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Since William rose and Harold fell
There have been earls of Arundel

Montgomery and de Albini

The first thing to note is that the earldom of Arundel was really that of Sussex. Its origins lie with the grant of the forfeited 'honour of Arundel' by Henry I to his second wife Adeliza de Louvain, which comprised a large portion of Sussex together with Arundel Castle.

As it happens the honour of Arundel had previously been granted to Roger of Montgomery in 1067 and subsequently inherited by his sons Hugh and Robert. It was Robert's rebellion against William II in 1102 that led to the forfeiture of the Montgomery lands and titles including that of Arundel. Roger of Montgomery and his sons are sometimes listed as 'Earls of Arundel', although they never seem to have used that title themselves and might more properly be styled as 'Lords of Arundel', but are included below for the sake of completeness.

After Henry I died his widow Adeliza de Louvain married a gentleman by the name of William de Albini, also called 'William d'Aubigny'. William appears to have been variously styled as the 'Earl of Sussex', 'Earl of Chichester' and described as the 'Earl at Arundel'. From this first William de Albini the succession passed down a series of three more Williams until the 5th de Albini Earl died without issue and a portion of his estates together with Arundel Castle passed to his nephew John Fitzalan in 1243.


With the death of Hugh de Albini the 5th Earl in 1243 the de Albini estates were divided amongst his four sisters as co-heirs. One of the sisters Isabel de Albini had married a John Fitzalan who held the Marcher Lordships of Clun and Oswestry in Shropshire. Thus their son another John Fitzalan and his son John Fitzalan (again) both held Arundel Castle. Neither of these John Fitzalans were ever Earls of Arundel (or anywhere else for that matter) but the son of the latter John, Richard Fitzalan was specifically created Earl of Arundel in about the year 1289 and therefore is properly the 1st Earl of Arundel.

Richard's son and successor Edmund Fitzalan was executed in 1326, and it was not until 1331 that his son another Richard was able to recover Arundel and become the 3rd Earl. His son Richard duly became the 4th Earl on his death in 1376, but was himself beheaded and attainted in 1397.

Arundel was therefore once more out of the possession of the family until Thomas Fitzalan was restored to both the earldom and the estates by Henry IV in 1400. Thomas Fitzalan died without heirs but fortunately there was a spare John Fitzalan, the descendent of a long line of John Fitzalans going back to John Fitzalan, the Lord Maltravers who was a younger son of Richard Fitzalan the 3rd Earl of Arundel. This John Fitzalan was succeeded by his son also named John, and subsequently by his son Humphrey Fitzalan, the 8th Earl who died childless and the succession passed to his uncle William Fitzalan.

From William Fitzalan the succession passed from father to son for the next three generations until Henry Fitzalan became the 12th Earl of Arundel in 1544. It was then that the Fitzalans finally ran out of luck and male heirs.


With the death of Henry Fitzalan in 1579 the male line of the Fitzalans came to an end. Henry's sole daughter and heiress was a Mary Fitzalan who had earlier, in 1556 married Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk. Mary Fitzalan became the Countess of Arundel on her father's death, but as her husband Thomas Howard, had already been executed for treason in 1572 (and stripped of his titles as a consequence) so the title of Earl of Arundel passed to their son Philip Howard, who duly became the 1st Earl of Arundel of the Howard line.

Philip was a fervent Catholic and mindful of what had happened to his father he attempted to flee the country but was captured and confined in the Tower of London. He was found guilty of treason and later of the crime of praying for a Spanish victory and eventually sentence to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Although stripped of his titles in 1589 the execution was not carried out and he remained in the Tower until his death in 1595.

His son Thomas Howard was eventually restored to the earldom of Arundel in 1604 and even obtained in 1627 an specific Act of Parliament 'Concerning the title, name and dignity of Earl of Arundel' to ensure that he regained all his old rights as earl. The title passed to his son Henry Frederick Howard and thence to his grandson Thomas Howard the 4th Earl. This last Thomas Howard succeeded in winning the restoration of the Howard dukedom in 1660 from a similarly restored Charles II, and thereby became the 5th Duke of Norfolk.

The title Earl of Arundel has since then remained in posession of the Howard Dukes of Norfolk and is used by the eldest son and heir of the Duke of Norfolk as a courtesy title.

The numbering of the Earls of Arundel

Richard Fitzalan was specifically created Earl of Arundel in about the year 1289 and therefore is properly the 1st Earl of Arundel as the previous holders of the honour of Arundel were either known by other titles or as 'Earls at Arundel'. However a later Earl John Fitzalan persuaded the crown in 1433 that the earldom "was and always had been vested in the castle of Arundel." This led to some post hoc re-numbering of the sequence of earls, so that the 1st Fitzalan Earl of Arundel, Richard Fitzalan is also accounted for as the,

- 8th Earl of Arundel in the de Albibi line, or the
- 6th Earl of Arundel, on the basis that the two earlier John Fitzalans don't count, or even the,
- 11th Earl of Arundel, taking the Montgomerys into account.
The numbering sequence adopted here follows that of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the modern Encyclopedia Britannica and the Companion to British History.


MONTGOMERY - Lords of Arundel

DE ALBINI - Earls at Arundel

FITZALAN - Lords of Arundel

FITZALAN - Earls of Arundel

Title forfeit in 1326, restored in 1331 Title forfeit in 1397, restored in 1400


Title restored in 1604

Thereafter see Duke of Norfolk


The 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica entry for
See http://1911encyclopedia.org/index.htm


Royal Genealogy information held at University of Hull see

RoyaList Online at http://www.royalist.info/royalist/index.html

Charles Arnold Baker The Companion to British History (Longcross Press, 1996)

THE ENGLISH PEERAGE or, a view of the ANCIENT and PRESENT STATE of the ENGLISH NOBILITY London: (1790) see

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