Baron Arlington

Baron Arlington is a title in the Peerage of England which was created, on 14 March 1665, for Sir Henry Bennet,[1] younger brother of John Bennet, 1st Baron Ossulston, with a special remainder allowing it to pass to both male and female descendants, rather than only heirs male, as was customary with most peerages. In 1672, he was made Earl of Arlington and Viscount Thetford, and was regranted the title of Baron Arlington, with the same special remainder. Its territorial designation is the birthplace of its first holder Harlington, London, which was also known as Arlington.

Barony of Arlington
Creation date14 March 1665
MonarchCharles II of England
PeeragePeerage of England
First holderSir Henry Bennet
Present holderJennifer Forwood, 11th Baroness Arlington (Baroness Arlington)
Remainder tograntee's heirs of the body lawfully begotten

The first earl died, as anticipated, without male heirs so the titles went to his daughter Isabella. At age five, Isabella was engaged to Henry FitzRoy, the illegitimate son of Charles II of England and his mistress Barbara Villiers. Henry would be created Duke of Grafton in 1679.

Co-descent with the dukedom of Grafton

As this boy Charles's father was an illegitimate son of King Charles II he, therefore, took the Norman-style surname Fitzroy. Upon the death of his parents, Charles FitzRoy inherited the Arlington and Grafton substantive titles.

The two titles continued united until the death of the 9th Duke in a high-speed racecar accident in 1936.

Separation from Dukedom

The Grafton dukedom passed to a cousin yet the three Arlington/Thetford titles fell into abeyance under the principle of moieties between his two sisters, neither of whom petitioned the Sovereign to terminate this. After the death of the elder sister, her eldest child Jennifer petitioned the Sovereign, and the abeyance of the barony of Arlington was terminated in her favour, restoring it upon her, rather than her aunt's descendants. The earldom of Arlington, however, remains abeyant, along with the viscountcy of Thetford.

Abeyance of senior titles

In the Peerage of the United Kingdom the earldom (including the viscountcy being a courtesy title) presents a rare example of a hereditary peerage title of a higher rank than baron falling into abeyance, another case being that of the earldom of Cromartie in 1893.

Barons Arlington (1665)

Co-heirs to the earldom of Arlington and the viscountcy of Thetford (in abeyance)


  1. Alan Marshall, ‘Bennet, Henry, first earl of Arlington (bap. 1618, d. 1685)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008.

See also

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