|Earldom of Leicester|
|Creation date||12 August 1837|
|Peerage||Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|First holder||Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester (seventh creation)|
|Present holder||Thomas Coke, 8th Earl of Leicester|
|Heir apparent||Edward Coke, Viscount Coke|
|Remainder to||the 1st Earl’s heirs male of the body lawfully begotten|
|Subsidiary titles||Viscount Coke|
|Motto||PRUDENS QUI PATIENS|
("He is prudent who is patient")
Earl of Leicester is a title that has been created seven times. The first title was granted during the 12th century in the Peerage of England. The current title is in the Peerage of the United Kingdom and was created in 1837.
The title was first created for Robert de Beaumont (also spelled de Bellomont), but he nearly always used his French title of Count of Meulan. Three generations of his descendants, all also named Robert, called themselves Earls of Leicester. The Beaumont male line ended with the death of the 4th Earl. His property was split between his two sisters, with Simon IV de Montfort, the son of the eldest sister, acquiring Leicester and the rights to the earldom. (The husband of the younger daughter, Saer de Quincy, was created Earl of Winchester.) However, Simon IV de Montfort was never formally recognized as earl, due to the antipathy between France and England at that time. His second son, Simon V de Montfort, did succeed in taking possession of the earldom and its associated properties. He is the Simon de Montfort who became so prominent during the reign of Henry III. He was killed at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and his lands and titles were forfeited.
In 1267 the title was created a second time and granted to the king's youngest son, Edmund Crouchback. In 1276 he also became Earl of Lancaster, and the titles became united. Crouchback's son Thomas lost the earldom when he was executed for treason in 1322, but a few years later, it was restored to his younger brother Henry. Henry's son Henry of Grosmont left only two daughters, and his estate was divided between them, the eldest daughter Matilda receiving the earldom, which was held by her husband William V of Holland. (The two passages of the earldom via females illustrate the medieval practice by which such inheritance was allowed in the absence of male heirs.) Matilda, however, soon died, and the title passed to John of Gaunt, husband of her younger sister, Blanche, who was later created Duke of Lancaster. Both the dukedom and the earldom were inherited by John of Gaunt's son, Henry Bolingbroke, and both titles ceased to exist when Henry usurped the throne, as the titles "merged into the crown". (The peers are vassals to the Sovereign, and no one can be a vassal to himself.) The properties associated with the earldom became part of what was later called the Duchy of Lancaster.
In 1564 the earldom was again created for Queen Elizabeth I's favourite, Robert Dudley. Since Dudley died without heirs, the title became extinct at his death. The title was again created in 1618 for Robert Sidney (Baron Sydney), his nephew. Prior to being granted the earldom Robert Sidney was granted the subsidiary title of Viscount Lisle on 4 May 1605. The Sidneys retained the titles until the death of the seventh Earl in 1743, when the titles again became extinct. The title of earl was then recreated for Thomas Coke (pronounced "Cook"), but it became extinct when he, too, died without heirs.
The title was again bestowed upon George Townshend, 17th Baron Ferrers of Chartley and 8th Baron Compton, eldest son and heir apparent of George Townshend, 4th Viscount Townshend, later the first Marquess Townshend. Townshend was a female-line great-great-great-grandson of Lady Lucy Sydney, daughter of the second Earl of the 1618 creation. The earldom became extinct yet again upon the death of his son, the third Marquess and second Earl, in 1855 (the marquessate was passed on to a cousin and is extant).
The Coke family is descended from the noted judge and politician Sir Edward Coke, Lord Chief Justice from 1613 to 1616. Through his son Henry Coke, his great-great-great-grandson Thomas Coke was a landowner, politician and patron of arts. In 1728 he was raised to the Peerage of Great Britain as Baron Lovel, of Minster Lovel in the County of Oxford, and in 1744 he was created Viscount Coke, of Holkham in the County of Norfolk, and Earl of Leicester, also in the Peerage of Great Britain. Lord Leicester began the construction of Holkham Hall in Norfolk. He married Lady Margaret Tufton, 19th Baroness de Clifford (1700—1775) (see the Baron de Clifford for earlier history of this title). Their only child Edward Coke, Viscount Coke, predeceased both his parents, without issue. Consequently, Lord Leicester's titles became extinct on his death in 1759 while the barony of de Clifford fell into abeyance on Lady de Clifford's death in 1775.
The Coke estates were passed on to the late Earl's nephew Wenman Coke. Born Wenman Roberts, he was the son of Philip Roberts and Anne, sister of Lord Leicester, and assumed the surname of Coke in lieu of Roberts. His son Thomas Coke was a politician and noted agriculturalist. Known as "Coke of Norfolk", he sat as a Member of Parliament for many years but is best remembered for his interest in agricultural improvements and is seen as one of the instigators of the British Agricultural Revolution. In 1837 the titles held by his great-uncle were revived when Coke was raised to the Peerage of the United Kingdom as Viscount Coke and Earl of Leicester, of Holkham in the County of Norfolk. This was despite the fact that the 1784 creation of the earldom held by the Townshend family was then still extant (hence the territorial designation "of Holkham"). Lord Leicester was succeeded by his eldest son from his second marriage, the second Earl. He served as Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk for sixty years and was made a Knight of the Garter in 1873.
On his death in 1909 the titles passed to his eldest son, the third Earl. He was a colonel in the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards and also served as Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the fourth Earl in 1944. He was also Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk. His younger son, David Arthur Coke was a friend of author Roald Dahl but was killed in action during the second world war in December of 1941. When he (fourth Earl) died the titles passed to his eldest son, the fifth Earl, in 1949. He was an Extra Equerry to both George VI and Elizabeth II. He died without male issue and was succeeded by his first cousin, the sixth Earl in 1976. He was the son of the Hon. Arthur George Coke, second son of the third Earl. Upon his death in 1994, his son became the 7th Earl of Leicester. As of 2015 [update] the titles are held by his son Thomas Edward Coke, the eighth Earl, who succeeded in that year.
The family seat is Holkham Hall, near Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk. The traditional burial place of the Coke family is a plot situated on the south side of the churchyard of the Holkham parish church of St Withburga. A family mausoleum was built in the same churchyard in the 1870s,but was later abandoned. Many members of the Coke family during the post medieval period were also buried in St. Mary's Church, Tittleshall.
The heir apparent is the 8th Earl's son, Edward Horatio Coke, Viscount Coke (b. 2003).
Earl of Albemarle is a title created several times from Norman times onwards. The word Albemarle is derived from the Latinised form of the French county of Aumale in Normandy, other forms being Aubemarle and Aumerle. It is described in the patent of nobility granted in 1697 by William III to Arnold Joost van Keppel as "a town and territory in the Dukedom of Normandy."
Earl of Derby is a title in the Peerage of England. The title was first adopted by Robert de Ferrers, 1st Earl of Derby, under a creation of 1139. It continued with the Ferrers family until the 6th Earl forfeited his property toward the end of the reign of Henry III and died in 1279. Most of the Ferrers property and the Derby title were then held by the family of Henry III. The title merged in the Crown upon Henry IV's accession to the throne in 1399.
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Viscount Sydney is a title that has been created twice. The title was elevated twice from a barony, and once into an earldom.
Earl of Suffolk is a title that has been created four times in the Peerage of England. The first creation, in tandem with the creation of the title of Earl of Norfolk, came before 1069 in favour of Ralph the Staller; but the title was forfeited by his heir, Ralph de Guader, in 1074. The second creation came in 1337 in favour of Robert de Ufford; the title became extinct on the death of his son, the second Earl, in 1382. The third creation came in 1385 in favour of Michael de la Pole. The fourth creation came in 1603. Lord Thomas Howard was the second son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, by his second marriage to Margaret, daughter and heiress of the Thomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Walden. Howard was a prominent naval commander and politician and served as Earl Marshal, as Lord Chamberlain of the Household and as Lord High Treasurer. In 1597 he was summoned to Parliament as Baron Howard de Walden, and in 1603 he was further honoured when he was created Earl of Suffolk. His second son the Hon. Thomas Howard was created Earl of Berkshire in 1626.
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Earl of Worcester is a title that has been created five times in the Peerage of England. The first creation came in 1138 in favour of the Norman noble Waleran de Beaumont. He was the son of Robert de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester, by Elizabeth of Vermandois, and the twin brother of Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester. Like his father and brother he also held the title Count of Meulan in the French nobility. The earldom of Worcester apparently became extinct on his death in 1166.
Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, KB was an English land-owner and patron of the arts. He is particularly noted for commissioning the design and construction of Holkham Hall in north Norfolk. Between 1722 and 1728, he was one of the two Members of Parliament for Norfolk. He was honoured by being created first Earl of Leicester, in a recreation of an ancient earldom.
Thomas William Coke, 2nd Earl of Leicester, known as Viscount Coke from 1837 to 1842, was a British peer.
Edward Douglas Coke, 7th Earl of Leicester, CBE, DL, styled Viscount Coke between 1976 and 1994, was an English nobleman. The Earl of Leicester was one of Norfolk's leading figures and played a key role in preserving and modernising the Holkham Estate over the last 40 years.
Thomas William Coke, 3rd Earl of Leicester,, known as Viscount Coke until 1909, was a British peer and soldier.
Thomas Edward Coke, 8th Earl of Leicester, is the son of Edward Coke, 7th Earl of Leicester, and Valeria Phyllis Potter. He is the current Earl of Leicester. From 1994 to 2015, when he succeeded into the Earldom, he was styled Viscount Coke.
Anthony Louis Lovel Coke, 6th Earl of Leicester, was a British peer.
Thomas George Anson, 2nd Earl of Lichfield, known as Viscount Anson from 1831 to 1854, was a British politician from the Anson family.
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Thomas William Coke, 4th Earl of Leicester, was a British peer and Army officer, styled Viscount Coke from 1909 to 1941.
Thomas William Edward Coke, 5th Earl of Leicester MVO GOC DL, was a British peer.
Julian Charles Marsham, 8th Earl of Romney is an English peer.