Section V: A brief History of the Noblemen

Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby. Originally published by J Throsby, Nottingham, 1790.

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Robert Thoroton, 'Section V: A brief History of the Noblemen ', in Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby, ed. John Throsby( Nottingham, 1790), British History Online [accessed 16 July 2024].

Robert Thoroton, 'Section V: A brief History of the Noblemen ', in Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby. Edited by John Throsby( Nottingham, 1790), British History Online, accessed July 16, 2024,

Robert Thoroton. "Section V: A brief History of the Noblemen ". Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire: Volume 2, Republished With Large Additions By John Throsby. Ed. John Throsby(Nottingham, 1790), , British History Online. Web. 16 July 2024.

In this section

Section V.

A brief History of the Noblemen who have been dignify'd with the Title of Earl of Nottingham, from the Conquest; to which is added a List of the Members of Parliament both for this Town and the County at large—continued from Deering to the present time.

1st Ferrers.

"This family owes its original to Walchelin de Ferriers or Ferrariis, a Norman, whose son Henry de Ferrariis to whom king William the Conqueror, gave Tutbury castle in com. Stafford, also large possessions in that county, Berks, Oxon, Wilts, Lincoln, Bucks, and Gloucester, which Henry founded the Priory of Tutbury, He was succeeded by

Robert his third son, (the two elder Eugenulph and William died during their father's life) he was earl of Derby; one of the witnesses to the laws made by king Stephen in the first year of his reign; he commanded the Derbyshire men at the famous battle at Northallerton, where the barons gained a glorious victory over David king of Scots, for which his service he obtained the earldom of Derby but died the year following, 1139, and was succeeded by his son

Robert de Ferrers, earl of Ferrers and Derby, he stiled himself according to Dugdale, Robertus Comes Junior de Ferrariis, and likewise Comes Junior de Nottingham, (fn. 1) as appears among others by an ancient charter of his bearing date A. D. 1141, in which he confirmed to the church of St. Oswald of Notle, whatsoever Henry de Ferrers his grandfather, Eugenulph de Ferrers his uncle, Robert his father or any of their wives or barons had given before-time to that church: He was a benefactor to the monks of Tutbury in com. Stafford, to the canons of Notle, as has been said, in com. Ebor, to the monks of Geronden, in com. Leicester, and Cumbermere, in com. Chester; moreover he founded the priory of Derby, (which was afterwards translated to Derley in that county) and the abbey of Mereval or Murval in com. Warwick. He died the 12th of Henry II, 1165, and was succeeded by his only son

William de Ferrers, earl of Ferrers and Derby; he certified the second of Henry II, the knights fees he then held to be 79 in number; he confirmed his ancestors grants to the monks of Tutbury, and was a benefactor to the knights hospitallers. (fn. 2) "He was married to Margaret daughter and heir of William Peverel, whose grandfather was natural son to William the Conqueror. The marriage rites of him and his countess, were performed by Thomas a Becket, archbishop of Canterbury at Canterbury." He died the 19th of Henry II, 1172, succeeded by his son

Robert de Ferrers, earl of Ferrers and Derby, as heir to his father, and earl of Nottingham, as derived by his mother, (who died the 19th of Henry II, the same year and month with his father.) He joined with the rebellious barons the earls of Chester, Leicester, Norfolk, and others, taking part with king Henry the younger (whom king Henry II, had caused to be crowned in his life time;) and manned his castles of Tutbury and Duffield against the father, also entered and destroyed Nottingham then held for the king; but the old king prevailing over his enemies Robert made his submission, rendering up his castles of Tutbury and Duffield, and giving security for his future fidelity; but the king did so little trust him that he forthwith demolished those forts.— He founded the priory of Woodham-Ferrers in com. Essex, and died the first of Richard I, 1189. His son

William de Ferrers, earl of Ferrers succeeded him as earl of Nottingham and Derby, but was the same year outed of these two earldoms by Richard I, who bestowed them on his brother John earl of Moreton. This William was at the burning of Nottingham when his father made that spoil there; he did not continue dispossessed long before his death, for attending the king to the holy-land he died at the siege of Acon the 3d of Richard I. He son William succeeded him, but not in the titles of Nottingham and Derby, nor do I find that any more of this family were earls of Nottingham, though the peerage gives that title to four succeeding earls of Ferrers: However this William was in the succeeding reign of king, John created earl of Derby i. e. the 7th of that king, by a special charter; he was girt with a sword by the king's own hand, (being the first of whom in any charter that expression was used) having likewise a grant of the 3d penny of all the pleas impleaded before the sheriff, through the county whereof he was earl, to hold to him and his heirs in as ample a manner as any of his ancestors enjoyed the lame.

2d Plantagenet.

John Plantagenet, was 4th son of Henry II, to him his brother Richard gave the earldom of Nottingham and Derby, and to whom the king his father had before granted the castle of Nottingham and the honour of Peverel.

This title of earl of Nottingham it seems lay dormant till 1377, when the family of the Maubrays obtained it.

3d Maubray.

John de Maubray, lord Maubray of Axholm, by Elizabeth Scagrave his wife, daugh ter and heir of Margaret Brotherton dutchess of Norfolk, was born at Epworth the 8th day of August 1365, and was created earl of Nottingham in the year 1377, on the day of the coronation of king Richard II. This John died without issue being scarce 18 years old, after whose death king Richard bestowed the earldom on

Thomas Moubray, his younger brother who was likewise immediately after by the same king created duke of Norfolk. He also died young at London about the feast of St. Agath, the 8th of February 1381, the 6th of Richard II, and was buried at the friers Carmelites in London.

Thomas Moubray, was created earl of Nottingham the 9th of Richard II. 1382, he was hereditary earl marshal and duke of Norfolk the 21st of Richard II. 1398; he used to stile himself duke of Norfolk, earl of Nottingham, Marshal of England, lord of Moubray, Seagrave, Gower and Brews. This gentleman soon after he was created duke of Norfolk was banished by king Richard, with Henry of Lancaster; the cause of this banishment was, (fn. 3) for that Henry duke of Hertford one day by chance conferring with Thomas duke of Norfolk made many complaints unto him against the king's majesty, all which being misunderstood by Norfolk, he watched an opportunity to discover all the whole matter to the king, who being very much moved at it called duke Henry before him, who stiffly denied the accusation, pronouncing himself not guilty, and that by arms he would retort the fault upon the accusers head, if it would please his majesty but to grant him leave. On the contray Moubray maintained what he had before affirmed; in the heat of this contention the day was assigned wherein the combat should be tried; but the king considering it was only for words (if any such were spoken) was advised by his council to forbid the combat, and feeing there was no certain proof in whom the fault rested, and that neither might be held free, they were banished; Henry had most favour for he was banished for ten years, and after it was decreed but for six years, and at last before one year came about, was called home by the nobles, and caused to take upon him the crown; but Thomas was longer exiled and farther off, first travelling into Italy, afterwards to Venice, where with grief (fn. 4) he died September the 27th the first of Henry IV. He was first married to Elizabeth Strange, his first wife, August 23, —, she died without issue, and was daughter to Sir John Strange, son and heir of John lord Strange, of Blackmere. The second lady was Elizabeth eldest sister and coheiress of Thomas Fitz-Alan earl of Arundel and Surrey, by her he had Thomas earl of Nottingham, and John duke of Norfolk: And three daughters, Elizabeth, Margaret and Issabell.

Thomas Moubray, eldest son and heir of Thomas duke of Norfolk, when the dukedom was bestowed upon his father by king Richard II, the earldom of Nottingham did also belong to him by custom of the land, as his father's eldest son, (fn. 5) he also enjoyed the marshalship of England as due to him by inheritance. He died in the month of May A. D. 1405, in the 6th year of king Henry, leaving no children. This Thomas had two ladies, the first was Canstance daughter of John Holland, earl of Huntingdon and duke of Exeter: The second was Elizabeth daughter of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. The earldom of Nottingham was after translated to

John Moubray, brother to this Sir Thomas, which John in a parliament holden in third year of Henry VI, was restored duke of Norfolk with his posterity. He was the 5th of that name among the barons of Moubray. He died A. D. 1432, and was buried in the abbey or house of Carthusians, within the isle of Axholm in the 11th year of Henry VI. His lady was Catherine daughter to Ralph lord Nevil, the first earl of Westmorland and Jane his wife, daughter to John duke of Lancaster, by whom he had John duke of Norfolk, Anne, married to William Berkley, and Catherine. (fn. 6)

John lord Moubray, the 6th of that name of the barons of Moubray, duke of Norfolk, earl Marshal, earl of Nottingham, lord and baron of Seagrave and Gower son and successor of John the 5th duke of Norfolk, in the dignities aforesaid. " This person died A. D. 1461, the first of Edward VI," (fn. 7) and lies buried by the high altar in the abbey of Thetford. His lady was Eleonora daughter of William Bouchier, earl Ewe in Normandy, and Anne his wife daughter of Thomas Woodstock duke of Gloucester by whom he had

John lord Moubray, the 7th of that stock and name, he was in the life time of his father created earl of Warren and Surrey, by king Henry VI, and he came after the death of his father by right of inheritance, duke of Norfolk, Marshal of England, earl of Nottingham, baron Seagrave and Gower. He died in his castle of Farmingham the 15th of Edward IV, and was buried in the monastery of Thetford, leaving only one daughter and heir, who was by king Edward presently married to his younger son (fn. 8)

4th Richard Plantagenet.

Richard Plantagenet, of Shrewsbury, second son of king Edward IV. enjoyed all these honours in right of his wife, and was also earl Marshal and had the baronies of Moubray, Seagrave and Gower, together with the vast inheritance of that family: He was made knight of the garter by his father, but with his elder brother king Edward V. was murdered by his uncle Richard III. who usurped the throne under that title 1483. He and his wife both died issueless.

5th Berkeley.

The vast inheritance of the Moubrays came next to the Howards and Berkeleys, in respect of Margaret and Issabel daughters to Thomas duke of Norfolk. Sir John Howard son of Sir Robert Howard and Margaret coheir of Thomas de Moubray, was created duke of Norfolk the 28th of June the first of Richard III. as also earl Marshal of England, and the same day and year

William lord Berkley, of Berkley castle in Gloucestershire, son of James lord Berkley, by Issabell daughter to Thomas duke of Norfolk was created earl of Nottingham; king Edward IV, in the 20th of his reign had raised him to the dignity of a viscount. The Peerage vol. 1, p. 310, says, "That he afterwards adhering to the duke of Bukingham in his design of pulling down king Richard, he fled into Brittany to Henry duke of Richmond," (after king Henry VII,) by whom he was constitued earl Marshal of England, the 26th of October, the first of his reign, with limitation of that office to the heirs male of his body." [Peerage, ibid. "He was also advanced to the dignity of marquis of Berkley, the 4th Henry VII, January 28th. He was famous for his great dispute with Thomas viscount Lisle, about certain lands in contest between them, who upon a challenge sent him by the said viscount, meeting with others on both sides, the viscount was slain." He married three wives, but left issue by none of them, and taking occasion to except against his brother Maurice as his successor, because he had not married with a person of honourable parentage, gave all his lands from him, particularly the castle of Berkley, and those lands and lordships that were the body of that ancient barony, to the king, a good part of which remained in the possession of the crown 'till the death of king Edward VI, so that Maurice enjoyed nothing of the honour.

6th Fitz-Roy.

Henry Fitz-Roy, natural son to Henry VIII, by Elizabeth daughter to Sir John Blount, knight, the lady Talboise; he was created duke of Richmond and earl of Nottingham. He was but six years old when these titles were conferred upon him, (fn. 9) at which time also he was constitued lieutenant-general of the king's forces, north of Trent, and warden of the marches of Scotland, and soon after admiral of England; the 22d of Henry VIII, made lieutenant of Ireland, Sir William Skeffington being constituted his deputy. He studied at Paris with Henry earl of Surrey, there was a great friendship between them on the score of their education together, which occasioned our earls intermarriage with Mary daughter of Thomas Howard, duke of Norfolk and sister of the earl of Surrey, but by her had no issue. He was created knight of the garter (fn. 10) the 24th of Henry VIII, he went bravely attended to meet king Henry at Calais, at an intended interview between the English and French kings. He died the 28th of Henry VIII, 1536.

7th Howard, of Effingham.

Charles lord Howard of Effingham, son of William Howard head of the eldest colateral branch of the Howards; was in his father's life time one of those noble persons, who by the command of the queen, the 13th of Elizabeth, conducted the lady Anne of Austria daughter to Maximilian the emperor, from Zealand into Spain, and in the 16th of Elizabeth was installed knight of the garter. In the 28th of Elizabeth upon the death of Edward earl of Lincoln, lord high admiral of England (being then lord chamberlain to the queen, as his father had been before him) he was constituted his successor in that great office, whereupon anno dom. 1588, the 30th of Elizabeth when the Spanish Armada threatened an invasion here; he was constituted lieutenant-general of the queen's whole fleet at sea, whose success therein fully answered the queen's opinion of him, as well knowing him to be a person of great knowledge in maritime affairs, discreetly wary, truly valiant, industrious in action, and finally, one whom the sailors entirely loved.

In the 39th of Elizabeth, when farther danger threatened from the Spaniards, who were joined with the rebellious Irish, he was made joint general of the English army with Robert earl of Essex, for the defence of this realm, doth by fea and land, viz. Essex for the land, and he for the sea. In which year also he was made justice itenerant of all the forests south of Trent for life; and not many months after in consideration of his eminent services against the Spanish Armada, as also for sacking Cadiz in Spain, and destroying the Spanish fleet in harbour there; he was advanced to the dignity and title of earl of Nottingham, as descended from the family of Moubray, some of which had been earls of that county before. In the 41st of Elizabeth, still continuing in high reputation at court, the Spaniards again stirring, he was constituted lieutenant-general of the queen's land forces and in the 44th of Elizabeth he was made one of the commissioners for executing the office of earl Marshal of England.

In the first of James I, preceeding his coronation, he was made Lord Great Steward of England for that occasion, and the next year renewing the commission to seven of the great lords, for executing the office of earl Marshal of England, he was continued one of that number, but in the 17th of James I. he surrendered his patent for the office of lord Admiral, which was given to the marquis of Buckingham.

This noble earl's first lady was Catherine daughter of Henry (Clary) lord Hunsdown, (fn. 11) by whom he had issue two sons, the first William, who married Anne daughter and sole heir, to John lord St. John Bletshoe, but died in his father's life time, leaving issue Elizabeth his only daughter and heir, married to John lord Mordaunt, of Turvey, in com. Bedford, afterwards earl of Peterborough.

The second was Charles, who succeeded him in his honours; he had also 3 daughters Elizabeth, Frances and Margaret.

To his second lady he married Margaret daughter to James Stewart earl of Murry in Scotland, which Margaret was naturalized in the parliament of the 1st of James I. by whom he had issue two sons, James, who died young, and Sir Charles Howard, knight, and died the 22d of James I, having been knight of the garter 52 years, being then 88 years of age.

Charles, his second son succeeded, the elder as has been said dying before the father without issue male) he first took to wife Charity daughter of—White, and widow of Leche of the city of London; afterwards Mary daughter of Sir William Cockaine, kt. and alderman of London, by whom he had no issue; thirdly Margaret daughter to James earl of Murry in Scotland, by whom he had issue James, who died unmarried.

Charles succeeding him in his honours, married Arabella daughter of — Smith, esq. but died without issue 1681, upon whole decease the barony descended and came to Francis Howard, of Great-Buckham, in com. Surrey, the next heir male, &c.

8th, Finch.

The first of this collateral branch raised to the dignity of peerage was Sir Heneage Finch, knight, who being a great proficient in the study of the laws in that honourable society of the inner-temple London, was upon the happy restoration of king Charles II. made solicitor general, and the next year autumn-reader of the before specified inn of court anno 1660; in the 12th of Charles II. he was by the name of Sir Heneage Finch, of Raunston in com. Buck, advanced to the dignity of a baronet, and in the 22d anno 1670, constituted the king's attorney-general. Anno 1673, he was made keeper of the great seal, and shortly after created a baron of this realm, by the titles of lord Finch of Daventry, in com. Northampton, (being then owner of that manor) and finally in the 33d of Charles II. advanced to the dignity of earl of Nottingham. He married Elizabeth daughter of Daniel Harvey, merchant of London, by whom he had issue ten sons: Daniel, Heneage, (the second son, after lord Guernsey) William, Charles, who died unmarried; Edward, Henry, and Robert, who also died unmarried, Edward, John and Thomas, being before deceased. Also four daughters, Elizabeth married Samuel Grimston, at that time son and heir to Sir Harbottle Grimstone baronet, master of the rolls, Mary and Anne deceased, and an other Mary. This earl dying anno 1682, was succeeded by

Daniel earl of Nottingham, he was a person profoundly learned both in the laws and divinity; distinguished by many eminent posts in the reign of king William III. queen Anne and king George I "In the year 1720, the university of Oxford in a full convocation unanimously decreed, -- That the solemn thanks of that university be returned to the right hon. the earl of Nottingham, for his noble defence of the christian-faith contained in his lordship's answer to Mr. Whiston's letter to him, concerning the eternity of the Son of God and the Holy-Ghost, and that Dr. Skippen, vice-chancellor, William Bromley and George Clark, esqrs. representatives of the university, wait on the said earl, and the present to his lordshop the thanks aforesaid of the whole university." Collin's Peerage, vol. 2, p. 234-5.—In the year 1729, John earl of Winchelsea dying without issue, that title devolved to his lordship, who departed this life the 1st of Jan. 1729-30.

This noble lord was married first to lady Essex Rich, 3d daughter and one of the coheirs to Robert Rich earl of Warwick, by whom he had issue one only surviving daughter, the lady Mary, married first to William Saville, late marquess of Halifax, and since, anno 1707-8, to John duke of Roxborough, of the kingdom of Scotland. His second lady was Anne only daughter of Christopher lord viscount Hatton, (by his first wife Cicilie daughter of John Tufton earl of Thanet) by whom he had issue five sons and nine daughters.

Daniel, then earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, William, John, Henry, Edward; the lady Essex, eldest daughter; the lady Charlotte, lady Anne, who died young, lady Issabella, lady Mary, lady Henrietta, lady Elizabeth, lady Frances and lady Margaret.

Daniel, earl of Winchelsea and Nottingham, was elected one of the knights of the shire for the county of Rutland in the 9th year of queen Anne, and served for the same county in all parliaments whilst he continued a commoner: On the accethon of his Majesty king George, he was appointed a gentleman of the bedchamber to the Prince of Wales, at the same time his father was declared lord president of the council, also the 10th of October 1715, he was constitued one of the lords commissioners of the treasury, and resigned all his employments on the 20th of February 1715. His lordship was made comptroller of his Majesty's houshold May 24, 1725, which office he voluntarily resigned after he succeeded his father as earl. In the year 1729, his lordship married Frances Fielding, daughter of the right honourable Basil, earl of Denbigh, by whom he had issue one daughter, lady Charlotte, and her ladyship dying in September 1734, at Wentworth-house, in Yorkshire, the seat of his brother-in-law Thomas earl of Malton. He married in January 1737-8, Mary daughter and coheir of Sir Thomas Palmer, of Wingham, in Kent, baronet, by whom he has had also issue, seven daughters."

George Finch, the present earl of Nottingham, succeeded his uncle, Daniel, at his death, August 2, 1769, in titles and estate. He was appointed in 1777, one of the Lords of his Majesty's Bedchamber, and in 1779, Lord-Lieutenant and Custos rotulorum of the County of Rutland.

TITLES—George Finch, Earl of Winchelsea, Earl of Nottingham, Viscount Maidstone, Baron Fitzherbert of Eastwel, Baron Finch of Daventry, and a Baronet.

Chief Seats of this Nobleman are:—

Burley in the county of Rutland, Ramston in the county of Buckinghamshire, and Eastwel in the county of Kent.


  • 1. Glover's Catalogue of Honour, p. 868.
  • 2. Glover's Catalogue of Honour, p. 868.
  • 3. The Peerage, part I, vol. 2, p. 235, says he was accused by Henry of Bolinbroke, for words irregularly spoken of the king, &c.
  • 4. The Peerage says he died of the pestilence at his return from Jerusalem. It enumerates many posts the king employed him in, and that he was made knight of the garter the 19th of Richard II.
  • 5. Dugdale says, he never had the title of duke of Norfolk, nor any other but that of earl Marshal.
  • 6. Pecrage vol. 2, part 1, p 235, in the 3d of Henry V, he was with the king at the siege of Harfleur, the 5th of Henry V, at the siege of Cain in Normandy, and cont nued there till the death of that king. The 1st of Henry VI, retained in the king's wars. The 8th of Henry VI, retained again in the king's war and made knight of the garter
  • 7. Ibid. p. 236. He went the 17th of Henry VI, embassador to treat of a peace between France and England, the 23d of Henry VI, being confirmed duke of Norfolk, he had a grant of a place and seat in parliament and elsewhere, next to the duke of Exeter, he was also knight of the garter; the 25th of Henry VI, he went in pilgrimage to Rome; the 35th of Henry VI, he had licence to visit other holy places, in Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Pieardy, and Cologne, and the blood of our Saviour at Windismark. As also a second journey to Rome and Jerusalem, having vowed to do it for the recovery of the king's health In the first of Edward IV, he was constituted justice itenerant of all the forests south of Trent.
  • 8. Anne', by his lady Elizabeth daughter to John Talbot, first of that family earl of Shresbury, ibid.
  • 9. Glover's Catalogue of Honour, p. 404—All in one day, viz. the 18th of June 1525, the 17th of Henry VIII. at the palace of Bridewell; he was also at the same time created duke of Sommerset.
  • 10. But died soon after, viz. the 22d of July 1535, in the 27th year of Henry VIII. in his father's house at St. James's near Westminster. His body was carried to Farmingham, in Suffolk, and there lies buried. Glover's Cat. of Hon.
  • 11. He was the son of William Clary by his wife Mary Bullen, sister to Queen Anne Bullen.