From Q27 of this years SDC
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The answer was Benjamin Stratford, 6th earl of Aldborough.

My question is "how does an earldom become extinct?" I thought that if there were no children then it passed to the brother, or nephew or niece, or somebody. Does it mean they did something bad?

Richard Maurer To reply, remove half
Sunnyvale, California of a homonym of a synonym for also.
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The answer was Benjamin Stratford, 6th earl of Aldborough. My question is "how does an earldom become extinct?" I thought that if there were no children then it passed to the brother, or nephew or niece, or somebody. Does it mean they did something bad?

An earldom can generally only pass down the male line.

If a dead earl has no sons, it passes down the line of his brothers and their sons. If he has no brothers, or if they have no sons, then it would pass to his uncle on his father's side, and so on, going up the generations until a male heir through the male line is found. If none can be found, the earldom becomes extinct.

Alison
My question is "how does an earldom become extinct?" I ... niece, or somebody. Does it mean they did something bad?

An earldom can generally only pass down the male line.

A few Scottish earldoms can pass through the female line, and I have a vague recollection that one or two of them can even pass to a woman.
If a dead earl has no sons, it passes down the line of his brothers and their sons. If he ... generations until a male heir through the male line is found. If none can be found, the earldom becomes extinct.

Right. But there is one crucial point missing: the search for a successor cannot go past the original creation of the title. In other words, the nth Earl must be a descendant of the 1st Earl.

Graeme Thomas
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The answer was Benjamin Stratford, 6th earl of Aldborough. My ... niece, or somebody. Does it mean they did something bad?

An earldom can generally only pass down the male line. If a dead earl has no sons, it passes down ... generations until a male heir through the male line is found. If none can be found, the earldom becomes extinct.

Indeed. Though 'extinct' in a very Britishy Burkes Peerage kinda way. The Crown may revive 'extinct' titles and has often done so. The title of 'Duke of Somerset' has become extinct several times but just when it thinks it's out, they pull it back in. Our ex-marine second runner-up in the race for the Principality of Wales was the first Earl of Wessex since Harold ('is that an arrow in your eye or are you just pleased to see me?') Godwinson. Even though, as I pointed out at the time, he had never lit a firework in his life.

John Dean
Oxford
De-frag to reply
My question is "how does an earldom become extinct?" I ... niece, or somebody. Does it mean they did something bad?

An earldom can generally only pass down the male line. If a dead earl has no sons, it passes down ... generations until a male heir through the male line is found. If none can be found, the earldom becomes extinct.

Or, in some cases, dormant. (That's when no known heir is found in the male line, but it turns out a few generations later that one did exist after all.)

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 21 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey to whhvs)
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Ahh, I was wondering about that.
Back to the extinction. Didn't an earl used to do something useful serving as administrator for a chunk of land? Or was it always a ceremonial title. So when the earldom became extinct, didn't the chunk of land still need an administrator? Was the earldom in effect continued, perhaps with a name change?
Also, it does seem strange that the only noble positions that are inheritable by females are the ones at the tops queens and kings. Or are there others?
Richard Maurer To reply, remove half
Sunnyvale, California of a homonym of a synonym for also.
Richard Maurer To reply, remove half
Sunnyvale, California of a homonym of a synonym for also.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Also, it does seem strange that the only noble positions that are inheritable by females are the ones at the tops queens and kings.

I don't think many of us are yet ready for a female King. Our current Sovereign-&-Queen fills that role quite effectively, IMHO.

John W Hall (Email Removed)
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.
"Helping People Prosper in the Information Age"
Back to the extinction. Didn't an earl used to do something useful serving as administrator for a chunk of ... didn't the chunk of land still need an administrator? Was the earldom in effect continued, perhaps with a name change?

In the Old Days, the titles represented rank in a feudal system. If, in those days, a title became extinct, the land reverted to the Crown, who would then hand out a new title to someone else.
In more modern times the title is usually ceremonial, although often there is still land associated with the older titles.
Also, it does seem strange that the only noble positions that are inheritable by females are the ones at the tops queens and kings. Or are there others?

I am a long way from being an expert in these matters. As I mentioned upthread, I have a vague recollection that one of two of the Scottish peerages can descend to a woman, and several others can be passed on through a woman. In theory each title comes with its own rules for hereditability, although mostly they stick to the traditional "men only" rules.
Almost none of this matters these days, as new hereditary peerages are very rare. I vaguely remember that one of the members of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet was made an hereditary peer (Viscount Whitelaw?), but as he didn't have any children, the hereditary nature of the title wasn't very relevant. (Denis Thatcher was made an hereditary baronet, but that's not peerage.) I can't remember who got the last hereditary title.

Graeme Thomas
Also, it does seem strange that the only noble positions that are inheritable by females are the ones at the tops queens and kings. Or are there others?

The Countess of Mar is married to somebody who used to teach me English and music. He's mentioned on this Delia site http://tinyurl.com/oyqb because of the goats they raise.

She was top of the vote for non-aligned Peers to stay in the House of Lords, IIRC, and I think her title is the oldest in the Lords.

There's an erudite discussion of Peeress In Her Own Right here: http://laura.chinet.com/html/titles08.html

David
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