Earl was the Anglo-Saxon form and jarl the Scandinavian form of a title meaning "chieftain" and referring especially to chieftains set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke (hertig/hertug); in later medieval Britain, it became the equivalent of the continental count (in England in the earlier period, it was more akin to duke, while in Scotland it assimilated the concept of mormaer).
The Earldom of Pembroke, associated with Pembroke Castle in Wales, was created by King Stephen of England. Several times the line has become extinct, and the Earldom has been re-created, starting the count over again with a new first Earl. On 1 September 1533 King Henry VIII created his queen Anne Boleyn Marchioness of Pembroke in her own right, a signal honour, because his great-uncle Jasper Tudor had been the Earl of Pembroke, and because Henry's own father, Henry VII, had been born there.
Earl of Albemarle is a title created several times. The word Albemarle (or Albermarle) is an early variant of the French Aumale (Latin, Alba Marla, or English, White Marl, marl being a type of fertile soil), other forms being Aubemarle and Aumerle, and 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 the County of Cork, usually shortened to Earl of Cork, is a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1620 for the Anglo-Irish politician Richard Boyle, 1st Baron Boyle. He had already been created Lord Boyle, Baron of Youghal, in the County of Cork, in 1616, and was made Viscount of Dungarvan, in the County of Waterford, at the same time he was given the earldom. These titles are also in the Peerage of Ireland.
Earl of Wemyss (pronounced "Weemz") and Earl of March are two titles in the Peerage of Scotland, created in 1633 and 1697 respectively, that have been held by a joint holder since 1826. The Scottish Wemyss family had possessed the lands of Wemyss in Fife since the 12th century. In 1625 John Wemyss was created a Baronet, of Wemyss in the County of Fife, in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia.
Earls of Chesterfield, in the County of Derby, was a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1628 for Philip Stanhope, 1st Baron Stanhope. He had already been created Baron Stanhope, of Shelford in the County of Nottingham, in 1616, also in the Peerage of England. Stanhope's youngest son the Hon.
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, by a creation in 1337, 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.
Earl of Essex is a title that has been held by several families and individuals. The earldom was first created in the twelfth century for Geoffrey II de Mandeville. Upon the death of the third earl, the title became extinct. It was created again for Geoffrey Fitzpeter in 1199, who had married a relative of the de Mandevilles. It passed to two of his sons before again becoming extinct after William FitzGeoffrey de Mandeville's death.
Earl Alexander of Tunis is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 14 March 1952 for the prominent military commander Field Marshal Harold Alexander, 1st Viscount Alexander of Tunis. He had already been created Viscount Alexander of Tunis, of Errigal in the County of Donegal, on 1 March 1946, and was made Baron Rideau, of Ottawa and of Castle Derg in the County of Tyrone, at the same time he was given the earldom.
The title Earl of Beaconsfield in the peerage of the United Kingdom was created in 1876 for Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, a favourite of Queen Victoria. Victoria favoured Disraeli's Tory policies over those of his Liberal rival, William Ewart Gladstone. Disraeli had also promoted the Royal Titles Act 1876 that had given Victoria the title of "Empress of India. " Disraeli's subsidiary title was Viscount Hughenden.
Earl of Lucan was a title in the Peerage of Ireland which has been possessed by two related Irish families in creations of 1691 and 1795. The current holder is presumed to be Richard Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, who vanished in 1974. The subsidiary titles associated with the Earldom are: Baron Lucan, of Castlebar in the County of Mayo (created 1776), and Baron Bingham, of Melcombe Bingham in the County of Dorset (1934).
Earl Spencer is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain that was created on 1 November 1765, along with the title Viscount Althorp, of Althorp in the County of Northamptonshire, for John Spencer, 1st Viscount Spencer, a great-grandson of the 1st Duke of Marlborough. He had been created Viscount Spencer, of Althorp in the County of Northamptonshire and Baron Spencer of Althorp, of Althorp in the County of Northamptonshire, on 3 April 1761.
Earl of Longford is a title that has been created twice in the Peerage of Ireland. It was first bestowed upon Francis Aungier, 3rd Baron Aungier of Longford, in 1677, with remainder to his younger brother Ambrose. He had previously represented Surrey in the House of Commons and had already been created Viscount Longford in the Peerage of Ireland in 1675, with similar remainder.
Earl of Sandwich is a title in the Peerage of England, nominally associated with Sandwich, Kent. It was created in 1660 for the prominent naval commander Admiral Sir Edward Montagu. He was made Baron Montagu, of St Neots in the County of Huntingdon, and Viscount Hinchingbrooke, at the same time, also in the Peerage of England. The viscountcy is used as the courtesy title by the heir apparent to the earldom.
The Earl of Oxford was one of the older titles in the English peerage, and was held for several centuries by the de Vere family from 1141. It finally became dormant in 1703 with the death of the 20th Earl. Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, is perhaps the most famous of the line, because of his emergence as the most popular alternative candidate as the actual author of the works of William Shakespeare.
Earl of Norfolk is a title which has been created several times in the Peerage of England. Created in 1070, the first major dynasty to hold the title was the 12th and 13th century Bigod family, and it then was later held by the Mowbrays, who were also made Dukes of Norfolk. Due to the Bigods' descent in the female line from William Marshal, they inherited the hereditary office of Earl Marshal, still held by the Dukes of Norfolk today.
The Earldom of Chester was one of the most powerful earldoms in medieval England. Since 1301 the title has generally been given 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.
Earl of Snowdon is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1961, together with the subsidiary title Viscount Linley, of Nymans in the County of Sussex, for Antony Armstrong-Jones, husband of HRH The Princess Margaret. Snowdon as a peerage title had previous royal associations; the title of Baron Snowdon had been conferred along with the Dukedom of Edinburgh on Prince Frederick Louis, grandson of George I and future Prince of Wales, in 1726.
Earl of Lichfield is a title that has been created three times in British history. Lord Bernard Stewart, youngest son of Esmé Stewart, 1st Duke of Lennox, was to be created Earl of Lichfield by Charles I for his actions at the battles of Newbury and Naseby but died before the creation could implemented.
Earl of Winchilsea and Earl of Nottingham are two titles in the Peerage of England held by the Finch family that have been united under a single holder since 1729. The Finch family is believed to be descended from Henry FitzHerbert, Lord Chamberlain to King Henry I (r. 1100–1135). The name change came in the 1350s after marriage to an heiress member of the Finch family. A later member of the family, Sir William Finch, was knighted in 1513.
The title of Earl of Athlone has been created three times. It was created first in the Peerage of Ireland in 1692 by King William III for the Dutch General Baron Godard van Reede, Lord of Ginkel, to honour him for his succesfull battles in Ireland. The title also had the subsidiary title of Baron Aghrim. These titles became extinct in 1844 upon the death of the 9th Earl.
Earl Grey is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1806 for General Charles Grey, 1st Baron Grey. He had already been created Baron Grey, of Howick in the County of Northumberland, in 1801, and was made Viscount Howick, in the County of Northumberland, at the same time as he was given the earldom. A member of the prominent Grey family of Northumberland, he was the third son of Sir Henry Grey, 1st Baronet, of Howick (see below).
Earl of Selkirk is a title in the Peerage of Scotland, created in 1646. William Douglas (1634–1694), younger son of the 1st Marquess of Douglas, was created Earl of Selkirk and Lord Daer and Shortcleuch in the peerage of Scotland on 4 August 1646. He married Anne Hamilton, 3rd Duchess of Hamilton, on 29 April 1656.
The peerage title Earl of Buckingham was created several times in the Peerage of England. It was first created in 1097 for Walter Giffard, but became extinct in 1164 with the death of the second earl. It may have been created again in 1164 for Richard de Clare ("Strongbow"), who died without issue in 1176. It was created again in 1377 for Thomas of Woodstock, the youngest son of King Edward III. He was created Duke of Gloucester in 1385.