Page:Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage.djvu/71

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TITLES, ORDERS, AND DEGREES OF PRECEDENCE AND DIGNITY. xxxiii cising his authority in the name of the king ; and so with others. But the number of earls increased rapidly, whilst the possibility of furnishing them with land and revenue diminished in proportionate ratio, so that various devices were resorted to for the purpose of furnishing the new creations with the means of support.* The dignity of the dis. tinction was thus depreciated. Earls were then created with the name of some place appended to the title, and the third penny of the shiref was assigned unto them ; for example, the Empress Maud, daughter and heir to King Henry 1,, created an earl in the following words : "/, Maud, daughter of King Henry, and ladee of the Englishmen, doe give and grunt unto Geffry de Margravil for his service, and to his heirs after him, by right of inherit- ance, to be Earle of Essex, and to have the third pennie out of the Sheriff's Court, issuing of all pleas, as an Earle should have thoroTV his countrie in all things." The earl's coronation robe is the same as a duke's or marquess's, except that he has only three guards of ermine and gold lace ; his cap is the same as theirs. It is uncertain when the coronets of dukes, marquesses, and earls were settled. Sir Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, Viscount Cran- bourne, was the first of that degree who wore a coronet. An earl's coronet is a circle of gold chased as jewelled and bordered with ermine, heightened with eight pyramidical points, or rays, placed alternately with as many strawberry leaves ; a large silver ball is placed on the top of each ray. His style is Right Honourable, and he is addressed by the King or Queen as Our right trusty and entirely beloved cousin, and counsellor when of the Privy Council. The eldest son of an earl bears by courtesy one of his father's inferior titles ; each younger son is styled "Honourable, as the "Hon. Robert;" and each daughter is styled " Lady," as " Lady Emma. " Viscount ( Viscowes) was anciently the name of him who held the chief office under an earl. The latter being often at Court, the viscount was his deputy to look after the affairs of the county. In the reign of Henry VI., 1439, the title became a degree of honour, and was made hereditary. The first viscount by the King by " cincture of the sword, and im- position of the cap of honour and dignitie, with the coronet, as also by the delivery of a charter or writing." The creations, however, were not very numerous, and it would appear that the new honour was not greatly coveted by the old nobility, as' in the Parliamentary Rolls it is recorded that " John de Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, was by Richard II. created Marquess of Dorset, and when, afterwards, Henry VI. deprived him of that title, the Commoners of England made humble suit in Parliament to the King, that he would restore him to his title of marcjuess. The Earl himself opposed the petition, saying that ' It was a new dignitie, and altogether unknown to his ancestors, and that, therefore, he neither craved it, nor in any wise would he accept it.' " The creation to this dignity was formerly at- tended with nearly the same ceremony as that of a duke ; but it now simply takes place by patent under the Great Seal. The coronation robes are of crimson velvet lined with taffeta, and have four guards of ermine on the right side and three on the left, set at equal distances, with gold lace above each guard, and tied up to the left shoulder by a white riband ; the cap is of crimson velvet lined with ermine, having a gold tassel at top ; the coronet is of gold chased as jewelled, with four silver balls, and golden strawberry leaves mixed alternately, round, of nearly equal height. The general style of a marquess is Most Hon- ourable; and he is styled by the King or Queen, Our right trusty and entirely beloved cousin, and counsellor when of the Privy Council. The eldest son of a marquess bears by courtesy one of his father's inferior titles, and each younger son and daughter is addressed by his or her Chris- tian name, as " Lord George," or " Lady Jane." Earl. It has been customary to dentify this ancient English dignity with the Latin Comes " Companion " French, Comte ; Anglice, Count), one of the duties or privileges of possessors of the title being to accompany the King, and to give coun- sel, advise, and aid on important occasions. We EARL'S CORONET, are told that " Constan- tine the Great, in order to secure the attachment of his followers, created a number of these Comites, as Comes Domesti- corum (Master of the Household), Comes Stabuli (Master of the Horse) ; also such dignities as Comes Orientis, Comes Africa (Lieutenant of the East, of Africa, &c.) Thence ever after the name of Comes imparted dignity ; and the authority or government, which was at first temporary, was afterwards enjoyed for life. Moreover, in process of time, when the Roman empire was divided into many kingdoms, this title was retained, and our English Saxons called those in Latin Comites and Consules, whom, in their own language they called Ealdormen, the same which the Danes in their tongue called Eorlas, that is honourable, as Ethel- ward writes, by which name, somewhat softened, they are called by us, at this day, Earls." In the Saxon times the title was one of the highest dignity and eminence. Earl Godwin occupied a rank much higher than that of any noble of the present day. It was even applied to sovereign princes. Thus, William the Conqueror, sovereign of Nor- mandy, is frequently called Earl of Normandy, and William of Malmesbury never mentions him otherwise. The Norman kings adopted the Saxon title, and the first earls created were dignitaries of enormous power, holding not only proprietary, but virtually sovereign sway over large districts of country. Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, was a real potentate within his territory, though exer- VISCOUNT S CORONET. England, created by patent, was John, Lord Beaumont, who was by the above monarch created Viscount Beaumont, and he gave him precedence above all barons. The coronation robes of a viscount are the same as an earl's, with the exception that he has only two rows of plain white fur on his parliamentary robe ; his cap is the same, and the golden circle of his coronet is surmounted by fourteen silver balls. His style is Right Honourable, and he is addressed by the King or Queen as Our right trusty and well-beloved cousin. All children of Viscounts bear the courtesy-title of " Honourable," as the " Hon. Henry," or the " Hon. Margaret."

  • Immediately after the Conquest earls began to bo

feudal, hereditary, and parliamentary that is, by fee or tenure, by service, by inheritance and by lands. In the Domesday Book they were named earls without any addition Earl Hugh, Earl Roger, &c. t Of course this source ol provision had a limit, and at a subsequent period the monarch was accustomed to assign pensions, not only to earls, but to other persons whom he ennobled in the following proportions: Viscounts, a. fee of 20 marks; Earls, of 20; Mar- guesses, a fee of 40 marks, and Dukes of 40, out of some particular part of the royal revenue. A creation fee to barons was not settled; but Charles I., when he created Mountjoy Blount Lord Mountjoy, of Thurod- ton, Derbyshire, assigned to him and his issue male a creation fee of 20 marks per annum. d