The Baron Lucas of Crudwell is a title in the Peerage of England; Crudwell being the name of an estate in Wiltshire held by the family of Lucas; the 'of Crudwell' being appended to distinguish the title from the other baronies granted at various times to the Lucas family. According to the Complete Peerage this title is "remarkable as the only one in which the succession of a barony falling to coheirs if defined", which is to say that it is the only English barony which not only can be inherited by and through the females, but actually spells out how this should happen. As a result the title is remarkable for the manner in which it has passed from family to family in rapid succession, and has been held by nine different families to date.
The Lucases of Colchester
The family of Lucas came from Colchester in Essex and supported the king during the English Civil War, being represented by one John Lucas who was created the Baron Lucas of Shenfield on the 13th January 1645. His only son died young however and his only surviving child was a daughter named Mary. On the 2nd March 1663, a few years after the Restoration, she married Anthony Grey, 11th Earl of Kent, at which point John Lucas persuaded Charles II, in consideration of his earlier "faithful service to Charles I in the late unhappy times", to grant her the title of Baroness Lucas of Crudwell in her own right on the 7th May 1663.
What was unique about this particular title was that the remainder specified that, in default of any male heir, that the title should pass to the female heirs of her body by him, but "without the equal division as to the right of succession between coheiresses", thereby avoiding the process known as abeyance which normally applied in such cases. Although, perhaps in recognition of the rather special nature of this creation, the Crown reserved the power to "otherwise ... at our pleasure suspend or extinguish the same name estate degree style title dignity and honour".
The Duke of Kent
Mary died on the 1st November 1702 a few months after her husband and was succeeded as the 2nd Baron by her son Henry ,who had of course already succeeded his father as the 12th Earl of Kent. Henry, who might well be described as a courtier and a politician, was however something a political lightweight who, in an age of sharp political division between the opposing Tory and Whig factions, was tolerated largely because he proved a useful stopgap when neither faction was sufficiently powerful to impose their own candidate. He nevertheless marched up the ranks of the peerage, being created the Marquess of Kent on the 14th November 1706 and Duke of Kent on the 28th April 1710, and was twice married along the way with his first wife producing a total of seven daughters and four sons, and his second adding another son and daughter to the ranks of his progeny.
Anthony, the eldest surviving son of his first marriage, previously known by the courtesy title of the Earl of Harold, was called up to the House of Lords on the 8th November 1718 under a process known as a writ of acceleration in the name of his father's barony of Lucas of Crudwell. As it happened Antony didn't survive that long, and died on the 21st July 1723 after chocking on an ear of barley that he had inadvertently put into his mouth. Whilst the title then reverted to his father, Anthony is nevertheless regarded as being the 3rd Baron Lucas of Crudwell, having sat in the Upper House under that name for almost five years.
The Marchioness Grey
Indeed the Duke of Kent was somewhat unfortunate as regards his offspring as on the 3rd February 1733 his last surviving son, George Grey, Earl of Harold followed his half brother Antony to the grave, depriving the Duke of the last of his male heirs. The Duke's eldest daughter Amabel had earlier married John Campbell, 3rd Earl of Breadalbane and although she too had earlier died on the 2nd March 1726, she had left an only daughter named Jemima. Which meant that as the Duke began to contemplate the prospect of his own imminent demise, that his grand-daughter Jemima stood to inherit the Lucas barony together with his estates at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, Burbage in Leicestershire, Colchester in Essex and Crudwell in Wiltshire.
On 19th May 1740 Henry endeavoured to be created the Marquess Grey with a special remainder in favour of Jemima and her heirs male, no doubt prompted by the fact that three days later on the 22nd May Jemima married Philip Yorke, the eldest son of the Baron Hardwicke. Thus when the old Duke finally died on the 5th June 1740, whilst his dukedom and various other tiles became extinct, both those of the Marquess Grey and Baron Lucas passed into the hands of Jemima.
Jemima's father-in-law later became Lord Chancellor and was created the Earl of Hardwicke, and so her husband subsequently became Philip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke (Of course as a marchioness Jemima was always one step ahead of her husband.) Jemima and Philip had two daughters, named Amabel and Mary Jemima, but no sons. Therefore when Jemima died on the 11th January 1797 the Grey Marquessate, which was limited to heirs male, died with her, but the Lucas Barony did not and passed to her eldest daughter.
The Countess de Grey of Wrest
In this manner Amabel, the elder of the two daughters, became the 5th Baroness Lucas of Crudwell in 1797. Amabel had earlier married Alexander Hume-Campbell, known as the Viscount Polwarth, he being the eldest son and heir apparent of the Earl of Marchmont. Unfortunately Alexander fell ill in 1777, after which his health gradually deteriorated and he finally died on the 9th March 1781. The marriage was childless, and Amabel never remarried, and otherwise occupied herself by becoming an accomplished amateur artist, as well as writing fairy stories and historical accounts of recent French history whilst bemoaning the fact that her gender prevented her from taking any active part in the politics of the day.
In these circumstances her heir was obviously her younger sister Mary Jemima. In 1780 she had married Thomas Robinson, 2nd Baron Grantham who was a career diplomat like his father. Thomas was forty-two at the time of his marriage to Mary Jemima and it too proved to be a shortlived union with Thomas dying on the 20th July 1786. However in Mary's case six years of marriage was sufficient to produce three sons, Thomas Philip, Frederick John, and Philip, two of whom survived into adulthood.
Subsequently on the 25th October 1816 Amabel was created the Countess de Grey of Wrest (Wrest Park in Bedfordshire being the name of one of her favourite estate) with a special remainder in favour of her sister and the heirs male of her body. As it happened Mary Jemima predeceased her sister on the 7th January 1830, and so when Amabel died on the 4th May 1833, she was succeeded by the eldest of her two surviving nephews.
Of course by this time Thomas Philip Robinson had already succeeded his father as the 3rd Baron Grantham in 1786 and for some reason later decided to adopt the name of Weddell on the 7th May 1803. However following the death of his aunt Amabel, when he succeeded her as the 2nd Earl de Grey and the 6th Baron Lucas of Crudwell, he decided a few weeks later on the 24th June 1833 to formally assume the surname of de Grey in lieu of that of Weddell. Thomas later served under Robert Peel as both the First Lord of the Admiralty in the period 1834-1835 and later as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland from 1841 to 1844 and became the first ever president of the Institution of British Architects.
Thomas Philip married Henrietta Frances Cole, fifth daughter of William Willoughby, 1st Earl of Enniskillen, but his only son Frederick William died unmarried on the 6th February 1831 at the age of twenty, which meant that when he died on the 14th November 1859 his titles of Earl de Grey and Baron Grantham passed to his nephew George Frederick Samuel Robinson, 2nd Earl of Ripon who later became the first Marquess of Ripon.
The Earls Cowper
Of course the title of Baron Lucas of Crudwell obeyed its own little rules. In this case whilst Thomas Philip might not have had any surviving sons, he did have some daughters, the eldest of whom Anne Florence now succeeded him as the 7th Baroness Lucas. She married George Augustus Cowper, 6th Earl Cowper, their only son Francis Thomas succeeded his father as the 7th Earl Cowper in 1856 and his mother as 8th Baron Lucas of Crudwell in 1880.
It is necessary at this point to pause for a moment and refer to both the Scottish title of Lord Dingwall and the English title of Baron Butler of Moore Park, both of which had earlier been in the possession of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde. Thanks to his support for the exiled Stuart dynasty, James Butler was subject to an act of attainder passed in 1715. It so happened that Henrietta, the only surviving child of the Duke of Ormonde, had married William Clavering-Cowper, 2nd Earl Cowper, being naturally the great-great-grandparents of the aforementioned 7th Earl of Cowper. Both the titles of Dingwall and Butler could pass through the female line, and would therefore have devolved upon Henrietta Butler and her issue were it not for the attainder. In 1871 the 7th Earl Cowper obtained a reversal of the attainder and on the 15th August 1871 was confirmed in his position as the 4th Lord Dingwall and 3rd Baron Butler of Moore Park.
Having gone to all this trouble to add to the stock of his titles the 7th Earl Cowper then went and died without issue on the 18th July 1905, rendering the titles of Earl of Cowper, Viscount Fordwich, and Baron Cowper, not to mention that of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, quite extinct. His nearest heirs where his three surviving sisters; Florence Amabel, Amabel Frederica Henrietta and Adine Eliza Anne, and the title of Baron Butler of Moore Park, following the rules of English common law fell into abeyance between them. The same fate would have befallen the title Baron Lucas of Crudwell were it not for the singular reminder originally specified, and it therefore followed the same path as the Scottish title of Lord Dingwall and passed to the eldest of these three sisters.
The Lords Lucas of Crudwell and Dingwall
In was in this manner that the English title Baron Lucas of Crudwell become united with the Scottish title of Lord Dingwall.
As it happened Florence Amabel had predeceased her brother on the 26th April 1986, but she had earlier married Auberon Edward Herbert, a younger brother of the 4th Earl of Carnarvon, who later made a name for himself as a political philosopher, and thus it was their son named Auberon Thomas Herbert who succeeded his maternal uncle as both the 9th Baron Lucas of Crudwell and 5th Lord Dingwall. Although in Auberon's case it required the judgement of the Committee for Privileges of the House of Lords before his right to receive a writ of summons was recognised. The problem being that, apart from the 3rd Baron in the brief period between 1718 and 1723, no one had ever sat in the House of Lords as the Baron Lucas of Crudwell, for the simple reason that the title had been held for most of its history either by women or by existing peers. For some reason this created a problem for the Crown which asserted that it had the right to extinguish the barony. Nevertheless the decision in the Lucas Peerage Case of 1907 was in Auberon's favour, and he duly took his seat in the House of Lords.
Auberon was a correspondent for The Times during the Boer War, when he was wounded in the foot and was forced to have his leg amputated. As one of the few Liberal peers he found himself appointed to a succession of junior posts after the election of a Liberal government in 1906, but subsequently left politics in 1916 and joined the Royal Flying Corps. Despite having only one leg he insisted on being placed on active duty and went missing during a flight over German lines on the 3rd November 1916, and was presumed to have been killed in action. Having entirely neglected in the meantime to get married, his titles
passed to his sister Nan Ino Herbert, now the 10th Baroness Lucas of Crudwell and Lady Dingwall. She married a Lieutenant-Colonel Howard Lister Cooper and died on the 23rd November 1958 leaving an only daughter named Anne Rosemary Cooper.
Anne Rosemary naturally succeeded her mother as both the Baroness Lucas of Crudwell and Lady Dingwall and married Robert Jocelyn Palmer, the third son of Roundell Cecil Palmer, 3rd Earl of Selborne and a major in the Coldstream Guards. The Baroness later died on the 31st December 1991 being succeeded by her son Ralph Matthew Palmer. Generally known as the Lord Lucas and Dingwall, he is a former chartered accountant and merchant banker, perhaps better known under the name of Ralph Lucas as the author of the The Good Schools Guide and is one of the ninety elected hereditary peers that remain in the House of Lords.
Since not everyone agrees that the 3rd Baron Lucas should necesserily be counted as a 'proper' baron, Ralph is sometimes described as the 11th Baron, whilst although he is usually regarded as being the 8th Lord Dingwall, he is also refered to as being the 14th Lord Dingwall 'but for the attainder' taking account those individuals who would otherwise have held the title in the interim.
THE BARONS LUCAS OF CRUDWELL
DE GREY (ROBINSON)
George Edward Cokayne, Vicary Gibbs, et al, The Complete Peerage (St Catherine's Press, 1910-1959)
The entry for LUCAS OF CRUDWELL from Burke's Peerage and Baronetage 107th Edition
James Collett-White, The Correspondence of Jemima, Marchioness Gray (1722-97) and her Circle: Brief Biographies of the Correspondents
The entries in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for;
Grey, Henry, duke of Kent; Campbell, Amabel Hume- (née Lady Amabel Yorke), suo jure Countess De Grey; Grey, Thomas Philip de, second Earl De Grey; Herbert, Auberon Thomas, eighth Baron Lucas of Crudwell and fifth Lord Dingwall.