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Earl of Arundel

From Academic Kids

The oldest extant Earldom (and perhaps the oldest extant title) in the English peerage is the Earldom of Arundel currently held by the Duke of Norfolk, and used as a courtesy title by his heir.

The title of Earl of Arundel was first created in 1138 for the Norman baron William d'Aubigny. The earlier earls were frequently also known as Earl of Sussex, until the mid 13th century, when this title fell into disuse. At about the same time, the Earldom fell to the originally Breton Fitzalan family, a younger branch of which went on to become the Stewart family which later ruled Scotland.

This shared lineage led to very close ties between the Stewarts and the FitzAlans over the centuries. The last FitzAlan holder of the Earldom, Henry FitzAlan, was implicated in the Ridolfi Plot to place Mary I of Scotland, of the House of Stewart, on the English Throne. This led to FitzAlan being placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life. This same Henry FitzAlan received after Mary of Scotland's execution, the rosary and prayer book which she carried to her execution. It is amongst the Arundel relics which the Dukes of Norfolk hold today.

A tradition arose that the holder of Arundel Castle should automatically be Earl of Arundel, and this was formally confirmed by king Henry VI. However this had not always been consistently adhered to. Some of the Lords of Arundel were never addressed as Earl during their lifetime, but nevertheless, are counted and numbered as earls here. Other sources may not include some of the earls listed below, and may consider the earldom to have been created more than once.

Contrary to the list of succession listed below, the FitzAlan-Howard Estate claims a different numbering of the Earls of Arundel. The d'Albinis were the first creation of the Earldom, and had numbers 1-5. That line and consequently that creation of the earldom, died out with Hugh d'Albini. It was later re-created and vested in the person of Richard FitzAlan, the great grandson of Isabel d'Albini, who married John FitzAlan. Richard became the 1st Earl of Arundel.

In his 1834 book on the Earls of Arundel, M.A. Tierney (Chaplain to the Duke of Norfolk) maintains that the first incarnation of the Earldom was with the House of Montgomery. Roger of Montgomery, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury was one of William the Conqueror's top generals, and William bestowed on him, amongst several hundred other manors, the property at Arundel, with the charge to defensify it with a castle. Montgomery is believed to have built the motte that is extant to this day, and is thought to have built a wooden keep on it, overlooking the river Arun. Montgomery and two of his sons are counted by many as being the first incarnation of the Earldom, but for the reasons stated elsewhere here, are often not counted amongst the Earls.

On the death of the 19th Earl in 1580, the title fell to Philip Howard, eldest son of the attainted Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk by his wife, the only daughter of the last Fitzalan Earl. Like his father, the new Earl was soon attainted for plotting against Queen Elizabeth, and the title was only restored following the accession of James I. The 23rd Earl was restored to the Dukedom of Norfolk in 1660, and the title has descended with that Dukedom ever since.

Earls of Arundel

For further Earls: Duke of Norfolk

no:Jarl av Arundel

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