Earl of Antrim

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Earldom of Antrim
2nd Creation
Coronet of a British Earl.svg
Earl of Antrim Coat of Arms.svg
Arms: Quarterly: 1st & 4th grand-quarters (for MacDonnell) 1st, Or, a Lion rampant Gules; 2nd, Or, a dexter Arm issuant from the sinister fess point out of a Cloud proper, in the hand a Cross-Crosslet fitchée erect Azure; 3rd, Argent, a Ship with sails furled Sable, 4th, per fess Azure and Vert, a Dolphin naiant in fess proper. 2nd & 3rd grand quarters (for Kerr) 1st & 4th, Azure, a Sun-in=Splendour Or; 2nd, Gules, on a Chevron Azure, three Mullets Gules; 3rd, Sable, on a Chevron between three Unicorn's Heads Argent, three Mullets Sable. Crests: 1st A dexter Arm embowed fesswise, couped at the shoulder, vested Or, cuffed Argent, holding in the hand a Cross-Crosslet fitchée erect Azure (for MacDonnell); 2nd, A Sun-in-Splendour Or (for Kerr). Supporters: Dexter: A Savage wreathed about the temples and loins with Ivy, all proper; Sinister: A Falcon wing inverted proper, beaked membered and belled Or.
Creation date 19 June 1785
Creation Second
Monarch George III
Peerage Peerage of Ireland
First holder Randal MacDonnell, 6th Earl of Antrim
Present holder Alexander McDonnell, 9th Earl of Antrim
Heir apparent Randal MacDonnell, Viscount Dunluce
Remainder to the 1st Earl's daughters and the heirs male of their respective bodies lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titles Viscount Dunluce
Seat(s) Glenarm Castle
Former seat(s) Dunluce Castle
Armorial motto TOUJOURS PREST
(Always ready)
Earldom of Antrim (1st Creation)
Marquessate of Antrim
Coronet of a British Marquess.svg
Image of the Arms is unavailable
Arms: Quarterly: 1st, Or, a Lion rampant Gules; 2nd, Or, a dexter Arm issuant from the sinister fess point out of a Cloud proper, in the hand a Cross-Crosslet fitchée erect Azure; 3rd, Argent, a Ship with sails furled Sable, 4th, per fess Azure and Vert, a Dolphin naiant in fess proper. Crest: A dexter Arm embowed fesswise, couped at the shoulder, vested Or, cuffed Argent, holding in the hand a Cross-Crosslet fitchée erect Azure. Supporters: Dexter: A Savage wreathed about the temples and loins with Ivy, all proper; Sinister: A Falcon wing inverted proper, beaked membered and belled Or.
Creation date 12 December 1620 (Earl of Antrim)
26 January 1645 (Marquess of Antrim – 1st Creation)
18 August 1789 Marquess of Antrim – 2nd Creation)
Creation First
Monarch James VI and I (Earldom - 1st Creation)
Charles I (Marquessate – 1st Creation)
George III (Marquessate – 2nd Creation)
Peerage Peerage of Ireland
First holder Randal MacDonnell, 1st Viscount Dunluce (Earldom)
Randal MacDonnell, 2nd Earl of Antrim (Marquess- 1st Creation)
Randal MacDonnell, 6th & 1st Earl of Antrim (Marquess – 2nd Creation)
Last holder Randal MacDonnell, 1st Marquess of Antrim (1645 creation)
Randal MacDonnell, 1st Marquess of Antrim (1789 creation) (Marquessate and Earldom – 1st Creation)
Remainder to The 1st Earls’/Marquess’ heirs male of the body lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titles Viscount Dunluce
Status Extinct
Extinction date 3 February 1682 (Marquessate – 1st Creation)
29 July 1791 (Earldom and Marquessate – 2nd Creation)
Armorial motto TOUJOURS PREST
(Always ready)


Randal MacDonnel,
1st Marquess of Antrim of the first creation

Earl of Antrim is a title that has been created twice, both times in the Peerage of Ireland and both times for members of the MacDonnell family, originally of Scottish origins. This family descends from Sorley Boy MacDonnell, who established the family in County Antrim. His fourth son Randal MacDonnell was created Viscount Dunluce, in the County of Antrim, in 1618, and Earl of Antrim in 1620. Both titles were in the Peerage of Ireland. His eldest son, the second Earl, fought as a Royalist in the Civil War and was created Marquess of Antrim in the Peerage of Ireland in 1645. He was childless and on his death in 1682 the marquessate became extinct.

He was succeeded in the viscountcy and earldom by his younger brother, the third Earl. He represented Wigan in the English House of Commons and also served as Lord Lieutenant of Antrim. Lord Antrim was attainted in 1689 for his support of King James II but was restored in 1697. His grandson, the fifth Earl, was Governor of County Antrim. He was succeeded by his son, the sixth Earl. He represented County Antrim in the Irish House of Commons. Lord Antrim had no sons, and as there were no other male heirs left of the first Earl, the titles were heading for extinction. However, in 1785 King George III created him Viscount Dunluce and Earl of Antrim in the Peerage of Ireland, with remainder to his daughters in order of seniority and the heirs male of their bodies.[1] In 1789 he was further honoured when he was made Marquess of Antrim in the Peerage of Ireland, with normal remainder to the heirs male of his body.[2]

On Lord Antrim's death in 1791 the viscountcy of Dunluce of 1618, the earldom of Antrim of 1620 and the marquessate became extinct. He was succeeded in the viscountcy and earldom of 1785 according to the special remainders by his eldest daughter Anne Catherine, the second holder of the titles. She married as her first husband Sir Henry Vane-Tempest, 2nd Baronet, of Long Newton. Their daughter Lady Frances Anne Vane-Tempest married Charles William Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, and was the great-grandmother of Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. Lady Antrim had no sons and was succeeded by her younger sister Charlotte, the third holder. She was the wife of Vice-Admiral Lord Mark Robert Kerr, third son of William John Kerr, 5th Marquess of Lothian.

She was succeeded by her eldest surviving son, the fourth Earl. He assumed in 1836 by Royal licence the surname of McDonnell in lieu of Kerr. He had no sons and was succeeded by his younger brother, the fifth Earl. On succeeding his brother in 1855 he assumed by Royal licence the surname of McDonnell in lieu of Kerr. As of 2013 the titles are held by his great-great-grandson, the ninth Earl, who succeeded his father in 1977. As a male-line descendant of the fifth Marquess of Lothian he is also in remainder to this peerage and its subsidiary titles.

The Hon. Angus McDonnell, second son of the sixth Earl of the second creation, was Member of Parliament for Dartford.

The family seat is Glenarm Castle, near Glenarm, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland.

The Dunluce Cup is awarded at the Larne Music Festival by the Viscount or Viscountess Dunluce, heir to the Earl of Antrim.[3]

The McQuillan family ruled Dunluce before the McDonnells, but they are not awarded peerage because they were overthrown during the 1500s.

Earls of Antrim, first creation (1620)[edit]

Marquesses of Antrim, first creation (1645)[edit]

Earls of Antrim, first creation (1620; reverted)[edit]

Marquesses of Antrim, second creation (1789)[edit]

Earls of Antrim, second creation (1785)[edit]

The heir apparent is the present holder's son, Randal Alexander St John McDonnell, Viscount Dunluce (born 1967).
The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son, the Hon. Alexander David Somerled McDonnell (born 2006).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "No. 12661". The London Gazette. 5 July 1785. p. 322. 
  2. ^ "No. 13124". The London Gazette. 22 August 1789. p. 557. 
  3. ^ "Larne Music Festival hits the right note". Larne Times. 
  4. ^ Gentlemen's Magazine 1784, p. 350.

References[edit]

External links[edit]