Earl of Kent

The peerage title Earl of Kent has been created many times in the Peerage of England and once in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

See also Kingdom of Kent, Duke of Kent.

Earls of Kent, pre-Conquest

Earls of Kent, first Creation (1067)

Earls of Kent, second Creation (1141)

Earls of Kent, third Creation (1227)

Earls of Kent, fourth Creation (1321)

Earls of Kent (1360)

The Earls of Kent of this creation used Baron Holand (1353) as a subsidiary title; it became abeyant 1408.

Earls of Kent, fifth Creation (1461)

Earls of Kent, sixth Creation (1465)

The Greys were a baronial family with substantial property in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and later around Ruthin in Wales. They rose to greater prominence during the Wars of the Roses. Edmund Grey, Lord Grey of Ruthin, started out a Lancastrian, but switched to the Yorkist side at the Battle of Northampton. He was a member of Edward IV's council, became Lord Treasurer in 1463/4, was created Earl of Kent in 1465 and was keeper of the Tower of London in 1470. He remained loyal through Richard III's accesion, taking part in his coronation (1483).

Edmund's son George, the 2nd Earl, had continued as a Yorkist, marrying Anne Woodville, a sister of Edward IV's queen Elizabeth Woodville. (He is not related to Elizabeth's first husband Sir John Grey or to their descendants the Marquesses of Dorset.) He later married Catherine Herbert, daughter of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke.

The third earl, Richard, was the son of 2nd earl and Anne Woodville. He wound up heavily in debt, probably through gambling, and was forced to alienate most of his property. A good part ended up in the crown's hands; historians disagree regarding what this says about Henry VII's relationship with the aristocracy.

He was succeeded as earl by his half-brother Henry, son of the 2nd earl and Catherine Herbert. Henry tried, with little success, to reacquire the property Richard had sold, and had to live as a modest gentleman, never formally taking title as earl.

Earls of Kent, seventh Creation (1866)

References

  • G.W. Bernard, "The Fortunes of the Greys, Earls of Kent, in the Early Sixteenth Century", The Historical Journal, 25 (1982), 671-685
  • This page incorporates information from Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page

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