of the fifth Earl, was a socialite.

List of titleholders

Earls of Warwick; First creation (1088)

Duke of Warwick (1445-46)

Earls of Warwick; Second creation (1547)

Earls of Warwick; Third creation (1618)

Other title: Baron Rich (1547)

Earls of Warwick; Fourth creation (1759), also Earls Brooke (1746)

Other title: Baron Brooke (1621)

The heir apparent is the present holder's son Charles Fulke Chester Greville, Lord Brooke (born 1982)


See also

Other uses


  1. Source: Arms of "Thomas, Earl of Warwick" stated in several 13th-century Rolls of Arms, incl. Collins' Roll, c. 1296
  2. Stephen Turnbull: The Book of the Medieval Knight, Arms and Armour, 1995, ISBN 1-85409-264-2, p. 160
  3. Hutchins, John, The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset, Vols. 1-4, 1815
  4. Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 136.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 11679. p. 1. 29 June 1776.
  6. The London Gazette: no. 9951. p. 3. 24 November 1759.
  7. The London Gazette: no. 8550. p. 5. 1 July 1746.
  8. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 2609 § 26082 George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick". The Peerage.
  9. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 2609 § 26087 Henry Richard Greville, 3rd Earl of Warwick". The Peerage.
  10. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 1376 § 13755 George Guy Greville, 4th Earl of Warwick". The Peerage.
  11. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 1228 § 12280 Francis Richard Charles Guy Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick". The Peerage.
  12. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 5257 § 52562 Guy David Greville, 9th Earl of Warwick". The Peerage.
  13. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 5783 § 57822 Hon. Algernon Greville". The Peerage.
  14. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 1824 § 18234 Fulke Greville". The Peerage.
  15. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 5783 § 57825 Frances Macartney". The Peerage.
  16. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 23240 § 232393 Frances Greville". The Peerage.
  17. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 2902 § 29012 Captain William Fulke Greville". The Peerage.
  18. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 997 § 9964 Captain Charles Greville". The Peerage.
  19. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 33517 § 335164 Charles Greville". The Peerage.
  20. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 7899 § 78986 Algernon Frederick Greville". The Peerage.
  21. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 41634 § 416331 Hon. Charles Francis Greville". The Peerage.
  22. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 2855 § 28541 Hon. Robert Fulke Greville". The Peerage.
  23. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 2730 § 27294 Maj.-Gen. Sir Charles John Greville". The Peerage.
  24. Lundy, Darryl. "p. 7014 § 70133 Hon. Sir Sidney Robert Greville". The Peerage.
  25. "Guy Earl Of Warwick" at pubsgalore.co.uk
  26. "Life and Operas: Un ballo in maschera" at Giuseppe Verdi, il sito ufficiale/official site. (accessed 2/7/13)


External links

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