Talbot - Earls of Shrewsbury

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The surname, less often forename, and occasional element of place names Talbot is traditionally pronounced in RP with the first syllable like 'tall': 'TALL-bot',IPA: /ˈtɔːl bɒt/. GA prefers to make the fist vowel that of 'at' or 'art', IPA: /ˈtæl bɒt or ˈtɑːl bɒt respectively/.

  • The most famous Talbot family is that which gave rise to the Earls of Shrewsbury. The title (its second creation) was bestowed on John Talbot (c. 1387–1453) in 1442 in recognition of the success of his military service in France, where he was known as "the English Achilles" and "the terror of the French". In 1446 he was also created Earl of Waterford, in Ireland; the two titles have descended together, together with the hereditary title of Lord High Steward of Ireland, since the 15th century.
    • His prowess is celebrated in the first part of Shakespeare's Henry VI trilogy.
  • His son, also John, the 2nd Earl (c. 1417–1460) was a Lancastrian, who served as Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and Lord High Treasurer from 1456 to 1458. Despite some dalliance with the Yorkist cause, he died defending King Henry at the battle of Northampton (1460). He was succeeded by his son John, the 3rd Earl, (1448–1473), who died too young to make a significant career, but left an heir:
  • George Talbot (1468–1538), 4th Earl of Shrewbury, was a loyal servant of Henry VII and of Henry VIII. He defended the King's interests in the north in the rebellions of 1536, and although traditional enough in religion not to have exercised his right to hold the crown at Anne Boleyn's coronation - his wife, Lady Anne Hastings, had been a lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon.
  • Francis Talbot (1500–1560), the 5th Earl, was also a loyal servant of Henry VIII. Although a Roman Catholic, he was lord president of the council in the north under the puritan Edward VI, the Catholic Mary and the protestant Elizabeth.
  • George Talbot (c. 1522/8–1590), 6th Earl, was appointed custodian of Mary, queen of Scots after her flight to England. This post began in February 1569, when Mary was delivered to him at Tutbury. His qualifications for this were his wealth (he had many residences large enough to host her retinue and guards) and his family's reputation as loyal servants of the crown in the north of England. He was relieved of this duty in 1584. He played a part in Mary's trial, and was an official witness of her beheading at Fotheringhay in 1587. After the death of his first wife, Lady Gertrude Manners (d. 1566/7), he married Bess of Hardwick, the richest woman in England, after the Queen - it was her fourth marriage, after Robert Barlow (d. 1544) before 1543, Sir William Cavendish (1508–1557), who brought her the Chatsworth estate, in 1547, and Sir William St Loe (c.1520–1565?), before 1558. Her other grand building, Hardwick Hall, is marked by her initials E S (Elizabeth Shrewsbury) built into the skyline parapets.
  • Gilbert Talbot (1552–1616), 7th Earl, married Bess of Hardwick's daughter Mary Cavendish in 1568, within months of their parents' marriage. (His sister Grace married Mary's brother Henry at the same wedding.) Gilbert was said to be under the control of his wife. She converted to Catholicism "as an adult" ([wikipedia, 2021]), and her involvement in the affairs of Lady Arabella, or Arbella, Stuart, whose claim on the throne threatened King James, led to her imprisonment in the Tower of London. Argumentative and litigious, Gilbert was not involved with his wife's problems. He maintained the life of a grandee, performing the appropriate duties as required, but had an old-fashioned contempt for those around him - his neighbours, particularly John Stanhope, 1st Baron Stanhope (1549?–1621), with whom he feuded over fisheries, and his tenants.
  • Edward Talbot, 8th Earl (1561–1617), the younger brother of the 7th Earl, succeeded in 1616, and only held the title for a year. He left no living issue, and the title passed to
  • George Talbot (1566–1630), the 9th Earl, member of a Catholic family, who grew up abroad, and was ordained as a priest. He had King James's special permission to hold the earldom, and have free exercise of his religion. As a priest, he had no children; he was succeeded by his nephew
  • John Talbot (1601–1654), 10th Earl, who as a Catholic took part on the Royalist side in the English Civil War. He died in 1654, and was succeeded by
  • Francis Talbot (1623–1668), 11th Earl, another royalist and Catholic, who was mortally wounded in a duel in 1668 with George Villiers (1628–1687), 2nd Duke of Buckingham over the latter's adultery with Anna Maria Talbot (1642–1702), Francis's Countess.
  • The 12th Earl of Shrewsbury, Charles Talbot (1660–1718) was created Duke of Shrewsbury in 1694, following his support for the joint reign of William III and Mary II - The Glorious Revolution. He served as Lord High Treasurer in 1714. As he died without issue, the Duchy became extinct; but the Earldom continued with
  • Gilbert Talbot (1673-1743), 13th Earl of Shrewsbury, ordained priest. His nephew succeeded, and left the title to his own nephew,
  • Charles Talbot (1753-1827), 15th Earl of Shrewsbury, who created the estate of Alton Towers, which is now an amusement park.
  • Charles Chetwynd-Talbot (1860–1921), 20th Earl of Shrewsbury, gave the name to various Talbot motor-cars. Clément-Talbot, S.T.D. Motors, Talbot-Darracq, and Sunbeam-Talbot.

The title has continued as far as

  • Charles Chetwynd-Talbot (1952-present [2021]), 22nd Earl of Shrewsbury