The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







A marquess is a nobleman of hereditary rank in Europe and Japan. In British peerage it ranks below a Duke and above an Earl. A woman with the rank of marquess, or the wife of a marquess, is a marchioness.

The word derives from the Middle French marquis (feminine, marquise), ultimately from a Germanic word for 'border' which in English became marches. This spelling marquis is still also used, though marquess is now preferred, at least for British marquesses (French marquis are still generally known by the French spelling of the word). In German-speaking countries, the equivalent title was margrave. In Italy the equivalent rank is that of Marchese, the wife of whom is a Marchesa.

Peerage of England

The first marquess in England was Robert de Vere, 9th Earl of Oxford, who was created Marquess of Dublin by Richard II on the 1 December 1385. On the 13 October 1386, the patent of this marquessate was recalled, and Robert de Vere was raised to Duke of Ireland. John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, the second legitimate son of John of Gaunt, was raised to the second marquessate as Marquess of Dorset in September 1397. In 1399, he was disgraced, and the king revoked his marquessate. The Commons petitioned Richard for his restoration but he himself objected stating "the name of marquess is a strange name in this realm". From that period the title appears to have been dormant till the reign of Henry VI, when it was revived in 1442.

See also


  • The Chronological Peerage of England, as of March 2, 2003; [1]; omits Normanby, misspells Hartington as Martington, places Marquess of Lorn and Kintyre in peerage of England (Scotland is more probable).
  • BUCKINGHAM AND NORMANBY, JOHN SHEFFIELD, 1ST DUKE OF (1648-1721), 1911 Encyclopędia Britannica; [2]; mentions Marquess of Normanby in peerage of England.

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