Earl of Kent

The peerage title Earl of Kent has been created eight times in the Peerage of England and once in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

Earls of Kent, first creation (1020)Edit

The Earldom Kent was first created by Cnut the Great for Godwin, Earl of Wessex. Upon his death, in 1053, it was inherited by his son, Leofwine Godwinson. Leofwine, in 1066, at the Battle of Hastings, was killed, and his titles forfeited to the new King William.

Earls of Kent, second creation (1067)Edit

After William, Duke of Normandy conquered England, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, his half-brother, was awarded the Earldom of Kent, the second creation. In 1076, Odo was found guilty of defrauding the crown, and most of his properties were forfeited to the crown, but he was not executed. In 1082, he was arrested for planning a military campaign to Rome and in 1088 his titles were forfeited. He died in 1097 at Palermo, on his way to join the First Crusade.

Earls of Kent, third creation (1141)Edit

William of Ypres was the principal lieutenant of King Stephen and was thus rewarded the Earldom of Kent. He was deprived of the title in 1155, by King Henry II.

Earls of Kent, fourth creation (1227)Edit

Hubert de Burgh was a loyal supporter of King John and in 1227 was created Earl of Kent by John's son and successor, King Henry III of England. He died childless in 1243, his Earldom becoming extinct.

Earls of Kent, fifth creation (1321)Edit

Edmund of Woodstock was sixth son of Edward I of England. He was created Earl of Kent in 1321. Following his execution for high treason, his son Edmund became Earl of Kent. Edmund died the following year and the Earldom of Kent was inherited by his younger brother John, 3rd Earl of Kent. John died aged 22 and all his land was passed to his sister Joan, Countess of Kent. The Earldom of Kent, as a royal earldom, became extinct. Joan married Sir Thomas Holland and was created Earl of Kent in her own right, in what is considered a separate creation of the Earldom of Kent (see below).

Earls of Kent, sixth creation (1360)Edit

The earls of Kent of this creation used Baron Holand (1353) as a subsidiary title; it became abeyant 1408. The first earl of Kent by this creation was the husband of Joan of Kent of the fifth creation.

The line of the earls of Kent became extinct with the death of Edmund, the fourth earl.

Robert Holland, 1st Baron HolandThomas Holland, 1st Earl of KentJoan of KentWilliam de Montagu, 2nd Earl of SalisburyOtho HolandJohn de Warenne, 7th Earl of SurreyJohn de Mowbray, 3rd Baron MowbrayEdward the Black PrinceAlice FitzAlan, Countess of KentThomas Holland, 2nd Earl of KentHugh Courtenay (died 1374)Waleran III, Count of LignyJoan Holland, Duchess of BrittanyJohn IV, Duke of BrittanyJohn Holland, 1st Duke of ExeterThomas Holland, 1st Duke of SurreyEdmund Holland, 4th Earl of KentLucia ViscontiAlianore Holland, Countess of MarchJoan HollandMargaret Holland, Duchess of ClarenceEleanor Holland, Countess of SalisburyRoger Mortimer, 4th Earl of MarchEdmund of Langley, 1st Duke of YorkJohn Beaufort, 1st Earl of SomersetThomas Montagu, 4th Earl of SalisburyJohn Neville (died 1420)Edward Charlton, 5th Baron CharltonWilliam Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby de EresbyThomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of ClarenceHenry Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham 
The Holland Earls of Kent. Where an article exists, it can be found by clicking on the name.

Earls of Kent, seventh creation (1461)Edit

Earls of Kent, eighth creation (1465)Edit

The Greys were a baronial family with substantial property in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and later around Ruthin in Wales. They rose to greater prominence during the Wars of the Roses. Edmund Grey, Lord Grey of Ruthin, started out a Lancastrian, but switched to the Yorkist side at the Battle of Northampton. He was a member of Edward IV's council, became Lord Treasurer in 1463/4, was created Earl of Kent in 1465 and was keeper of the Tower of London in 1470. He remained loyal through Richard III's accession, taking part in his coronation (1483).

Edmund's son George, the 2nd Earl, had continued as a Yorkist, marrying Anne Woodville, a sister of Edward IV's queen Elizabeth Woodville. (He was half-first cousin - both being grandsons of Reynold 3rd Lord Grey of Ruthin - to Queen Elizabeth's first husband, Sir John Grey of Groby.) He later married Catherine Herbert, daughter of William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke.

The third earl, Richard, was the son of the second earl and Anne Woodville. He wound up heavily in debt, probably through gambling, and was forced to alienate most of his property. A good part ended up in the crown's hands; historians disagree regarding what this says about Henry VII's relationship with the aristocracy.

He was succeeded as earl by his half-brother Henry, son of the second earl and Catherine Herbert. Henry tried, with little success, to reacquire the property Richard had sold, and had to live as a modest gentleman, never formally taking title as earl.

Earls of Kent, ninth creation (1866)Edit


  • G.W. Bernard, "The Fortunes of the Greys, Earls of Kent, in the Early Sixteenth Century", The Historical Journal, 25 (1982), 671–685
  • Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Kent, Earls and Dukes of" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 734–735.