Earl of Devon Earl of Devon is an old English noble title that has survived to the present. It was first established by Empress Matilda in 1141 for Baldwin de Revere , a major Devonian landowner and one of the most loyal supporters of the empress during the civil war of 1135-1154 . Subsequently, the title of Earl of Devon was worn by his descendants from the house of de Revière (the English version is de Redvers), and after the termination of this kind, representatives of the English branch of the glorious French house de Courtenay (the English version are Courtney). In the Middle Ages, the counts of Devon, for the most part, did not play a significant role in the political life of England. Under the Tudors, the clan de Courtenay, who was closely related to the York dynasty, was in disgrace and its representatives repeatedly lost their titles and possessions. After 1556, the title of Earl of Devon ceased to exist for a long time. During this period, the title of Count , and later the Duke of Devonshire , arose, which was assigned to the representatives of the Cavendish House. Only in 1831 the head of the clan de Courtenay achieved the return to him of the title of Earl of Devon. The current title holder - Hugh Rupert Courtney (Courtenay) (b. 1942), is the 18th Earl of Devon of the fifth creation ( 1553 ). The main residence of the Earls of Devon at present is the Powderem Castle , located on the Devon coast south of Exeter .
The title of Earl of Devon was first established in 1141 during the short reign of Empress Matilda . He was granted Baldwin de Revere (d. 1155), one of the largest barons of southwestern England, who owned vast lands in Devon and the Isle of Wight . Baldwin was the first among English aristocrats to openly support Matilda after Stefan Bloisky came to power in 1135 and subsequently remained one of her most loyal supporters in the era of feudal anarchy in England . Sometimes the first Earl of Devon is considered to be Baldwin ’s father Richard de Revrier (d. 1107), a participant in the Norman conquest of England and the founder of the house de Revrier (the English version of the genus name is Redvers). However, written evidence of Richard’s use of the count’s title has not been preserved to date. Representatives of the House of Redvers possessed the title of Earl of Devon until the end of the 13th century . Although they managed to significantly expand their holdings at the expense of land in Cornwall , in the political life of the country they remained in the background. Among the bearers of the title of this period, only William de Redvers, the 5th Earl of Devon (d. 1217), the faithful comrade-in-arms of John Bezzemlenny and a participant in the Baron wars of the beginning of the 13th century on the side of the king, stands out. House de Redvers stopped in 1293 with the death of Isabella , 8th Countess of Devon. The possessions of the Redvers were inherited by the great-nephew of the last Countess Hugh de Courtenay (d. 1340). In 1335, he was recognized as Earl of Devon.
Hugh de Courtenay came from the English branch of the French aristocratic clan Courtenay , whose representatives were one of the leaders of the crusaders in Palestine , headed the county of Edessa during its heyday, and since 1216 were emperors of the Latin Empire . The English branch of this house was founded in the middle of the XII century , when together with King Henry II , Renault de Courtenay, the youngest son of Mil (d. 1127), Senor de Courtenay, moved to England. His son Robert de Courtenay received a number of possessions in Devon with a center in Oakhampton , and by marrying a representative of the Red Devers family he secured his descendants the title of Earl of Devon and joining the circle of the highest English aristocracy. Already the son of Hugh de Courtenay, 9th Earl of Devon, married the granddaughter of King Edward I , and one of his sons, William (d. 1396), in 1381 became Archbishop of Canterbury .
During the war of the Scarlet and White Roses, the Earls of Devon supported the Lancaster party. When Lancaster suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Tauton in 1461 , and Edward IV of York seized the throne of England, Thomas Courtenay, 14th Earl of Devon , was executed, and his titles and possessions confiscated. In 1469, Humphrey Stafford , a supporter of the Yorks , was promoted to Earl of Devon, but in the same year he was defeated and executed by Lancaster. During the short return of Lancaster to power in 1470, John Courtenay was reinstated as Earl, but already in 1471 he died at the Battle of Tewkesbury , and the title was again confiscated. With the death of John Courtenay, the oldest branch of the family was suppressed, however, the representative of the younger line, Edward (d. 1509), who fought at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, was granted the title of Earl of Devon of the third creation after entering the English throne of Henry VII Tudor . His only son, William Courtenay (d. 1511), married about 1495 Catherine of York , the youngest daughter of King Edward IV and the heiress of the York claim to the crown, which displeased Henry VII. In 1503, William was arrested and deprived of the rights to possessions and titles of the house of de Courtenay. Only after the death of the king, William was forgiven, and in 1511 received the title of Earl of Devon of the fourth creation.
The son of William Courtenay Henry, 2nd Earl of Devon (d. 1539), descending on a direct maternal line from Edward III , at the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII was actually the heir to the English throne, if Henry died without leaving legal heirs. He enjoyed the king’s special location, led negotiations on the dissolution of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon , led the proceedings against Cardinal Walsi and Anna Boleyn, and secularized the English monasteries. In 1525, Henry Courtenay was granted the title of Marquis of Exeter . However, in 1538, Henry VIII was arrested, and on January 9, 1539 he executed the Marquis on charges of conspiring against the king. Courtenay's possessions and titles were confiscated. The son of Henry Edward (d. 1556) remained in custody at the Tower for 15 years until he was forgiven by Queen Mary Tudor . He received back part of the hereditary possessions, and in 1553 became Earl of Devon of the fifth creation. However, Edward's royal lineage and suspicions of intrigue with Princess Elizabeth soon led to the fall of the count. In 1554, he was arrested on suspicion of complicity in the Wyatt uprising , and the following year he was expelled from England. Edward Courtenay died in 1556 in Padua , possibly being poisoned , and his possessions are divided between the younger line of the house de Courtenay. The count's title, however, was not recognized by Edward's heirs.
In 1603, King James I assigned the title of Earl of Devon to Charles Blant (d. 1606), the Lord Viceroy of Ireland , who crushed the O'Neill rebellion in Ulster , after whose death the title was assigned to the Cavendish house in 1618 . At the same time, the introduced Courtenay clan remained in Devon, leading the life of rural gentlemen and not participating in politics. In 1645, during the English Revolution of the 17th century, the head of the Courtenay clan received the title of Baronet , and in 1762 the title of Viscount Courtenay of Powderim was established. The 3rd Viscount Courtenay William , based on the verbatim reading of the Act of 1553 granting the title of Earl of Devon, was able in 1831 to convince the House of Lords of the British Parliament that the title of Earl of Devon was to be inherited not only by direct descendants of Edward Courtenay, but also by his other male heirs gender from the Courtenay clan. As a result, William was recognized as the 9th Earl of Devon of the fifth creation. To avoid uncertainty, it was also agreed that the bearers of a similar title from the Cavendish house would be referred to as Earls and Dukes of Devonshire .
The current title holder is Hugh Rupert Courtney (Courtenay) (b. 1942), 18th Earl of Devon. His heir, Californian lawyer Charles Courtney (b. 1975), uses the title of Lord Courtenay as a “courtesy title,” although formally the titles of Baron Courtenay and Viscount Courtenay of Powderim ceased to exist in 1835 with the death of William, the 9th Earl of Devon. The residence of the counts remains the Powder castle near Exeter .
List of Devon Counts
Earls of Devon, First Creation (1141)
- Baldwin de Revrier, 1st Earl of Devon (c. 1095 - 1155 ), Lord of the Isle of Wight (from 1107 );
- Richard de Revrier, 2nd Earl of Devon (d. 1162 ), lord of the Isle of Wight , son of the previous;
- Baldwin de Revrier, 3rd Earl of Devon (d. 1188 ), lord of the Isle of Wight , son of the previous;
- Richard de Revrier, 4th Earl of Devon (d. C. 1193 ), lord of the Isle of Wight , brother of the previous;
- William de Vernon, 5th Earl of Devon (d. 1217 ), lord of the Isle of Wight , uncle of the previous;
- Baldwin de Redvers, 6th Earl of Devon ( 1217 - 1245 ), Lord of the Isle of Wight , grandson of the previous;
- Baldwin de Redvers, 7th Earl of Devon ( 1236 - 1262 ), Lord of the Isle of Wight , son of the previous;
- Isabella de Redvers, 8th Countess Devon ( 1237 - 1293 ), sister of the previous;
- Hugh de Courtenay, 9th Earl of Devon ( 1276 - 1340 ), Earl of Devon from 1335 , granddaughter of the previous one;
- Hugh de Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon ( 1303 - 1377 ), son of the previous;
- Edward de Courtenay, 11th Earl of Devon ( 1357 - 1419 ), grandson of the previous;
- Hugh de Courtenay, 12th Earl of Devon ( 1389 - 1422 ), son of the previous;
- Thomas de Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon ( 1414 - 1458 ), son of the previous;
- Thomas de Courtenay, 14th Earl of Devon ( 1432 - 1461 ), son of the previous, executed, title confiscated in 1461 ;
- John Courtenay, 15th Earl of Devon ( 1435 - 1471 ), Earl of Devon from 1470 , brother of the previous one, the title was confiscated in 1471 .
Earl of Devon, Second Creation (1469)
- Humphrey Stafford, 1st Earl of Devon ( 1439 - 1469 ).
Earl of Devon, Third Creation (1485)
- Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon (d. 1509 ), second cousin of John Courtenay, 15th Earl of Devon , title abolished after death.
Earls of Devon, Fourth Creation (1511)
- William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon ( 1475 - 1511 ), son of the previous;
- Henry Courtenay, 2nd Earl of Devon ( 1498 - 1539 ), Marquis of Exeter (c 1525 ), son of the previous one, executed, titles confiscated in 1538/1539 .
Earls of Devon, Fifth Creation (1553)
- Edward Courtney, 1st Earl of Devon ( 1527 - 1556 ), son of the previous, after death the title ceased to exist;
According to the decision of the House of Lords of the Parliament of Great Britain in 1831, the title of Earl of Devon was recognized for the following heirs of Edward Courtenay, who did not possess him during his lifetime:
- William Courtenay, 2nd Earl of Devon ( 1529 - 1557 ), great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the youngest son of Hugh de Courtenay, 10th Earl of Devon ;
- William Courtenay, 3rd Earl of Devon ( 1553 - 1630 ), son of the previous;
- Francis Courtenay, 4th Earl of Devon ( 1576 - 1638 ), son of the previous;
- William Courtenay, 5th Earl of Devon ( 1628 - 1702 ), 1st Baronet (from 1644 ), son of the previous one;
- William Courtenay, 6th Earl of Devon, 2nd Baronet ( 1675 - 1735 ), grandson of the previous one;
- William Courtenay, 7th Earl of Devon ( 1709/1710 - 1762 ), 1st Viscount Courtenay (from 1762 ), son of the previous;
- William Courtenay, 8th Earl of Devon, 2nd Viscount Courtenay ( 1742 - 1788 ), son of the previous;
Earl of Devon restored:
- William Courtenay, 9th Earl of Devon, 3rd Viscount Courtenay ( 1768 - 1835 ), son of the previous one, the title of Earl of Devon was recognized in 1831 ;
- William Courtney, 10th Earl of Devon ( 1777 - 1859 ), second cousin of the previous;
- William Courtney, 11th Earl of Devon ( 1807 - 1888 ), son of the previous;
- Edward Courtney, 12th Earl of Devon ( 1836 - 1891 ), son of the previous;
- Henry Courtney, 13th Earl of Devon ( 1811 - 1904 ), uncle of the previous;
- Charles Courtney, 14th Earl of Devon ( 1870 - 1927 ), grandson of the previous;
- Henry Courtney, 15th Earl of Devon ( 1872 - 1935 ), brother of the previous;
- Frederick Courtney, 16th Earl of Devon ( 1875 - 1935 ), brother of the previous one;
- Charles Courtney, 17th Earl of Devon ( 1916 - 1998 ), son of the previous;
- Hugh Courtney, 18th Earl of Devon ( 1942 - 2015 ), son of the previous;
- Charles Courtney, 19th Earl of Devon (b. 1975 ), son of the previous;
- Heir: Jack Haydon Langer Courtenay, Lord Courtenay (born 2009 ), the only son of the previous one.
- Count Devonshire
- Duke of Devonshire
- Marquis Exeter
- Genealogy of the Counts of Devon on the website of the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy
- Genealogy of the house of de Riviere on the website of Racines et Histoire (fr.)
- Genealogy of the house de Courtenay on the website Racines et Histoire (fr.)
- Counts of Devon from the houses of Redvers and de Courtenay