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Hello, happy readers! We are in for a treat today. Regina Jeffers is back and she has another new release, The Earl Claims His Comfort: Book 2 in the Twins’ Trilogy. Isn't that exciting news! I always love knowing this author has a new book. Today, Regina talks to us about inheriting a Peerage during Regency times. I love her research and found this post fascinating and informative. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Speaking of enjoyment...wait until you read the excerpt she brought with her! I for one, am ready for more of this book! Thank you, Regina Jeffers, for giving us a teaser! Now, I'll turn the post over to you,
Inheriting a Peerage During the Regency
The manner in which a peerage is passed from one generation to the next depends upon how it was created. A peerage/title can be created by a writ of summons, which means the individual is summoned to Parliament to present himself before the House of Lords to prove he is the proper heir, or by letters patent, which actually creates a new peerage and names the dignity in question. Peerages originally created by writ are generally baronies. A feudal barony was the highest degree of feudal land tenure. William the Conqueror established his favored followers as barons by enfeoffing them as tenants-in-chief with great fiefdoms. There were none of the other titles invented when baronies (except earls, which then were exclusively sons or cousins of the sovereign) were first established. The ones which survive are naturally the most ancient titles. A writ entitled the peerage to pass to the "heirs general," not the "heirs male" as specified in almost all Letters Patent peerages.
Although some peerages are created for life and cannot be inherited, most peerages are created to be hereditary, to be passed from father to son or to another appropriate heir. The person holding the title cannot will it to another, even if, for example, he despised his eldest son, the son would still receive the title/peerage after his father’s death. [Remember this has nothing to do with wealth or unentailed property. The father could leave his despised son a debt-ridden estate and title, while leaving his wealth to whomever he pleased.] The terms of the original creation determines how the peerage passes from one individual to another. Generally, it passes from father to son.
Yet, what happens if there is no son available to succeed the man? Let us look at the perfect scenario to explain this situation. William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire (May 1790 - January 1858) was known as the “Bachelor Duke.” He intended to marry Lady Caroline Ponsonby, but she chose William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, over him; therefore, he never married. Without a legitimate son to succeed the 6th Duke, upon his passing, those in charge had to go back one generation, to the 6th Duke’s father, William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (1748 -1811) and trace the next eldest direct lineal descendant.
Oops! Guess what? Although he was married twice (first to Lady Georgiana Spencer and then to Lady Elizabeth Foster - you remember that whole mess from the movie “The Duchess”) the 5th Duke of Devonshire had only the one legitimate son, William Cavendish, who was the 6th Duke of Devonshire.
Therefore, those seeking the 6th Duke’s successor had to go back one more generation to the 4th Duke of Devonshire, another William Cavendish (1720 - 1764). Now, the 4th Duke had two sons: William, who was the 5th Duke, and Lord George Cavendish. Lord George died while his nephew William served as the 6th Duke; otherwise upon William’s death, Lord George would have become the 7th Duke. However, Lord George produced a son, Mr. William Cavendish (1783-1812), who also died during the 6th Duke’s lifetime, but that particular Mr. William Cavendish produced a son, another Mr. William Cavendish (1808 - 1891), who was 50 years of age when the 6th Duke of Devonshire passed. That William Cavendish became the 7th Duke of Devonshire. [Note: If Lord George had no son or grandson, those in power would have continued to search through the descendants of the 3rd Duke, 2nd Duke, and 1st Duke of Devonshire to find an heir. The line passes from through the eldest of the title holders sons and then through his other sons and surviving legitimate male issue.] If there are no legitimate surviving male descendants, then the title becomes “extinct.”
“However, if there was a legitimate surviving male descendant of his father, the 3rd Earl of Devonshire, then that person would inherit the earldom. In this way distant cousins can sometimes inherit lesser titles while the highest peerage dies out. What's most important to remember is that if a man inherits a peerage, it is because he is the eldest surviving legitimate male who can trace a direct (father to son) lineage back to an earlier holder of the peerage. In other words, he doesn't inherit because he was the brother or the cousin or the uncle of his predecessor, but because his own father, or grandfather, or great-grandfather, or great-great-grandfather, etc., was an earlier holder of the peerage. ["Eldest" in this context doesn't mean that he happens to be the oldest of several different living men who can trace a direct line back to an earlier holder of the peerage, but rather that his line is the eldest, i.e., eldest son of eldest son; all other lines senior to his have died out.]” (“Hereditary Peerages” https://www.chinet.com/~laura/html/titles03.html)
Letters patent customarily state the order of descent, usually through the male line. Only legitimate children (meaning the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth—not necessarily the time of his conception) are permitted to succeed to a peerage.
Edward IV introduced a procedure in which the eldest son of a peer with multiple titles can sit in the House of Lords by virtue of one of his father’s titles. This is called a writ of acceleration.
“In remainder” means the person is a possible heir to a peerage. A title becomes extinct (the opposite to extant, alive) when all possible heirs (as outlined by the original letters patent) have died out. In other words, there is nobody in remainder at the death of the holder. A title becomes dormant if nobody has claimed the title, or if no claim has been satisfactorily proven to the Committee on Privileges of the House of Lords. A title goes into abeyance if there is more than one person equally entitled to be the holder.
A peerage can become “extinct.” It can become extinct “by attainder,” which means the king/queen revokes the peerage. This forfeiture of the peerage comes under Acts of Parliament and are the result of treason on the part of the title holder. The descendants of the person committing treason are considered “tainted by blood,” and, therefore, they cannot inherit the title. However, if all the descendants of the attainted peer die out, then an heir from a different branch of the family tree—one not affected by the accusations of treason—could inherit the title/peerage. An extinct peerage reverts to the Crown. The king/queen can choose to present the title to a member of a different family—either another branch of the the original title holder’s family or to a completely unconnected family. This new creation would require new letters patent and a new line of descent.
Introducing The EarlClaims His Comfort: Book 2 in the Twins’ Trilogy, releasing September 16, 2017, from Black Opal Books
- a 2016 Hot Prospects finalist in Romantic Suspense
Hurrying home to Tegen Castle from the Continent to assume guardianship of a child not his, but one who holds his countenance, Levison Davids, Earl of Remmington, is shot and left to die upon the road leading to his manor house. The incident has Remmington chasing after a man who remains one step ahead and who claims a distinct similarity—a man who wishes to replace Remmington as the rightful earl. Rem must solve the mystery of how a stranger’s life parallels his, while protecting his title, the child, and the woman he loves.
Comfort Neville has escorted Deirdre Kavanaugh from Ireland to England, in hopes that the Earl of Remmington will prove a better guardian for the girl than did the child’s father. When she discovers the earl’s body upon a road backing the castle, it is she who nurses him to health. As the daughter of a minor son of an Irish baron, Comfort is impossibly removed from the earl’s sphere, but the man claims her affections. She will do anything for him, including confronting his enemies. When she is kidnapped as part of a plot for revenge against the earl, she must protect Rem’s life, while guarding her heart.
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- a 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense finalist
-a SOLA’s Eighth Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Award finalist for Historical Romance
Huntington McLaughlin, the Marquess of Malvern, wakes in a farmhouse, after a head injury, being tended by an ethereal "angel," who claims to be his wife. However, reality is often deceptive, and Angelica Lovelace is far from innocent in Hunt's difficulties. Yet, there is something about the woman that calls to him as no other ever has. When she attends his mother's annual summer house party, their lives are intertwined in a series of mistaken identities, assaults, kidnappings, overlapping relations, and murders, which will either bring them together forever or tear them irretrievably apart. As Hunt attempts to right his world from problems caused by the head injury that has robbed him of parts of his memory, his best friend, the Earl of Remmington, makes it clear that he intends to claim Angelica as his wife. Hunt must decide whether to permit her to align herself with the earldom or claim the only woman who stirs his heart--and if he does the latter, can he still serve the dukedom with a hoydenish American heiress at his side?
With 30+ books to her credit, Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era-based romantic suspense. A teacher for 40 years, Jeffers often serves as a consultant for Language Arts and Media Literacy programs. With multiple degrees, Regina has been a Time Warner Star Teacher, Columbus (OH) Teacher of the Year, and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar and a Smithsonian presenter.
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Now for the GIVEAWAY. I have two eBook copies of The Earl Claims His Comfortavailable to those who comment below. The giveaway will end at midnight EDST on Monday, September 25.
My dear, Regina Jeffers, how could you do that to us? How could you leave us with such a cliff hanger? UGH! As I was reading, I said, "No, no, no! You cannot leave us there!" But you did! Shame on you. LOL It was good even if it did leave us hanging!
Thanks so much for stopping by and for having a giveaway. Two eBooks! Isn't that fantastic, Readers! Whoever wins, you may have to drop in after reading and tell us about this book! Not spoilers, just some good enticing tidbits! :)
Leave us a comment and tell us what you think about the Peerage or the excerpt or both. Your share in the conversation is always welcome. As a reminder, the giveaway ends at midnight Eastern Standard Time on Monday, September 25th. Good luck to all!