Duke of Marlborough (title)
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|Dukedom of Marlborough|
|Blazon||Arms of Churchill: Sable, a lion rampant argent on a canton of the second a cross gules|
|Created by||Anne of England|
|Peerage||Peerage of England|
|First holder||John Churchill|
|Present holder||John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke|
|Heir apparent||Jamie Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford|
|Remainder to||special case|
|Subsidiary titles||Marquess of Blandford;
Earl of Sunderland (from 1733);
Earl of Marlborough;
Baron Spencer (from 1733);
Lord Churchill (until 1722)
Duke of Marlborough (local i// MAWL-brə) is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created by Queen Anne in 1702 for John Churchill, 1st Earl of Marlborough (1650–1722), the noted military leader. The name of the dukedom refers to Marlborough in Wiltshire. It is the only current dukedom in the Peerage of England, Peerage of Great Britain or the Peerage of the United Kingdom that can pass to a woman and through a woman.
- 1 History of the Dukedom
- 2 Succession to the title
- 3 Other titles of the Dukes
- 4 Family seat
- 5 Heraldry
- 6 Earls of Marlborough, second creation (1689)
- 7 Dukes of Marlborough (1702)
- 8 References
History of the Dukedom
Churchill had already been made Lord Churchill of Eyemouth (1682) in the Scottish peerage, Baron Churchill of Sandridge (1685), and Earl of Marlborough (1689) in the Peerage of England, all conferred by King William III. Shortly after her accession to the throne in 1702, Queen Anne made Churchill the first Duke of Marlborough and also granted him the subsidiary title Marquess of Blandford.
In 1678, Churchill had married Sarah Jennings (1660–1744), a courtier and influential favourite of the queen. They had seven children, of whom four daughters later married into some of the most important families in Great Britain; one daughter and two sons died in infancy. Because they had no surviving sons, the dukedom of Marlborough was allowed by a special Act of Parliament to pass to a woman and through a woman. When John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, died in 1722, his title as Lord Churchill of Eyemouth in the Scottish peerage became extinct, while the Marlborough titles passed to his eldest daughter Henrietta (1681-1733), the 2nd Duchess of Marlborough. She was married to the 2nd Earl of Godolphin and had a son who predeceased her.
When Henrietta died in 1733, the Marlborough titles passed to her nephew Charles Spencer (1706–1758), the third son of Henrietta's late sister Anne (1683-1716), who had married the 3rd Earl of Sunderland in 1699. After his older brother's death in 1729, Charles Spencer had already inherited the Spencer family estates as well as the titles of Earl of Sunderland (1643) and Baron Spencer of Wormleighton (1603), all in the Peerage of England. Upon his maternal aunt Henrietta's death in 1733, Charles Spencer also succeeded to the Marlborough family estates and titles and became the 3rd Duke. When he died in 1758, his titles passed to his eldest son, the 4th Duke (1739–1817), who was himself succeeded by his eldest son, the 5th Duke (1766–1840). In 1815, Francis Spencer (the younger son of the 4th Duke of Marlborough) was created Baron Churchill in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. In 1902, his grandson, the 3rd Baron Churchill, was further created Viscount Churchill.
In 1817, the 5th Duke of Marlborough obtained permission to assume and bear the additional surname of Churchill in addition to his own surname of Spencer, in order to perpetuate the name of his illustrious great-great-grandfather. At the same time he received Royal Licence to quarter the coat of arms of Churchill with his paternal arms of Spencer. The modern Dukes of Marlborough thus originally bore the surname "Spencer". The double-barrelled surname of "Spencer-Churchill" as used since 1817 has remained in the family to this day, though some members have preferred to style themselves merely "Churchill".
The present Duke of Marlborough is John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough.
Succession to the title
The Dukedom of Marlborough is the only dukedom in the United Kingdom that can still pass to a woman and through a woman. However, the Dukedom does not follow male-preference primogeniture as most other peerages that allow succession by females and cognatic descendants do. It actually follows a kind of semi-Salic Law. The succession for the Dukedom is as follows:
- The heirs-male of the 1st Duke's body lawfully begotten;
- his eldest daughter and the heirs-male of her body lawfully begotten;
- his second and other daughters, in seniority, and the heirs-male of their bodies lawfully begotten;
- his eldest daughter's oldest daughter and the heirs male of her body lawfully begotten;
- his eldest daughter's second and other daughters, in seniority, and the heirs-male of their bodies lawfully begotten
- all other daughters of his daughters, in seniority, and the heirs-male of their bodies lawfully begotten;
- and other descendants into the future in like fashion, with the intent that the Marlborough title never become extinct.
Succession to the title under the first and second contingencies have lapsed; holders of the title from the 3rd Duke of Marlborough to the current title holder trace their status from the third contingency of succession.
However, it is now very unlikely that the Dukedom will be passed to a woman or through a woman, since all the male-line descendants of Anne Spencer, Countess of Sunderland - including the line of the Earls Spencer as well as the Spencer-Churchill family - would have to become extinct. If that were to happen, the Churchill titles would pass to the Earl of Jersey, the heir-male of Anne Villiers, Countess of Jersey, daughter of Elizabeth Egerton, Duchess of Bridgwater, a younger daughter of the first Duke.
Other titles of the Dukes
The Duke of Marlborough holds certain subsidiary titles: Marquess of Blandford (created in 1702 for John Churchill), Earl of Sunderland (created in 1643 for the Spencer family), Earl of Marlborough (created in 1689 for John Churchill), Baron Spencer of Wormleighton (created in 1603 for the Spencer family), and Baron Churchill of Sandridge (created in 1685 for John Churchill). All of these titles are in the Peerage of England.
The title Marquess of Blandford is used as the courtesy title for the Duke's eldest son and heir. The Duke's eldest son's eldest son in turn can use the courtesy title Earl of Sunderland.
The title of Earl of Marlborough, which was created for John Churchill in 1689, had been created one time previously in British history, for James Ley, in 1626. This title had become extinct in 1679.
The 1st Duke was also honoured with titles in the Holy Roman Empire: Emperor Joseph I created him a Prince in 1704, and in 1705, he was given the principality of Mindelheim (once the lordship of the noted soldier Georg von Frundsberg). However, he was obliged to surrender Mindelheim in 1714 by the Treaty of Utrecht, which returned it to Bavaria. According to some sources, the 1st Duke received the principality of Mellenburg in exchange. The 1st Duke's principality titles of Mindelheim and Mellenburg did not pass to his daughters (the Empire operated Salic Law which prevented female succession), so became extinct on his death in 1722.
After his leadership in the victory against the French near the village of Blenheim (German Blindheim) on the river Danube in Germany of 13 August 1704 (Battle of Blenheim), Queen Anne honoured the 1st Duke of Marlborough by granting him the royal manor of Woodstock, and building him a house at her own expense to be called Blenheim. Construction started in 1705 and the house was completed in 1722, the year of the 1st Duke of Marlborough's death. Blenheim Palace has since remained in the Churchill and Spencer-Churchill family, respectively.
Most members of the Spencer-Churchill family of Blenheim Palace are interred in St. Martin's parish churchyard at Bladon, a short distance from the palace; only the Dukes and Duchesses are buried in the Blenheim Palace chapel.
Original arms of Churchill
The original arms of Sir Winston Churchill (1620–1688), father of the 1st Duke of Marlborough, were simple and already in use by his own father in 1619. The shield was Sable a Lion rampant Argent debruised by a Bendlet Gules. The addition of the canton of St. George (see below) rendered this further distinguishing mark unnecessary.
The Churchill crest is blazoned as a Lion couchant guardant Argent, supporting with its dexter Forepaw a Banner Gules, charged with a dexter Hand appaumée of the first, Staff Or.
In recognition of Sir Winston's services to King Charles I as Captain of the Horse, and his loyalty to King Charles II as a Member of Parliament, he was awarded an augmentation of honour to his arms in 1661-1662. This rare mark of royal favour took the form of a canton of St. George. At the same time he was authorised to omit the Bendlet, which had served the purpose of distinguishing this branch of the Churchill family from others which bore an undifferenced Lion.
1st Duke of Marlborough
Sir Winston's shield and crest were inherited by his son John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, who used them during his lifetime. Minor modifications reflected the bearer's social rise: The helm was now shown in profile and had a closed grill to signify the bearer's rank as a peer, as were the supporters placed on either side of the shield. In this case they were the mythical Griffin (part lion, part eagle) and Wyvern (a dragon without hind legs). The supporters were derived from the arms of the family of the Duke's mother, Drake of Ash (Argent, a wyvern gules. These arms can be seen on the monument in Musbury Church to Sir Bernard Drake, d.1586). Motto: Fiel pero desdichado ("Faithful but unfortunate"). The duke was also entitled to a coronet indicating his rank.
When the 1st Duke of Marlborough was made a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1705, two unusual features were added: the Imperial Eagle and a Princely Coronet. His estates in Germany, like Mindelheim, were represented in his arms by additional quarterings.
Arms of Spencer-Churchill
In 1817, the 5th Duke of Marlborough received Royal Licence to place the quarter of Churchill ahead of his paternal arms of Spencer. The shield of the Spencer family arms is Quarterly Argent and Gules, in the second and third Quarters a Fret Or, over all a Bend Sable with three Escallops Argent. The Spencer crest is: Out of a ducal Coronet Or, a Griffin's Head between two Wings expanded Argent, gorged with a Collar gemel and armed Gules. Paul Courtenay observes that "It would be normal in these circumstances for the paternal arms (Spencer) to take precedence over the maternal (Churchill), but because the Marlborough dukedom was senior to the Sunderland earldom, the procedure was reversed in this case."
Also in 1817, a further augmentation of honour was added to his achievement. This incorporated the bearings on the standard of the Manor of Woodstock and was borne on a shield, displayed over all in the centre chief point, as follows: Argent a Cross of St George surmounted by an Inescutcheon Azure, charged with three Fleurs-de-Lys Or. This inescutcheon represents the royal arms of France.
The resulting heraldic achievement is: Quarterly; 1st and 4th, Sable a lion rampant Argent on a canton of the last a cross Gules (Churchill); 2nd and 3rd, quarterly; 1st and 4th, Azure and Gules; on the 2nd and 3rd, a fret Or; over all, on a bend Sable 3 escallops of the first Argent (Spencer); in chief, an escutcheon of pretence argent a cross Gules on an inescutcheon azure three fleur-de-lys. Two crests; first, in a ducal coronet Or, a griffin's head between two wings expanded argent gorged with a bar gemel Gules armed of the first; second a lion couchant supporting a flag. Supporters: Two wyverns wings elevated Gules, collared and chained sable each collar charged with three escallops Argent. Motto: Fiel pero desdichado ("Faithful but unfortunate").
These quartered arms, incorporating two augmentations of honour, have been the arms of all subsequent Dukes of Marlborough.
The motto Fiel pero desdichado is Spanish, meaning "Faithful though unhappy." The word "desdichado" means without happiness or without joy.This alludes to the first duke's father, Winston, who was a royalist and faithful supporter of the king during the English Civil War but was not compensated for his losses after the restoration. Charles II created Winston Churchill and other Civil War royalists knights but did not compensate their wartime losses, thus Winston adopted the motto. It is unusual for the motto of an Englishman of the era to be in Spanish rather than Latin, but it is unknown why Churchill adopted the motto in Spanish.
Earls of Marlborough, second creation (1689)
- Other titles: Lord Churchill of Eyemouth, in the county of Berwick (Sc 1682) and Baron Churchill of Sandridge, in the county of Hertford (En 1685)
- John Churchill, 1st Earl of Marlborough (1650–1722), became Duke of Marlborough in 1702
Dukes of Marlborough (1702)
- Other titles: Marquess of Blandford (En 1702), Earl of Marlborough, in the county of Wiltshire (En 1689) and Baron Churchill of Sandridge, in the county of Hertford (En 1685)
- Other titles (1st Duke): Lord Churchill of Eyemouth, in the county of Berwick (Sc 1682)
- John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650–1722), soldier and statesman
- Henrietta Godolphin, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough (1681–1733), eldest daughter of the 1st Duke, succeeded her father by Act of Parliament (1706)
- William Godolphin, Marquess of Blandford (1700–1731), elder son of the 2nd Duchess, predeceased his mother without issue
- Other titles (3rd Duke onwards): Earl of Sunderland (En 1643) and Baron Spencer of Wormleighton (En 1729)
- Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough (1706–1758), third son of Lady Sunderland
- George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough (1739–1817), elder son of the 3rd Duke
- George Spencer-Churchill, 5th Duke of Marlborough (1766–1840), elder son of the 4th Duke
- George Spencer-Churchill, 6th Duke of Marlborough (1793–1857), eldest son of the 5th Duke
- John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough (1822–1883), eldest son of the 6th Duke and paternal grandfather of Winston Churchill
- George Charles Spencer-Churchill, 8th Duke of Marlborough (1844–1892), eldest son of the 7th Duke
- Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough (1871–1934), only son of the 8th Duke
- John Albert William Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough (1897–1972), elder son of the 9th Duke
- John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough (b. 1926), elder son of the 10th Duke
- Heir apparent: Charles James Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford (b. 1955), eldest surviving son of the 11th Duke
- Lord Blandford's heir apparent: George John Godolphin Spencer-Churchill, Earl of Sunderland (b. 1995), his elder son
- Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.747
- "Family Lineage: Duke of Marlborough". Burke's Peerage. August 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
- Paul Courtenay, The Armorial Bearings of Sir Winston Churchill The Armorial Bearings of Sir Winston Churchill (access date 20 July 2013)
- Robson, Thomas, The British Herald, or Cabinet of Armorial Bearings of the Nobility & Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume I, Turner & Marwood, Sunderland, 1830, p 401 (CHU-CLA)
- Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.747, apparently contradicting Robson who states wyverns argent
- "Churchill's Motto". Churchill Society of London. Retrieved July 20, 2013.