An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon in origin, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, meant "chieftain" a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it was replaced by duke. In medieval Britain, it became the equivalent of the continental count. However, earlier in Scandinavia, jarl could mean a sovereign prince. For example, the rulers of several of the petty kingdoms of Norway had the title of jarl and in many cases they had no less power than their neighbours who had the title of king. Alternative names for the rank equivalent to "earl/count" in the nobility structure are used in other countries, such as the hakushaku of the post-restoration Japanese Imperial era. In modern Britain, an earl is a member of the peerage, ranking below a marquess and above a viscount. A feminine form of earl never developed; the term earl has been compared to the name of the Heruli, to runic erilaz. Proto-Norse eril, or the Old Norse jarl, came to signify the rank of a leader.
The Norman-derived equivalent count was not introduced following the Norman conquest of England though countess was and is used for the female title. Geoffrey Hughes writes, "It is a speculation that the Norman French title'Count' was abandoned in England in favour of the Germanic'Earl' because of the uncomfortable phonetic proximity to cunt". In the other languages of Britain and Ireland, the term is translated as: Welsh iarll and Scottish Gaelic iarla, Scots yarl or yerl, Cornish yurl. An earl has the title Earl of when the title originates from a placename, or Earl when the title comes from a surname. In either case, he is referred to as Lord, his wife as Lady. A countess who holds an earldom in her own right uses Lady, but her husband does not have a title; the eldest son of an earl, though not himself a peer, is entitled to use a courtesy title the highest of his father's lesser titles, for instance the eldest son of The Earl Of Wessex is styled as James, Viscount Severn. Younger sons are styled The Honourable, daughters, The Lady.
In the peerage of Scotland, when there are no courtesy titles involved, the heir to an earldom, indeed any level of peerage, is styled Master of, successive sons as younger of. In Anglo-Saxon England, earls had authority over their own regions and right of judgment in provincial courts, as delegated by the king, they collected fines and taxes and in return received a "third penny", one-third of the money they collected. In wartime they led the king's armies; some shires were grouped together into larger units known as earldoms, headed by an ealdorman or earl. Under Edward the Confessor earldoms like Wessex, East Anglia and Northumbria—names that represented earlier independent kingdoms—were much larger than any shire. Earls functioned as royal governors. Though the title of Earl was nominally equal to the continental duke, unlike them, earls were not de facto rulers in their own right. After the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror tried to rule England using the traditional system but modified it to his own liking.
Shires became the largest secular subdivision in England and earldoms disappeared. The Normans did create new earls like those of Herefordshire and Cheshire but they were associated with only a single shire at most, their power and regional jurisdiction was limited to that of the Norman counts. There was no longer any administrative layer larger than the shire, shires became "counties". Earls no longer aided in tax collection or made decisions in country courts and their numbers were small. King Stephen increased the number of earls to reward those loyal to him in his war with his cousin Empress Matilda, he gave some earls the right to hold royal castles or control the sheriff and soon other earls assumed these rights themselves. By the end of his reign, some earls held courts of their own and minted their own coins, against the wishes of the king, it fell to Stephen's successor Henry II to again curtail the power of earls. He took back the control of royal castles and demolished castles that earls had built for themselves.
He did not create new earldoms. No earl was allowed to remain independent of royal control; the English kings had found it dangerous to give additional power to an powerful aristocracy, so sheriffs assumed the governing role. The details of this transition remain obscure, since earls in more peripheral areas, such as the Scottish Marches and Welsh Marches and Cornwall, retained some viceregal powers long after other earls had lost them; the loosening of central authority during the Anarchy complicates any smooth description of the changeover. By the 13th century, earls had a social rank just below the king and princes, but were not more powerful or wealthier than other noblemen; the only way to become an earl was to inherit the title or marry into one—and the king reserved a right to prevent the transfer of the title. By the 14th century, creating an earl included a special public ceremony where the king tied a sword belt around the waist of the new earl, emphasizing the fact that the earl's rights came from him.
Earls still held influence and, as "companions of the king", were regarded as supporters of the king's power. They showed that power for the first time in 1327 when they deposed Edward II, they would do th
John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute
John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute PC, FRS, styled Lord Mount Stuart until 1792 and known as The Earl of Bute between 1792 and 1794, was a British nobleman and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1766 to 1776. Stuart was born at Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute, the son of prime minister John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, his wife Mary Wortley Montagu, he was educated at Winchester College. He went to the University of Oxford; the degree of D. C. L. awarded to him by the university in 1793, was honorary. Around 1757 Stuart began to be tutored by the philosopher Adam Ferguson. Lord Mount Stuart was returned as Tory Member of Parliament for Bossiney at a by-election in 1766, he was returned in the general elections of 1768 and 1774. On 2 November 1775 he announced in the House of Commons his intention to introduce a bill to establish a militia in Scotland, during the next few months James Boswell assisted in seeking support for the bill in Scotland. In March 1776 the bill was debated, but failed to pass.
He left the House of Commons in 1776 when he was elevated to the Peerage of Great Britain in his own right as Baron Cardiff, of Cardiff Castle in the County of Glamorgan. Though this title was used, he continued to be known by his courtesy title of Lord Mount Stuart, he served as Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan from 1794 to his death. In 1779 Lord Mount Stuart was sworn of the Privy Council and was sent as an envoy to the court of Turin, he was ambassador to Spain in 1783. He held the sinecure of Auditor of the imprests from 1781 until the abolition of the office in 1785, upon which he was paid £7000 compensation, he was the first Lord Lieutenant of Buteshire from 1794 until his death. Lord Mount Stuart succeeded his father in the earldom in 1792. In 1794 he was created Viscount Mountjoy, in the Isle of Wight, Earl of Windsor and Marquess of Bute. Lord Bute was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society on 12 December 1799. Lord Mount Stuart married an heiress, the Honourable Charlotte Hickman-Windsor, daughter of Herbert Hickman-Windsor, 2nd Viscount Windsor, on 12 November 1766.
They had two daughters. Those included: John Stuart, Lord Mount Stuart, whose son succeeded as 2nd Marquess Lord Evelyn Stuart, a colonel in the army Lady Charlotte Stuart, married Sir William Homan, 1st Baronet Lord Henry Stuart, father of Henry Villiers-Stuart, 1st Baron Stuart de Decies Captain Lord William Stuart Rear-Admiral Lord George Stuart Charlotte died on 28 January 1800, he married Frances Coutts, daughter of Thomas Coutts, on 17 September 1800. They had two children: Lady Frances Stuart - Dudley Ryder, 2nd Earl of Harrowby Lord Dudley Coutts Stuart His second wife outlived him, died on 12 November 1832. Paola Bianchi, Nella specola dell'ambasciatore. Torino agli occhi di John Stuart, lord Mountstuart e marchese di Bute, in Architettura e città negli Stati sabaudi, a cura di E. Piccoli e F. De Pieri, Quodlibet, 2012, pp. 135–160 Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Marquess of Bute
John Stuart, Lord Mount Stuart
John Stuart, Lord Mount Stuart, was an England-born Scottish Tory politician. Mount Stuart was the son of the John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute and the grandson of Prime Minister John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, his mother was the Hon. Charlotte Jane and heiress of Herbert Windsor, 2nd Viscount Windsor, he was born at Grosvenor Square, London in 1767 and educated at Eton and St John's College, Cambridge. In 1790, he was elected Member of Parliament for a seat he held until his death, he was appointed Colonel of the Glamorganshire Militia in 1791 and was Lord-Lieutenant of Glamorganshire between 1793 and his death. Lord Mount Stuart married Lady Elizabeth McDouall-Crichton, daughter of Patrick McDouall-Crichton, 6th Earl of Dumfries, his wife Margaret, on 12 October 1792, they had two sons, who both added the surname "Crichton" before that of "Stuart" in 1805: John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute Lord Patrick James Herbert Crichton-Stuart. In 1817 he obtained the rank of the son of a Marquess, which his father would have been, had he not died before his father, the 1st Marquess.
Lord Mount Stuart died at Bassingbourn Hall near Stansted, Essex, in January 1794, only 26 years of age, a month after being injured in a fall from his horse. Lady Mount Stuart survived him by three years and died in July 1797, aged 24. Kidd, Williamson, David. Debrett's Baronetage. New York: St Martin's Press, 1990, Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages
John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute
John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute, KT, FRS, styled Lord Mount Stuart between 1794 and 1814, was a wealthy aristocrat and industrialist in Georgian and early Victorian Britain. He built the Cardiff Docks. Bute's father, Lord Mount Stuart, died a few months after he was born and as a young child he was brought up first by his mother, the former Lady Elizabeth McDougall-Crichton, by his paternal grandfather, John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute, he travelled across Europe before attending Cambridge University. He contracted an eye condition and remained sighted for the rest of his life. Having inherited large estates across Britain, he married his first wife, Lady Maria North, in 1818, together they lived a secluded life in Mount Stuart House in Scotland, one of Bute's four seats. Bute was industrious, with a flair for land management, he focused his daily routine around extensive correspondence with his estate managers, making biennial tours of his lands around the country. The couple did not conceive any children, Maria died in 1841.
Bute remarried four years to Lady Sophia Rawdon-Hastings, she gave birth to Bute's only child, John, in 1847. Bute was a member of the House of Lords and controlled the votes of several members of the House of Commons, he was a political and religious conservative, a follower of the Duke of Wellington, but took part in national debates unless his own commercial interests were involved. Early on, Bute realised the vast wealth that lay in the South Wales coalfields and set about commercially exploiting them through local ironmasters and colliers, he constructed the Cardiff Docks, a major project which, despite running over budget, enabled further exports of iron and coal and magnified the value of his lands in Glamorganshire. When violence broke out in the Merthyr Rising of 1831, Bute led the government response from Cardiff Castle, despatching military forces, deploying spies and keeping Whitehall informed throughout; the contemporary press praised the marquess as "the creator of modern Cardiff", on his death he left vast wealth to his son.
Bute was the son of John, Lord Mount Stuart, the former Lady Elizabeth McDouall-Crichton. His parents were both from aristocratic backgrounds. Bute's father died in a riding accident in February 1794, leaving Elizabeth to give birth to Bute's younger brother, Patrick Stuart that year. Bute was brought up at Dumfries House by his mother and grandmother, but following their deaths he passed into the care of his grandfather, the 1st Marquess of Bute, travelled with him across England and Europe, his family considered him to be clever and he went to study at Christ's College in Cambridge in 1809. Over the next few years he visited the Mediterranean and Russia, taking a keen interest in land economics, he developed an eye condition during this period and became blind, leaving him unable to travel without assistance or to tolerate bright lights, finding it difficult to read or write. His maternal grandfather, Lord Dumfries, died in 1803, followed by his paternal grandfather in 1814, with Bute inheriting both sets of estates and adding Crichton to his surname after Lord Dumfries.
As a consequence he held many hereditary titles and posts: in addition to being the Marquess of Bute, he was the Earl of Windsor, Viscount Mountjoy, Baron Mount Stuart, Baron Cardiff, the Earl of Dumfries and Bute, the Viscount of Ayr and Kingarth, Baron Crichton, Lord Crichton of Sanquhar and Cumnock, Lord Mount Stuart Cumra and Inchmarnock, a Baronet of Nova Scotia. He was the Keeper of Rothsay Castle, the Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of Glamorgan, the Lord Lieutenant, the hereditary Sheriff and Coroner of Buteshire, the High Steward of Banbury. Bute had four major seats, Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute, Dumfries House in Ayrshire, Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire, Cardiff Castle in South Wales, with his London townhouse on Campden Hill in Kensington. Bute preferred to live in Mount Stuart House. Twice each year he would travel from Mount Stuart House through Ayrshire to Edinburgh, down through northern England to London, on to Cardiff and his South Wales estates. In November 1843, a fire swept through Luton Hoo House.
Concerned about his growing blindness, not enjoying the social life in London, Bute retired to his estates on the Isle of Bute for the next six years. While recovering, Bute married his first wife, Lady Maria North, in 1818. Maria was one of the three daughters of the 3rd Earl of Guilford, a wealthy heiress. £40,000 was settled on her at the time of her marriage and she was due to inherit a third of her father's extensive estates. Contemporaries considered Maria a kind and pleasant woman, but she was unwell and the marriage proved childless. In 1820 his portrait was painted by Henry Raeburn, published two years as an engraving by William Ward. In 1827 his father-in-law died and Maria inherited lands worth over £110,000; the historian John Davies describes Bute as "dour and overbearing on first acquaintance" but with a "sense of responsibility, considerable imagination and an enormous capacity for hard work". By the aristocratic standards of the day, B