Earl of Ranfurly
Earl of Ranfurly, of Dungannon in the County of Tyrone, is a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1831 for Thomas Knox, 2nd Viscount Northland. He had earlier represented County Tyrone in the House of Commons, and had already been created Baron Ranfurly, of Ramphorlie in the County of Renfrew, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1826. Knox was the eldest son of Thomas Knox, who represented Dungannon in the Irish House of Commons. He was created Baron Welles, of Dungannon in the County of Tyrone, in 1781, and Viscount Northland, of Dungannon in the County of Tyrone, in 1791. Both titles were in the Peerage of Ireland. Lord Northland also sat in the British House of Lords as one of the 28 original Irish Representative Peers.
The first Earl was succeeded by his son, the second Earl. He sat as Member of Parliament for County Tyrone and Dungannon. His son, the third Earl, also represented Dungannon in Parliament. On his early death in 1858, having held the titles for only two months, the peerages passed to his eight-year-old son, the fourth Earl. He also died young and was succeeded by his younger brother, the fifth Earl. He served as a Lord-in-Waiting (government whip in the House of Lords) in the third Conservative administration of Lord Salisbury and was Governor of New Zealand between 1897 and 1904.
His grandson, the sixth Earl, mainly known as Dan Ranfurly, was well known for his exploits in the Second World War and also served as Governor of the Bahamas from 1953 to 1956. His wife Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly, also became well known for her memoirs of her and her husband's lives during the Second World War and for establishing the organisation which is now known as Book Aid International. They had one daughter but no sons. As of 2014, the titles are held by his fourth cousin, the seventh Earl. He is the great-great-grandson of the Hon. John Knox, third son of the first Earl.
The Hon. William Knox, younger son of the second Earl, was Member of Parliament for Dungannon.
The earldom of Ranfurly, pronounced "Ran-fully", is the last earldom created in the Peerage of Ireland that is still extant. Despite its territorial designation and the fact that it is in the Peerage of Ireland, the earldom (like the UK barony) refers to the village of Ranfurly in Renfrewshire.
Viscounts Northland (1791)
- Thomas Knox, 1st Viscount Northland (1729–1818)
- Thomas Knox, 2nd Viscount Northland (1754–1840) (created Earl of Ranfurly in 1831)
Earls of Ranfurly (1831)
- Thomas Knox, 1st Earl of Ranfurly (1754–1840)
- Thomas Knox, 2nd Earl of Ranfurly (1786–1858)
- Thomas Knox, 3rd Earl of Ranfurly (1816–1858)
- Thomas Granville Henry Stuart Knox, 4th Earl of Ranfurly (1849–1875)
- Uchter John Mark Knox, 5th Earl of Ranfurly (1856–1933)
- Thomas Daniel Knox, 6th Earl of Ranfurly (1913–1988)
- Gerald Francoys Needham Knox, 7th Earl of Ranfurly (b. 1929)
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Edward John Knox, Viscount Northland (b. 1957).
The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son Hon. Adam Henry Knox (b. 1994).
- Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.