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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Earldom of Surrey

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There is some doubt as to when this earldom was created, but it is unquestionably of early origin. A Norman count, William de Warenne (c. 1030-1088), is generally regarded as its first holder and is thought to have been made an earl by William II. about 1088. William and his successors were styled earls of Surrey or Earls Warenne indifferently, and the family became extinct when William, the 3rd earl, died in 1148. The second family to hold the earldom of Surrey was descended from Isabel de Warenne (d. 1199), daughter and heiress of Earl William, and her second husband Hamelin Plantagenet (d. 1202), an illegitimate halfbrother of King Henry II. Hamelin took the name of Warenne and was recognized as earl of Surrey or Earl Warenne, and his descendants held the earldom until Earl John died without legitimate issue in 1347.

The earldom and estates of the Warennes now passed to John's nephew, Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel (c. 1307-1376), being forfeited when Richard's son, Richard, was beheaded for treason in 1397. Then for about two years there was a duke of Surrey, the title being borne by Thomas Holand, earl of Kent (1374-1400), from 1397 until his degradation in 1399. In 1400 Richard Fitzalan's son, Sir Thomas Fitzalan (1381-1415), was restored to his father's honours and became earl of Arundel and earl of Surrey, but the latter earldom reverted to the Crown when he died. In 1451 John Mowbray (1444-1476), afterwards duke of Norfolk, was created earl of Surrey, but the title became extinct on his death.

The long connexion of the Howards with the earldom of Surrey began in 1483 when Thomas Howard, afterwards duke of Norfolk, was created earl of Surrey. Since that time, with the exception of brief periods when some of its holders were under attainder, the title has been borne by the duke of Norfolk. The courtesy title of the duke's eldest son is earl of Surrey.

See the articles Warenne, Earls; and Arundel, Earls Of; also G. E. C.(okayne), Complete Peerage, vol. vii. (1896).

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Earldom of Surrey'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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