Duke of Dorset

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Dukedom of Dorset
Arms of the Dukes of Dorset
Creation date 1720
Peerage Peerage of Great Britain
First holder Lionel Sackville, 7th Earl of Dorset
Subsidiary titles

Earl of Dorset
Earl of Middlesex
Baron Buckhurst

Baron Cranfield

Duke of Dorset was a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1720 for the politician Lionel Sackville, 7th Earl of Dorset. The Sackville family descended from Sir Richard Sackville. His only surviving son, Thomas Sackville, was a statesman, poet and dramatist and notably served as Lord High Treasurer between 1599 and 1608. He was raised to the Peerage of England as Baron Buckhurst, of Buckhurst in the County of Sussex, in 1567, and was made Earl of Dorset in 1604, also in the Peerage of England. The titles descended in the direct line until the death of his grandson, the third Earl, in 1624. The late Earl was succeeded by his younger brother, the fourth Earl. He was Lord Chamberlain between 1642 and 1649. He was succeeded by his son, the fifth Earl. He married Lady Frances, daughter of Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the sixth Earl. He succeeded to the Cranfield estates on the death of his maternal uncle Lionel Cranfield, 3rd Earl of Middlesex. In 1675, two years before he succeeded his father, he was raised to the Peerage of England in his own right as Baron Cranfield, of Cranfield in the County of Middlesex, and Earl of Middlesex. He was succeeded by his son, the aforementioned seventh Earl, who was made Duke of Dorset in 1720.

The Duke of Dorset was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Duke. The latter was succeeded by his nephew, the third Duke. He was the son of Lord John Sackville, second son of the first Duke. Dorset was He was the British Ambassador to France between 1783 and 1789 in the lead up to the French Revolution. He was succeeded by his only son, the fourth Duke. He died unmarried at an early age in 1815 after a fall from his horse. The titles passed to his cousin, Charles Sackville-Germain, 2nd Viscount Sackville, who became the fifth Duke. He was the son of George Germain, 1st Viscount Sackville, third son of the first Duke (see Viscount Sackville). All the titles became extinct on his death in 1845.

The family seat was Knole House, Kent. On the death of the fourth Duke in 1815 Knole House was inherited by the late Duke's sister, Lady Elizabeth Sackville. She was the wife of George West, 5th Earl De La Warr, who assumed the additional surname of Sackville. In 1865 the barony of Buckhurst held by the Earls and Dukes of Dorset was revived in Elizabeth's favour. In 1876 the Sackville title was also revived when her younger son Mortimer Sackville-West was created Baron Sackville.

Earls of Dorset (1604)[edit]

Dukes of Dorset (1720)[edit]

In fiction[edit]

The plot line of David Gurr's thriller "A Woman Called Scylla" assumes fictionally that the Dukedom of Dorset did not become extinct but survived into the Twentieth Century. In 1977 the book's protagonist is the granddaughter of George Frederick Henry, the tenth Duke of Dorset. He is mentioned as being born in 1886, having been severely wounded at Ypres in World War I and later devoting himself to gardening. Other members of the Duke's family also have a big share in the plot, particularly his daughter Mary, a SOE agent in World War II captured and tortured to death by the Nazis.

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