Earls and dukes of Rutland - Encyclopedia

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EARLS AND DUKES OF. RUTLAND The 1st earl of Rutland was Edward Plantagenet (1, 373-1415), son of Edmund, duke of York, and grandson of King Edward III. In 1390 he was created earl of Rutland, but was to hold the title only during the lifetime of his father, on whose death in 1402 the earldom accordingly became extinct, the earl then becoming duke of York. The title earl of Rutland seems to have been assumed subsequently by different members of the house of York, though it does not appear that any of them had a legal right to it. One of these was the 1st earl's nephew, Richard Plantagenet, duke of York, father of King Edward IV. Richard's daughter Anne married for her second husband Sir Thomas St Leger, and their daughter Anne married George Manners, 12th Baron Ros, or Roos (d. 151 3). Their son, Thomas Manners (d. 1543), was therefore great-grandson of Richard Plantagenet, who had styled himself earl of Rutland among other titles. In 1525 Thomas Manners was created earl of Rutland, and his descendants have held this title to the present day.

Thomas was a favourite of Henry VIII., who conferred on him many offices and extensive grants of land, including Belvoir Castle, in Leicestershire, which became henceforth the chief residence of his family. He was succeeded in the earldom by his son Henry (c. 1516-1563); and his second son, Sir John Manners, acquired Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, by his marriage with Dorothy, daughter of Sir George Vernon, called "the king of the Peak." Henry, the 2nd earl, was an admiral of the fleet in the reign of Queen Mary, and later enjoyed the favour of Queen Elizabeth. His son Edward, 3rd earl (c. 1548-1587), who was also a favourite with Elizabeth, left no sons, and the barony of Ros, which had hitherto descended with the earldom, passed to his daughter Elizabeth (d. 1591), wife of William Cecil, earl of Exeter; his successor in the earldom was his brother John (d. 1588), whose son Roger, 5th earl (1576-1612), married a daughter of Sir Philip Sidney. The barony of Ros was restored to the main line of the family in the person of Francis, 6th earl (1578-1632), who inherited it in 1618 as heir general of his cousin William Cecil, Lord Ros (1590-1618); but it was again separated from the earldom of Rutland on the death of Francis without male issue, and the assumption of the courtesy title of Lord Ros by the eldest son of subsequent earls of Rutland appears to have had no legal basis.

The 8th earl, a cousin of his predecessor and also of the 6th earl, was John (1604-1679), eldest son of Sir George Manners (d. 1623) of Haddon, a descendant of Sir John Manners, the second son of the 1st earl. His son John, 9th earl (1638-1711), a partisan of the revolution of 1688, received the Princess Anne at Belvoir Castle on her flight from London; after the accession of Anne to the throne she created him marquess of Granby and duke of Rut and in 1703. The 1st duke was three times married; the divorce in 1670, while he was still known as Lord Ros, of his first wife, Anne, daughter of the marquess of Dorchester, was a very celebrated legal case, being the first instance of divorce a vinculo by act of parliament, a divorce a mensa et thoro having previously been granted by the ecclesiastical courts. His grandson John, the 3rd duke (1696-1779), was the father of John Manners, marquess of Granby, a distinguished soldier, whose son Charles, 4th duke of Rutland (1754-1787), succeeded his grandfather. When marquess of Granby he represented Cambridge University in the House of Commons, and hotly opposed the policy that led to war with the American colonies. He was instrumental in procuring the entrance of the younger Pitt to the House of Commons, and remained through life an intimate friend of that statesman. After succeeding to the dukedom in 1779, he sat in the cabinets of Shelburne and of Pitt, and became lord lieutenant of Ireland in 1784. He was one of the earliest to advocate a legislative union between Ireland and Great Britain, which he recommended in a letter to Pitt in June 1784. The poet Crabbe was for some time private chaplain to the duke at Belvoir. His wife, Mary Isabella (1756-1831), "the beautiful duchess," whose portrait was four times painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, was a daughter of the 4th duke of Beaufort. His eldest son, John Henry, 5th duke (1778-1857), was "the duke" in Disraeli's Coningsby; the latter's two sons, the marquess of Granby and Lord John Manners, figuring in the same novel as "the marquis of Beaumanoir" and "Lord Henry Sidney" respectively. Both these sons succeeded in turn to the dukedom, Lord John Manners succeeding his brother Charles Cecil John, the 6th duke (1815-1888), as 7th duke of Rutland (see below) in 1888. In 1891 he was made a knight of the Garter, being the tenth earl and the sixth duke of Rutland of the same creation to wear this illustrious order.

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