Earl From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This article is about the title of nobility. For the given name, see Earl (given name). For the surname, see Earl (surname). For other uses, see Earl (disambigu ation). This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear becau se it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (July 2009) Royal, noble and chivalric ranks Coronet of an earl Emperor King Archduke Grand duke Grand prince Prince Duke Sovereign Prince / Fürst Marquess / Marquis / Margrave / Landgrave Count / Earl Viscount / Vidame Baron Baronet Hereditary Knight Knight v t e The royal procession to Parliament at Westminster, 4 February 1512. Left to righ t: The Marquess of Dorset, Earl of Northumberland, Earl of Surrey, Earl of Shrew sbury, Earl of Essex, Earl of Kent, Earl of Derby, Earl of Wiltshire. From: Parl iament Procession Roll of 1512. An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon, akin to the Scand inavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle A ges and was replaced with duke (hertig/hertug). In later medieval Britain, it be came the equivalent of the continental count (in England in the earlier period, it was more akin to duke; in Scotland it assimilated the concept of mormaer). Ho wever, earlier in Scandinavia jarl could also mean sovereign prince.[citation ne eded] For example, the rulers of several of the petty kingdoms of Norway had in fact the title of jarl and in many cases of no lesser power than their neighbour s who had the title of king. Alternative names for the "Earl/Count" rank in the nobility structure are used in other countries, such as Hakushaku during the Jap anese Imperial era. In modern Britain, an earl is a member of the peerage, ranking below a marquess and above viscount. There never developed a feminine form of earl; countess i s used as the equivalent feminine title. Contents [hide] 1 Etymology 2 Earls in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth 2.1 Forms of address 2.2 England 2.2.1 Changing power of English earls 2.2.2 Earls, land and titles 2.3 Scotland 2.4 Coronet 2.5 Former Prime Ministers
3 Scandinavia 3.1 Norway 3.2 Sweden 3.3 Iceland 4 Notes 5 References Etymology[edit source | editbeta] See also Ríg for the account in Norse mythology of the warrior Jarl or Ríg-Jarl pres ented as the ancestor of the class of warrior-nobles. According to Procopius, the Heruli, after having raided the European continent f or several generations, returned to Scandinavia in 512 AD as a result of militar y defeats. As their old territory was now occupied by the Danes, they settled ne xt to the Geats in present-day Sweden. While the Proto-Norse word for this myste rious tribe may have been erilaz, which is etymologically near "jarl" and "earl" , and it has often been suggested they introduced the runes in Scandinavia, n o elaborate theory exists to explain how the word came to be used as a title. Ar guably, their knowledge in interpreting runes also meant they were gifted in mar tial arts and, as they gradually integrated, eril or jarl instead came to signif y the rank of a leader. The Norman-derived equivalent "count" was not introduced following the Norman co nquest of England though "countess" was and is used for the female title. As Geo ffrey Hughes writes, "It is a likely speculation that the Norman French title 'C ount' was abandoned in England in favour of the Germanic 'Earl' [ ] precisely beca use of the uncomfortable phonetic proximity to cunt". Earls in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth[edit source | editbeta] See also: List of earldoms An earl's coronation robes. Part of a series on Peerage Ermine Robe Ranks[show] Types[show] Divisions[show] History[show] House of Lords Portal icon British politics portal Portal icon United Kingdom portal v t e Forms of address[edit source | editbeta] An earl has the title Earl of [X] when the title originates from a placename, or Earl [X] when the title comes from a surname. In either case, he is referred to as Lord [X], and his wife as Lady [X]. A countess who holds an earldom in her o wn right also uses Lady [X], but her husband does not have a title (unless he ha s one in his own right). The eldest son of an earl, though not himself a peer, is entitled to use a court esy title, usually the highest of his father's lesser titles (if any); younger s ons are styled The Honourable [Forename] [Surname], and daughters, The Lady [For ename] [Surname] (Lady Diana Spencer being a well-known example). Furthermore in the peerage of Scotland, when there are no courtesy titles involv ed, the heir to an earldom, and indeed any level of peerage, is styled Master of [X], and successive sons as younger of [X]. England[edit source | editbeta] Changing power of English earls[edit source | editbeta] In Anglo-Saxon England, earls had authority over their own regions and right of judgment in provincial courts, as delegated by the king. They collected fines an d taxes and in return received a "third penny", one-third of the money they coll
ected. In wartime they led the king's armies. Some shires were grouped together into larger units known as earldoms, headed by an ealdorman or earl. Under Edwar d the Confessor earldoms like Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria names th at represented earlier independent kingdoms were much larger than any shire. Earls originally functioned essentially as royal governors. Though the title of Earl was nominally equal to the continental duke, unlike them earls were not de facto rulers in their own right. After the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror tried to rule England using the traditional system but eventually modified it to his own liking. Shires became the largest secular subdivision in England and earldoms disappeared. The Normans did create new earls like those of Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Cheshire but they were associated with only a single shire at most. Their power and regional jurisdiction was limited to that of the Norman counts. There was no longer an y administrative layer larger than the shire, and shires became "counties". Earl s no longer aided in tax collection or made decisions in country courts and thei r numbers were small. King Stephen increased the number of earls to reward those loyal to him in his w ar with his cousin Empress Matilda. He gave some earls the right to hold royal c astles or control the sheriff and soon other earls assumed these rights themselv es. By the end of his reign, some earls held courts of their own and even minted their own coins, against the wishes of the king. It fell to Stephen's successor Henry II to again curtail the power of earls. He took back the control of royal castles and even demolished castles that earls ha d built for themselves. He did not create new earls or earldoms. No earl was all owed to remain independent of royal control. The English kings had found it dangerous to give additional power to an already powerful aristocracy, so gradually sheriffs assumed the governing role. The deta ils of this transition remain obscure, since earls in more peripheral areas, suc h as the Scottish Marches and Welsh Marches and Cornwall, retained some vicerega l powers long after other earls had lost them. The loosening of central authorit y during the Anarchy also complicates any smooth description of the changeover. By the 13th century, earls had a social rank just below the king and princes, bu t were not necessarily more powerful or wealthier than other noblemen. The only way to become an earl was to inherit the title or marry into one and the king rese rved a right to prevent the transfer of the title. By the 14th century, creating an earl included a special public ceremony where the king personally tied a swo rd belt around the waist of the new earl, emphasizing the fact that the earl's r ights came from him. Earls still held influence and as "companions of the king", were regarded as sup porters of the king's power. They showed that power for the first time in 1327 w hen they deposed Edward II. They would later do the same with other kings they d isapproved of. Still, the number of earls remained the same until 1337 when Edwa rd III declared that he intended to create six new earldoms. Earls, land and titles[edit source | editbeta] A loose connection between earls and shires remained for a long time after autho rity had moved over to the sheriffs. An official defining characteristic of an e arl still consisted of the receipt of the "third penny", one-third of the revenu es of justice of a shire, that later became a fixed sum. Thus every earl had an association with some shire, and very often a new creation of an earldom would t ake place in favour of the county where the new earl already had large estates a nd local influence. Also, due to the association of earls and shires, the medieval practice could re main somewhat loose regarding the precise name used: no confusion could arise by calling someone earl of a shire, earl of the county town of the shire, or earl of some other prominent place in the shire; these all implied the same. So there were the "earl of Shrewsbury" (Shropshire), "earl of Arundel", "earl of Chiches ter" (Sussex), "earl of Winchester" (Hampshire), etc. In a few cases the earl was traditionally addressed by his family name, e.g. the "earl Warenne" (in this case the practice may have arisen because these earls h ad little or no property in Surrey, their official county). Thus an earl did not
always have an intimate association with "his" county. Another example comes fr om the earls of Oxford, whose property largely lay in Essex. They became earls o f Oxford because earls of Essex and of the other nearby shires already existed. Eventually the connection between an earl and a shire disappeared, so that in th e present day a number of earldoms take their names from towns, mountains, or si mply surnames. Nevertheless, some[according to whom?] consider that the earldoms named after counties (or county towns) retain more prestige. Scotland[edit source | editbeta] The oldest earldoms in Scotland (with the exception of the Earldom of Dunbar and March) originated from the office of mormaer, such as the Mormaer of Fife, of S trathearn, etc.; later earldoms developed by analogy. Coronet[edit source | editbeta] A coronet of a British earl. A British earl is entitled to a coronet bearing eight strawberry leaves (four vi sible) and eight silver balls (or pearls) around the rim (five visible). The act ual coronet is mostly worn on certain ceremonial occasions, but an Earl can bear his coronet of rank on his coat of arms above the shield. Former Prime Ministers[edit source | editbeta] An earldom became, with a few exceptions, the default peerage to which a former Prime Minister was appointed. However the last Prime Minister to accept an earld om was Harold Macmillan, who became Earl of Stockton in 1984. In the 1970s Life peerages became the norm for former Prime Ministers, though none has accepted an y peerage since Margaret Thatcher in 1992. Scandinavia[edit source | editbeta] Norway[edit source | editbeta] In later medieval Norway, the title of jarl was the highest rank below the king. The jarl was the only one, beside the king himself, who was entitled to have a hird (large armed retinue). There was usually no more than one jarl in mainland Norway at any one time, sometimes none. The ruler of the Norwegian dependency of Orkney held the title of jarl, and after Iceland had acknowledged Norwegian ove rlordship in 1261, a jarl was sent there as well as the king's high representati ve. In mainland Norway, the title of jarl was usually used for one of two purpos es: To appoint a de facto ruler in cases where the king was a minor or seriously ill (e.g. Håkon galen in 1204 during the minority of king Guttorm, Skule Bårdsson in 12 17 during the illness of king Inge Bårdsson). To appease a pretender to the throne without giving him the title of king (e.g. Eirik, the brother of king Sverre). In 1237, jarl Skule Bårdsson was given the rank of duke (hertug). This was the fir st time this title had been used in Norway, and meant that the title jarl was no longer the highest rank below the king. It also heralded the introduction of ne w noble titles from continental Europe, which were to replace the old Norse titl es. The last jarl in mainland Norway was appointed in 1295. Some Norwegian jarls: Jarl Toste Skule Tostesson, killed by peasants near Haverö church in the 12th century. Erling Skakke, father of king Magnus V Haakon the Crazy Sweden[edit source | editbeta] Main article: Swedish jarls The usage of the title in Sweden was similar to Norway's. Known as jarls from th e 12th and 13th century were Birger Brosa, Jon Jarl, Folke Birgersson, Charles t he Deaf, Ulf Fase and the most powerful of all jarls and the last to hold the ti tle, Birger Jarl. Iceland[edit source | editbeta] Only one person ever held the title of Earl (or Jarl) in Iceland. This was Gissu r Þorvaldsson, who was made Earl of Iceland by King Haakon IV of Norway for his ef
forts in bringing Iceland under Norwegian kingship during the Age of the Sturlun gs. Notes[edit source | editbeta] ^ Stevenson, Angus, ed. (2007). Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. 1 A-M (6th ed .). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-920687-2. ^ See the Järsberg Runestone from the 6th century carrying the inscription ek eril aR [...] runor waritu... ^ Lindström (2006:113 115). ^ Crouch p108 References[edit source | editbeta] Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Earls David Crouch, The Normans (2002) ISBN 1-85285-387-5 Marc Morris, "The King's Companions" (History Today December 2005) Geoffrey Hughes, Swearing : a social history of foul language, oaths and profani ty in English, ISBN 0-14-026707-7 Lindström, Fredrik; Lindström, Henrik (2006). Svitjods undergång och Sveriges födelse. A lbert Bonniers förlag. ISBN 91-0-010789-1 (Swedish) Categories: CountsEarldomsEarlsHistory of NorwayHistory of SwedenMen's social ti tlesNoble titles of the United KingdomNoble titlesNorwegian noble titlesPeerageS wedish nobility Navigation menu Create accountLog inArticleTalkReadEdit sourceEditbetaView history Search Main page Contents Featured content Current events Random article Donate to Wikipedia Interaction Help About Wikipedia Community portal Recent changes Contact page Toolbox Print/export Languages ?????????? ?????????? (???????????)? Cesky Deutsch Español Français Hrvatski Íslenska ??????? Lietuviu Nederlands Polski ??????? Simple English Srpskohrvatski / ?????????????? Svenska Tagalog ??? Türkçe ??????????