- Earl of Dudley
Earl of Dudley, of Dudley Castle in the County of Stafford, is a title that has been created twice in the
Peerage of the United Kingdom, both times for members of the Ward family. This family descends from Sir Humble Ward, the son of a wealthy goldsmith and jeweller to Charles I. He married Frances Dudley, 6th Baroness Dudley, daughter of Sir Ferdinando Dudley, eldest son of Edward Sutton, 5th Baron Dudley (see the Baron Dudleyfor earlier history of the Sutton family). Frances was given away in marriage by her grandfather Lord Dudley in order for him to be able to redeem the heavily mortaged estates around Dudley, whose mineral resources were the foundation of the family's great wealth. In 1644 Frances's husband Sir Humble Ward was raised to the Peerage of Englandin his own right as Baron Ward, of Birmingham in the County of Warwick. In contrast to the barony of Dudley, which had been created by writ, this peerage was created by letter patentand with remainder to heirs male. Lady Dudley and Lord Ward were both succeeded by their son Edward, the seventh and second Baron respectively. He was styled Lord Dudley and Ward. He was succeeded by his grandson, the eighth and third Baron. He was the son of the Hon. William Ward. On Lord Dudley and Ward's early death the titles passed to his posthumous son, the ninth and fourth Baron. He died unmarried at an early age and was succeeded by his uncle, the tenth and fifth Baron.
On his death in 1740 the two baronies separated. The barony of Dudley, which could pass through female lines, was inherited by the late Baron's nephew Ferdinando Dudley Lea (see the
Baron Dudleyfor later history of this title). He was succeeded in the barony of Ward, which could only pass through male lines, by his second cousin John Ward, who became the sixth Baron Ward. He was the grandson of the Hon. William Ward (d. 1714), second son of the first Baron. Lord Ward had earlier represented Newcastle under Lyme in the House of Commons. In 1763 he was created Viscount Dudley and Ward, of Dudley in the County of Worcester, in the Peerage of Great Britain. He was succeeded by his son from his first marriage, the second Viscount. He sat as Member of Parliamentfor Marlborough and for Worcestershire. He was childless and on his death the titles passed to his half-brother, the third Viscount. He was also Member of Parliament for Worcestershire. He was succeeded by his son, the fourth Viscount. He was a politician and served as Foreign Secretaryfrom 1827 to 1828. In 1827 he was honoured when he was created Viscount Ednam, of Ednam in the County of Roxburgh, and Earl of Dudley, of Dudley Castle in the County of Stafford. Both titles were in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.
Lord Dudley was childless and on his death in 1833 the two viscountcies and earldom became extinct. He was succeeded in the barony of Ward by his second cousin Reverend William Humble Ward, the tenth Baron. He was the grandson of Reverend William Ward, younger brother of the first Viscount Dudley and Ward. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the eleventh Baron. In 1860 the viscountcy of Ednam and earldom of Dudley were revived when he was created Viscount Ednam, of Ednam in the County of Roxburgh, and Earl of Dudley, of Dudley Castle in the County of Stafford. Both titles are in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. On his death the titles passed to his eldest son, the second Earl. He was a Conservative politician and served as
Lord-Lieutenant of Irelandfrom 1902 to 1905 and as Governor-General of Australiafrom 1908 to 1911. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the third Earl. He represented Hornsey and Wednesbury in the House of Commons as a Conservative. As of 2007 the titles are held by his eldest son, the fourth Earl, who succeeded in 1969.
Several other members of the Ward family have also gained distinction.
William Dudley Ward, grandson of the Hon. Humble Dudley Ward, second son of the tenth Baron Ward, was a Liberal politician. He married the socialite Freda May Birkin. Their daughter Penelope Dudley Wardwas a well-known actress. The Hon. Sir John Hubert Ward (1870-1938), second son of the first Earl, was a Major in the Army and courtier. His son John Ward (1909-1990) was a Colonelin the Life Guards. The Hon. Robert Ward, third son of the first Earl, was Conservative Member of Parliament for Crewe. The Hon. Edward Frederick Ward (1907-1987), third son of the second Earl, was a Group Captainin the Royal Air Force. The Hon. George Ward, fourth and youngest son of the second Earl, was a Conservative politician and was created Viscount Ward of Witleyin 1960. The actress Rachel Wardand her sister the environmental campaigner Tracy Louise Wardare both daughters of the Hon. Peter Alistair Ward, third son of the third Earl.
Barons Ward (
Humble Ward, 1st Baron Ward(1614–1670)
*Edward Ward, 7th Baron Dudley, 2nd Baron Ward (1631–1701)
*Edward Ward, 8th Baron Dudley, 3rd Baron Ward (1683–1704)
*Edward Ward, 9th Baron Dudley, 4th Baron Ward (1704–1731)
*William Ward, 10th Baron Dudley, 5th Baron Ward (1680–1740)
*John Ward, 6th Baron Ward (1700–1774) (created Viscount Dudley and Ward in 1763)
Viscounts Dudley and Ward (
John Ward, 1st Viscount Dudley and Ward(1700–1774)
John Ward, 2nd Viscount Dudley and Ward(1725–1788)
William Ward, 3rd Viscount Dudley and Ward(1750–1823)
*John William Ward, 4th Viscount Dudley and Ward (1781–1833) (created Earl of Dudley in 1827)
Earls of Dudley, First Creation (
*John William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley (1781–1833)
Barons Ward (
*William Humble Ward, 10th Baron Ward (1781–1835)
*William Ward, 11th Baron Ward (1817–1885) (created Earl of Dudley in 1860)
Earls of Dudley, Second Creation (
William Ward, 1st Earl of Dudley(1817–1885)
*William Humble Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley (1867–1932)
*William Humble Eric Ward, 3rd Earl of Dudley (1894–1969)
*William Humble Davis Ward, 4th Earl of Dudley (b. 1920)
Heir Apparentis the present holder's eldest son William Humble David Jeremy Ward, Viscount Ednam (b. 1947)
Viscount Ward of Witley
*Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). "Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage" (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
* [http://www.angeltowns.com/town/peerage/ Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page]
* [http://www.thepeerage.com/ www.thepeerage.com]
* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=13730 Order for the Succession of the Earls of Dudley, Edward Ward, Frances Ward, John Levet Esq., Journal of the House of Lords, 1699, British History Online]
*Grazebrooke, H. S. 'The Barons of Dudley' Staffs. Hist. Coll. IX(2).
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