General history: Nobility of the county

Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1816.

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Daniel Lysons. Samuel Lysons, 'General history: Nobility of the county', Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland, (London, 1816), pp. lv-lxiv. British History Online [accessed 20 June 2024].

Daniel Lysons. Samuel Lysons. "General history: Nobility of the county", in Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland, (London, 1816) lv-lxiv. British History Online, accessed June 20, 2024,

Lysons, Daniel. Lysons, Samuel. "General history: Nobility of the county", Magna Britannia: Volume 4, Cumberland, (London, 1816). lv-lxiv. British History Online. Web. 20 June 2024,

In this section

Nobility of the County.

Title of Cumberland

Ranulph de Meschines (fn. n1), is by some, said to have been made Earl of Cumberland by William the Conqueror; others say Earl of Carlisle. Henry, Lord Clifford (fn. n2), was created Earl of Cumberland in 1525. The title became extinct by the death of Henry, the fifth Earl, in 1643. The following year King Charles created his cousin, Prince Rupert, Duke of Cumberland; the title became extinct at his death, in 1682. Prince George of Denmark, created Duke of Cumberland in 1689, died in 1708. Prince William Augustus, son of King George II. was created Duke of Cumberland in 1723; dying without issue in 1765, the title was revived in the person of Prince Henry Frederick, His present Majesty's brother, who died without issue in 1790. In 1799 Prince Ernest Augustus, His Majesty's fifth son, was created Duke of Cumberland, and still enjoys that title.

Howard, Duke of Norfolk. — The noble family of Howard first became connected with this county by the marriage of Philip, Earl of Arundel, and Lord William Howard, sons of Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, who was beheaded in 1572, with Anne and Elizabeth, sisters and coheiresses of George, Lord Dacre, Baron of Greystock and Gilsland, who died in 1569. On a partition of the property the Earl of Arundel became possessed of Greystock, which barony (fn. n3) has ever since been one of the titles of his noble descendants. Henry Frederic, Earl of Arundel, who died in 1652, father of Thomas, Earl of Arundel, who was restored to the title of Duke of Norfolk, settled the Greystock estate on his fourth son, the Honourable Charles Howard. Upon the death of Edward, Duke of Norfolk, without issue, in 1777, Charles Howard, Esq. of Greystock, grandson of the above-mentioned Charles, succeeded to the dukedom, and was father of Charles, the present duke, who occasionally resides at the ancient castellated mansion of Greystock.

Arms:—Quarterly 1. Gules, on a bend, between six cross crosslets, fitchee, Argent, an escutcheon Or, therein a demi-lion rampant, (pierced through the mouth with an arrow,) within a double tressure, flory-counter-flory, Gules, (being an augmentation granted in remembrance of the victory over the Scots at Floddon Field). Howard. 2. G. three lions passant-guardant in pale. O, a label of three points in chief Argent. Brotherton. 3. Checky O. and Az. Warren. 4. G. a lion rampant Arg. armed and langued Az. Mowbray. Behind the whole, two marshals, staves in saltire, O. enamelled at each end, Sab. having the King's arms at the upper, and those of Howard at the lower end, being the badge of the hereditary office of Earl Marshal.

Crest:—On a chapeau G. turned up, Erm. a lion statant guardant O. (his tail extended) gorged with a ducal coronet Arg.

Supporters:—On the dexter side a lion, and on the sinister a horse, both Arg. the latter holding a slip of oak, fructed, Proper.

Howard, Earl of Carlisle.—Charles Howard, great great grandson of Lord William, who, as before-mentioned, married one of the coheiresses of Lord Dacre of Gilsland; after that title had lain dormant nearly a hundred years (fn. n4), was in 1661 created Baron Dacre of Gilsland, and Earl of Carlisle. The present Earl, Frederick Howard, is the fifth lineal possessor of these honors, and proprietor of the barony of Gilsland, and of Naworth Castle, the ancient baronial seat, in which he keeps a few rooms, fitted up for his occasional residence.

Arms and crest: — The same as those of the Duke of Norfolk, with a mullet for difference.

Supporters: — On the dexter side a lion Arg. with a mullet, on the sinister a bull, G. armed, unguled, and ducally gorged and chained, Or.

Wyndham, Earl of Egremont. — Algernon Seymour, Duke of Somerset, having inherited from his mother, the heiress of Percy, Earl of Northumberland, the barony of Lucy, and the honours of Cockermouth and Egremont, in Cumberland, was in 1749 created Baron Cockermouth of Cockermouth, and Earl of Egremont, with remainder to his nephew Sir Charles Wyndham, Bart. of Orchard-Wyndham, in the county of Somerset. The duke died in 1750, when Sir Charles Wyndham became Earl of Egremont, and dying in 1763, was succeeded by his son George, the second Earl, who possesses a considerable estate in this county, and the ancient castles of Cockermouth and Egremont. The latter is wholly in ruins; in the former are one or two rooms, occasionally occupied by its noble owner.

Arms:—Azure, a chevron between three lions' heads, erased, Or.

Crest: — A lion's head, erased, within a fetterlock, Or.

Supporters—On the dexter side a lion rampant, Azure, winged, Or; on the sinister side, a griffin, Argent, gutté de Sang.

Lowther, Earl of Lonsdale. — The ancient family of Lowther, who, from a remote period, had been seated at Lowther, in the adjoining county of Westmorland, appear to have been first connected with this county in the reign of Edward I. when Sir Hugh Lowther, the King's Attorney General, was possessed of the manor of Wythorp, and purchased Newton-Regny of Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells. There were mansions on both these estates; Wythorp-hall was certainly for a considerable time one of the seats of the Lowther family. From the time above-mentioned the Lowthers frequently appear in the lists of sheriffs and knights of the shire. In the list of gentry of the county returned by the commissioners in the 12th year of Henry VI. we find four branches of this ancient family described as resident in Cumberland; Sir Hugh Lowther, who was at the field of Agincourt with King Henry V.; William Lowther (fn. n5), of Crookdake; John Lowther, of Allerby (in Aspatria); and William Lowther, of Rose. These probably are all long ago extinct, except that of Sir Hugh, who was then the head of the family. Sir Christopher, the second son of his immediate descendant Sir John Lowther, of Lowther, who died in 1637, settled at Whitehaven, and was created a baronet in 1641. This branch became extinct by the death of Sir James, the fourth baronet, in 1755, when the Whitehaven estate devolved under his will to Sir James Lowther (fn. n6), who had before succeeded to the Lowther estate and a baronet's title on the death of Henry Viscount Lonsdale (fn. n7), in 1750. Sir James Lowther was in 1784, created Baron Lowther, of Lowther, Baron of Kendal, baron of the barony of Burgh, in the county of Cumberland, Viscount Lonsdale and Lowther, and Earl of Lonsdale. In 1797 he was created Baron and Viscount Lowther, of Whitehaven, with remainder to the heirs male of his cousin, the late Rev. Sir William Lowther, of Swillington, Bart. (fn. n8) Upon his death, in 1802, Sir William Lowther, Bart. son of Sir William last-mentioned, succeeded by devise to his large possessions in Cumberland and Westmorland, and to the entailed titles of Baron and Viscount Lowther, of Whitehaven: in 1807 he was created Earl of Lonsdale.

The mansion at Whitehaven, which had been rebuilt by the late earl, is his lordship's occasional residence.

The ancestors of Lord Lonsdale have married the heiresses of Quale, Strickland, and Lancaster.

Arms of Lowther, Earl of Lonsdale: — Or, six annulets, Sable.

Crest:—On a wreath a dragon passant, Argent.

Supporters:—Two horses, Argent, each gorged with a chaplet of laurel, Proper.

Baron Greystock. See Duke of Norfolk.

Baron Dacre of the South.—Ranulph de Dacre, who married the heiress of Multon, of Gilsland, was summoned to parliament in the first year of Edward II. After the death of Thomas, the sixth Lord Dacre, Sir Richard Fynes, who married the daughter and heir of Thomas, his elder son, and became possessed of Dacre castle the ancient seat of the family, was in 1459, declared by the King's patent to be Lord Dacre; and his posterity were known by the description of the Lords Dacre of the South. This ancient barony having passed by female heirs through the families of Lennard and Roper, is now possessed by Gertrude, only sister and heir of the late Charles Trevor Roper, the eighteenth Lord Dacre, who was married in 1771 to Thomas Brand, Esq. of the Hoo, in Hertfordshire, by whom she has two sons and a daughter.

Arms of Dacre:—Gules, three escallops Argent.

Supporters:—A wolf dog argent, collared Or, and a bull Gules, ducally gorged and armed, Or.

Baron Dacre of the North. See Earl of Carlisle.

Baron Lucy, of Cockermouth. — Anthony de Lucy, whose father Thomas Multon, had assumed that name on marrying one of the coheiresses of Lucy of Egremont; was summoned to parliament 14 Edward II. Maud, aunt, and heir of Anthony Lord Lucy, who died in 1389, settled her large inheritance upon her second husband Hugh Percy, and his heirs male, on condition that they should always bear the arms of Lucy quartered with those of Percy. This ancient barony having passed by heirs female to the families of Seymour and Smithson, is now possessed by his Grace the Duke of Northumberland.

Arms of the Barons Lucy: — Gules, three fish (luces) hauriant, Argent.

Law, Lord Ellenborough. — The present Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench having attained by his eminent abilities the highest honours of his profession, was in the year 1802 advanced to the peerage, when he took the title of Ellenborough, a well known place near Maryport in this county, the site of a Roman station, and the property of his intimate friend, the late Humphrey Senhouse, Esq. of Nether-hall. This eminent lawyer is a native of Cumberland, having been born in the year 1750 at Great-Salkeld, of which parish his father, then archdeacon, and afterwards Bishop of Carlisle, was rector.

Arms:—Erm. a bend engrail'd, G. charged with three mullets, Arg. between two cocks of the second.

Crest: — A cock, Gules.

Supporters:—Two eagles, each charged on the breast with a mitre.

Pennington, Lord Muncaster. — This ancient family took their name from Pennington, in Lancashire, at which place and at Mulcastre, now Muncaster, in this county, they were settled before the reign of Henry II.

The family were sometimes called de Mulcaster, and some of the younger branches continued that name for several descents. Sir William Pennington, the immediate descendant of the elder branch, was in 1676 created a baronet. In the year 1783, John, elder son of Sir Joseph Pennington, the fourth baronet, was created Lord Muncaster of the Kingdom of Ireland, with remainder to his only brother Lowther Pennington. On the death of the late Lord Muncaster, in 1813, his brother, General Lowther Pennington, succeeded to the title.

Arms: — Or, five fusils in fesse, Azure.

Crest: — On a wreath, a cat-a-mountain, passant-guardant, Proper.

Supporters: — On the dexter side, a lion guardant, Proper, charged on the breast with an oak branch, Vert: on the sinister side, a horse reguardant, Proper, bridled, Or.

Extinct Peerages.

Earldom of Carlisle.—Ranulph de Meschines had the Earldom of Carlisle (fn. n9) given him by William the Conqueror. His son of the same name, who was also Earl of Chester, surrendered the Earldom of Carlisle to King Henry I.

Sir Andrew de Hercla or Harcla was created Earl of Carlisle by King Edward II. in the fifteenth year of his reign. This title he enjoyed but a short time, for in the following year he was arrested in his castle of Carlisle, for treasonable correspondence with the Scots, degraded from his knighthood, by ungirding his sword, and hacking off his spurs, hanged, drawn, and quartered, his head being placed on London-bridge, and his four quarters thus disposed, one on the keep of Carlisle Castle, one on the keep of the castle at Newcastle, a third on York-bridge, and the fourth at Shrewsbury. (fn. n10)

Arms: — Arg. a cross, Gul. in the first quarter a martlet, Sable.

Hay, Earl of Carlisle. — Sir James Hay, of a Scots family, was in 1622 created Earl of Carlisle. The title became extinct by the death of James, the second Earl, without issue, in 1660. The Earl of Kinnoul is of the same family.

Arms: — Arg. three escutcheons, G.

Radcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater. — Sir Francis Radcliffe, Bart. of Dalston, in Northumberland, descended from the Radcliffes of Castlerig, on Derwentwater lake, whose ancestor had married the heiress of Derwentwater, was in 1688 created Earl of Derwentwater, which title was forfeited by the attainder of James, third Earl of Derwentwater, beheaded in 1716, for being concerned in the rebellion of the preceding year. The eldest branch of this ancient family became extinct in the male line by the death of Anthony James Radcliffe, Earl of Newburgh, in 1814. The late Earl of Newburgh, whose father had claimed that Scotch earldom, in right of his mother, was great nephew of the last Earl of Derwentwater.

An ancestor of the Earls of Derwentwater married the heiress of Carrington. Some younger branches of the family have continued the male line.

Arms of Radcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater: — Arg. a bend engrailed, Sable.

Crest: — On a ducal coronet, Or, a bull's head erased, Sable.

Lord Wake, of Liddell. — John, Lord Wake, whose father had acquired the barony of Liddell in marriage with the heiress of Estoteville or Stuteville; was summoned to parliament 23 Edw. I. The heiress of Thomas, the second Lord Wake, married Edmund Plantagenet, Earl of Kent, whose daughter married Edward the Black Prince.

Arms. — Or, a fesse, Gules, in chief, three torteaux.

Baron Multon of Gilsland. — Thomas de Multon, whose grandfather had married the heiress of Vaux, Lord of the barony of Gilsland; was summoned to parliament 25 Edw. I.: his daughter and heir married Ralph de Dacre.

Arms. — Argent, 3 bars, Gules, with a label of five points.

Baron Multon of Egremont. — Thomas de Multon, grandson of Lambert de Multon, who married one of the two coheiresses of Lucy, baron of Egremont; was summoned to parliament 28 Edw. I. This barony became extinct or dormant, by the death of John, the second Lord Multon of Egremont, in 1335. His three sisters, married to Fitz-Walter, Bermicham, and Lucy, were his coheiresses.

Arms. — The same, without the label.

Harington Lord Harington. — This ancient family took their name from the village of Harington, on the west coast, the manor of which place they possessed from a very early period, till the extinction of their male line, in the reign of Henry VI.; John de Harington was summoned to parliament 18 Edw. II.: his grandson, William, Lord Harington died without male issue in 1458: his daughter and heir married William Lord Bonville.

The Harington family, before the extinction of the elder line married the heiresses of Seaton and Cancefield, and coheiresses of Multon and Loring. From younger branches of this family, descended the Lords Harington of Exton, the Haringtons of Rutlandshire, Baronets, &c. &c.

Arms. — Sable, a fret Argent.

Besides the above-mentioned parliamentary Barons, there have been several ancient baronial families which became extinct, before summonses to parliament were issued, as the early possessors of the great lordship of Allerdale; the family of Vaux who had the barony of Gilsland, before the Multons; the Estotevilles or Stutevilles, who had the barony of Liddell; the Engaynes and Morvilles, successively Lords of the barony of Burgh; the Wigtons, who had the barony of Wigton, the FitzSweines, &c.


  • n1. Arms. —Or, a lion rampant, Gules.
  • n2. Arms.— Checky, Or, and Azure, a fesse, Gules.
  • n3. John de Greystock, whose ancestors had long possessed the barony of Greystock, was summoned to parliament 23 Edward I. Ralph, the last Lord Greystock, of this family, died in 1487; his grand-daughter and sole heiress, Elizabeth Greystock, married Thomas, Lord Dacre. Arms of Greystock:—Barry of six. Arg. and Azure; three chaplets, Or.
  • n4. Ranulph de Dacre, who married the heiress of the barony of Gilsland, was summoned to parliament I Edward II. After the heiress of Thomas, the sixth Lord Dacre, had carried away the inheritance of great part of the estate, and her husband, Sir Richard Fynes, had been declared Lord Dacre, 37 Henry VI. the male heirs continued to be summoned to parliament, and were distinguished by the appellation of the Lords Dacre of the North. After the death of George, Lord Dacre, the last male heir, in 1569, the title lay dormant, till revived in the descendant in the female line, as above-mentioned.
  • n5. Son probably of Sir William Lowther of Crookdake, who was sheriff of Cumberland in the reign of Henry IV. Sir William was second son of Sir John, (temp. Edward III.)
  • n6. Sir James Lowther was descended from Robert Lowther, of Meaburn, in Westmorland, second surviving son of Sir John Lowther, who was created a baronet in 1640.
  • n7. This Lord Lonsdale, by whose death the elder branch became extinct, was son of Sir John Lowther, Bart. who had been created Viscount Lonsdale in 1696. His grand-father, Sir John Lowther, of Lowther, had been created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1640.
  • n8. Descended from Sir William, third son of Sir John Lowther, who died in 1637. His uncle, Sir William Lowther, was created a baronet in 1715; Sir William, the second baronet of this branch, having no issue, and his brother being dead without issue, left his estates to his first cousin, the Rev. William Lowther, rector of Swillington, who was created a baronet in 1764.
  • n9. See Vincent. Dugdale speaks of Ranulph as Earl of Cumberland.
  • n10. See Brooke's Vincent, p. 97.