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 date11 July 1944
MonarchKing George VI
PeeragePeerage of the United Kingdom
First holderEdward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax
Present holderPeter Wood, 3rd Earl of Halifax
Heir apparentHon. James Wood, Lord Irwin
Remainder tothe 1st Earl's heirs male of the body
Subsidiary titlesViscount Halifax
Baron Irwin

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 Lord Halifax, the former Viceroy of India (who was before his elevation to the earldom the 3rd Viscount Halifax). He was a prominent 1930s minister, to whom the office of prime minister was offered on the resignation of Chamberlain, which he declined in favour of Churchill.

History of the title[edit]

1679 creation[edit]

The first creation, in the Peerage of England in 1679, was for George Savile, 1st Viscount Halifax. He had already been made Baron Savile of Elland 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]

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 former 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, during which he became notorious for the policies he followed during the Great Famine in Ireland. 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[edit]

Viscount Halifax, first creation (1668)[edit]

Earl of Halifax (1679)[edit]

Marquess of Halifax (1682)[edit]

Earl of Halifax, second and third creations[edit]

Baron Halifax (1700)[edit]

Earl of Halifax (1714)[edit]

Baron Halifax (1700; reverted)[edit]

Earl of Halifax (1715)[edit]

Male-line family tree[edit]

Male-line family tree, Barons Halifax and Earls of Halifax (second and third creations).
George Montagu
Baron Halifax
Viscount Sunbury
Earl of Halifax
(second creation)
Edward Montagu
Charles Montagu
1st Baron Halifax
1st Earl of Halifax

Viscountcy and
earldom extinct
Viscount Sunbury
Earl of Halifax
(third creation)
George Montagu
2nd Baron Halifax
1st Earl of Halifax

George Montagu-Dunk
2nd Earl of Halifax

Barony, viscountcy
and earldom extinct

Earl of Halifax, fourth creation[edit]

Viscount Halifax, second creation (1866)[edit]

Earl of Halifax (1944)[edit]

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

Male-line family tree[edit]

Male-line family tree, Viscounts Halifax (second creation) and Earls of Halifax (fourth creation).
Charles Wood
1st Viscount Halifax

Charles Wood
2nd Viscount Halifax

Baron Irwin
Earl of Halifax
Charles Wood
Francis Wood
Henry Wood
Edward Wood
1st Baron Irwin
3rd Viscount Halifax
1st Earl of Halifax

Charles Wood
2nd Earl of Halifax

Peter Wood
3rd Earl of Halifax

born 1944
James Wood
Lord Irwin
born 1977
Rex Wood
born 2010

Line of succession[edit]

Line of succession

Only the first three in the line of succession are in remainder to the earldom and its subsidiary titles. All in the line of succession are in remainder to the earlier created viscountcy and its subsidiary titles.

  • Coronet of a British Viscount.svg Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax (1800–1885)[citation needed]
    • Coronet of a British Viscount.svg Charles Lindley Wood, 2nd Viscount Halifax (1839–1934)
    • Hon. Frederick George Lindley Meynell (1846–1910)
      • Col. Francis Hugo Lindley Meynell (1880–1941)
        • Col. Hugo Meynell (1909–1960)
          • Nicholas Edward Hugo Meynell (1937–1988)
            • (4) Hugo Graham Nicholas Meynell (born 1970)
            • (5) Alexander Frederick Miles Meynell (born 1972)
          • David Christian Francis Meynell (1940–2001)
            • (6) Charles Christian George Meynell (born 1964)
              • (7) Cosmo Frederick Charles Meynell (born 1995)
              • (8) Felix Meynell
              • (9) Hector Edward Hugo Meynell (born 2005)
        • Rev. Mark Meynell (1914–2006)
          • (10) Christopher Mark Meynell (born 1941)
            • (11) Reverend Mark John Henry Meynell (born 1970)
            • (12) Guy Francis Meynell (born 1973)
          • (13) Reverend Andrew Francis Meynell (born 1943)
            • (14) Aidan Jonathan Charles Meynell (born 1974)
          • (15) Peter John Meynell (born 1947)
            • (16) Marten Charles Meynell (born 1977)
      • Capt. Charles Wilfred Lindley Meynell (1890–1976)
        • Richard Walter Meynell (1923–2010)
          • (17) Anthony Charles Meynell (born 1952)
            • (18) Wilfrid Meynell (born 1986)
          • (19) Charles Humphrey Meynell (born 1954)

Notes and references[edit]