Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 583 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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EARL OF HOLDERNESSE, an English title borne by Sir John Ramsay and later by the family of Darcy. John Ramsay (c. 158o-1626), a member of the Scottish family of Ramsay of Dalhousie, was knighted for his share in rescuing James VI. from the hands of John Ruthven, earl of Gowrie, in August 1600. In 16o6 the king created him Viscount Haddington and Lord Ramsay of Barns, and in 1621 made him an English peer as earl of Holdernesse. Ramsay died without surviving issue in February 1626, when his titles became extinct. In 1644 Charles I. created his nephew, Prince Rupert, earl of Holdernesse, but when the prince died unmarried in November 1682 the earldom again became extinct. Conyers Darcy (1599–1689), who was made earl of Holdernesse in 1682 only a few days after the death of Rupert, was the son and heir of Conyers Darcy, Lord Darcy and Conyers (c. 1571–1654), and succeeded his father in these baronies in March 1654. He was succeeded as 2nd earl by his only son Conyers (c. 162o—,692), who was member of parliament for Yorkshire during the reign of Charles II. In his turn he was succeeded by his grandson Robert (1681–1722). Robert's only son, Robert Darcy, 4th earl_ of Holdernesse (1718–1778), was a diplomatist and a politician. From 1744 to 1746 he was ambassador at Venice and from 1749 to 1751 he represented his country at the Hague. In 1751 he became one of the secretaries of state, and he remained in office until March 1761, when he was dismissed by George III. From 1771 to 1776 he acted as governor to two of the king's sons, a " solemn phantom " as Horace Walpole calls him. He left no sons, and all his titles became extinct except the barony of Conyers, which had been created by writ in 1509 in favour of his ancestor Sir William Conyers (d. 1525). This descended to his only daughter Amelia (1754-1784), the wife of Francis Osborne, afterwards 5th duke of Leeds, and when the 7th duke of Leeds died in 1859 it passed to his nephew, Sackville George Lane-Fox (1827–1888), falling into abeyance on his death. Hornby castle in Yorkshire, now the principal seat of the dukes of Leeds, came to them through marriage of the 5th duke with the heiress of the families of Conyers and of Darcy.

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