1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Worcester, Earls and Marquesses of

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

WORCESTER, EARLS AND MARQUESSES OF. "Urso de Abitot, constable of Worcester castle and sheriff of Worcestershire, is erroneously said to have been created earl of Worcester in 1076. Waleran de Beaumont (1104-1166), count of Mculan in France, a partisan of King Stephen in his war with the empress Matilda, was probably earl of Worcester from 1136 to 1x45. He was deprived of his earldom, became a crusader and died a monk. From 1397 to 1403 the earldom was held by Sir Thomas Percy (c. 1343-1403), a brother of Henry Percy, 1st earl of Northumberland. Percy served with distinction in France during the reign of Edward III.; he also held an official position on the Scottish borders, and under Richard II. he was the admiral of a fleet. He deserted Richard II. in 1399, and was employed and trusted by Henry IV., but in 1403 he joined the other Pcrcies in their revolt; he was taken prisoner at Shrewsbury, and subsequently beheaded, the earldom becoming extinct. The title of earl of Worcester was revived in 1421 in favour of Richard Beauchamp, Lord Abergavenny, but lapsed on his death in 1422. The next earl was John Tiptoft, or Tibetot, a noted Yorkist leader during the wars of the Roses, who was executed in 1470 (see below). On the death of his son, Edward, in 1485 the earldom reverted to the crown.

In February 1514 the earldom was bestowed by Henry VIII. on Charles Somerset (c. 1460-1526), a bastard son of Henry Beaufort, duke of Somerset. Having married Elizabeth, daughter of William Herbert, earl of Huntingdon, he was styled Baron Herbert in right of his wife, and in 1506 he was created Baron Herbert of Ragland, Chepstow and Gower. He was chamberlain of the household to Henry VIII. His son Henry, 2nd earl (c. 1495-1548), obtained Tintern Abbey after the dissolution of the monasteries. The title descended in direct line to Henry, the 5th earl (1577-1646), who advanced large sums of money to Charles I. at the outbreak of the Great Rebellion and was created marquess of Worcester in 1643.

Edward Somerset, 2nd marquess of Worcester (1601-1667), is better known by the title of earl of Glamorgan, this earldom having been conferred upon him, although somewhat irregularly, by Charles I. in 1644. He became very prominent in 1644 and 1645 in connexion with Charles's scheme for obtaining military help from Ireland and abroad, and in 1645 he signed at Kilkenny, on behalf of Charles, a treaty with the Irish Roman Catholics; but the king was obliged by the opposition of Ormonde and the Irish loyalists to repudiate his action. Under the Commonwealth he was formally banished from England and his estates were seized. At the Restoration his estates were restored, and he claimed the dukedom of Somerset promised to him by Charles I., but he did not obtain this, nor was his earldom of Glamorgan recognized. He was greatly interested in mechanical experiments, and his name is intimately connected with the early history of the steam-engine (q.v.). His Century of the Names and Scantlings of such Inventions as at present I can call to mind to have tried and perfected (1663) has often been reprinted. He died on the 3rd of April 1667.

See Henry Dircks, Life, Times and Scientific Labours of the 2nd Marquess of Worcester (1865); Sir J. T. Gilbert, History of the Irish Confederation and the War in Ireland (Dublin, 1882-1891).

His only son Henry (1629-1700), the 3rd marquess, abandoned the Roman Catholic religion and was a member of one of Cromwell's parliaments. But he was quietly loyal to Charles II., who in 1682 created him duke of Beaufort. As the defender of Bristol, the duke took a considerable part in checking the progress of the duke of Monmouth in 1685, but in 1688 he surrendered the city to William of Orange. He inherited Badminton, still the residence of the dukes of Beaufort, and died there on the 21st of January 1700. The Worcester title was henceforth merged in that of Beaufort (q.v.) . Henry, the 7th duke (1792-1853), was one of the greatest sportsmen of his day, and the Badminton hunt owed much to him and his successors, the 8th duke (1824-1899) and 9th duke (b. 1847).