Last updated 01/05/2020
     Date Rank Order Name Born Died  Age
30 Dec 1905 B 1 William Henry Grenfell 30 Oct 1855 9 Jan 1945 89
to     Created Baron Desborough
9 Jan 1945 30 Dec 1905
MP for Salisbury 1880-1882 and 1885-1886,
Hereford 1892-1893 and Wycombe 1900-
1905.  KG 1928
Peerage extinct on his death
For information regarding Lord Desborough''s
premature obituary,see the note at the foot
of this page
7 Nov 1259 B[I] 1 John Fitz-Thomas Fitzgerald 1261
Created Lord of Desmond 7 Nov 1259
1261 2 Thomas Fitz-Maurice Fitzgerald c 1298
c 1298 3 Thomas Fitz-Thomas Fitzgerald 1290 c 1307
c 1307 4 Maurice Fitz-Thomas Fitzgerald 25 Jan 1356
22 Aug 1329 E[I] 1 Created Earl of Desmond 22 Aug 1329
25 Jan 1356 2 Maurice Fitz-Maurice Fitzgerald 31 Jul 1336 May 1358 21
May 1358 3 Nicholas Fitz-Maurice Fitzgerald c 1338 1367
1367 4 Gerald Fitz-Maurice Fitzgerald 1398
1398 5 John Fitz-Gerald Fitzgerald 4 Mar 1399
4 Mar 1399 6 Thomas Fitz-John Fitzgerald 10 Aug 1420
10 Aug 1420 7 James Fitz-Gerald Fitzgerald 1462
1462 8 Thomas Fitz-James Fitzgerald 15 Feb 1468
15 Feb 1468 9 James Fitz-Thomas Fitzgerald 1459 7 Dec 1487 28
7 Dec 1487 10 Maurice Fitz-Thomas Fitzgerald 1520
1520 11 James Fitz-Maurice Fitzgerald 18 Jun 1529
18 Jun 1529 12 Thomas Fitz-Thomas Fitzgerald 1454 1534 80
1534 13 James Fitz-Maurice Fitzgerald 19 Mar 1540
19 Mar 1540 14 James Fitz-John Fitzgerald 14 Oct 1558
14 Oct 1558 15 Gerald Fitz-James Fitzgerald 11 Nov 1583
to     He was attainted and the peerage forfeited
1582 in 1582
1 Oct 1600 E[I] 1 James Fitzgerald c 1571 7 Nov 1601
to     Created Baron Inchiquin and Earl of
7 Nov 1601 Desmond 1 Oct 1600
Peerages extinct on his death
11 Jul 1619 E[I] 1 Richard Preston,1st Lord Dingwall 28 Oct 1628
to     Created Baron Dunmore and Earl of
28 Oct 1628 Desmond 11 Jul 1619
Peerages extinct on his death
28 Oct 1628 E[I] 1 George Feilding 31 Jan 1666
Created Earl of Desmond 28 Oct 1628
31 Jan 1666 2 William Feilding 29 Dec 1640 23 Aug 1685 44
He succeeded to the Earldom of Denbigh (qv)
in 1675 with which title this peerage then
merged and with which it still remains united
14 Dec 1264 B 1 Hugh le Despencer by 1223 4 Aug 1265
Summoned to Parliament as Lord
Despencer 14 Dec 1264
4 Aug 1265 2 Hugh le Despencer 1 Mar 1261 27 Oct 1326 65
to     He was executed and the peerage forfeited
27 Oct 1326
29 Jul 1314 B 1 Hugh le Despencer c 1286 24 Nov 1326
to     Summoned to Parliament as Lord
24 Nov 1326 Despencer 29 Jul 1314
He was executed and the peerage forfeited
15 Jun 1338 B 1 Hugh le Despencer 1308 8 Feb 1349 40
to     Summoned to Parliament as Lord
8 Feb 1349 Despencer 15 Jun 1338
Peerage extinct on his death
17 Dec 1387 B 1 Philip le Despencer 18 Oct 1342 4 Aug 1401 58
Summoned to Parliament as Lord
Despencer 17 Dec 1387
4 Aug 1401 2 Philip le Despencer 1365 30 Jun 1424 58
to     Peerage extinct on his death
30 Jun 1424
15 Dec 1357 B 1 Edward le Despencer 1336 11 Nov 1375 39
Summoned to Parliament as Lord
Despencer 15 Dec 1357
KG c 1361
11 Nov 1375 2 Thomas le Despencer 22 Sep 1373 17 Jan 1400 26
to     Created Earl of Gloucester (qv) 1397
17 Jan 1400 He was attainted and the peerages forfeited
[17 Jan 1400 ]   [Richard le Despencer] 14 Oct 1414
[14 Oct 1414] [Isabel Beauchamp] Jan 1440
[Jan 1440] [Henry Beauchamp] 1424 11 Jun 1445 20
He was created Duke of Warwick (qv) 1444
[11 Jun 1445] [Anne Beauchamp] 3 Jun 1449
On her death the peerage,subject to the
attainder,fell into abeyance
25 May 1604 7 Mary Fane 1554 28 Jun 1626 71
Attainder and abeyance terminated in her
favour 1604
28 Jun 1626 8 Francis Fane,1st Earl of Westmorland Feb 1580 23 Mar 1629 49
23 Mar 1629 9 Mildmay Fane,2nd Earl of Westmorland 24 Jan 1602 12 Feb 1666 64
12 Feb 1666 10 Charles Fane,3rd Earl of Westmorland 6 Jan 1635 18 Sep 1691 56
Sep 1691 11 Vere Fane,4th Earl of Westmorland 13 Feb 1645 29 Dec 1693 48
29 Dec 1693 12 Vere Fane,5th Earl of Westmorland 13 Apr 1678 19 May 1699 21
19 May 1699 13 Thomas Fane,6th Earl of Westmorland 3 Oct 1683 4 Jun 1736 52
4 Jun 1736 14 John Fane,7th Earl of Westmorland 24 Mar 1686 26 Aug 1762 76
to     On his death the peerage fell into abeyance
26 Aug 1762
19 Apr 1763 15 Sir Francis Dashwood,2nd baronet Dec 1708 11 Dec 1781 73
to     Abeyance terminated in his favour 1763
11 Dec 1781 MP for New Romney 1741-1761 and Weymouth
1761-1763. Chancellor of the Exchequer
1762-1763. Postmaster General 1770-1781
Lord Lieutenant Buckinghamshire 1763-1781
PC 1761
On his death the peerage again fell into
15 May 1788 16 Thomas Stapleton 10 Nov 1766 31 Oct 1831 64
Abeyance terminated in his favour 1788
31 Oct 1831 17 Mary Frances Elizabeth Boscawen 24 Mar 1822 20 Nov 1891 69
20 Nov 1891 18 Evelyn Edward Thomas Boscawen 24 Jul 1847 1 Oct 1918 71
He had succeeded to the Viscountcy of
Falmouth (qv) in 1889 with which title
this peerage then merged and still remains so
10 Jul 1826 B 1 Sir John Fleming Leicester,5th baronet 4 Apr 1762 18 Jun 1827 65
Created Baron de Tabley 10 Jul 1826
MP for Yarmouth 1791-1796, Heytesbury
1796-1802 and Stockbridge 1807
18 Jun 1827 2 George Fleming Warren 28 Oct 1811 19 Oct 1887 75
PC 1869
19 Oct 1887 3 John Byrne Leicester Warren 26 Apr 1835 22 Nov 1895 60
to     Peerage extinct on his death
22 Nov 1895
6 Feb 1299 B 1 William Devereux after 1300
Summoned to Parliament as Lord
Devereux 6 Feb 1299
after 1300 2 John Devereux c Mar 1316
c Mar 1316 3 William Devereux c Mar 1337
c Mar 1337 4 William Devereux after 1371
after 1371 5 William Devereux by Oct 1385
Nothing further is known of this peerage
28 Sep 1384 B 1 Sir John Devereux 22 Feb 1393
Summoned to Parliament as Lord
Devereux 28 Sep 1384
Warden of the Cinque Ports 1387  KG 1388
22 Feb 1393 2 John Devereux c 1376 13 Nov 1396  
13 Nov 1396 3 Joan Devereux (she married Walter FitzWalter, May 1409
5th Lord FitzWalter,but nothing further is known
of this peerage
19 Jul 1776 V[I] 1 Thomas Vesey,2nd Baron Knapton 13 Oct 1804
Created Viscount de Vesci of Abbeyliex
19 Jul 1776
13 Oct 1804 2 John Vesey 15 Feb 1771 19 Oct 1855 84
Lord Lieutenant Queens County 1831-1855
19 Oct 1855 3 Thomas Vesey 21 Sep 1803 23 Dec 1875 72
MP for Queens County 1835-1837 and 1841-
23 Dec 1875 4 John Robert William Vesey 21 May 1844 6 Jul 1903 59
8 Nov 1884 B 1 Created Baron de Vesci [UK] 8 Nov 1884
to     Lord Lieutenant Queens County 1883-1900
6 Jul 1903 On his death the Barony of 1884 became 
extinct whilst the Viscountcy passed to -
6 Jul 1903 5 Yvo Richard Vesey 16 Dec 1881 16 Aug 1958 76
16 Aug 1958 6 John Eustace Vesey 25 Feb 1919 13 Oct 1983 64
13 Oct 1983 7 Thomas Eustace Vesey 8 Oct 1955
21 Sep 1910 B 1 John Henry de Villiers 15 Jun 1842 2 Sep 1914 72
Created Baron de Villiers 21 Sep 1910
Chief Justice of the Cape Colony 1874-1910
and South Africa 1910-1914. PC 1897
2 Sep 1914 2 Charles Percy de Villiers 24 Nov 1871 10 Feb 1934 62
10 Feb 1934 3 Arthur Percy de Villiers 17 Dec 1911 23 Mar 2001 89
23 Mar 2001 4 Alexander Charles de Villiers 29 Dec 1940
11 Oct 1961 B[L] 1 Sir Patrick Arthur Devlin 25 Nov 1905 9 Aug 1992 86
to     Created Baron Devlin for life 11 Oct 1961
9 Aug 1992 Lord Justice of Appeal 1960-1961. Lord of
Appeal in Ordinary 1961-1964. PC 1960
Peerage extinct on his death
c 1100 E 1 Richard de Redvers 1107
Created Earl of Devon c 1100
1107 2 Baldwin de Redvers 4 Jun 1155
4 Jun 1155 3 Richard de Redvers c 1120 1162
1162 4 Baldwin de Redvers c 1180
c 1180 5 Richard de Redvers 1184
1184 6 William de Redvers 14 Sep 1216
14 Sep 1216 7 Baldwin de Redvers 15 Feb 1245
15 Feb 1245 8 Baldwin de Redvers 2 Jan 1235 Jul 1262 27
Jul 1262 9 Isabel de Fortz 1237 9 Nov 1293 56
9 Nov 1293 10 Hugh Courtenay 1274 1340 66
Summoned to Parliament as Lord
Courtenay 6 Feb 1299
1340 11 Hugh Courtenay 12 Jul 1303 2 May 1377 73
2 May 1377 12 Edward Courtenay c 1357 5 Dec 1419
5 Dec 1419 13 Hugh Courtenay 1389 16 Jun 1422 32
16 Jun 1422 14 Thomas Courtenay 1414 3 Feb 1458 43
3 Feb 1458 15 Thomas Courtenay 1432 3 Apr 1461 28
to     He was attainted and executed when the 
3 Apr 1461 peerages were forfeited
9 Oct 1470 16 John Courtenay 4 May 1471
to     Restored to the peerage 1470, but peerage
14 Apr 1471 again forfeited 14 Apr 1471
17 May 1469 E 1 Humphrey Stafford 1439 17 Aug 1469 30
to     Created Earl of Devon 17 May 1469
17 Aug 1469 He was attainted and executed when the 
peerage was forfeited
26 Oct 1485 E 1 Edward Courtenay 28 May 1509
to     Created Earl of Devon 26 Oct 1485
28 May 1509 KG 1489
Peerage extinct on his death
10 May 1511 E 1 William Courtenay 9 Jun 1511
Created Earl of Devon 10 May 1511
9 Jun 1511 2 Henry Courtenay c 1498 9 Jan 1539
to     KG 1521
9 Jan 1539 Created Marquess of Exeter 
18 Jun 1525
He was attainted and executed when the 
peerage was forfeited
3 Sep 1553 E 1 Edward Courtenay 1526 18 Sep 1556 30
Created Earl of Devon 3 Sep 1553
On his death in 1556, the peerage was 
generally thought to have become extinct. 
However,in 1831,William Courtenay,3rd Viscount
Courtenay, was declared to be entitled to the
Earldom of Devon. The descent during this period
is shown below:-
18 Sep 1556 2 William Courtenay 18 Aug 1557
18 Aug 1557 3 William Courtenay 1553 24 Jun 1630 76
24 Jun 1630 4 Francis Courtenay Mar 1638
Mar 1638 5 William Courtenay 7 Sep 1628 4 Aug 1702 73
MP for Devon 1679-1685
4 Aug 1702 6 William Courtenay 11 Mar 1676  6 Oct 1735 59
MP for Devon 1701-1710 and 1712-1735
Lord Lieutenant Devon 1715
6 Oct 1735 7 William Courtenay 11 Feb 1710 16 May 1762 52
MP for Honiton 1734-1741 and Devonshire
Created Viscount Courtenay 6 May 1762 (qv)
16 May 1762 8 William Courtenay 30 Oct 1742 14 Oct 1788 45
14 Oct 1788 9 William Courtenay 30 Jul 1768 26 May 1835 66
He was confirmed as Earl of Devon 14 May 1831
For information on this succesful claim,see
the note at the foot of this page
26 May 1835 10 William Courtenay 19 Jun 1777 19 Mar 1859 81
MP for Exeter 1812-1826
19 Mar 1859 11 William Reginald Courtenay 14 Apr 1807 18 Nov 1888 81
MP for Devon South 1841-1849. Chancellor
of the Duchy of Lancaster 1866-1867.
President of the Poor Law Board 1867-1868
PC 1866
18 Nov 1888 12 Edward Baldwin Courtenay 7 May 1836 15 Jan 1891 54
MP for Exeter 1864-1868 and Devon East
15 Jan 1891 13 Henry Hugh Courtenay 15 Jul 1811 29 Jan 1904 92
29 Jan 1904 14 Charles Pepys Courtenay 14 Jul 1870 4 Feb 1927 56
4 Feb 1927 15 Henry Hugh Courtenay 1 Aug 1872 8 Feb 1935 62
8 Feb 1935 16 Frederick Leslie Courtenay 31 Aug 1875 19 Jun 1935 59
19 Jun 1935 17 Charles Christopher Courtenay Courtenay 13 Jul 1916 19 Nov 1998 82
19 Nov 1998 18 Hugh Rupert Courtenay 5 May 1942 18 Aug 2015 73
18 Aug 2015 19 Charles Peregrine Courtenay  [Elected 14 Aug 1975
hereditary peer 2018-   ]
22 Jun 1917 V 1 Sir Hudson Ewbanke Kearley,1st baronet 1 Sep 1856 5 Sep 1934 78
Created Baron Devonport 15 Jul 1910
and Viscount Devonport 22 Jun 1917
MP for Devonport 1892-1910.  PC 1909
5 Sep 1934 2 Gerald Chester Kearley 16 Sep 1890 29 Mar 1973 82
29 Mar 1973 3 Terence Kearley 29 Aug 1944
21 Jul 1603 E 1 Charles Blount,8th Baron Mountjoy 1563 3 Apr 1606 42
to     Created Earl of Devonshire 21 Jul 1603
3 Apr 1606 Peerage extinct on his death
7 Aug 1618 E 1 William Cavendish 27 Dec 1552 3 Mar 1626 73
Created Baron Cavendish of Hardwick
4 May 1605 and Earl of Devonshire
7 Aug 1618
MP for Newport 1588. Lord Lieutenant
Derbyshire 1619-1626
3 Mar 1626 2 William Cavendish 1590 20 Jun 1628 37
MP for Derbyshire 1621-1626. Lord 
Lieutenant Derbyshire 1619-1628
20 Jun 1628 3 William Cavendish 10 Oct 1617 23 Nov 1684 67
Lord Lieutenant Derbyshire 1638-1642
and 1660-1684
23 Nov 1684 4 William Cavendish 25 Jan 1641 18 Aug 1707 66
12 May 1694 D 1 Created Marquess of Hartington and
Duke of Devonshire 12 May 1694
MP for Derbyshire 1661-1681. Lord
Lieutenant Derbyshire 1689-1707. Lord Lieutenant
Nottingham 1692-1694 and Somerset 1690-1691
PC 1679  KG 1689
18 Aug 1707 2 William Cavendish 1672 4 Jun 1729 56
MP for Derbyshire 1695-1701, Castle Rising
1702 and Yorkshire 1702-1707. Lord
President of the Council 1716-1717 and
1725-1727. Lord Lieutenant Derbyshire 
1707-1710 and 1714-1729. PC 1707 KG 1710
4 Jun 1729 3 William Cavendish 1698 5 Dec 1755 57
MP for Lostwithiel 1721-1722,Grampound 
1722-1727 and Huntingdonshire 1727-1729.
Lord Lieutenant Derbyshire 1729-1755.
Lord Privy Seal 1731-1733. Lord Lieutenant
of Ireland 1737-1745.  PC 1731  KG 1733
5 Dec 1755 4 William Cavendish 1720 2 Oct 1764 44
MP for Derbyshire 1741-1751. Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland 1755-1756. Lord
Lieutenant Derbyshire 1756-1764. Prime Minister
1756-1757. PC 1751 KG 1756  PC [I] 1761
He was summoned to Parliament by a Writ of
Acceleration as Baron Cavendish of
Hardwick 13 Jun 1751
2 Oct 1764 5 William Cavendish 14 Dec 1748 29 Jul 1811 62
He had previously [1754] succeeded as 7th
Lord Clifford
Lord Lieutenant Derbyshire 1782-1811. KG 1782
29 Jul 1811 6 William George Spencer Cavendish 21 May 1790 18 Jan 1858 67
Lord Lieutenant Derbyshire 1811-1858
PC 1827  KG 1827
18 Jan 1858 7 William Cavendish,2nd Earl of Burlington 27 Apr 1808 21 Dec 1891 83
MP for Cambridge University 1829-1831,
Malton 1831-1832 and Derbyshire North
1832-1834. Lord Lieutenant Lancashire
1857-1858 and Derbyshire 1858-1891. KG 1858
PC 1878
21 Dec 1891 8 Spencer Compton Cavendish 23 Jul 1833 24 Mar 1908 74
MP for Lancashire North 1857-1868,
Radnor 1869-1880, Lancashire Northeast
1880-1885 and Rossendale 1885-1891.
Lord Lieutenant Derby 1858-1891 and Waterford
1895-1908. Secretary of State for War 1866. 
Postmaster General 1868-1870. Chief
Secretary for Ireland 1870-1874. Secretary
of State for India 1880-1882. Secretary of
State for War 1882-1885. Lord President
of the Council 1895-1903. PC 1866  KG 1892
PC [I] 1871
24 Mar 1908 9 Victor Christian William Cavendish 31 May 1868 6 May 1938 69
MP for Derbyshire West 1891-1908. 
Financial Secretary to the Treasury 1903-
1905. Governor General of Canada 1916-
1921. Secretary of State for Colonies
1922-1924. Lord Lieutenant Derbyshire 1908-1938
PC 1905  KG 1916
6 May 1938 10 Edward William Spencer Cavendish 6 May 1895 26 Nov 1950 55
MP for Derbyshire West 1923-1938.
Lord Lieutenant Devonshire 1938-1950
KG 1941
For further information on the death of this peer,
see the note at the foot of this page.
26 Nov 1950 11 Andrew Robert Buxton Cavendish 2 Jan 1920 3 May 2004 84
Minister of State for Commonwealth
Relations 1962-1964. PC 1964  KG 1996
For further information on this peer, see the
note at the foot of this page.
3 May 2004 12 Peregrine Andrew Morny Cavendish 27 Apr 1944
20 May 1919 B 1 Sir Thomas Robert Dewar,1st baronet 6 Jan 1864 11 Apr 1930 66
to     Created Baron Dewar 20 May 1919
11 Apr 1930 MP for St Georges,Tower Hamlets 1900-
Peerage extinct on his death
24 Oct 1997 B[L] 1 Navnit Dholakia 4 Mar 1937
Created Baron Dholakia for life 24 Oct 1997
PC 2010
25 Sep 1970 B[L] 1 John Diamond 30 Apr 1907 3 Apr 2004 96
to     Created Baron Diamond for life 25 Sep 1970
3 Apr 2004 MP for Blackley 1945-1951 and Gloucester
1957-1970. Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1964-1970.  PC 1965
18 Jan 1930 B 1 Willoughby Hyett Dickinson 9 Apr 1859 31 May 1943 84
Created Baron Dickinson 18 Jan 1930
MP for St.Pancras North 1906-1918.
PC 1914
31 May 1943 2 Richard Clavering Hyett Dickinson 2 Mar 1926 28 Nov 2019 93
28 Nov 2019 3 Martin Hyett Dickinson 1961
29 Jul 1620 B[I] 1 Robert Digby 6 Jun 1642
Created Baron Digby 29 Jul 1620
6 Jun 1642 2 Kildare Digby c 1631 11 Jul 1661
11 Jul 1661 3 Robert Digby 30 Apr 1654 29 Dec 1677 23
MP for Warwick 1677
29 Dec 1677 4 Simon Digby 18 Jul 1657 19 Jan 1686 28
MP for Warwick 1685-1686
19 Jan 1686 5 William Digby 20 Feb 1661 27 Nov 1752 91
MP for Warwick 1689-1698
27 Nov 1752 6 Edward Digby  5 Jul 1730 30 Nov 1757 27
MP for Malmesbury 1751-1754 and Wells
30 Nov 1757 7 Henry Digby 21 Jul 1731 25 Sep 1793 62
19 Aug 1765 B 1 Created Baron Digby [GB] 19 Aug 1765 and
1 Nov 1790 E 1 Viscount Coleshill and Earl Digby 1 Nov 1790
The creation of 1765 contained a special remainder
failing his issue male,to the issue male of his
MP for Ludgershall 1755-1761 and Wells
1761-1765. Lord Lieutenant Dorset 1771-1793
25 Sep 1793 8 Edward Digby 6 Jan 1773 12 May 1856 83
to     2 Lord Lieutenant Dorset 1808-1856
12 May 1856 On his death the Earldom became extinct
whilst the Baronies passed to -
12 May 1856 9 Edward St.Vincent Digby 21 Jun 1809 16 Oct 1889 80
16 Oct 1889 10 Edward Henry Trafalgar Digby 21 Oct 1846 11 May 1920 73
MP for Dorset 1876-1885
11 May 1920 11 Edward Kenelm Digby 1 Aug 1894 29 Jan 1964 69
Lord Lieutenant Dorset 1952-1964.  KG 1960
29 Jan 1964 12 Edward Henry Kenelm Digby 24 Jul 1924 1 Apr 2018 93
Lord Lieutenant Dorset 1984-1999
1 Apr 2018 13 Henry Noel Kenelm Digby 6 Jan 1954
25 Nov 1618 B 1 John Digby Feb 1586 21 Jan 1653 66
Created Baron Digby of Sherborne
25 Nov 1618 and Earl of Bristol
15 Sep 1622
See "Bristol"
9 Jun 1641 George Digby Oct 1612 20 Mar 1677 64
He was summoned to Parliament by a Writ of
Acceleration as Baron Digby of Sherborne
9 Jun 1641
He succeeded as Earl of Bristol (qv) in 1653
7 Dec 1964 V 1 Sir Reginald Edward Manningham-Buller,
4th baronet 1 Aug 1905 7 Sep 1980 75
Created Baron Dilhorne 17 Jul 1962 and
Viscount Dilhorne 7 Dec 1964
MP for Daventry 1943-1950 and 
Northamptonshire South 1950-1962. 
Solicitor General 1951-1954. Attorney
General 1954-1962. Lord Chancellor
1962-1964. Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
1969-1980.  PC 1954
7 Sep 1980 2 John Mervyn Manningham-Buller 28 Feb 1932
24 Jan 1619 B[I] 1 James Dillon Mar 1642
Created Baron Dillon 24 Jan 1619 and
Earl of Roscommon 5 Aug 1622
See "Roscommon"
16 Mar 1622 V[I] 1 Sir Theobald Dillon 15 Mar 1624
Created Viscount Dillon 16 Mar 1622
15 Mar 1624 2 Lucas Dillon Mar 1610 13 Apr 1629 19
13 Apr 1629 3 Theobald Dillon Jan 1629 13 May 1630 1
13 May 1630 4 Thomas Dillon 1615 1672 57
1672 5 Thomas Dillon 1674
1674 6 Lucas Dillon Oct 1682
Oct 1682 7 Theobald Dillon 12 Jul 1691
12 Jul 1691 8 Henry Dillon 13 Jan 1714
Lord Lieutenant Roscommon
13 Jan 1714 9 Richard Dillon 1688 Feb 1737 48
Feb 1737 10 Charles Dillon 24 Oct 1741
24 Oct 1741 11 Henry Dillon 25 Sep 1787
25 Sep 1787 12 Charles Dillon-Lee 6 Nov 1745 9 Nov 1813 68
MP for Westbury 1770-1774.  KP 1798
PC [I] 1786
9 Nov 1813 13 Henry Augustus Dillon-Lee 28 Oct 1777 24 Jul 1832 54
MP for Harwich 1799-1802 and Mayo 
24 Jul 1832 14 Charles Henry Dillon-Lee 20 Apr 1810 18 Nov 1865 55
18 Nov 1865 15 Theobald Dominick Geoffrey Dillon-Lee 5 Apr 1811 30 Nov 1879 68
30 Nov 1879 16 Arthur Edmund Denis Dillon-Lee 10 Apr 1812 12 Jan 1892 79
12 Jan 1892 17 Harold Arthur Dillon 24 Jan 1844 18 Dec 1932 88
CH 1921
18 Dec 1932 18 Arthur Henry Dillon 5 Jan 1875 25 May 1934 59
25 May 1934 19 Eric Fitzgerald Dillon 4 Apr 1881 6 Apr 1946 65
6 Apr 1946 20 Michael Eric Dillon 13 Aug 1911 30 Nov 1979 68
30 Nov 1979 21 Charles Henry Robert Dillon 18 Jan 1945 15 Sep 1982 37
15 Sep 1982 22 Henry Benedict Charles Dillon 6 Jan 1973
23 Jun 1295 B 1 Oliver Dinan 1234 26 Feb 1299 64
Summoned to Parliament as Lord
Dinan 23 Jun 1295
26 Feb 1299 2 Josce Dinan 1273 30 Mar 1301 27
30 Mar 1301 3 John Dinan 14 Sep 1295 14 Apr 1332 36
14 Apr 1332 4 John Dinan c 1318 7 Jan 1383
7 Jan 1383 5 John Dinan c 1360 25 Dec 1428
25 Dec 1428 6 John Dinan c 1405 25 Jan 1458
25 Jan 1458 7 John Dinan c 1432 28 Jan 1501
to     KG 1487
28 Jan 1501 On his death the peerage is presumed to
have become extinct
15 Mar 1584 B[S] 1 Andrew Keith c 1606
to     Created Lord Dingwall 15 Mar 1584
c 1606 On his death the peerage is presumed to
have become extinct
1609 B[S] 1 Sir Richard Preston 28 Oct 1628
Created Lord Dingwall 1609 and
Baron Dunmore and Earl of Desmond
11 Jul 1619
28 Oct 1628 2 Elizabeth Butler [wife of the 1st Duke of Ormonde] 25 Jul 1615 21 Jul 1684 68
21 Jul 1684 3 James Butler,later [1688] 2nd Duke of Ormonde 29 Apr 1665 16 Nov 1745 80
to     He was attainted and the peerage forfeited
1715 in 1715
[16 Nov 1745] 4 [Charles Butler,1st Earl of Arran] 1671 17 Dec 1758 87
[17 Dec 1758] 5 [Frances Elliott] 5 Apr 1772
[5 Apr 1772] 6 [George Nassau Clavering-Cowper,
3rd Earl Cowper] 26 Aug 1738 22 Dec 1789 51
[22 Dec 1789] 7 [George Augustus Clavering-Cowper,
4th Earl Cowper] 9 Aug 1776 12 Feb 1799 22
[12 Feb 1799] 8 [Peter Leopold Clavering-Cowper,
5th Earl Cowper] 8 May 1788 21 Jul 1837 49
[21 Jul 1837] 9 [George Augustus Cowper,6th Earl Cowper] 26 Jun 1806 15 Apr 1856 49
[15 Apr 1856] 10 Francis Thomas de Grey Cowper,7th Earl Cowper 11 Jun 1834 18 Jul 1905 71
31 Jul 1871 4 He obtained a reversal of the attainder
in 1871
18 Jul 1905 11 Auberon Thomas Herbert 25 May 1876 3 Nov 1916 40
He succeeded to the Barony of Lucas (qv)
with which title this peerage continues to
be merged
10 Sep 1831 B 1 William Lewis Hughes 10 Nov 1767 10 Feb 1852 84
Created Baron Dinorben 10 Sep 1831
MP for Wallingford 1802-1831
10 Feb 1852 2 William Lewis Hughes 9 Nov 1821 6 Oct 1852 30
to     Peerage extinct on his death
6 Oct 1852 For further information on this peer,see the
note at the foot of this page
30 Sep 1968 B[L] 1 Sir (William John) Kenneth Diplock  8 Dec 1907 14 Oct 1985 77
to     Created Baron Diplock for life 30 Sep 1968
14 Oct 1985 Lord Justice of Appeal 1961-1968. Lord of
Appeal in Ordinary 1968-1985.  PC 1961
Peerage extinct on his death
c 1441 B[S] 1 Sir Walter Halyburton 1449
Created Lord Dirletoun c 1441
1449 2 John Halyburton 1451
1451 3 Patrick Halyburton c 1470
c 1470 4 George Halyburton c 1491
c 1491 5 James Halyburton c 1500
c 1500 6 Patrick Halyburton 1506
1506 7 Janet Ruthven 1560
1560 8 Patrick Ruthven,3rd Lord Ruthven c 1520 18 Jun 1566
18 Jun 1566 9 William Ruthven,later [1581] 1st Earl of Gowrie 28 May 1584
28 May 1584 10 James Ruthven,2nd Earl of Gowrie 25 Sep 1575 1588 12
1588 11 John Ruthven,3rd Earl of Gowrie c 1576 5 Aug 1600
to     He was attainted and the peerages forfeited
5 Aug 1600
8 Jul 1604 B[S] 1 Thomas Erskine 1566 12 Jun 1639 72
Created Lord Dirletoun 8 Jul 1604
Viscount Fentoun 18 Mar 1606 and
Earl of Kellie 12 Mar 1619
See "Kellie"
1646 E[S] 1 Sir James Maxwell 19 Apr 1650
to     Created Lord Elbottle and Earl of
19 Apr 1650 Dirletoun 1646
Peerages extinct on his death
9 Jun 1997 B[L] 1 Donald Dixon 6 Mar 1929 19 Feb 2017 87
to     Created Baron Dixon for life 9 Jun 1997
19 Feb 2017 MP for Jarrow 1979-1997.  PC 1996
Peerage extinct on his death
11 Oct 1993 B[L] 1 Robert William Dixon-Smith 30 Sep 1934
Created Baron Dixon-Smith for life
11 Oct 1993
18 Dec 2010 B[L] 1 Michael John Dobbs 14 Nov 1948
Created Baron Dobbs for life 18 Dec 2010
15 May 1621 B[I] 1 Henry Dockwra c 1568 18 Apr 1631
Created Baron Dockwra 15 May 1621
18 Apr 1631 2 Theodore Dockwra c 1609 c 1647
to     Peerage extinct on his death
c 1647
26 Jun 2010 B[L] 1 Rita Margaret Donaghy
Created Baroness Donaghy for life 26 Jun 2010
20 Nov 1967 B[L] 1 John George Stuart Donaldson 9 Oct 1907 8 Mar 1998 90
to     Created Baron Donaldson of Kingsbridge
8 Mar 1998 for life 20 Nov 1967
Peerage extinct on his death
15 Feb 1988 B[L] 1 Sir John Francis Donaldson 6 Oct 1920 31 Aug 2005 84
to     Created Baron Donaldson of Lymington
31 Aug 2005 for life 15 Feb 1988
Lord Justice of Appeal 1979-1982. Master
of the Rolls 1982-1992. PC 1979
Peerage extinct on his death
5 Jul 1618 V 1 James Hay,1st Baron Hay of Sawley c 1580 25 Apr 1636
Created Viscount Doncaster 5 Jul 1618
He was subsequently created Earl of
Carlisle (qv) in 1622
14 Feb 1663 E 1 James Scott 9 Apr 1649 15 Jul 1685 36
to     Created Baron Scott of Tyndale,Earl
15 Jul 1685 of Doncaster and Duke of Monmouth
14 Feb 1663
Illegitimate son of Charles II. Lord
Lieutenant E Riding Yorkshire 1673-1679 and
Staffordshire 1677-1679. KG 1663  PC 1670
He was attainted and the peerages forfeited
but on 21 Mar 1743 the Barony and Earldom 
were restored to the second Duke of Buccleuch
with which title these peerages remain merged
27 Sep 1603 E[I] 1 Roderick O'Donnell 1575 30 Jul 1608 33
to     Created Baron Donegall and Earl of 
30 Jul 1608 Tyrconnel 27 Sep 1603
He was attainted and the peerages forfeited
30 Mar 1647 E[I] 1 Arthur Chichester 16 Jun 1606 18 Mar 1675 68
Created Earl of Donegall 30 Mar 1647
PC [I] 1660
18 Mar 1675 2 Arthur Chichester 26 Oct 1678
PC [I] 1672
26 Oct 1678 3 Arthur Chichester 1666 10 Apr 1706 40
10 Apr 1706 4 Arthur Chichester 28 Mar 1695 30 Sep 1757 62
30 Sep 1757 5 Arthur Chichester 13 Jun 1739 5 Jan 1799 59
27 Jun 1791 M[I] 1 Created Baron Fisherwick 3 Jul 1790,
and Earl of Belfast and Marquess of
Donegall 27 Jun 1791
MP for Malmesbury 1768-1774.  PC [I] 1768
5 Jan 1799 2 George Augustus Chichester 14 Aug 1769 5 Oct 1844 75
PC [I] 1803  KP 1821. Lord Lieutenant
Donegal 1831-1844
5 Oct 1844 3 George Hamilton Chichester,1st Baron Ennishowen
and Carrickfergus 10 Feb 1797 20 Oct 1883 86
MP for Carrickfergus 1818-1820, Belfast
1820-1830 and 1837-1838 and Antrim 1830-
1837. Lord Lieutenant Antrim 1841-1883 
PC 1830  KP 1857
20 Oct 1883 4 Edward Chichester 11 Jun 1799 20 Jan 1889 89
20 Jan 1889 5 George Augustus Hamilton Chichester 27 Jun 1822 13 May 1904 81
For information on this peer's marriages,see
the note at the foot of this page
13 May 1904 6 Edward Arthur Donald St.George
Hamilton Chichester 7 Oct 1903 24 May 1975 71
24 May 1975 7 Dermot Richard Claude Chichester 18 Apr 1916 19 Apr 2007 91
19 Apr 2007 8 Arthur Patrick Chichester 9 May 1952
23 Jun 1703 V[I] 1 Arthur St.Leger 1657 7 Jul 1727 70
Created Baron Kilmayden and Viscount
Doneraile 23 Jun 1703
PC [I] 1715
For further information on Elizabeth, daughter
of the 1st Viscount, see the note at the foot of
this page
7 Jul 1727 2 Arthur St.Leger 1695 13 Mar 1734 38
13 Mar 1734 3 Arthur Mohun St.Leger 7 Aug 1718 Aug 1750 32
MP for Winchilsea 1741-1747 and Old
Sarum 1747-1750
Aug 1750 4 Hayes St.Leger 1 Jan 1702 16 Apr 1767 65
to     PC [I] 1751
16 Apr 1767 Peerage extinct on his death
22 Jun 1785 V[I] 1 St.Leger St.Leger c 1715 15 May 1787
Created Baron Doneraile 2 Jul 1776
and Viscount Doneraile 22 Jun 1785
15 May 1787 2 Hayes St.Leger 9 Mar 1755 8 Nov 1819 64
8 Nov 1819 3 Hayes St.Leger 9 May 1786 27 Mar 1854 67
27 Mar 1854 4 Hayes St.Leger 1 Oct 1818 26 Aug 1887 68
For further information on the death of this peer,
see the note at the foot of this page
26 Aug 1887 5 Richard Arthur St.Leger 22 Feb 1825 1 Jan 1891 65
1 Jan 1891 6 Edward St.Leger 6 Oct 1866 7 Sep 1941 74
7 Sep 1941 7 Hugh St.Leger St.Leger 6 Aug 1869 18 Dec 1956 87
18 Dec 1956 8 Algernon Edward St.Leger 10 Jun 1878 18 Nov 1957 79
18 Nov 1957 9 Richard St.John St.Leger 29 Oct 1923 22 Oct 1983 59
22 Oct 1983 10 Richard Allen St.Leger 17 Aug 1946
4 May 1880 B 1 Charles Frederick Abney-Hastings 17 Jun 1822 24 Jul 1895 73
Created Baron Donington 4 May 1880
24 Jul 1895 2 Charles Edward Rawdon-Hastings,11th Earl
of Loudoun 5 Jan 1855 17 May 1920 65
17 May 1920 3 Gilbert Theophilus Clifton Clifton-
to     Hastings-Campbell 29 May 1859 31 May 1927 68
31 May 1927 Peerage extinct on his death
19 May 1978 B[L] 1 Alexander Mitchell Donnet 6 Jun 1916 14 May 1985 68
to     Created Baron Donnet of Balgay for life
14 May 1985 19 May 1978
Peerage extinct on his death
16 Oct 1783 B[I] 1 Christiana Hely-Hutchinson 24 Feb 1732 24 Jun 1788 56
Created Baroness Donoughmore
16 Oct 1783
24 Jun 1788   2 Richard Hely-Hutchinson 29 Jan 1756 22 Aug 1825 69
31 Dec 1800 E[I] 1 Created Viscount Donoughmore
20 Nov 1797, Earl of Donoughmore
31 Dec 1800 and Viscount Hutchinson of
Knocklofty [UK] 14 Jul 1821
For details of the special remainder included in the
creation of the Earldom of 1800,see the note at the 
foot of this page
For details of the special remainder included in the
creation of the UK Viscountcy,see the note at the 
foot of the page containing details of that peerage
PC [I] 1796  PC 1806
22 Aug 1825 2 John Hely-Hutchinson 15 May 1757 29 Jun 1832 75
Created Baron Hutchinson of Alexandria and
Knocklofty [UK] 16 Dec 1801
Lord Lieutenant Tipperary 1831-1832
29 Jun 1832 3 John Hely-Hutchinson 1787 14 Sep 1851 64
MP for Tipperary 1826-1830 and 1831-1832
Lord Lieutenant Tipperary 1832-1851  KP 1834  
PC [I] 1834
14 Sep 1851 4 Richard John Hely-Hutchinson 4 Apr 1823 22 Feb 1866 42
Vice President of the Board of Trade 1858
President of the Board of Trade 1859
PC 1858
22 Feb 1866 5 John Luke George Hely-Hutchinson 2 Mar 1848 5 Dec 1900 52
5 Dec 1900 6 Richard Walter Hely-Hutchinson 2 Mar 1875 19 Oct 1948 73
KP 1916  PC 1918
19 Oct 1948 7 John Michael Henry Hely-Hutchinson 12 Nov 1902 12 Aug 1981 78
MP for Peterborough 1943-1945
12 Aug 1981 8 Richard Michael John Hely-Hutchinson 8 Aug 1927
21 May 1985 B[L] 1 Bernard Donoughue 8 Sep 1934
Created Baron Donoughue for life
21 May 1985
11 Jan 1964 B[L] 1 Sir Terence Norbert Donovan 13 Jun 1898 12 Dec 1971 73
to     Created Baron Donovan for life 11 Jan 1964
12 Dec 1971 MP for Leicester East 1945-1950 and
Leicester Northeast 1950. Lord Justice of
Appeal 1960-1964. Lord of Appeal in
Ordinary 1964-1971.  PC 1960
Peerage extinct on his death
21 Dec 2010 B[L] 1 Elizabeth Diedre Doocey 2 May 1948
Created Baroness Doocey for life 21 Dec 2010
DORCHESTER (co. Dorset)
25 Mar 1645 M 1 Henry Pierrepont,2nd Earl of Kingston Mar 1607 1 Dec 1680 73
to     Created Marquess of Dorchester
1 Dec 1680 25 Mar 1645
Peerage extinct on his death
20 Jan 1686 E[L] 1 Catherine Sedley 21 Dec 1657 26 Oct 1717 59
to     Created Baroness Darlington and 
26 Oct 1717 Countess of Dorchester for life 20 Jan 1686
Mistress of James II
Peerages extinct on her death
For further information on this peeress,see the
note at the foot of this page
23 Dec 1706 M 1 Evelyn Pierrepont,5th Earl of Kingston 27 Feb 1667 5 Mar 1726 59
Created Marquess of Dorchester
23 Dec 1706 and Duke of Kingston
upon Hull 10 Aug 1715
See "Kingston upon Hull"
18 May 1792 E 1 Joseph Damer 12 Mar 1718 12 Jan 1798 79
Created Baron Milton 3 Jun 1753 and
10 May 1762,and Viscount Milton of Milton
Abbey and Earl of Dorchester 18 May 1792
MP for Weymouth 1741-1747, Bramber 1747-
1754 and Dorchester 1754-1762  PC [I] 1753
12 Jan 1798 2 George Damer 28 Mar 1746 7 Mar 1808 61
to     MP for Cricklade 1768-1774, Anstruther Easter
7 Mar 1808 Burghs 1778-1780, Dorchester 1780-1790 and
Malton 1792-1798. Lord Lieutenant Dorset
1803-1808.  PC 1794. PC [I] 1795
Peerage extinct on his death
DORCHESTER (co. Oxford)
25 Jul 1628 V 1 Sir Dudley Carleton 10 Mar 1574 15 Feb 1632 57
to     Created Baron Carleton 22 May 1626
15 Feb 1632 and Viscount Dorchester 25 Jul 1628
Peerages extinct on his death
21 Aug 1786 B 1 Guy Carleton 3 Sep 1724 10 Nov 1808 84
Created Baron Dorchester 21 Aug 1786
10 Nov 1808 2 Arthur Henry Carleton 20 Feb 1805 3 Jun 1826 21
3 Jun 1826 3 Guy Carleton 25 Oct 1811 3 Dec 1875 64
3 Dec 1875 4 Dudley Wilmot Carleton 12 Nov 1822 13 Nov 1897 75
to     Peerage extinct on his death
13 Nov 1897
2 Aug 1899 B 1 Henrietta Anne Carleton 2 Mar 1925
Created Baroness Dorchester 2 Aug 1899
2 Mar 1925 2 Dudley Massey Pigott Carleton 28 Feb 1876 20 Jan 1963 86
to     Peerage extinct on his death
20 Jan 1963
William Henry Grenfell, 1st and only Baron Desborough
On 2 December 1920, 'The Times' reported the death of Lord Desborough, and in the same 
issue, included a lengthy obituary which described Lord Desborough's contributions to sport
and public affairs. To its embarrassment, the newspaper the next day published the 
following retraction:-
'We beg to tender our sincere apologies to Lord Desborough for having been misled into
publishing, in part of our edition of yesterday, a report which reached us from Birmingham
of his death there the evening before. Happily for Lord Desborough's friends, the report
was promptly contradicted yesterday morning. An obituary of Lord Bessborough, whose
death gave rise to the error, will be found on page 16.'
The successful claim to the Earldom of Devon made in 1831
The following two articles describe the successful claim made by William, Viscount Courtenay, 
to the Earldom of Devon in 1831:-
"The Times" of 5 February 1831-
'A petition has been presented to His Majesty by William Viscount Courtenay, claiming the title
and dignity of "Earl of Devon." His Majesty, as is the course with such applications, had it
forwarded for the purpose of being considered by the Committee of Privileges of the House of
Lords. The case is now prepared, and will be heard by the aforesaid Committee. The claim is of
so peculiar a character, that, as we have the case before us, some of its leading outlines may
not be unworthy of brief description: besides, the real claimants are not unknown, the direct 
claimant being Lord Courtenay, and the presumptive heir being Mr. Courtenay, late member for
Exeter, and now Chief Clerk of the House of Lords, succeeding Mr. Cowper, who retired from
that situation on a pension. The following are the points of the case :- 
'In the first year of the reign of Queen Mary, Sir Edward Courtenay, Knight, (son and heir of
Henry, Marquis of Exeter and Earl of Devon, who was executed and attainted in the 31st 
Henry VIII [1539]) was created Earl of Devon, to hold "to him and his heirs male for ever,"
by a patent which the case quotes. Upon this patent the claimant's pretensions to the earldom
of Devon, as heir male of the grantee, are grounded; but it may be advisable to state briefly
the history of the earldom of Devon in the Courtenay family, previously to the grant of it by
Queen Mary.
'Edward III, in the 9th year of his reign, authorized Hugh, Baron Courtenay, to assume the 
title of Earl of Devon, in consequence of his having inherited the lands, and being the heir of
of Redvers, Earls of Devon. The title was enjoyed by the heirs male for six generations, and
was forfeited by the attainder of Thomas, the sixth Earl of Devon, in the first year of Edward
IV, 1461, for having adhered to the King de facto, as well as de jure, Henry VI. By that act,
which was declared by the statute of the 1st of Henry VII to have been "against all righteous-
ness, honour, and nature" and "inordinate, seditious, and slanderous," Henry VI, the Queen, the
Prince of Wales, and 14 Peers were attainted; but the heir to each of those peers, who would
have succeeded to the title were it not for the forfeiture, was restored to it, "excepting the
heir of the Earl of Devon;" the cause of which is fully explained in the petition to His Majesty,
and the case founded thereupon. It thence appears, that on the accession of Henry VII, Sir
Edward Courtenay, of Boconnoc, who had been attainted by Richard III, was the "heir male,"
but not the heir general, of the last Earl of Devon; and in the first of Henry VII his attainder
by Richard III was reversed. He was created Earl of Devon, to hold to him and the heirs male of 
his body, by a patent dated October 26, 1 Henry VII 1485; the considerations for granting
which were, "that he was the descendant of Hugh Courtenay, sometime Earl of Devon, and of
Margaret, his wife, the grand-daughter of Edward I, and that he was the heir male of the said
Hugh." Sir William Courtenay, Knight, the son and heir of the said Edward, Earl of Devon, having
been attainted in the 19th year or Henry VII, did not inherit the earldom created to his father;
but having married the lady Katherine Plantagenet, daughter, and co-heiress of Edward IV, and
sister of the Queen Consort, he was created Earl of Devon, on the 10th of May, 3 Henry VIII,
1511, to hold to him and the heirs male of his body, by a charter, which recited, as the
considerations for granting it, that "he was the husband of the Lady Katherine, the King's Aunt,
daughter of Edward IV, and the son of Edward Courtenay, late Earl of Devon, the descendant
of Hugh Courtenay, sometime Earl of Devon, and of Margaret his wife, daughter of Elizabeth,
daughter of Edward 1, and was the heir male of the said Hugh." Henry Courtenay, who
succeeded to the earldom of Devon, created by the charter of 3rd Henry VII, and as he
obtained the reversal of his father's attainder in the 4th Henry VIII, he also became Earl of
Devon under the patent, 1st Henry VII, to his grandfather. He was created Marquis of Exeter,
on the 18th of June, 11 Henry VIII, 1525, to hold to him and the heirs male of his body. The
Marquis, from his near-connexion with the blood royal, became the object of Henry VIII's
jealousy, and was attainted of high treason, and beheaded in January, 31 Henry VIII (1538-9),
which attainder has never been reversed, but as his son and heir, Sir Edward Courtenay, was
fully restored in blood, a pedigree can be traced through the Marquis for honours which, the 
case contends, were not forfeited by his attainder. 
'Sir Edward Courtenay, it is then narrated, continued an object of suspicion during the whole 
of the reign of Edward VI, and was confined to the Tower; but immediately, on the accession
of Queen Mary, a patent, tested at Richmond, 3rd of September, 1st Mary, 1553, was issued,
creating him Earl of Devon. The words of this patent are avowedly unusual, but, it is
represented, were adapted to the particular circumstances of the case; they were as follows:-
"In consideration of the nobility of his birth, and his proximity in blood to the Queen, she was
pleased to create him Earl of Devon, with all pre-eminences, honours, etc., thereunto belonging,
to hold the title and dignity of Earl of Devon, with the said honours and pre-eminences 
thereunto belonging, to the aforesaid Edward and his heirs male for ever;" and the patent
proceeds thus -"And further, of our abundant grace, we will, and by these presents do grant
to the aforesaid now Earl, that he and his heirs male may have, hold, enjoy, and possess, in all
Parliaments and other places, the same pre-eminence as any of the ancestors of the said Earl,
being heretofore Earls of Devon, had held or enjoyed."
'In October following he was fully restored in blood; but as the attainder of his father was never
reversed, he did not succeed to the earldom of Devon, created in the 1st Henry VII, or to the
Marquisate of Exeter; and becoming, like his father, from his Royal descent and personal merits,
an object of jealousy to his Sovereign he was imprisoned; but being soon afterwards released,
he went abroad, and died at Padua, Sept. 18, 1556, unmarried. The issue of his great aunts
(Isabel Mohun, Maud Arundel, Elizabeth Trethurffe, and Florence Trelawney), sisters of Edward,
who was created Earl of Devon in the 1st Henry VII, were to be his next heirs; but his heir male
was Sir William Courtenay, of Powderham, the next lineal descendant and heir male of Sir Philip
Courtenay, a younger son of Hugh, the second Earl of Devon, and the ancestor of the claimant.
'Having noticed the early history of the earldom of Devon, which details are above detailed
briefly, the case reverts to the earldom granted to Sir Edward Courtenay in 1553, arguing, that
by the limitation "to hold to him and his heirs male for ever," the dignity was granted to his 
"heirs male collateral," in the event of the heirs male of the body failing; and that as the 
claimant is the heir male of the said earl, he is entitled to the earldom of Devon, which was
created by that instrument; but having described the grounds of the claim, the arguments in
support of it will more properly appear after they have been urged before the Committee of
"The Morning Chronicle" of 15 March 1831-
'The House [of Lords] sat yesterday to hear the Lord Chancellor's judgment in the Devon 
Peerage case, the Earldom of Devon being claimed by Viscount Courtenay. The Lords present
were the Earls of Shaftesbury, Radnor and Rosslyn; Lords Arden, Wynford, Bexley, King, 
Strangford, and the Bishop of Exeter.
'The Lord Chancellor [Lord Brougham and Vaux] addressed the Committee at considerable length
in pronouncing his opinion. The question was one, he said, of great importance both to the
parties and to the House. The question here was, whether the dignity of an Earl granted to the
original grantee was to be considered in the same light as a Barony in fee, and whether it
descended to the heirs general of the body as well as to the heirs male. The Noble and Learned
Lord then proceeded to show, that in Scotland, honours were entailed in a different manner, in
many instances, from what they were in England. He then alluded to the creation of nine Peers
in the reign of Richard the Second, and particularly to the Earldom of Wiltshire [qv] conferred
upon Scrope, his favourite; and said that the arguments deduced from these instances against
the present claim bore, in fact, quite the other way. The real question for their Lordships to
decide was, whether by law a dignity granted to a man and his heirs male for ever, "heredibus
suis masculis imperpetuum," carried to what in law would be called his cousins, that is, to his
collateral heirs. The Lord Chancellor then proceeded to show that the law, as it affected the
descent of property, did not bear upon that of honours and dignity. He then came to the
principal case relied upon by the Attorney-General for the Crown - that of de Vere, Earl of
Oxford. It appeared from the preamble to the patent in that case, that the King intended
the Earldom to descend to the collateral as well as the heirs male of the body, as the words
made use of were, "tam de corpore quam de latere:" it was, therefore, important to see how
the lawyers had, in the body of the patent, given effect to the King's intentions; and the words
made use of were - "heredibus suis masculis," the very words used in the patent of Queen
Mary confirming the Earldom of Devon on the original grantee; this therefore was conclusive
of her intention that the dignity should descend to the heirs general. Upon these grounds his
Lordship should move the Committee, that the claimant had clearly made out his right to the
Earldom of Devon as heir general to the original grantee, for on all hands it was admitted that
a clearer claim of pedigree had never been established.
'The Committee then resolved that the Petitioner had fully made out his claim to the Earldom
of Devon.'
Edward William Spencer Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire
The 10th Duke died of a heart attack in Eastbourne on 26 November 1950. While this is by
no means remarkable when considered in isolation, the fact that that he died in the presence
of his doctor, Dr. John Bodkin Adams, became, in hindsight, rather suspicious.
Although never proven, there are grave suspicions that Adams was a precursor of the later
mass murderer, Dr. Harold Shipman. The best book on the career of Dr. Adams is that by
Pamela Cullen ["Stranger in Blood: the Case Files of Dr. John Bodkin Adams" Elliott & Thompson,
London 2006]. According to Cullen, between the years 1946-1956, more than 160 of Adams'
patients died in suspicious circumstances, and more than 130 of these left money or goods to
Adams in their wills. More readily available, perhaps, is part 40 of the magazine "Murder 
Casebook," published in weekly parts by Marshall Cavendish in the early 1990s.
While it must be emphasized that no proper police investigation was ever held into the Duke's
death, it is significant that, despite the fact that the Duke had not been attended by a doctor 
in the fortnight prior to his death, Adams signed the death certificate but neglected to advise
the Coroner of the matter, as he was bound to do by law.
At the time of his death, the Duke was Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England and
thus the leading freemason in England. Cullen speculates that Adams, whose family background
included membership of the austere and fundamentalist Plymouth Brethren sect, would have 
viewed the Duke as 'Satan incarnate' and while not necessarily killing him, would perhaps have
been not strongly motivated to provide all necessary treatment.
Adams was charged with murder and stood trial in 1957, but was found not guilty.
Notwithstanding this verdict, many still believe him to be guilty of mass murder.
Andrew Robert Buxton Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire
Devonshire was said to exemplify the finest characteristics of the English aristocracy. 
He had a reputation for looking constantly dishevelled, possibly because of his habit of
wearing a new suit only after his head gardener had broken it in for him.
His forgetfulness was legendary. According to Anthony Powell, the critic Cyril Connolly was
dining one night with Lady Cunard, with Devonshire being another guest. After dinner,
Devonshire said to Connolly, 'come to a club I belong to.' Off they went to Pratts, where
Devonshire said 'You're just the sort of chap we'd like as a member. Would you care to join?'
'Yes', said Connolly. Devonshire approached old So-and-So. 'Do you know Cyril Connolly?'
'No.' 'Would you all the same second him for membership?' 'By all means,' said old So-and-So.
Connolly heard nothing more. Two years later, Connolly he dined again with Lady Cunard 
and this time old So-and-So was a guest. After dinner, old So-and-So said to Connolly,
'Come to a club I belong to.' When they arrived at Pratts, old So-and-So said, 'You're just
the sort of chap we'd like as a member. Would you care to join?' 'Yes,' said Connolly. Old
So-and-So approached Devonshire, who happened to be in the club at the time. 'Do you
know Cyril Connolly?' 'No,' said Devonshire. 'Would you all the same second him for membership?'
'By all means,' said Devonshire. Once again, Connolly never heard anything again.
In her book "Counting My Chickens" (Long Barn Books, Ebrington, Gloucestershire 2001), the
Duchess, who was the youngest of the legendary Mitford sisters, revealed that her 
grandmother ''used to preserve the family furniture by banging it with a mallet to give 
concussion to the woodworm.' In an earlier work, "The British Goat Society Yearbook for 1972",
there is an account of the Duchess travelling with her goat from Mull in Scotland to London by 
train at the outbreak of World War II. 'At Stirling, in the middle of the night, I milked the goat in
the first-class waiting room, which I should not have done as I only had a third-class ticket.'
William Lewis Hughes, 2nd Baron Dinorben
The 2nd Baron succeeded his father in February 1852, but was almost immediately afterwards
declared insane, as reported in the 'Daily News' of 18 April 1852:-
'The commission directed to inquire into and ascertain the alleged lunacy of William Lewis, Baron
Dinorben, of Kinmel Park, Denbighshire, was opened by Francis Barlow, Esq., one of her 
Majesty's Commissioners in Lunacy, at Kinmel, on Wednesday last. A highly respectable jury 
was sworn, of which John Heaton, Esq., of Plas Heaton, was foreman. The Commissioner
briefly explained to the jury the painful duty that devolved upon them, and concluded by
informing them that he should have to ask them to give an answer by their verdict to the
following questions:- Was Lord Dinorben of unsound mind, and incapable of managing and
governing himself and his property; and if so, from what date did that unsoundness of mind
commence? The only witnesses examined were Dr. Phillips Jones and Dr. Llewellyn Jones, of
Chester, and Dr. Stubbs, of St. Asaph. The first named gentleman had known Lord Dinorben
and attended him professionally from his infancy, but never remembered the time when he was
capable of any act requiring the exercise of reason and sagacity. He attributed his unsoundness
of mind to extensive inflammation of the brain when an infant, but could not fix the specific
dates. Dr. Llewellyn Jones had not seen Lord Dinorben professionally, but from an observation
made on a social visit had had sufficient opportunity of satisfying himself of the unsoundness
of Lord Dinorben's mind. Dr. Stubbs had attended Lord Dinorben since the 27th of January,
1846, and seen him daily. The effect of his evidence was the same as that of the other medical
men. The Commissioner intimated that the evidence most satisfactory to the jury would 
perhaps be that of personal observation; and in the course of the inquiry his lordship was
introduced, when the accuracy of the medical testimony was placed beyond doubt. As it was
not necessary for the purposes of the inquiry that his lordship's state of lunacy should be
dated from an early period of life, and as Dr. Stubbs was the only medical man who had fixed
a particular date, the jury found by their verdict that Lord Dinorben had been of unsound mind
since the 27th of January, 1846, and incapable of managing himself and his property.'
If this was not sufficient tragedy for this family, worse was to come. The 2nd Lord Dinorben
also had two sisters, and both of them were also found to be of unsound mind, as reported 
in the 'North Wales Chronicle' on 28 May 1852, little more than a month after their brother was
found to be in a similar state:-
'On Saturday last a commission de lunatico inquirendo was executed before Mr. Commissioner
Barlow and sixteen special jurors, at the King's Arms Inn, Kensington, Middlesex, respecting the
mental condition of the Hon. Mary Martha Hughes, spinster, aged 39, daughter of the late Lord
Dinorben (who died 10th February last), and now residing at No. 47, Brompton-crescent. This 
lady's case was taken first, and commenced at eleven o'clock precisely, by the learned 
Commissioner charging the jury.
'Thomas Mayho, Esq., M.D., No. 56 Wimpole-street, deposed that he had made his first and 
only visit to the unfortunate lady on the 30th of April last, and remained with her about three-
quarters of an hour; found her in a state of perfect imbecility, with symptoms of paralysis, and
quite incapable of understanding any kind of questions or answering them.
'Dr. Mayho stated, in answer to a juror, the case was so clear and decided that he did not
think another visit necessary, or he would have made it.
'Catherine Frydy deposed, she had been attendant to Miss Hughes about 8 years; first joined
her April 3, 1844, at Madame Pochis', near Paris, and found her unable to dress or undress
herself, incapable of even using a pocket handkerchief, could not cut her food or feed herself
properly; had no knowledge of money or of letters, or writing, or books; her only amusement
sometimes to play with coins, but without any idea of their being of the least value. She had 
been with her night and day, up to the present time, and she remained without variation in
the same state of mind and action.
'By a juror - Her health had been good; had only two medical visits in France.
'By another juror - She did not know persons.
'Maria Henty, housemaid to Madame Pochis, deposed she had known Miss Hughes three years;
saw her first at Madame Pochis', had been with her every day since, and had always found
her in the same insensible and imbecile state as exhibited this day. Had been waiting maid since 
the 3rd of April.
'The jury immediately returned a verdict, dating her unsoundness of mind from April, 1844.
'At twelve o'clock the case of the sister was commenced, before the same learned 
Commissioner and eighteen special jurors.
'The Hon. Emily Hughes, spinster, also residing at 47, Brompton-crescent. This case, strange
to say, was precisely the same as the other in all its features and phases, supported by the
same witnesses and evidence.
'The unfortunate lady, on being asked who she was in mourning for, could not tell; but in
answer to the question as to the colour of her dress, said it was pink.
'The jury returned a similar verdict as in the case of her sister, and dating her unsoundness
of mind from April, 1844.
'Both ladies were introduced to the jury. It was impossible to make either of them understand
anything, and their appearance altogether excited the utmost sympathy among the jury, and 
all present.'
Lord Dinorben died six months after being declared a lunatic, as reported in the 'Royal Cornwall 
Gazette' of 15 October 1852:-
'Death of Lord Dinorben - This unfortunate nobleman breathed his last at his ancestral mansion,
Kinmel Park, on the evening of Wednesday last. He had long suffered severely from epileptic 
fits, and was attacked in an alarming manner on the Sunday previous, from which attack his 
lordship never rallied.'
George Augustus Hamilton Chichester, 5th Marquess of Donegall
Peerage reference works such as Burke's and Debrett's state that the 5th Marquess of Donegall
was married twice; firstly, in 1865 to Mary Cobb, who died in 1901 [see the foot of this note],
and secondly, in 1902, to Violet Twining, by whom, at the age of 81, he fathered the 6th 
Marquess. No mention is made, however, of the Marquess's real first marriage, which took place 
in 1859. Perhaps the reason for this omission is that this marriage was subsequently annulled.
In January 1863, George Chichester, as he was then known, petitioned the Divorce Court, 
praying that the court pronounce a decree of nullity of the marriage contracted with the
respondent, on the grounds that such marriage was invalid. The respondent, Lucy Virginia
Elizabeth Chichester, had been divorced from her first husband, Mr. William Mure, the British
Consul at New Orleans, by reason of her adultery with George Chichester. This divorce was
granted on 1 July 1859, and a little over a month later, on 9 August 1859, she was again
married, under her maiden name of Oliver, to George Chichester.
Prior to 1857, the only way of achieving a complete divorce in England was to arrange for a
private Act of Parliament. Between 1539 and 1973, around 11,000 Private Acts (also known as
Personal Acts) were passed by Parliament, this number including those Acts which allowed
married couples to divorce prior to 1857, the naturalization of foreigners, and to allow people
to change their names. As a result, divorce proceedings were, generally speaking, available only
to those who could afford it, given the cost involved in the obtaining of a Private Act of
Parliament, or the cost of the lengthy process of marriage annulment which was administered
by the ecclesiastical courts.
All of this changed in 1857 following the passing of the Matrimonial Causes Act, which 
modernised the law on divorce, moving the procedure to be followed from the ecclesiastical
courts (or the necessity to obtain a Private Act of Parliament) to the civil courts. The new law
viewed marriages as being a contract rather than a sacrament, and made divorce proceedings
available more widely than merely to the very wealthy. But even then, the Act was extremely
biased towards the husband - a man could divorce his wife on the grounds of adultery, but a
wife, in order to obtain a divorce from her husband, had to prove adultery aggravated by 
desertion (for at least two years), cruelty, rape, sodomy, buggery or incest. In addition,
the husband could claim damages against the adulterous third party, but the wife could not.
There was no provision in the Act for consensual divorce. The rights of husbands and wives
and the allowable grounds for divorces were not made equal until 1923. It should also be noted
that the Act did not apply to Ireland (due to its large Catholic population), where the 
prohibition on divorce was lifted only in 1997, although it is still far more difficult to obtain a 
divorce in Ireland than in most other countries.
As mentioned above, Chichester was divorced on 1 July 1859 and a little over a month later he
married the lady of whose divorce he had been the cause. The problem was, however, that the
decree pronounced by the judge had been a decree nisi. Such decrees are non-absolute rulings
that do not have any force until such time that particular conditions are met. Typically, these
conditions are that no new evidence is forthcoming, or that no further petitions which have a
bearing upon the case are introduced into the court. The Matrimonial Causes Act had prescribed
that a period of three months were required to elapse after the granting of a decree nisi before
such a decree became absolute. During that period, the parties who were undergoing the
divorce were still considered to be man and wife, and remained so until the decree became
absolute, since during the intervening period the initial decree was subject to reversal - for
example, by the reconciliation of the parties.
The judges in this matter took the view that, since the three months had not elapsed at the 
time of Chichester's marriage in August, that marriage was invalid, since at the time Mrs. Mure
was still legally the wife of Mr. Mure. Consequently, the judges unanimously pronounced the 
August marriage to be null and void. 
Chichester's second marriage, to Mary Cobb, also ended badly. She left him in 1873, and in
March 1889 she unsuccessfully petitioned the courts for a divorce. She subsequently appears
to have fallen into destitution, as is illustrated by the following report which appeared in 
'Freeman's Journal' [Dublin] on 22 December 1898:-
'There seems to be little doubt that the lady who is at present an inmate of the Holloway
Workhouse, at Islington, is the Marchioness of Donegall. On Tuesday morning she drove up in
a cab to the Great Northern Hospital, in Holloway road, and with some difficulty made her way
to the door for the reception of the patients, and asked to be admitted. She was attired in a
dressing gown, and carried a Bible and some religious tracts in her hands. The house surgeon
was called. She said she was unwell, and that she was Lady Donegall. It was observed that 
she was suffering from debility, and the officials decided to send her to the St. Mary's Union,
Islington Workhouse, in St. John's road, Highgate. There she repeated her story. She said her
name was "Mary Hamilton," that she was Lady Donegall, and that the Marquess of Donegall
was at present living in Vauxhall, and suffering acutely from pneumonia. It will be remembered
that some time ago Lady Donegall was admitted to the Charing Cross Hospital in connection
with an accident in one of the hotels in that neighbourhood. When she drove to the Great
Northern Hospital she was miserably clad, and was apparently in a state of destitution. She
informed the officials that she had been since 1873 living apart from her husband, whom she
married in 1865. In 1889 she instituted a suit for judicial separation. In the same year the
Marquis of Donegall was bankrupt, and the proceedings which his wife instituted for
maintenance failed. Since then little was heard of her ladyship till the news came of her 
strange admission to the workhouse.'
Elizabeth St. Léger, later Aldworth (1693/95-1773/75), daughter of the 1st Viscount 
Doneraile of the first creation
Although the website of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London states that the
first female Freemason was a Frenchwoman initiated in 1882, there is a long-standing story 
that the first female Freemason was actually Elizabeth St. Leger, 17-year old daughter of the 
1st Viscount Doneraile. According to this story, Elizabeth concealed herself in a tall clock in the
room where a lodge meeting was taking place at Doneraile Court. There she remained while 
the initiation ceremony of a new member was in progress, in the process overhearing some of
the secrets of the fraternity. When she was discovered, the lodge decided that the best
way of keeping their secrets was enrol her as a member. 
Hayes St.Leger, 4th Viscount Doneraile of the 2nd creation
Lord Doneraile died from rabies, seven months after being bitten by his pet fox. The following
report appeared in 'The Leeds Mercury' of 24 January 1887:-
'Particulars of an unprecedented case of rabies, occurring at Doneraile, co. Cork, reached 
Mallow yesterday. Lord Doneraile, of Doneraile Court, had a pet fox, a vixen, which he had
domesticated six years ago. On Friday, the 14th inst., his Lordship went for a drive, and was
accompanied by the fox. Suddenly the animal made a snap at his Lordship's hand, and pierced
the flesh through the glove. It also bit the coachman in the hand and foot. On the following
Sunday the animal died, and an examination by a veterinary surgeon showed that it was
affected with rabies. Lord Doneraile and the coachman proceeded on Saturday to Paris for
treatment by M. Pasteur, as it is feared the virus has entered the system.'
Unfortunately for Lord Doneraile, his treatment in Paris failed to save his life. This report is
from 'Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser' published in Dublin on 27 August 1887:-
'Viscount Doneraile has died from an attack of hydrophobia. Seven months ago he and his
coachman were bitten by a tame fox that got rabid, and both went to Paris, and were treated
by M. Pasteur, returning home in a month apparently cured. On Monday last his lordship was
attacked with illness, and on Wednesday hydrophobia symptoms manifested themselves, and
afterwards increased in intensity. Doctors Hobart, of Cork, and Riordan, of Doneraile, attended
on the sufferer. His son-on-law, Lord Castletown, arrived yesterday, and was in constant 
attendance at the bedside of his father-in-law, whose death took place at nine o'clock this
morning. His lordship was not alone a kind friend and benefactor, but he was a good landlord.
The sad end of his lordship is deeply regretted by all who knew him, and much sympathy is
expressed for his daughter and son-in-law, Lady and Lord Castletown, who were in the sick
chamber when his lordship died in great agony. Paroxysms of madness were not so violent
as usual, because of the inoculatory processes of M. Pasteur, but they were sufficiently
strong to cause distress to all who witnessed them. The spasms were very much kept in check
by the application of morphia and chloral under the superintendence of Drs. Hobart and Riordan.'
On a brighter note, various newspaper reports state that the coachman showed no ill-effects
of the fox's bite and appears to have made a full recovery. For another instance of death
caused by the bite of a rabid fox, see the note regarding the 4th Duke of Richmond.
The special remainder to the Earldom of Donoughmore
From the "London Gazette" of 6 January 1801 (issue 15326, page 40):-
"His Majesty has been pleased to grant the Dignity of a Baron of this Kingdom [Ireland] to the
several Gentlemen hereafter mentioned, and the Heirs Male of their respective Bodies lawfully
begotten, viz.......To Richard Hely Hutchinson Viscount Donoughmore, the Dignity of Earl 
Donoughmore, of Knocklofty, in the County of Tipperary, with Remainder to the Heirs Male of
the Body of Christian Hely Baroness Donoughmore, deceased, (Mother of the said Richard Hely
Hutchinson Viscount Donoughmore,) by the Right Honorable John Hely Hutchinson, Principal
Secretary of State for Ireland and Keeper of his Majesty's Signet or Privy Seal in this Kingdom,
also deceased."
Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester in her own right
The following biography of Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, and mistress of King
James II, is taken from the October 1969 issue of the Australian monthly magazine "Parade":-
  'On a summer's evening in 1715 the prattle of the fashionable throng in the Assembly Room at
Bath was suddenly pierced by a cackle of laughter and a shrill, feminine voice exclaiming:
"Fancy we three old whores meeting here like this!" Heads turned in scandalised astonishment 
to identify the ladies so vividly described. They were indeed a picturesque trio. The most 
antique of them was Her Grace the Duchess of Portsmouth, once mistress to King Charles II.
Another was the faded beauty Elizabeth Villiers, who had enlivened the private life of the late,
dour William III. The third, at whom the pair were glaring with viperish fury, was Catherine 
Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, whose favours had been bestowed on yet another monarch,
King James II. It was Catherine whose hearty greeting had so devastatingly shattered the
decorum of the polite assemblage. 
'The incident was typical of the shameless impudence that certainly made her one of the most
colourful royal trollops in English history. She was one of the plainest. In fact, James's 
infatuation for her skinny body and sharp, shrewish features was a perpetual mystery to the
courtiers of Whitehall. When the then Duke of York made her his mistress, his brother, Charles 
II, sardonically suggested that Catherine must have been imposed on the duke as a penance by
his Catholic confessor. Catherine herself pretended to be amazed at her lover's passion when 
he selected her from among many far more seductive maids-of-honour in his wife's retinue. "It 
cannot be for my beauty because I have none." she said, "and it cannot be for my wit because
he has not enough wit himself to know that I have any." The probable explanation was that 
James - normally gloomy, reserved and pious by nature - was fascinated by her sheer immorality
just as Samson was ensnared by the wiles of Delilah. 
'Catherine's upbringing provided a highly suitable education for the career of a courtesan in
Restoration England. She was a child of three when Charles II returned to the throne in 1660 to
inaugurate the gayest, wittiest and wickedest era the court at Whitehall had ever seen. Her
father, Sir Charles Sedley, poet, gambler, friend of Dryden, Buckingham, and the infamous Earl
of Rochester, was described as "one of the lewdest fellows of the age."
'Reared in his dissolute household Catherine was not yet 15 when the diarist John Evelyn noted
that she had a sharp tongue and a roving eye but was singularly lacking in virtue. When she 
was 18 her father tried to arrange a match for her with handsome young John Churchill, then 
just launching on the brilliant career that would one day make him Britain's hero as the great 
Duke of Marlborough. Since Churchill's sister, Arabella, was already mistress of the Duke of York,
Sedley hoped that the royal connection would restore his declining fortunes. However, the plan 
fell through. Another scheme to wed the girl to Sir Edward Hungerford also lapsed when the 
suitor became alarmed by stories of her precociously amorous disposition. It was 1678 before 
Sedley, after several rebuffs, obtained for his daughter a post as maid-of-honour to Mary of 
Modena, second wife of the Duke of York.
'This was the turning point in Catherine's career, for she arrived at a moment when James was
tiring of Arabella's tantrums and the priests of his wife's household were urging him to get rid of
  his mistress. Arabella was dismissed and King Charles laughingly remarked that his brother's
confessor would now have a much duller time with no interesting sins to listen to. 
'Catherine Sedley was then 21, a thin little figure with a sallow complexion and flat chest and, 
on appearance, a most unlikely successor as a royal favourite. She had a caustic tongue, a 
bawdy wit and a gift for outrageous mimicry that made her feared by even the most hardened 
rakes at King Charles's court. But if her physical charms were not apparent to the outward eye
Catherine was an expert in all the arts necessary to stir the imagination of the dullest lover. 
James was fascinated by her. In a few months his good resolutions went overboard and by 1679 
Catherine Sedley was openly recognised as the Duke of York's mistress.
'Arabella Churchill was bundled out of the mansion in St. James's Square which the duke had 
bought for her, and Catherine was installed in even greater splendour in her place. James's
infatuation was the sensation of Whitehall, for his choice was in such striking contrast to the
round-limbed beauties such as Nell Gwynne, Louise de Keroualle and the many others whose
favours were enjoyed by King Charles. Lord Dorset brutally attacked Catherine's plain face and
love of finery in his ballads. Other wits made her the target of epigrams which they posted up
in taverns and coffee houses. Most of Catherine's enemies, however, lived to repent of their
sneers. Those she could not charm she soon humiliated with shafts at least as savage and
licentious as their own.
'Meanwhile, "the little yellow-faced vixen" maintained her hold over the Duke of York and the
king was delighted by the spectacle of his gloomy brother following her about like a dog. Gossips
whispered that the duke's wife, Mary of Modena, often locked herself for days in her palace
apartments, refusing to eat or speak in a passion of mingled grief and rage.
'As it became evident that the Catholic James would almost certainly succeed Charles on the 
the throne, Catherine found herself also embroiled in devious political intrigues. The 
"exclusionists"  hoped to bar James's succession altogether. Failing that, the more fanatical of
them were determined to see that he had a Protestant mistress to offset the influence of his 
Italian Catholic queen. Catherine cared nothing for either politics or religion, but she was ready
to lavish promises on the intriguers in exchange for their costly presents.
'Then, amid plots and counter-plots, the peaceful accession of King James II in 1685 brought a
crisis in Catherine's power over her royal lover. Urged on by the Queen and his religious
advisers, James made a desperate effort to break forever with his bewitching mistress.
Catherine was forbidden to appear at court though the King insisted on granting her a pension 
of 4000 guineas a year and allowed her to keep the great house in St. James's Square.
'For a while it seemed that James had conquered his passion and the town buzzed with rumours
that Colonel [James] Graham, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, had taken over the privileges
formerly enjoyed by his master. But the memory of Catherine's unique talents soon proved
stronger than wifely tears or priestly exhortations. Within a few months Graham had vanished
from the scene and another coach, containing a tall figure in the garb of a court gentleman,
was paying nightly visits to St. James's Square.
'The secret could not be kept for long. In January 1686 Catherine Sedley, newly created
Countess of Dorchester, reappeared with more brazen pride than ever at the palace of 
Whitehall. When she gave birth to a child [a daughter, Lady Catherine Darnley, who married the
3rd Earl of Anglesey and, after his death, the 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby], James
accepted it as his own, though scandalmongers asserted that its paternity was equally likely to
belong to Colonel Graham.
"My Lady Dorchester," said one contemporary, "is so entirely without shame that she makes no
concealment of her lovers even in the presence of her sovereign and protector." Weeping with
frustrated fury, Queen Mary again went into self-imposed imprisonment swearing she would flee
to a convent in France unless James abandoned his insatiable mistress. When the King insisted
on entering his wife's chamber, she and her whole household of priests and ladies "fell upon 
their knees and pleaded with him in bitter lamentations."
'Once more James was stricken with remorse. He fasted, prayed and scourged himself with a
leather whip - which Mary kept for the rest of her life as a treasured relic of her husband's
piety. At last the king nerved himself to issue his edict. This time Catherine was not only
banished from court but was ordered to leave England forever. Offered a choice between 
Ireland and Flanders as a place of exile, she decided on Ireland where an old friend, the Earl
Clarendon, was viceroy in Dublin Castle. Convinced that she was now finally disgraced 
Clarendon turned a deaf ear to her blandishments and Catherine soon found aristocratic Dublin
society intolerably odious. 
'Slighted on all sides she returned secretly to London late in 1686 and bribed the Keeper of the
King's Closet, William Chiffinch, to plead her case with James. Chiffinch was an old hand at
amorous royal intrigues and with the aid of his procurer's tongue, Catherine succeeded beyond 
her most extravagant hopes. James agreed to see her. In a week he was as infatuated as ever
and Whitehall was staggered to learn that the Countess of Dorchester again reigned in St.
James's Square. Her pension was doubled. She was loaded with jewels, plate and furnishings.
Not even her brazen parade of lovers could shake the King's devotion.
'However, the next two years saw the sunset glory of Catherine Sedley's power as the rising
tide of political and religious opposition beat against the throne of King James II. The revolution
came in November 1688 when James's son-in-law, William of Orange, landed in Tor Bay and
within a few weeks was recognised as William III of England. Catherine followed her royal lover
to France but speedily found there was no place for her in the impoverished little exiled court
at Saint-Germain. 
'Back in England she contrived to extort a modest income from James's daughter and William's
wife, Queen Mary, on her promise to retire discreetly into private life. The London mansion was
surrendered. Her retinue of servants was dismissed and the new court of William and Mary knew
the disgraceful Countess of Dorchester no more.
'In 1696 Catherine appeared to settle down into peaceful domesticity as the wife of an obscure
baronet, Sir David Colyear [later 1st Earl of Portmore], but her reformation did not last long. She
spent most of her declining years in the fashionable spa town of Bath - a shrunken, rouged,
painted and bewigged little figure like a ghost from the gay Restoration past. In her forties she
was reputed to be still ensnaring lovers, usually rich and impressionable young bucks willing to
provide for her upkeep on a handsome scale. Her wit was as savage and her impudence as
unrestrained as in the days of her youthful triumphs. There were few mourners when the tough,
unrepentant, 60-year-old Countess of Dorchester died at last in Bath on October 26,1717.'
Copyright © 2020