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Marquess of Northampton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marquessate of Northampton
Coronet of a British Marquess.svg

Coat of arms of the Marquess of Northampton.svg
Arms of Compton: Sable, a Lion passant guardant Or, between three Esquire's Helmets Argent. Crest: On a Mount, a Beacon proper, behind it a Riband inscribed with the words "NISI DOMINUS" (If not God, nothing). Supporters: Dexter: a Dragon Ermine, ducally gorged and chained Or. Sinister: A Unicorn Argent, armed maned hoofed and tufted Sable.[1]
Creation date7 September 1812
MonarchThe Prince Regent (acting on behalf of his father King George III)
PeeragePeerage of the United Kingdom (second creation)
First holderWilliam Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton (first creation)
Charles Compton, 9th Earl of Northampton (second creation)
Present holderSpencer Compton, 7th Marquess of Northampton (second creation)
Heir apparentDaniel Compton, Earl Compton
Remainder toHeirs male of the body, lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titlesEarl of Northampton (fourth creation)
Earl Compton
Baron Wilmington
StatusExtinct (first creation)
Extant (second creation)
Extinction date28 October 1571 (first creation)
Seat(s)Castle Ashby House
Compton Wynyates
(I seek but one)[2]
Arms of William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton (first creation)
Arms of William Parr, 1st Marquess of Northampton (first creation)

Marquess of Northampton is a title that has been created twice, firstly in the Peerage of England (1547), then secondly in the Peerage of the United Kingdom (1812). The current holder of this title is Spencer Compton, 7th Marquess of Northampton.

First creation

The title of Marquess of Northampton was created for the first time in the Peerage of England in 1547 in favour of William Parr, brother of Catherine Parr, the sixth and last wife of King Henry VIII. The title was forfeited in 1554 after the accession of Queen Mary but restored in 1559 by Queen Elizabeth I. On Parr's death in 1571, the title became extinct.

Second creation

However, the title is chiefly associated with the Compton family. This family descends from Sir Henry Compton, who in 1572 was summoned to the House of Lords as Baron Compton, of Compton in the County of Warwick. This title was in the Peerage of England. Lord Compton was later one of the peers at the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots. He was succeeded by his son, the second Baron. He served as Lord President of the Marches and of the Dominion of Wales and was also Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire. In 1618 he was created Earl of Northampton in the Peerage of England.

His son, the second Earl, was a supporter of King James I and served as Master of the Robes to Charles, Prince of Wales (later King Charles I). He fought in the Civil War and was killed at the Battle of Hopton Heath in 1643. He was succeeded by his son, the third Earl. He also fought as a Royalist in the Civil War and notably commanded the cavalry at the First Battle of Newbury in 1643. Lord Northampton was also Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire and Constable of the Tower of London. His eldest son, the fourth Earl, also served as Constable of the Tower of London and as Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire.

His eldest son, the fifth Earl, briefly represented Warwick in the House of Commons but in 1711 he was summoned to the House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in his father's junior title of Baron Compton. He married Elizabeth, 15th Baroness Ferrers of Chartley. They had no sons and Lord Northampton was succeeded in the barony of Compton, which could be passed on through female lines, by his daughter Lady Charlotte. The earldom passed to his younger brother, the sixth Earl. He had earlier represented Tamworth and Northampton in Parliament.

He was childless and was succeeded by his nephew, the seventh Earl. He was the son of the Hon. Charles Compton, third son of the fourth Earl. Lord Northampton died childless at an early age and was succeeded by his younger brother, the eighth Earl. He briefly represented Northampton in the House of Commons before he inherited the earldom and also served as Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire. His son, the ninth Earl, sat as Member of Parliament for Northampton and served as Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire. In 1812 he was created Baron Wilmington, of Wilmington in the County of Sussex, Earl Compton, of Compton in the County of Warwick, and Marquess of Northampton.[3] These titles were in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

On his death, the titles passed to his son, the second Marquess. He represented Northampton in Parliament but is best remembered as a patron of science and the arts. Between 1838 and 1848 he served as President of the Royal Society. He was also instrumental in helping the new College of Preceptors (College of Teachers) of London receive its Royal Charter. Lord Northampton married Margaret Douglas-Maclean-Clephane, daughter of Major-General Douglas Maclean Clephane. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the third Marquess. In 1831 he assumed by Royal licence the additional and principal surname of Douglas. When he died the titles were inherited by his younger brother, the fourth Marquess. He was an admiral in the Royal Navy. Lord Northampton assumed in 1851 by Royal licence the additional surname of Maclean and in 1878 upon succeeding to the titles that of Douglas.

He was succeeded by his second but eldest surviving son, the fifth Marquess. He represented Stratford-on-Avon and Barnsley in Parliament as a Liberal and served as Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire. As of 2017, the titles are held by his grandson, the seventh Marquess, who succeeded his father in 1978.

Other notable members of the Compton family

Several other members of the Compton family have gained distinction. Henry Compton, sixth son of the second Earl of Northampton, was Bishop of London. Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington, Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1742 to 1743, was the third son of the third Earl. Catherine Compton, daughter of the Hon. Charles Compton, third son of the fourth Earl, was created Baroness Arden in 1770. She was the wife of John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont, and the mother of another Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval. Lord Alwyne Compton, fourth son of the second Marquess, was Bishop of Ely. Lord Alwyne Compton, third son of the fourth Marquess, was a Unionist politician. He was the father of Captain Edward Robert Francis Compton. The latter married as his first wife Sylvia, daughter of Alexander Haldane Farquharson. Their son Alwyne Arthur Compton was officially recognised by warrant of the Lord Lyon in the surname of Farquharson of Invercauld and as Chief of Clan Farquharson in 1949.


Castle Ashby House in Northamptonshire
Castle Ashby House in Northamptonshire

The Compton family are major land owners. Their two major estates are Castle Ashby House in Northamptonshire and Compton Wynyates in Warwickshire. The family also owns land and property, including the 16th century Canonbury Tower[4] in Canonbury, Islington, north London, where many streets are named after names associated with the family. These include: Alwyne Road; Bingham Street; Compton Road; Douglas Road; Northampton Place; Spencer Place; as well as Wilmington Square in Clerkenwell.

Marquesses of Northampton; First creation (1547)

Barons Compton (1572)

Earls of Northampton (1618)

Marquesses of Northampton; Second creation (1812)

The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Daniel Bingham Compton, Earl Compton (born 1973).
The heir apparent's heir presumptive is his cousin James William Compton (born 1974), grandson of the 6th Marquess.
The heir apparent's heir presumptive's heir is his son William Edward Richard Compton (born 2010).

Family tree

Charles Compton,
1st Marquess of Northampton

Spencer Joshua Alwyne Compton,
2nd Marquess of Northampton

Charles Douglas-Compton,
3rd Marquess of Northampton

William Compton, 4th Marquess of Northampton
William George Spencer Scott Compton,
5th Marquess of Northampton

William Bingham Compton,
6th Marquess of Northampton

Spencer Douglas David Compton,
7th Marquess of Northampton

born 1946
(1). Daniel Bingham Compton,
Earl Compton
born 1973

See also


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.843, Marguess of Northampton
  2. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1840, p.548
  3. ^ "No. 16632". The London Gazette. 15 August 1812. p. 1579.
  4. ^ "About us | Canonbury Masonic Research Centre". Archived from the original on 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2012-01-28.


This page was last edited on 1 May 2021, at 08:04
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