Earl of Halifax

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Earl of Halifax
Coronet of a British Earl.svg
Arms of the Earl of Halifax


Arms: Quarterly: 1st & 4th, Azure, three naked Savages ambulant in fess proper, in the dexter hand of each a Shield Argent, charged with a Cross Gules, and in the sinister a Club resting on the shoulder proper, on a Canton Ermine, three Lozenges conjoined in fess Sable (Wood); 2nd & 3rd, Paly bendy Or and Azure, a Canton Ermine (Buck). Crest: A naked Savage ambulant proper, in the dexter hand a Shield Sable, charged with a Griffin’s Head erased Argent and in the sinister a Club resting on the shoulder proper. Supporters: On either side a Griffin Sable, gorged with a Collar, pendant therefrom a Portcullis Or.

Creation date 11 July 1944 (4th Creation)
Creation Fourth
Monarch George VI
Peerage Peerage of the United Kingdom
First holder Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax
Present holder Charles Wood, 3rd Earl of Halifax
Heir apparent Hon. James Wood, Lord Irwin
Remainder to the 1st Earl's heirs male of the body
Subsidiary titles Viscount Halifax
Baron Irwin
Status Extant
Armorial motto I LIKE MY CHOICE

Earl of Halifax is a title that has been created four times in British history.[n 1]. The name of the peerage refers to Halifax, West Yorkshire.

The first three creations were for closely related male members of the Montagu family, landed gentry since the Norman Conquest, and spanned most of the years 1689-1771.

The fourth creation was in 1944 for the Wood family, specifically for the former Viceroy of India who was before his elevation to the earldom known as 3rd Viscount or more commonly, equally to this title, 'Lord' Halifax — he was a prominent 1930s minister in Government and to whom the office of Prime Minister was offered on the resignation of Chamberlain which he declined in favour of Churchill.

1679 creation[edit]

Charles Montagu,
1st Earl of Halifax

The first creation, in the Peerage of England in 1677, was for William Savile, 1st Viscount Halifax. He had already been made Baron Savile of Eland and Viscount Halifax in 1668 and was later made Marquess of Halifax (this creation of the earldom became extinct in 1700; see Marquess of Halifax for more information).

1714 creation[edit]

The title was recreated in 1714 for Charles Montagu, 1st Baron Halifax, First Lord of the Treasury to George I, along with the courtesy title of Viscount Sunbury. Both titles were created with remainder to heirs male. A member of the prominent Montagu family, he was the son of George Montagu, younger son of Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester (see the Duke of Manchester). Montagu had already been created Baron Halifax, of Halifax in the County of York, in 1700, with remainder, failing heirs male of his own, to his nephew George, son and heir of his brother Edward Montagu.

1715 creation[edit]

On Lord Halifax's death in 1715 the viscountcy and earldom became extinct. He was succeeded in the barony according to the special remainder by his nephew George Montagu. Less than a month after his uncle's death, both titles were revived in his favour, making him Earl of Halifax and Viscount Sunbury. He was succeeded by his son, the second Earl, who was a prominent statesman. However, on his death in 1771 all the titles became extinct.

1944 creation[edit]

Charles Wood,
1st Viscount Halifax

The title was created for a fourth time in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1944 for Edward Wood, 3rd Viscount Halifax, the former Foreign Secretary and Viceroy of India. The Wood family descends from Francis Wood, of Barnsley. His second son, Francis Wood, was created a Baronet, of Barnsley in the County of York, in 1784, with remainder to his elder brother the Reverend Henry Wood, and failing him to the sons of his younger brother Charles Wood. He was succeeded according to the special remainder by his nephew, the second Baronet (the son of Charles Wood).

His son, the third Baronet, was a prominent Liberal politician and served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1846 to 1852. In 1866 he was created Viscount Halifax, of Monk Bretton in the West Riding of the County of York, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. His aforementioned grandson, the third Viscount, was also a noted politician. In 1925, nine years before he succeeded his father, he was himself raised to the Peerage of the United Kingdom as Baron Irwin, of Kirby Underdale in the County of York. In 1944 he was further honoured when he was made Earl of Halifax. As of 2018 the titles are held by his grandson, the third Earl, who succeeded his father in 1980.

Another member of the Wood family was the Conservative politician Richard Wood, Baron Holderness. He was the second son of the first Earl of Halifax.

The family seat is Garrowby Hall, near Garrowby in the East Riding of Yorkshire

Earl of Halifax; first creation (1679)[edit]

Barons Halifax (1700)[edit]

Earls of Halifax; second creation (1714)[edit]

  • Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax (above)

Barons Halifax (1700; reverted)[edit]

Earls of Halifax; third creation (1715)[edit]

Family background of fourth creation[edit]

Wood Baronets, of Barnsley (1784)[edit]

  • Sir Francis Wood, 1st Baronet (1728–1795)
  • Sir Francis Lindley Wood, 2nd Baronet (1771–1846)
  • Sir Charles Wood, 3rd Baronet (1800–1885) (created Viscount Halifax in 1866)

Viscounts Halifax; second creation (1866)[edit]

Earls of Halifax; fourth creation (1944)[edit]

The heir apparent is the present Earl's only son James Charles Wood, Lord Irwin (b. 1977)
The heir apparent's heir is his only son Hon. Rex Patrick Wood (b. 2010)

See also[edit]


Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ To match the dates of creation, accordingly once in the Peerage of England, twice in the Peerage of Great Britain and once in the Peerage of the United Kingdom