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Newburgh

The very first earl of Warwick was Henry de Newburgh, the Lord of Newbourg in Normandy and son of Roger de Beaumont, the Count of Mellent in Normandy. Henry de Newburgh became the constable of Warwick Castle in 1068, and was created Earl of Warwick in 1081 by William II when he also received a significant grant of further estates in Warwickshire.

Henry died on the 20th of June 1123 and was succeeded by his son Roger de Newburgh, who was followed in succession by his two sons William and Waleran. The 6th and final de Newburgh earl, Thomas died without issue in June 1242, and the title passed to his sister Margaret who became the Countess of Warwick in her own right.

Marshal, du Plessis and Mauduit

With the death of Thomas, the last de Newburgh Earl in 1297, his sister Margaret inherited and became Countess of Warwick. She married twice. Her first husband was a John Marshal, who therefore became Earl of Warwick by the right of his wife but died in October 1242 four months after Thomas. (Due to the extremely brief tenure of John Marshal as Earl he is frequently ignored by many sources.)

Two months after the death of her first husband, Margaret married again, this time a John du Plessis who thereby succeeded to the title of Earl of Warwick as husband of the Countess. But despite her two marriages Margaret de Newburgh had no children when she died on the 3rd June 1253, and therefore the title became extinct on the death of John du Plessis on the 26th February 1263.

The nearest relative was a cousin named William Mauduit, whose mother was an Alice de Newburgh a daughter of Waleran de Newburgh the previous 4th Earl. William Mauduit however died childless at around the age of forty on the 8th January 1267.

Beauchamp

Now William Mauduit had a sister named Isabel who married a William de Beauchamp and their son, another William de Beauchamp therefore claimed the title on the basis of this family connection and became the next Earl of Warwick after the death of William Mauduit in 1267. William de Beauchamp died in 1298 and was followed by his son Guy de Beauchamp.

Guy's son, Thomas de Beauchamp, the 3rd Earl was appointed Marshal of England in 1344, fought at the battles of at Crecy and Poitiers, and was one of the original Knights of the Garter. He died in 1369 and was succeeded by his son, also named Thomas the 4th Earl.

This Thomas de Beauchamp was appointed governor to Richard II in 1381, was one of the group of earls that sought to control the young Richard II. Richard later had his revenge, when he imprisoned Thomas de Beauchamp in the Tower of London in 1397 (part of which is still known as the Beauchamp Tower in rememberance of his time there). Thomas de Beauchamp was then banished and his titles declared forfeit, but he was restored to his honours on the accession of Henry IV in 1399.

His son Richard Beauchamp, the 5th Earl spent most of his life either fighting or negotiating with the French and was appointed by Henry V on his death-bed as governor of the young Henry VI, a duty that he performed until Henry VI came of age in 1437. Richard Beauchamp was subsequently appointed governor of Normandy, a post that he held until his death on the 30th of April 1439.

It was very probably as a result of Richard Beauchamp's services to the crown that his son and successor Henry Beauchamp was created Duke of Warwick in 1445 by Henry VI. But Henry died in the following year at the age of twenty one, leaving behind only a daughter named Anne. Anne Beauchamp was recognised as Countess of Warwick and no doubt, had she lived she would have been married off by the king to some deserving suitor, but as it was she died in 1449.

Neville and Plantagenet

With the death of the young Anne Beauchamp in 1449, one Richard Neville stepped forward to claim the title based on his marriage to another Anne Beauchamp who was the sister of Henry Beauchamp, the last of the Beauchamp line, and was created Earl of Warwick in 1450.

Richard Neville was to prove to be the most famous holder of the title Earl of Warwick who bore the name of 'Kingmaker' due to his activities in support of Edward IV in the latter's successful effort to replace Henry VI and then, after he'd became dissatisfied with Edward, engineering the restoration of Henry VI in 1471. The Kingmaker however then came unstuck and was defeated and killed at the battle of Barnet in 1471. His death left Anne as the Countess of Warwick and an aggrieved Edward IV who promptly procured an Act of Parliament declaring that Countess should now be treated "as if the seid countes were nowe naturally dede" (See Act of 13 Edward IV 1473).

In the meantime, Richard and Anne had produced two daughters; Anne and Isabel. The former married Richard, the Duke of Gloucester and later Richard III, and the latter wed George Plantagenet the Duke of Clarence. In the division of the spoils it was George who was created Earl of Warwick in 1472. Isabel died in 1476 and George Plantagenet was arrested on the charge of seeking to kill Edward IV by means of necromancy (amongst other things), sentenced to death, and executed by drowning in a butt of Malmsey in 1478. After which an Act of Attainder was passed declaring his estates and titles forfeit.

His son and heir, Edward was only around three years old at the time of his father's execution, he could not succeed to his father's titles but was created Earl of Warwick by his uncle and namesake Edward IV a few months after his father's death in 1478. OurEdward was later imprisoned by Richard III in 1484, and continued to held in captivity when king Richard was replaced by Henry VII in 1485. Edward remained incarcerated in the Tower of London until the 28th November 1499 when he was executed for treason after being convicted on a charge of conspiracy with a fellow prisoner named Perkin Warbeck.

Anne Beauchamp was later rehabilitated under the new Tudor regime in 1487, and permitted to adopt the title of Countess of Warwick and enjoy her former estates on condition that they reverted to the crown on her death.

Dudley

Edmund Dudley was a lawyer who had a successful public career serving as a minister to Henry VII and holding the office of Speaker of the House of Commons until he was charged and convicted of constructive treason and executed on the 18th August 1510. Despite this inauspicious background his son John Dudley succeeded in recovering much of the families estates, became an MP for Kent and built his own successful public career under Henry VIII, eventually being named as an executor of the king's will.

When the Duke of Somerset subsequently decided to ignore the provisions of the will and establish himself as Protector of the infant Edward VI, John Dudley acquiesced and was rewarded with his creation as Earl of Warwick on the 16th February 1547, a title which he claimed on the basis of his descent from Margaret, countess of Shrewsbury, daughter of Richard Beauchamp, the penultimate Beauchamp Earl.

John Dudley subsequently turned against the Duke of Somerset, and was instrumental in that Duke's arrest and execution in the autumn of 1551 and essentially took Somerset's place as de facto ruler of the country. To symbolise his new authority he created himself Duke of Northumberland on the 11 October 1551.

The king however was of a frail disposition and Edward VI died early in 1554. John Dudley attempted to hold on to power by promoting the Lady Jane Grey as queen, and when that failed he tried making his peace with Mary I only to be arrested, convicted of treason and executed on the 22nd August 1554.

John Dudley had four sons; John, Ambrose,Henry and Robert Dudley who were all arrested in 1554 and held at the Tower of London. All four were however pardoned and released from prison in early 1555. The younger John Dudley died soon afterwards but the three surviving brothers went on to serve with the Spanish army when war broke out between France and Spain in 1557. Brother Henry Dudley was killed, but for these services (remembering that Philip II of Spain was also effectively joint monarch of England at the time) the attainder of 1554 was reversed in 1558 allowing the Dudley family to recover their assets.

The rehabilitation of the Dudleys was complete when on the 26th December 1562, Elizabeth I re-created Ambrose Dudley the elder of the two surviving sons as Earl of Warwick, whilst his younger and more famous brother, Robert Dudley later became the Earl of Leicester. Ambrose Dudley however died without heirs on the 21st February 1589 and the title became extinct.

John Dudley the younger is sometimes listed as the '2nd Earl of Warwick'; but whilst he unquestionably used the courtesy title of 'Earl of Warwick' whilst his father the Duke of Northumberland was alive, he was never actually Earl of Warwick. Similarly Ambrose Dudley, who unquestionably was the Earl of Warwick is sometimes shown as the 2nd (following his father) or the 3rd Earl (following his brother), but it does appear that the creation of 1562 was an entirely new creation with no precedence to the earlier grant.

Rich

The earldom of Warwick remained vacant for thirty years until it was revived on the 6th August 1618 by James I and granted to Robert Rich, the 3rd Baron Rich and a grandson of the Lord Chancellor Richard Rich (the one who supposedly traded his soul for Wales in A Man for all Seasons). Robert Rich died within a few months of becoming earl and was succeeded in 1619 by his eldest son, also Robert Rich.

Robert Rich the 2nd Earl had two sons Robert and Charles, both of whom succeeded him in the earldom and both of whom died leaving no male issue. As it happens Robert Rich, the 1st Earl also had a younger son named Henry who received his own title from James I, being created the Earl of Holland on the 24th September 1624. Henry's son, yet another Robert Rich became the 2nd Earl of Holland in 1649 and with the death of his cousin Charles Rich in 1673 the Earl of Warwick as well.

From Robert Rich the 5th Earl, the title passed to his son Edward Rich, and then to the latter's son Edward Henry Rich who died without issue in 1721. It then passed to a cousin named Edward Rich who again died without heirs on the 15th of September 1759 at which point the title (and that of Earl of Holland) became extinct and reverted to the crown once more.

Greville

The Grevilles were a family who were actually related to the old Beauchamp family which had held the earldom between 1267 and 1445 and into whose possession a portion of the Beauchamp estates including Warwick castle itself, had passed in 1604.

With the extinction of the Rich line in 1759, Francis Greville, the 8th Lord Brooke of Beauchamps Court, who had also held since 1746 the title of Earl Brooke of Warwick Castle, was additionally created the Earl of Warwick on the 30th November 1759. Francis Greville was succeeded by his son George Greville in 1773 and so forth, the title being passed down a long line of Greville earls to the present day. The current holder being Guy David Greville who is both the 9th Earl of Warwick and the 9th Earl Brooke.

(Incidentally the Earls of Warwick no longer own Warwick Castle, having sold it in 1978 to the Tussaud Group who now run it as a successful tourist attraction.)


THE EARLS OF WARWICK

DE NEWBURGH

Earls by right of marriage to Margaret de Newburgh

MADUIT

DE BEAUCHAMP/BEAUCHAMP

As Duke of Warwick

followed by

NEVILLE

PLANTAGENET

DUDLEY

Creation of 1547

Creation of 1562

RICH

Also held the title Earl of Holland

GREVILLE

Also hold title of Earl Brooke


SOURCES

  • The 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica entry for WARWICK, EARLS OF See http://1911encyclopedia.org/index.htm
  • Earls of Warwick at http://www.warwick-castle.co.uk/castle/earls_of_warwick.asp
  • Genealogies of Beauchamp of Abergavenny, Beauchamp of Bedford, Beauchamp of Elmley, Beauchamp of Warwick at http://www.stirnet.com/HTML/genie/british/bb4ae/beauchamp01.htm
  • Royal Genealogy information held at University of Hull see http://www.dcs.hull.ac.uk/public/genealogy/royal
  • 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 http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/History/Barons/

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