Who Were The Tudor Nobility?

A Summary of the most important Tudor nobles

Tudor Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms of King Henry VII

The Tudor nobility were those whose rank placed them below the monarch but above the common people. The titles held by the Tudor nobility were hierarchical – Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, Baron, Knight. In total there were around 1,500 members of the  nobility in the Tudor period, out of a total population of around 3 million. 

The most important positions were filled by Dukes, Marquesses and Earls, but sometimes lesser members of the Tudor nobility – Viscounts and Barons – were given positions.  

Noble titles were generally hereditary but reverted to the crown if there was no male heir or if the holder of the title was attainted for treason. 

The list below gives details of the most important members of the Tudor nobility.

Tudor Dukes

Jasper Tudor
Jasper Tudor, Duke of Bedford

Duke of Bedford

Jasper Tudor – 1485 – 1495 (uncle of King Henry VII)

Duke of Buckingham

Edward Stafford – 1485 – 1521 (executed for treason)

Duke of Cornwall

Traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning monarch

Prince Arthur – 1486 – 1502
Prince Henry – 1502 – 1509
Prince Henry – 1511
Prince Edward – 1537

Duke of Norfolk

John Howard – 1483 – 1485 (died at the Battle of Bosworth Field fighting for Richard III)
Thomas Howard – 1514 – 1524 (son of John Howard, restored to dukedom in 1514, previously Earl of Surrey)
Thomas Howard – 1524 – 1547 (son of Thomas Howard, fell from favour in 1547, restored in 1554)
Thomas Howard – 1554 – 1572 (son of Thomas Howard, executed in 1572)

Duke of Northumberland

John Dudley – 1551 – 1553

Duke of Richmond

Henry Fitzroy – 1519 – 1536 (illegitimate son of King Henry VIII) 

Edward Seymour
Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset

Duke of Somerset

Prince Edmund – 1500
Henry Fitzroy – 1525 – 1536 (illegitimate son of King Henry VIII)
Edward Seymour – 1547 – 1552 (Lord Protector, executed 1552)

Duke of Suffolk

John de la Pole – 1455 – 1492
Edmund de la Pole – 1492 – 1493 (son of John de la Pole, surrendered dukedom in 1493 and became Earl of Suffolk)
Charles Brandon – 1514 – 1545 (close friend of Henry VIII)
Henry Brandon – 1545 – 1551 (son of Charles Brandon)
Charles Brandon – 1551 (brother of Henry Brandon)
Henry Grey – 1551 – 1554 (by right of his wife, Frances Brandon, executed for treason in 1554)

Duke of York

Traditionally held by the second son of the reigning monarch

Prince Henry – 1494 – 1509 

Tudor Marquesses

Marquess of Dorset

Thomas Grey – 1485 – 1501 (son of Elizabeth Woodville by her first husband)
Thomas Grey – 1501 – 1530 (son of Thomas Grey)
Henry Grey – 1530 – 1551 (son of Thomas Grey [above], became Duke of Suffolk in 1551)

Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn, Marquess of Pembroke

Marquess of Exeter

Henry Courtenay – 1525 – 1538 (executed for treason)

Marquess of Pembroke

Anne Boleyn – 1532 – 1533 (held the title in her own right, became Queen consort in 1533)

Marquess of Winchester

William Paulet – 1551 – 1572 (formerly Earl of Wiltshire)
John Paulet – 1572 – 1576 (son of William Paulet, formerly Earl of Wiltshire)
William Paulet – 1576 – 1598 (son of John Paulet, formerly Earl of Wiltshire)
William Paulet – 1598 – 1629 (son of William Paulet above, formerly Earl of Wiltshire)

Tudor Earls

Earl of Arundel

Thomas FitzAlan – 1488 – 1524
William FitzAlan – 1524 – 1544 (son of Thomas FitzAlan)
Henry FitzAlan – 1544 – 1580 (son of William FitzAlan)
Philip Howard – 1580 – 1589 (son of Thomas Howard and Mary FitzAlan, grandson of Henry FitzAlan, was attainted in 1589)

Tudor nobililty - John Russell
John Russell Earl of Bedford

Earl of Bedford

John Russell – 1550 – 1555
Francis Russell – 1555 – 1585 (son of John Russell)
Edward Russell – 1585 – 1614 (grandson of Francis Russell)

Earl of Cumberland

Henry Clifford – 1525 – 1542
Henry Clifford – 1542 – 1570 (son of Henry Clifford above)
George Clifford – 1570 – 1605 (son of Henry Clifford above)

Earl of Derby

Thomas Stanley – 1485 – 1504 (stepfather of King Henry VII)
Thomas Stanley – 1504 – 1521 (grandson of Thomas Stanley above, his father George had been titled Baron Strange through his wife)
Edward Stanley – 1521 – 1572 (son of Thomas Stanley above)
Henry Stanley – 1572 – 1593 (son of Edward Stanley)
Ferdinando Stanley – 1593 – 1594 (son of Henry Stanley)
William Stanley – 1594 – 1642 (brother of Ferdinando Stanley)

Edward Courtenay
Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon 1553 – 1556

Earl of Devon

Edward Courtenay – 1485 – 1509
William Courtenay – 1511 – (son of Edward Courtenay attainted 1504, restored 1511)
Henry Courtenay – 1511 – 1525 (son of William Courtenay, appointed Marquess of Exeter in 1525)
Edward Courtenay – 1553 – 1556 (son of Henry Courtenay, was imprisoned in 1538 when his father was attainted, restored to Earldom by Mary I, exiled in 1555 and died in 1556)

Earl of Essex

Henry Bourchier – 1483 – 1540 (inherited title from his grandfather, Henry Bourchier)
Thomas Cromwell – 1540 (created earl in April, executed in July)
William Parr – 1543 – 1553 (brother of Katherine Parr, attainted in 1553)
Walter Devereux – 1572 – 1576 (married the sister of Henry Bourchier, given the title by Elizabeth I)
Robert Devereux – 1576 – 1601 (son of Walter Devereux, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, executed in 1601)

Earl of Hertford

Edward Seymour – 1537 – 1547 (uncle of King Edward VI, became Duke of Somerset in 1547)
Edward Seymour – 1559 – 1562 (son of Edward Seymour, the family lost the title when Edward Seymour [above] was attainted in 1552, restored by Elizabeth I but lost it after secretly marrying Katherine Grey.

Earl of Huntingdon

George Hastings – 1529 – 1544
Francis Hastings – 1544 – 1561 (son of George Hastings)
George Hastings – 1561 – 1604 (brother of Francis Hastings)

Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Earl of Leicester

Robert Dudley – 1564 – 1588 (son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, favourite of Elizabeth I)

Earl of Lincoln

Henry Brandon – 1525 – 1534 (son of Charles Brandon, died 1534)
Edward Fiennes Clinton – 1572 – 1585
Henry Clinton – 1585 – 1616 (son of Edward Fiennes Clinton)

Earl of Northumberland

Henry Percy – 1470 – 1489
Henry Algernon Percy – 1489 – 1527 (son of Henry Percy above)
Henry Percy – 1527 – 1537 (son of Henry Algernon Percy, betrothed to Anne Boleyn)
Thomas Percy – 1557 – 1571 (nephew of Henry Percy above)
Henry Percy – 1572 – 1585 (brother of Thomas Percy)
Henry Percy – 1585 – 1632 (son of Henry Percy above)

Earl of Ormonde

Thomas Butler – 1452 – 1515
Piers Butler – 1515 – 1529 (was forced to relinquish title in 1529)
Thomas Boleyn – 1529 – 1538 (father of Anne Boleyn, granted title in 1529, removed in 1538)
Piers Butler – 1538 – 1539 (title restored)
James Butler – 1541 – 1546 (son of Piers Butler)
Thomas Butler – 1546 – 1614 (son of James Butler, known as Black Tom)

Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford
Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford

Earl of Oxford

John de Vere – 1485 – 1513 (lost the title in 1475 but was restored in 1485)
John de Vere – 1514 – 1526 (nephew of John de Vere above)
John de Vere – 1526 – 1540 (second cousin of John de Vere above)
John de Vere – 1540 – 1562 (son of John de Vere above)
Edward de Vere – 1562 – 1604 (son of John de Vere above)

Earl of Pembroke

Jasper Tudor – 1485 – 1495 (restored to title when his nephew became King Henry VII)
William Herbert – 1551 – 1570 (given the title by Edward VI)
Henry Herbert – 1570 – 1601 (son of William Herbert)
William Herbert – 1601 – 1630 (son of Henry Herbert)

Earl of Richmond

Henry Tudor – 1457 – 1485 (became King Henry VII in 1485)

George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury
George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury

Earl of Shrewsbury

George Talbot – 1473 – 1538
Francis Talbot – 1538 – 1560 (son of George Talbot)
George Talbot – 1560 – 1590 (son of Francis Talbot)
Gilbert Talbot – 1590 – 1616 (son of George Talbot)

Earl of Southampton

William FitzWilliam – 1537 – 1542 (given the title by King Henry VIII)
Thomas Wriothesley – 1547 – 1550 (bequeathed the title in Henry VIII’s will)
Henry Wriothesley – 1550 – 1581 (son of Thomas Wriothesley)
Henry Wriothesley – 1581 – 1624 (son of Henry Wriothesley)

Earl of Suffolk

Edmund de la Pole – 1493 – 1513 (had been Duke of Suffolk, executed in 1513)

Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard Earl of Surrey and Duke of Norfolk

Earl of Surrey

Was held by the eldest son of the Duke of Norfolk in the early Tudor period

Thomas Howard – 1489 – 1514 (became Duke of Norfolk in 1514)
Thomas Howard – 1514 – 1524 (son of Thomas Howard above, became Duke of Norfolk in 1524)
Henry Howard – 1524 – 1547 (son of Thomas Howard above, executed in 1547)
Thomas Howard – 1553 – 1554 (son of Henry Howard, restored to Earldom in 1553, became Duke of Norfolk in 1554)

Earl of Sussex

Robert Radcliffe – 1529 – 1542
Henry Radcliffe – 1542 – 1557 (son of Robert Radcliffe)
Thomas Radcliffe – 1557-1583 (son of Henry Radcliffe)
Henry Radcliffe – 1583 – 1593 (brother of Thomas Radcliffe)
Robert Radcliffe – 1593 – 1629 (son of Henry Radcliffe above)

Earl of Warwick

Edward – 1475 – 1499 (son of George Duke of Clarence, nephew of Edward IV, imprisoned in 1485, executed 1499)
John Dudley – 1547 – 1551 (created Duke of Northumberland in 1551, attainted in 1554)
John Dudley – 1551 – 1554 (son of John Dudley, lost title when the family was attainted)
Ambrose Dudley – 1561 – 1590 (brother of John Dudley above, given the earldom by Queen Elizabeth I, the title expired on his death)

Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire
Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wiltshire

Earl of Wiltshire

Thomas Boleyn – 1529 – 1539 (father of Anne Boleyn)
William Paulet – 1550 – 1551 (given title by Edward VI, elevated to Marquess of Winchester in 1551)
John Paulet – 1551 – 1555 (son of William Paulet, became Marquess of Winchester)
William Paulet – 1555 – 1576 (son of John Paulet, became Marquess of Winchester)
William Paulet – 1576 – 1598 (son of William Paulet above, became Marquess of Winchester)

Earl of Worcester

Charles Somerset – 1514 – 1526
Henry Somerset – 1526 – 1549 (son of Charles Somerset)
William Somerset – 1549 – 1589 (son of Henry Somerset)
Edward Somerset – 1589 – 1628 (son of William Somerset)

Tudor Viscounts

John Dudley
John Dudley, Viscount Lisle, Duke of Northumberland

Viscount Lisle

Edward Grey – 1483 – 1492
John Grey – 1492 – 1504 (son of Edward Grey, expired on his death)
Arthur Plantagenet – 1523 – 1542
John Dudley – 1542 – 1553 (granted the title by Henry VIII, by right of his mother Elizabeth Grey, he was also Duke of Northumberland, attainted in 1553)
Ambrose Dudley – 1561 – 1580 (son of John Dudley, granted the title by Elizabeth I, expired on his death)

Viscount Rochford

Thomas Boleyn – 1525 – 1529 (father of Anne Boleyn, given the title by Henry VIII, passed to his son when created Earl of Wiltshire)
George Boleyn – 1529 – 1536 (son of Thomas Boleyn, executed in 1536)

 

Published Jul 17, 2020 @ 1:20 pm – Updated – Aug 7, 2020 @ 9:37 pm

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Who Were The Tudor Nobility? Available: https://www.tudornation.com/who-were-the-tudor-nobility Last accessed [date]

 

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