1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Salisbury, Earls of

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SALISBURY, EARLS OF. The title of earl of Salisbury was first created about 1149, when it was conferred on Patrick de Salisbury (sometimes from an early date called in error Patrick Devereux), a descendant of Edward de Salisbury, mentioned in Domesday as vicecomes of Wiltshire. His granddaughter Isabella became countess of Salisbury suo jure on the death of her father, William the 2nd earl, without male heirs, in 1196, and the title was assumed by her husband, William de Longespée (d. 1226), illegitimate son of King Henry II. possibly by Rosamond Clifford (“The fair Rosamond”). Isabella survived her husband, and outlived both her son and grandson, both called Sir William de Longespée, and on her death in 1261 her great-granddaughter Margaret (d. 1310), wife of Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, probably became suo jure countess of Salisbury; she transmitted the title to her daughter Alice, who married Thomas Plantagenet, earl of Lancaster. Lancaster having been attainted and beheaded in 1322, the countess made a surrender of her lands and titles to Edward II., the earldom thus lapsing to the crown.

The earldom of Salisbury was granted in 1337 by Edward III. to William de Montacute, Lord Montacute (1301–1344), in whose family it remained till 1400, when John, 3rd earl of this line, was attainted and his titles forfeited. His son Thomas (1388–1428) was restored in blood in 1421; and Thomas’s daughter and heiress, Alice, married Sir Richard Neville (1400–1460), a younger son of Ralph Neville, 1st earl of Westmorland and a grandson of John of Gaunt, who sat in parliament in right of his wife as earl of Salisbury; he was succeeded by his son Richard, on whose death without male issue in 1471 the earldom fell into abeyance. George Plantagenet, duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV., who married Richard’s daughter and co-heiress, Isabel, became by a separate creation earl of Salisbury in 1472, but by his attainder in 1478 this title was forfeited, and immediately afterwards was granted to Edward Plantagenet, eldest son of Richard duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III., on whose death in 1484 it became extinct.

Richard III.’s queen, Anne, was a sister of the above-mentioned Isabel, duchess of Clarence, and co-heiress with her of Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury. On the death of Queen Anne in 1485 the abeyance of the older creation terminated, Edward Plantagenet, eldest son of George duke of Clarence by Isabel Neville, becoming earl of Salisbury as successor to his mother’s right. He was attainted in 1504, five years after his execution, but the earldom then forfeited was restored to his sister Margaret (1474–1541), widow of Sir Richard Pole, in 1513. This lady was also attainted, with forfeiture of her titles, in 1539.

Sir Robert Cecil, second son of the 1st Lord Burghley (q. v.), was created earl of Salisbury (1605), having no connexion in blood with the former holders of the title. (See Salisbury, Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of.) In his family the earldom has remained till the present day, the 7th earl of the line having been created marquess of Salisbury in 1789.

See G. E. C., Complete Peerage, vol. vii. (1896).