Baron Brownlow, of Belton in the County of Lincoln, is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1776 for Sir Brownlow Cust, 4th Baronet. The Cust family descends from Richard Cust who represented Lincolnshire and Stamford in Parliament. In 1677 he was created a baronet, of Stamford in the County of Lincoln. He was succeeded by his grandson, the second Baronet. He married Anne Brownlow, daughter of Sir William Brownlow, 4th Baronet, of Humby and sister and sole heiress of John Brownlow, 1st Viscount Tyrconnel (and 5th Baronet, of Humby).
The second Baronet's son, the third Baronet, sat as a Member of Parliament for Grantham and served as Speaker of the House of Commons from 1761 to 1770. In 1754 Cust inherited the Brownlow estates on the death of his maternal uncle Lord Tyrconnel. His son, the fourth Baronet, represented Ilchester and Grantham in Parliament. In 1776 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Brownlow, of Belton in the County of Lincoln, chiefly in recognition of his father's services, and chose the title of the barony from the surname held by his grandmother's ancestors. He was succeeded by his son, the second Baron. He sat as Member of Parliament for Clitheroe and also served as Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire for many years. In 1815 he was created Viscount Alford, in the County of Lincoln and Earl Brownlow in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. In 1810 Lord Brownlow married Sophia Hume, daughter of Sir Abraham Hume, 2nd Baronet, of Wormleybury and Lady Amelia Egerton, great-granddaughter of John Egerton, 3rd Earl of Bridgewater.
On his death the titles passed to his grandson, the second Earl (the son of John Egerton, Viscount Alford). In 1853 he assumed the surname of Egerton in lieu of Cust by Royal licence, but in 1863 he resumed by Royal licence the surname of Cust in addition to that Egerton. The change of surname was in order to comply with the will of his kinsman John Egerton, 7th Earl of Bridgewater. Brownlow managed to inherit the substantial Bridgewater estates after a remarkable lawsuit. However, he died young and was succeeded by his younger brother, the third Earl. He was a Conservative politician and briefly represented Shropshire North in the House of Commons before entering the House of Lords on his brother's death. Lord Brownlow later served under Lord Salisbury as Paymaster-General from 1887 to 1889 and Under-Secretary of State for War for 1889 to 1892 and was also Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire for over fifty years. However, on his death the viscountcy and earldom became extinct.
He was succeeded in the barony and baronetcy by his kinsman, the fifth Baron and eighth Baronet. He was the youngest son of Henry Cockayne-Cust, eldest son of Reverend Henry Cust, younger son of the first Baron. His son, the sixth Baron, notably served as a Lord-in-Waiting to the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), as Mayor of Grantham, as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of Aircraft Production Lord Beaverbrook and as Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire. As of 2017[update] the titles are held by his son, the seventh Baron, who succeeded in 1978.
Several other members of the family may also be mentioned. Peregrine Cust and William Cust, younger sons of the first Baron, were both Members of Parliament. William's son Arthur Purey-Cust was Dean of York. Edward Cust, another younger son of the first Baron, was a soldier and politician. He was created a Baronet in 1876 (see Cust Baronets, of Leasowe Castle). Henry John "Harry" Cockayne-Cust, (1861 – 1917), a brother of the fifth baron, was a politician and newspaper editor.
Cust baronets, of Stamford (1677)
- Sir Richard Cust, 1st Baronet (1622–1700)
- Sir Richard Cust, 2nd Baronet (1680–1734)
- Sir John Cust, 3rd Baronet (1718–1770)
- Sir Brownlow Cust, 4th Baronet (1744–1807) (created Baron Brownlow in 1776)
Barons Brownlow (1776)
- Brownlow Cust, 1st Baron Brownlow (1744–1807)
- John Cust, 2nd Baron Brownlow (1779–1853) (created Earl Brownlow in 1815)
Earls Brownlow (1815)
- John Cust, 1st Earl Brownlow (1779–1853)
- John Hume Egerton, Viscount Alford (1812–1851)
- John William Spencer Brownlow Egerton-Cust, 2nd Earl Brownlow (1842–1867)
- Adelbert Wellington Brownlow Home-Cust, 3rd Earl Brownlow (1844–1921)
Barons Brownlow (1776; Reverted)
- Adelbert Salusbury Cockayne-Cust, 5th Baron Brownlow (1867–1927)
- Peregrine Francis Adelbert Cust, 6th Baron Brownlow (1899–1978)
- Edward John Peregrine Cust, 7th Baron Brownlow (b. 1936)
The heir apparent is the present holder's son the Hon. Peregrine Edward Quintin Cust (b. 1974).