Earl De La Warr

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Earl De La Warr is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1761 for John West, 7th Baron De La Warr. The Earl holds the subsidiary titles of Viscount Cantelupe (1761) in the Peerage of Great Britain, Baron De La Warr (1572) in the Peerage of England, and Baron Buckhurst, of Buckhurst in the County of Sussex (1864) in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The barony De La Warr is of the second creation; however, it bears the precedence of the first creation, 1299, and has done so since shortly after the death of William West, 1st Baron De La Warr. The barony and earldom are both pronounced "De La Ware", as in the American state.[1][2]


The name de La Warr is from Sussex and of Anglo-Norman origin.[3] It came probably from a Norman lieu-dit La Guerre. This toponymic could derive from the Latin word ager, from the Breton gwern or from the Late Latin warectum (fallow). The toponyms Gara, Gaire also appear in old texts cited by Lucien Musset, where the word ga(i)ra means gore. It could also be linked with a patronimic from the Old Norse verr.

Baronies of De La Warr

The barony De La Warr is of the second creation; however, it bears the precedence of the first creation, 1299, and has done so since shortly after the death of William West, 1st Baron De La Warr. The precise legal situation concerning the second creation is murky. The modern rules attempt to regularize medieval practice, but there are many cases that cannot easily be made to fit, whether because a local custom was involved, or because an exception was made, or because the rules were still in flux. This is such a case. William was heir male but not heir general. Because the original barony was created by writ, descent is presumed to be to the heir (or heirs) general, wherefore it fell into abeyance between the daughters of Sir Owen West (and their heirs in turn). The second creation can be fairly viewed in at least three ways.

  • As a means of placing beyond dispute an inheritance that should have gone to the heir male in the first place. The act concerning precedence is understood as rectifying the side effect this had of altering the precedence. Accordingly, some writers ignore the second creation when numbering: thus Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr is sometimes called 12th Baron De La Warr.
  • As an extraordinary act resolving an important estate that should not be left in abeyance. In this case, the previous barony was intended to be extinguished (no authority suggests that there is a baron De Le Warre still abeyant) and the act altering precedence is difficult to understand other than as political expediency.
  • As a part of the effort to solve relatively complex problems of inheritance case by case, before the doctrine of abeyance, as it now exists, had been worked out.

American connections

In the United States, Thomas West, 3rd (or 12th) baron is often named in history books simply as Lord Delaware. He served as governor of the Jamestown Colony, and the Delaware Bay was named after him. The state of Delaware, the Delaware River and the Delaware Indians, a name for the Lenape were so called after the bay, and thus ultimately derive their names from the barony. Many other US counties, townships and the like derive their names directly or indirectly from this connection; see Delaware (disambiguation).

Other family members

Descendants of the 5th Earl include the authors Lady Margaret Sackville, Vita Sackville-West, and Nigel Nicolson.[4]

Another member of the West family was William Cornwallis-West. He was the grandson of the Hon. Frederick West, youngest son of the second Earl. Cornwallis-West was the father of George Cornwallis-West, Daisy, Princess of Pless and Constance, Duchess of Westminster.

The family seat is Buckhurst Park in Sussex.

Barons De La Warr; First creation (1299)

Barons De La Warr; Second creation (1572)

Earls De La Warr (1761)

The heir apparent is the present holder's son William Herbrand Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst (b. 1979).
The heir apparent's heir apparent is his son Hon. William Lionel Robert Sackville (b. 2014).


  1. Debrett's Peerage 1968, p.333
  2. Pronounced as "Delaware".
  3. Ware DeGidio, Wanda (2011). Ware DeGidio, Wanda (ed.). Ware Family History: Descendants from Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Kings and Queens, and Presidents of the United States. p. 10. ISBN 1-4010-9930-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Sackville-West family tree" (PDF). National Portrait Gallery.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links