Earldom of Spencer
Arms of Spencer: Quarterly argent and gules, in the 2nd and 3rd quarters a fret or, over all on a bend sable three escallops of the first
Creation date1 November 1765; 257 years ago (1 November 1765)
Created byGeorge III
PeeragePeerage of Great Britain
First holderJohn Spencer
Present holderCharles Spencer, 9th Earl
Heir apparentLouis Spencer, Viscount Althorp
Remainder tothe 1st Earl's heirs male of the body lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titlesViscount Althorp
Viscount Spencer
Baron Spencer of Althorp
Spencer House

Earl Spencer is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain that was created on 1 November 1765, along with the title Viscount Althorp, of Althorp in the County of Northampton, for John Spencer, 1st Viscount Spencer.[1][2] He was a member of the prominent Spencer family and a great-grandson of the 1st Duke of Marlborough. Previously, he had been created Viscount Spencer, of Althorp in the County of Northampton, and Baron Spencer of Althorp, of Althorp in the County of Northampton, on 3 April 1761.[3][2]

The future 6th Earl Spencer was created Viscount Althorp, of Great Brington in the County of Northampton, on 19 December 1905 in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.[4] Diana, Princess of Wales, was the youngest of three daughters of the 8th Earl Spencer. William, Prince of Wales and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex are grandsons of the 8th Earl Spencer.

Land holdings

The family seat is Althorp in Northamptonshire.[2] Their estate includes significant land holdings in other parts of the country, including the village of North Creake in Norfolk. The family also holds Spencer House in St James's, London.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the family is as follows: Quarterly argent and gules, in the second and third quarters a fret or, over all on a bend sable, three escallops of the first. The crest, emerging from the coronet, is a griffin's head argent, gorged with a bar gemelle gules between two wings expanded of the second. The supporters are: Dexter, a griffin per fess ermine and erminois, gorged with a collar sable, the edges flory-counter-flory, and chained of the last, on the collar, three escallops argent; sinister, a wyvern erect on his tail ermine, collared and chained as the griffin. The motto is Dieu defend le droit (French: God protect the right).[5]

Earls Spencer (1765)

John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer,
by Thomas Gainsborough

The heir apparent is the present holder's son Louis Frederick John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (b. 1994).

Family tree

This is a continuation of the Spencer/Spencer-Churchill family tree for the Althorp branch of the Spencers found in the Spencer family article.

Family tree of Spencer family of Althorp


Coat of arms of Earl Spencer
A Coronet of an Earl
Out of a Ducal Coronet Or a Griffin's Head Azure gorged with a Bar Gemelle Gules between two Wings expanded of the second
Quarterly Argent and Gules in the 2nd and 3rd quarters a Fret Or over all on a Bend Sable three Escallops of the first
Dexter: A Griffin per fess Ermine and Erminois gorged with a Collar Sable the edges flory-counterflory and chained of the last and on the Collar three Escallops Argent; Sinister: A Wyvern Erect on his tail Ermine similarly collared and chained
Dieu Defend Le Droit (God defend the right)

See also


  1. ^ "No. 10562". The London Gazette. 5 October 1765. p. 1.
  2. ^ a b c Burke, John (1833). A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. London: H. Colburn and R. Bentley. p. 466.
  3. ^ "No. 10092". The London Gazette. 4 April 1761. p. 1.
  4. ^ "No. 27868". The London Gazette. 29 December 1905. p. 9319.
  5. ^ Townend, Peter (ed.). Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage (103rd ed.). Burke's Peerage Limited. p. 2282.
  6. ^ Kate Fleming, The Churchills, Viking Press, 1975
  7. ^ Herman, Eleanor (2005). Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge. Pushed into War, Sold into Marriage: William Morrow. p. 190. ISBN 0060585439.

Further reading