Bayeux, De Ypres and De Burgh
The first holder of the earldom of Kent is generally regarded as Odo of Bayeux, half-brother of William I and bishop of Bayeux from the year 1067. Odo later quarrelled with his brother, and was most likely deprived of the title around 1082 at the time he was arrested by William I, but in any event the title became extinct on his death in 1097.
The next holder was a William de Ypres, son of the count of Flanders, who appears to have been a recruiter and leader of Flemish mercenary troops on behalf of king Stephen who was rewarded by being created Earl of Kent in 1141. William de Ypres seems to have been later deprived of the title sometime before his death in 1162, as none of his successors claimed the title.
The next was Hubert De Burgh, created earl by king Henry III on the 11th February 1226, but the title became extinct at his death 4 May 1243.
Edmund Plantagenet known as Edmund of Woodstock, a younger son of Edward I, who was created Earl of Kent in 1322 by his older brother Edward II Although Edmund initially co-operated with the removal of Edward II from power he later fell of foul of his auntie Isabel and her lover Roger Mortimer and was executed on the 19th March 1330.
Succeeded by his son Edmund Plantagenet but he was only about three years old at the time and died in 1333. He was followed by his younger brother John Plantagenet who died in 1352 at the age of 23 and without issue.
The title therefore passed to Joan Plantagenet, otherwise known as 'the Fair Maid of Kent' who became recognised as the Countess of Kent. She had earlier married one Thomas Holland, who in 1360 was granted the title Earl of Kent by the right of his wife just before he died in December 1360. (Joan later went on to marry Edward, The Black Prince a marriage that produced the future Richard II.)
As noted above Thomas Holland, the 1st Holland Earl of Kent, gained the title through his marriage to Joan daughter of Edward of Woodstock but died a few months after obtaining the title, He was succeeded by his eldest son, another Thomas Holland, who was naturally well placed when his half-brother, Richard became king in 1377 and served as Marshal of England from 1380 to 1385.
The 2nd Earl was succeeded by his elder son, yet another Thomas Holland, the 3rd Earl; he was again an active supporter of Richard II who was rewarded by being created Duke of Surrey in 1398 but lost that title the following year as opposition to the king's regime grew. He was executed in January 1400 for conspiring against king Richard's successor Henry IV.
The 3rd Earl's younger brother, Edmund Holland was allowed to succeed to the title. He married Constance Plantagenet, daughter of Edmund of Langley, the Duke of York, but the marriage failed to produce any children and so on Edmund's death in Brittany on the 15th September 1408, the title reverted to the crown.
Neville and Grey
William Neville was a younger son of Ralph Neville, the Earl of Westmorland and won the credit for victory at the battle of Towton in March 1461 and was therefore rewarded by Edward IV with the grant of the title Earl of Kent in the same year. However he died in January 1463 and, as his only legitimate issue were three daughters, the title of earl of Kent again became extinct.
Edmund Grey was the 4th Lord Grey of Ruthin, who during the War of the Roses was a supporter of the Lancastrian cause. However during the battle of Northampton in 1460, although he started the battle on the Lancastrian side, he soon switched sides and thereby gave the victory to the Yorkists. His reward for this piece of duplicity was to be granted the vacant title of Earl of Kent on the 3rd May 1465.
Edmund was succeeded by his son George Grey and then by both George's sons, Richard Grey and Henry Grey. Henry Grey the 4th Earl was followed in turn by his three grandsons, Reginald, Henry and Charles. Charles Grey the 7th Earl was followed by his son Henry Grey who duly became the 8th Earl.
This Henry Grey died in 1639 without heirs and the earldom of Kent passed to a cousin Anthony Grey, who was descended from a younger son of the 2nd Earl. From Anthony Grey the 9th Earl, the title passed from father to son for three generations until another Henry Grey became the 12th Earl in 1702.
In 1706 Henry Grey was promoted to Marquess of Kent, becoming Duke of Kent four years later. Unfortunately both of his sons predeceased him so that when he died in 1740 all his titles became extinct and reverted to the crown.
Since that time the title Duke of Kent has been reserved by the crown and granted to sundry younger sons of the monarch; see Duke of Kent for details.
THE EARLS OF KENT
As Marquess of Kent
As Duke of Kent
Thereafter see Duke of Kent.
- Information on William de Ypres at
- Genealogies of Grey of Kent, Grey of Ruthyn at
- The 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica entry for
KENT, EARLS AND DUKES OF
- Royal Genealogy information held at University of Hull see
- RoyaList Online at ttp://www.royalist.info/royalist/index.html
- Charles Arnold Baker The Companion to British History (Longcross Press, 1996)
- THE ENGLISH PEERAGE or, a view of the ANCIENT and PRESENT STATE of the ENGLISH NOBILITY London: (1790) see