Earl of Albemarle

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Earl of Albemarle is a title created several times. The word Albemarle (or Albermarle) is an early variant of the French Aumale (Latin, Alba Marla, or English, White Marl, marl being a type of fertile soil), other forms being Aubemarle and Aumerle, and is described in the patent of nobility granted in 1697 by William III to Arnold Joost van Keppel as "a town and territory in the Dukedom of Normandy."

During the period in which England and France contended for the rule of Normandy (through the end of the Hundred Years' War), the kings of England not infrequently created peers as Counts and Dukes of Aumale. The last, to Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick, was in 1422; Aumale, anglicized as Albemarle, was not revived in the peerage until 1660.

In that year, Charles II bestowed the title of Duke of Albemarle on General George Monck. The title became extinct in 1688, on the death of Christopher, 2nd Duke of Albemarle.


1697 creation

In 1697 King William III created his Dutch favourite Arnold Joost van Keppel Earl of Albemarle in the Peerage of England. He was made Baron Ashford, of Ashford in the County of Kent, and Viscount Bury, in the County of Lancaster, at the same time. The motive for choosing this title was probably that, apart from its traditions, it avoided the difficulty created by the fact that the Keppels had as yet no territorial possessions in the British Islands. Lord Albemarle was succeeded by his only son, the second Earl. He was a General in the Army and also served as Governor of Virginia and as Ambassador to France. He married Lady Anne Lennox, daughter of Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, illegitimate son of King Charles II.

His eldest son, the third Earl, was also a successful military commander, best known as the commander-in-chief of the invasion and occupation of Havana and west Cuba in 1762. He was succeeded by his son, the fourth Earl. He served as Master of the Buckhounds and as Master of the Horse. His second but eldest surviving son, the fifth Earl, was also a soldier and fought at the Battle of Waterloo at an early age. He later represented Arundel in the House of Commons. He was childless and was succeeded by his younger brother, the sixth Earl. He also fought at Waterloo in early life and was later promoted to General. Albemarle also sat as Member of Parliament for East Norfolk and Lymington.

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