British Artistocrats


Figure 1.--Earl Percy is seen here in full court regalia. It looks to be based on 18th century court attire.

A great deal of early English history deals with the conflict between the nobility and monarchy. The Magna Charter came out of this conflict. Another important thread was that important aristocrtic families aspired to the monarchy. Some achieved this goal, generally by displacing the reigning king. The British aristocracy became a topic of considerable criticism in the 20th century. The aristocracy and nobel titles was a topic of some interest to Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Economic expansion in America created a new wealthy class ans some of them decided they wanted an aristocratic title--especially a British title. No less a person than Winston Churchill came out of this enterprise. You may have noted that on some state occasions, such as royal weddings, youths are dressed in red coats, jabots, kneepants, and white stockings. The boys are British aristocrats especially closen for the occasion. These peers of the realm are sometimne not to happy about theie fancy costume. Edward VIII for his investment as Prince of Wales was quite unhappy about his costume. We will archive information on English arustocrats here as we find it.

The Monarchy

A great deal of early English history deals with the conflict between the nobility and monarchy. The Magna Charter came out of this conflict. Another important thread was that important aristocrtic families aspired to the monarchy. Some achieved this goal, generally by displacing the reigning king. The difficulty of moving from an aristoctatic to a royal family is illustrated by the fact that for long periods Britain was ruled by foreign monarchs (including Dutch, French, German, and Scottish). Usually the reigning king would mary a foreign princess rather than the daughter of a nobel English family. Interestingly, two of Britain's greatest monarchs (Elizabeth I and Victoria) were the daughters of the nobility rather foreign royalty.

The Peerage

The Peerage.com is a wonderful source of information on both the British peerage and European royal families. The Webaster describes his site thusly, "This website is the result of around 13 years of work by one (somewhat eccentric) person collecting information on the European royal families and on the British Peerage, and then entering it into a range of various genealogy programs. Along the way I have changed the way I have presented information, and adjusted the formatting to reflect the strengths of each new generation of software. I also continue to find conflicting info and as well as generally spending of lot of time changing the contents of the database as well as expanding it."

American Heiresses

Although America emerged from the American Revolution as a republic, the subject of royalty and nobility was a topic of some interest. Americans loved to host royalty. Nobility was featured in books like Huckleberry Finn and Little Lord Fauntelroy. Economic expansion in America created a new wealthy class and some of them decided they wanted an aristocratic title--especially a British title. The Vandebuilts married in a Duke of Marlborough. No less a person than Winston Churchill came out of this enterprise. Between 1870 and 1910 more than 100 American heiresses married into British noble families. The British married for money and the Americans married or prestige and titles. This resulted in many unhappy marriages that often ended in divorce. Many people at the time in both the US and UK disapproved of these marriages between wealthy Americans and British aristocrats who needed money. The book lists some reported dowries that range from 0.1 to 2.0 million pounds which would have been equivalent to about $10 million at the time. The authors suggest multiplying by 33 to adjust for inflation. This was in 1989 when the book was written. The multiplier today would be even higher. There was $0.1 million for an untilted grandson of a Marquess (who was later knighted). There was $10 million for the marriage to the Duke of Roxburghe. [MacColl and Wallace, p. 167.] Princess Diana had an American great grandmother, Frances Work, who married and divorced a future Baron.

Cayleys

The Cayleys were an important aristocratic family in Yorkshire. Sir William Cayley (1610-1681) was created the 1st Baronet of Brompton (1661). The family line extebnds to the present day. Sir William Cayley, 2nd Baronet (1635-c. 1708). Sir Arthur Cayley, 3rd Baronet (c. 1654-1727). Sir George Cayley, 4th Baronet (c. 1707-1791). Sir Thomas Cayley, 5th Baronet (1732-1792). Sir George Cayley, 6th Baronet (1773-1857) is perhaps the best known Cayley. He pioneered the first manned flight 50 years before the Wright brothers, and has been called The Father of Aeronautics. Milais painted a portrait of Hugh Caylely, Sir Geirge's great-grandsonn. Sir Digby Cayley, 7th Baronet (1807-1883). Sir George Allanson Cayley, 8th Baronet (1831-1895). Sir George Everard Arthur Cayley, 9th Baronet (1861-1917). Sir Kenelm Henry Ernest Cayley, 10th Baronet (1896-1967). Sir Digby William David Cayley, 11th Baronet. A notable Cayley is English mathematcian, Arthur Cayley, of Cambridge University. I'm not sure how he fits into the family tree.

Iveagh

Iveagh is the name of an Irish clan name, Uíbh Echach, genitive of the Uí Echach clan that controlled west County Down in Ireland into the 17th century. It is usually pronounced 'I-vay' in Ulster, 'Ivy' in Dublin and 'I-vah' in London. It is a title in the British Peerage. The title was created for brewer and philanthropist Edward Guinness (1919). He became the 1st Viscount Iveagh. He was the third son of Sir Benjamin Guinness, 1st Baronet, of Ashford He was the great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, the founder of the Guinness brewery. Guinness was previously reated a baronet, of Castle Knock in the County of Dublin (1885). This made hom , Baron Iveagh, of Iveagh in the County of Down (1891) and Viscount Iveagh, of Iveagh in the County of Down (1905). He was made Viscount Elveden, of Elveden in the County of Suffolk, at the same time he was given the earldom. His great-great-grandson, the fourth Earl, who succeeded his father (1992. As a descendant of the first Guinness Baronet of Ashford he also inherits the other titles.

Marlbourgh

The noted American artist John Singer Sargent painted the 9th Duke of Marlborough and his wife Consuella Vanderbilt with their two sons, the Marquess of Blandford and Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill. Few portraits could be more steeped in British history.

Percy

Inheritance

England's Earl Percy, at the time a 14-year old schoolboy at Eton, was discussed in the English tabloids in 1999. His father has gone to court in an effort to delay his son's inheiratance. Earl Percy is the eldest son of the 12th Duke of Nothumberland who was to have received £0.25 million a year from his $13.50 million Albury Estate in Surrey when he turned 18 years old. His mother and father, the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland thought that it would be reckless to give a youth so much money at that age. They told the court that their son would be exposed to spongers and reminded them of Marqquess of Bristol who inherited £1 million at 18 in 1999 a drug adict at 44. They also mentioned Earl Percy's Uncle, the flamboyant 11th Duke of Northumberland who died of an overdose of amphetamines in 1995. His parents dis not think that he was an irrespinsible boy, and described his as a clever, hard working boy. His father asured him that he would be supplied with reasonable funds that he can sensibly use.

Costume

The Earl's costume includes a long red coat with gold trim, jabots, kneepants, white stockings, and buckle shoes. HBC is unsure what costume this is based on, butvit looks like late 18th century dress--perhaps from the court of George III. Why this has become the standard costume for royal pages, HBC is unsure. A British reader writes, "The shoes that the young "earl" is wearing are the very same shoes which the Lord Mayor wears on court occasions. I have a pair purchased in the UK made by Ede & Ravenscroft of London. The shoes are a black patent leather pump with a highly delighted ornament (sort of like a brooch) instead of a bow. It is my belief that shoes such as these are worn by many Lords or peers of the realm when in fancy dress."

Sources

MacColl, Gail and Carol McD. Wallace. To Marry an English Lord (1989).





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Created: October 28, 2000
Last updated: 11:04 PM 4/27/2013