Baron Ferrers of Chartley
The title Baron Ferrers of Chartley was created on 6 February 1299 for John de Ferrers, son of Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby. The daughter of the 6th Baron Ferrers of Chartley, Anne, married Walter Devereux who was summoned to parliament as Lord Ferrers in her right. Their descendants became Earls of Essex and so the peerage was also forfeited from 1601 to 1604. After the restoration to the title, the 12th Baron died and the peerage fell into abeyance in 1646. The abeyance was terminated in 1677 in favour of Robert Shirley. In 1711 he was created the 1st Earl Ferrers. On the death of his granddaughter, the wife of the 5th Earl of Northampton, the peerage fell into abeyance again. When only one of the three daughters of the 14th Baroness Ferrers of Chartley remained, the abeyance of the barony terminated for this daughter, who was the wife of the 1st Marquess Townshend. The barony remained still merged with the marquessate until the death of the 3rd Marquess, when it again fell into abeyance between the marquess's two sisters and their heirs.
Background of the de Ferrers family
"Ferrer" is French and means "to bind with iron" or " to shoe a horse" (cf. farrier). Ferrières-Saint-Hilaire in Normandy, the caput of the de Ferrers family, was an important centre for ironwork. Although some say the Ferrers coat of arms shows six black horseshoes on a silver background, A. C. Fox-Davies notes, in his book A Complete Guide to Heraldry, that these were the arms of their ancestral relatives, the Marshals, and except for William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby, who bore 8 sable horseshoes on an argent border surrounding the family arms, no other Ferrers bore them on their arms. The Ferrers traditional arms are vairy, or and gules.
The family are descended from Henri de Ferrieres (Henry de Ferrers - d.1100 at Tutbury Priory), Lord of Longueville, Normandy, who participated in the Norman conquest of England. Henry was accompanied to England by three other families who were the de Ferrers underlords in France: the Curzons (Notre Dame-de-Courson), the Baskervilles (Boscherville) and the Levetts (Livet-en-Ouche).
After the battle, Henry became a major land holder and was granted 210 manors throughout England and Wales (but notably in Derbyshire and Leicestershire) by King William I for his conspicuous bravery and support at Hastings. He first served William I as the governor/caretaker of Stafford and in about 1066 or 1067 he was granted the lands in Berkshire and Wiltshire of Goderic, former Sheriff of Berkshire. Henry acted as a Domesday Commissioner and was soon appointed the first Anglo-Norman High Sheriff of Berkshire. He built Tutbury Castle and founded the priory there in 1080. Tutbury acted as a centre for all Henry's affairs. He also built Duffield and Pilsbury Castles.
The first six Earls of Derby were to follow in Henry's wake, a volatile mix of rebels and Royal favourites:
- Robert de Ferrers, 1st Earl of Derby, (1062–1139)
- Robert de Ferrers, 2nd Earl of Derby (d. before 1160
- William de Ferrers, 3rd Earl of Derby (d.1190)
- William de Ferrers, 4th Earl of Derby (1168–1247)
- William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby (1193–1254)
- Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby (1239 – 1279)
Robert de Ferrers, 1st Earl of Derby, (1062–1139) was created Earl of Derby by King Stephen in 1138 for his valiant conduct at the Battle of Northallerton. Charters and chronicles from this point refer to him interchangeably as Earl Ferrers, earl of Nottingham or earl of Derby. His son Robert de Ferrers, 2nd Earl of Derby (?–bef.1160) became the 2nd earl and was married to Margaret Peverel. Robert was known for his great genorsity to the church and also for the fact he founded Darley and Merivale Abbey's. He seemingly continued his father's attempts to play a role in the civil war commonly called The Anarchy that arose because of the contesting claims of Empress Matilda and Stephen of England. The family's support for Stephen led to him being awarded the revenues of the Borough of Derby in 1139, though in 1149 Stephen granted the Borough to the Earl of Chester. Robert finally threw in his lot with the future Henry II after Tutbury Castle was besieged in 1153. However, when Henry came to the throne in 1154, he withdrew de Ferrers' right to use the title of Earl in protest against Robert's earlier allegiances and despite still accepting him at court, disallowed Robert from receiving the "third penny" on the profits of the county.
William de Ferrers, 3rd Earl of Derby (?–1190), was married to Sybil de Braose. He rebelled against King Henry II and was imprisoned at Caen, Normandy. Later in life William regained the confidence of Henry II, and showed his fidelity to the next Sovereign, King Richard I, by accompanying him in his expedition to the Holy Land. William became a Knights Templar, joined the Third Crusade and died at the Siege of Acre in 1190. He was succeeded by his son William de Ferrers, 4th Earl of Derby (d.1247) who married Agnes de Kevelioc (also known as Agnes of Chester), daughter of Hugh de Kevelioc, 3rd Earl of Chester. William succeeded to the estate (but not the title) of the Earldom of Derby upon the death of his father, whose allegiance to King Richard he adopted. On Richard's return from the Third Crusade, William played a leading role in besieging Nottingham Castle on 28 March 1194, which was being held by supporters of John Lackland. For seven weeks after this he held the position of Sheriff of Nottingham and Derbyshire. On the accession of King John in 1199 after the death of his brother, William gave him his allegiance, and became a great favourite. He restored to the Ferrers' family the title of Earl of Derby, along with the right to the "third penny", and soon afterwards bestowed upon him the manors of Ashbourne and Wirksworth, with the whole of that wapentake, subject to a fee farm rent of £70 per annum. When, in 1213, John surrendered his kingdoms of England and Ireland to the Pope, William was one of the witnesses to the "Bulla Aurea". William gave surety on behalf of the king for the payment of a yearly tribute of 1,000 marks and in the same year, the King granted William the royal castle of Harestan (Horsley Castle) as a residence for his wife. In 1216, John made William bailiff of the Peak Forest and warden of the Peak Castle, Peveril Castle.
He was succeeded by his son William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby who married Sibyl Marshall and then Margaret De Quincy with whom he had his son and heir Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby. After doing homage to King Henry III, he had livery of Chartley Castle and other lands of his mother's inheritance. He accompanied King Henry to France in 1230 and sat in parliament in London in the same year. William had many favours granted to him by the king, among them the right of free warren in Beaurepair (Belper), Makeney, Winleigh (Windley), Holbrooke, Siward (Southwood near Coxbench), Heyhegh (Heage) Cortelegh (Corkley, in the parish of Muggington), Ravensdale, Holland (Hulland), and many other places. The 6th Earl, Robert de Ferrers famously rebelled against King Henry III in several baronial unrests and was arrested and imprisoned first in the Tower of London, then in Windsor Castle and Wallingford Castle. His lands and earldom were forfeited, including Tutbury Castle which still belongs to the Duchy of Lancaster. He remained in a constant power struggle with Henry's son, Edmund Crouchback over the use of his estates but died in 1279 and it is thought that he was buried at the priory of St Thomas, at Stafford. His widow survived until 1314. She initially brought a claim against Edmund for dower in the past de Ferrers lands, but she finally settled at the manor of Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire.
Barons Ferrers of Chartley (1299)
- John de Ferrers, 1st Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1271–1325) summoned to parliament as son of Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby (1239 – 1279),
- Robert de Ferrers, 2nd Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1310–1350)
- John de Ferrers, 3rd Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1329–1367)
- Robert de Ferrers, 4th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1360–1413)
- Edmund de Ferrers, 5th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1389–1435)
- William de Ferrers, 6th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1412–1450)
- Anne de Ferrers, 7th Baroness Ferrers of Chartley (1438–1468), her husband, Walter Devereux, was summoned to parliament as Lord Ferrers in her right and died 1485.
- John Devereux, 8th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1463–1501), succeeded on his father's death
- Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford, 9th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1491–1558)
- Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, 2nd Viscount Hereford, 10th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1540–1576)
- Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, 3rd Viscount Hereford, 11th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1567–1601), on his death the peerage was forfeited in 1601.
- Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, 4th Viscount Hereford, 12th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1591–1646), restored in 1604; on his death the peerage fell into abeyance in 1646.
- Robert Shirley, 1st Earl Ferrers, 13th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1650–1717), abeyance terminated in 1677, in 1711 created 1st Earl Ferrers
- Elizabeth Compton, 14th Baroness Ferrers of Chartley (1694–1741), on her death in 1741 the peerage again fell into abeyance.
- Charlotte Townshend, 15th Baroness Ferrers of Chartley (c.1710–1770) abeyance terminated in 1749
- George Townshend, 2nd Marquess Townshend, 16th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1755–1811)
- George Ferrars Townshend, 3rd Marquess Townshend, 17th Baron Ferrers of Chartley (1788–1855), on his death the peerage again fell into abeyance, where it still remains.