|Earldom of Chester|
Principality of Wales
Arms of Charles, Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester: Quarterly, 1st and 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of three points Argent, and on an inescutcheon ensigned by the coronet of the heir-apparent, quarterly, Or and Gules four lions passant guardant counterchanged (for the Principality of Wales).
|Creation date||1067 (first creation)|
1071 (second creation)
1254 (third creation)
1264 (fourth creation)
1301 (fifth creation)
1312 (sixth creation)
see Prince of Wales for further creations, up to
1958 (current creation)
|Monarch|| William the Conqueror (first creation)|
William the Conqueror (second creation)
Henry III (third creation)
Henry III (fourth creation)
Edward I (fifth creation)
Edward II (sixth creation)
Elizabeth II (current, twenty-ninth, creation)
|Peerage||Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|First holder||Gerbod the Fleming, 1st Earl of Chester|
|Present holder||Charles, Prince of Wales|
|Extinction date||1070 (first creation)|
1237 (second creation)
1272 (third creation)
1265 (fourth creation)
1307 (fifth creation)
1327 (sixth creation)
|Former seat(s)||Chester Castle|
|Motto||Ich dien (I serve)|
The Earldom of Chester (Welsh: Iarllaeth Caer) was one of the most powerful earldoms in medieval England, extending principally over the counties of Cheshire and Flintshire. Since 1301 the title has generally been granted to heirs apparent to the English throne, and from the late 14th century it has been given only in conjunction with that of Prince of Wales.
The County of Cheshire was held by the powerful Earls (or "Counts" from the Norman-French) of Chester from the late eleventh century, and they held land all over England, comprising "the honour of Chester". By the late twelfth century (if not earlier) the earls had established a position of power as quasi-princely rulers of Cheshire that led to the later establishment of the County Palatine of Chester and Flint. Such was their power that Magna Carta set down by King John did not apply to Cheshire and the sixth earl was compelled to issue his own version.
The earldom passed to the Crown by escheat in 1237 on the death of John the Scot, Earl of Huntingdon, seventh and last of the Earls. William III de Forz, 4th Earl of Albemarle, claimed the earldom as husband of Christina, the senior co-heir, but the king persuaded them to quitclaim their rights in 1241 in exchange for modest lands elsewhere. The other co-heiresses did likewise.It was annexed to the Crown in 1246. King Henry III then passed the Lordship of Chester, but not the title of Earl, to his son, the Lord Edward, in 1254; as King Edward I, this son in turn conferred the title and lands of the Earldom on his son, Edward, the first English Prince of Wales. By that time, the Earldom of Chester consisted of two counties: Cheshire and Flintshire.
The establishment of royal control of the Earldom of Chester made possible King Edward I's conquest of north Wales, and Chester played a vital part as a supply base during the Welsh Wars (1275–84), so the separate organisation of a county palatine was preserved. This continued until the time of King Henry VIII. Since 1301, the Earldom of Chester has always been conferred on the Princes of Wales.
Briefly promoted to a principality in 1398 by King Richard II, who titled himself "Prince of Chester",it was reduced to an earldom again in 1399 by King Henry IV. Whereas the Sovereign's eldest son is born Duke of Cornwall, he must be made or created Earl of Chester (and Prince of Wales; see the Prince Henry's Charter Case (1611) ). Prince Charles was created Earl of Chester on 26 July 1968, when he was also made Prince of Wales.
The independent palatinate jurisdiction of Chester survived until the time of King Henry VIII (1536), when the earldom was brought more directly under the control of the Crown. The palatinate courts of Great Sessions and Exchequer survived until the reforms of 1830.
The importance of the County Palatinate of Chester is shown by the survival of Chester Herald in the College of Arms for some six hundred years. The office has anciently been nominally under the jurisdiction of Norroy King of Arms.
In the year 1377, the revenues of the Earldom were recorded as follows:
Total income was £418 1 2 3/4 from Cheshire and £181 6 0 from Flintshire.
(dates above are approximate)
(There is no evidence that Alphonso, elder son of Edward I, was created earl of Chester, although he was styled as such)
Thereafter, the Earldom of Chester was created in conjunction with the Principality of Wales. See Prince of Wales for further Earls of Chester.
Basingwerk Abbey is a Grade I listed ruined abbey near Holywell, Flintshire, Wales. The abbey, which was founded in the 12th century, belonged to the Order of Cistercians. It maintained significant lands in the English county of Derbyshire. The abbey was abandoned and its assets sold following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536.
Hugh d'Avranches, also known as Hugh the Fat or Hugh the Wolf, was the second Norman Earl of Chester and one of the great magnates of early Norman England.
English Maelor comprises one half of the Maelor region on the Welsh side of the Wales-England border, being the area of the Maelor east of the River Dee. The region has changed counties several times, previously being part of Cheshire and later a detached portion of Flintshire. The area is currently in Wales, despite its name, and administered as part of Wrexham County Borough.
Beeston Castle is a former Royal castle in Beeston, Cheshire, England, perched on a rocky sandstone crag 350 feet (107 m) above the Cheshire Plain. It was built in the 1220s by Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester, (1170–1232), on his return from the Crusades. In 1237, Henry III took over the ownership of Beeston, and it was kept in good repair until the 16th century, when it was considered to be of no further military use, although it was pressed into service again in 1643, during the English Civil War. The castle was slighted in 1646, in accordance with Cromwell's destruction order, to prevent its further use as a bastion. During the 18th century, parts of the site were used as a quarry.
The history of Cheshire can be traced back to the Hoxnian Interglacial, between 400,000 and 380,000 years BP. Primitive tools that date to that period have been found. Stone Age remains have been found showing more permanent habitation during the Neolithic period, and by the Iron Age the area is known to have been occupied by the Celtic Cornovii tribe and possibly the Deceangli.
Ranulf II, 4th Earl of Chester (1099–1153), was an Anglo-Norman baron who inherited the honour of the palatine county of Chester upon the death of his father Ranulf le Meschin, 3rd Earl of Chester. He was descended from the Counts of Bessin in Normandy.
Hugh of Cyfeiliog, 5th Earl of Chester, also written Hugh de Kevilioc, was an Anglo-Norman magnate who was active in England, Wales, Ireland and France during the reign of King Henry II of England.
Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester and 1st Earl of Lincoln (1170–1232), known in some references as the 4th Earl of Chester, was one of the "old school" of Anglo-Norman barons whose loyalty to the Angevin dynasty was consistent but contingent on the receipt of lucrative favours. He has been described as "almost the last relic of the great feudal aristocracy of the Conquest".
John of Scotland, 9th Earl of Huntingdon and 7th Earl of Chester, sometimes known as "the Scot", was an Anglo-Scottish magnate, the son of David of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon by his wife Matilda of Chester, daughter of Hugh de Kevelioc.
Shotwick Castle is a Norman medieval fortification near the village of Saughall, Cheshire, England. Construction began in the late 11th century. Its purpose was to control a crossing point on the River Dee between England and Wales. The site is a scheduled monument. No masonry features remain above ground except for earthworks.
Ranulf le Meschin, 3rd Earl of Chester (1070−1129) was a Norman magnate based in northern and central England. Originating in Bessin in Normandy, Ranulf made his career in England thanks to his kinship with Hugh d'Avranches - the Earl of Chester, the patronage of kings William II Rufus and Henry I Beauclerc, and his marriage to Lucy, heiress of the Bolingbroke-Spalding estates in Lincolnshire.
Matilda of Chester, Countess of Huntingdon was an Anglo-Norman noblewoman, sometimes known as Maud and sometimes known with the surname de Kevelioc. She was a daughter of Hugh de Kevelioc, 5th Earl of Chester, and the wife of David of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon.
Hawise of Chester, 1st Countess of Lincoln suo jure, was an Anglo-Norman noblewoman and a wealthy heiress. Her father was Hugh de Kevelioc, 5th Earl of Chester. She was the sister and a co-heiress of Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester. She was created suo jure 1st Countess of Lincoln in 1232. She was the wife of Robert de Quincy, by whom she had one daughter, Margaret, who became heiress to her title and estates. She was also known as Hawise of Kevelioc.
Maud of Gloucester, Countess of Chester, also known as Matilda, was an Anglo-Norman noblewoman and the daughter of Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son of King Henry I of England, and Mabel, daughter and heiress of Robert fitz Hamon. Her husband was Ranulf de Gernon, 4th Earl of Chester.
Eustace fitz John was a powerful magnate in northern England during the reigns of Henry I, Stephen and Henry II. From a relatively humble background in the south-east of England, Eustace made his career serving Henry I, and was elevated by the king through marriage and office into one of the most important figures in the north of England. Eustace acquired a great deal of property in the region, controlled Bamburgh Castle, and served jointly with Walter Espec as justiciar of the North.
Fotheringhay Castle was in the village of Fotheringhay 3 1⁄2 miles (5.6 km) to the north of the market town of Oundle, Northamptonshire, England. It was probably founded around 1100 by Simon de Senlis, Earl of Northampton. In 1113, possession passed to Prince David of Scotland when he married Simon's widow. The castle then descended with the Scottish princes until the early 13th century, when it was confiscated by King John of England.
William Meschin was an Anglo-Norman nobleman and baron. The brother of the earl of Chester, Meschin participated in the First Crusade. After returning to England, he acquired lands both from King Henry I of England and by his marriage to an heiress.
Magna Carta of Chester, or Cheshire, was a charter of rights issued in 1215 in the style of Magna Carta. The charter is primarily concerned with the relationship between the Earl of Chester and his barons, though the final clause states that the barons must allow similar concessions to their own tenants.