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Earl of Cork

The Earl of the County of Cork, usually shortened to Earl of Cork, is a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1620 for the Anglo-Irish politician Richard Boyle, 1st Baron Boyle. He had already been created Lord Boyle, Baron of Youghal, in the County of Cork, in 1616, and was made Viscount of Dungarvan, in the County of Waterford, at the same time he was given the earldom. These titles are also in the Peerage of Ireland. Known as the "Great Earl", he was born in Canterbury, England, but settled in Ireland in 1588, where he married an Irish heiress and bought large estates in County Cork. From 1631 to 1643 he served as Lord Treasurer of Ireland. His third son the Hon. Sir Roger Boyle was created Earl of Orrery in 1660.

Lord Cork was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Earl. He had already succeeded his younger brother as second Viscount Boyle of Kinalmeaky according to a special remainder in the letters patent. He married Elizabeth Clifford, 2nd Baroness Clifford, a descendant of Edward III, and in 1644 he was created Baron Clifford of Lanesborough, in the County of York, in the Peerage of England. Lord Cork later served as Lord High Treasurer of Ireland and as Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire. In 1664 he was further honoured when he was made Earl of Burlington in the Peerage of England. His only son and heir apparent Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan, was summoned to the Irish House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in his father's junior title of Viscount Dungarvan in 1663. He later represented Tamworth and Yorkshire in the English House of Commons. In 1689 he was summoned to the English House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in his father's junior title of Baron Clifford of Lanesborough.

Lord Cork was succeeded by his grandson, the third Earl, the son of Viscount Dungarvan. He was Lord Treasurer of Ireland and Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire. On his death the titles passed to his only son, the fourth Earl of Cork and third Earl of Burlington. Known as Lord Burlington, he was the famous architect who published Andrea Palladio's designs of Ancient Roman architecture and designed Chiswick House with William Kent. He had no sons and on his death in 1753 the barony of Clifford of Lanesborough and earldom of Burlington became extinct. He was succeeded in the Burlington estates and in the barony of Clifford by his eldest surviving daughter Charlotte Elizabeth Boyle, 6th Baroness Clifford (see the Baron Clifford for later history of this title). She married William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire. Their third son Lord George Augustus Henry Cavendish was created Earl of Burlington in 1831.

Lord Burlington was succeeded in the earldom of Cork and the other remaining titles by his third cousin John Boyle, 5th Earl of Orrery, who became the fifth Earl of Cork as well (see the Earl of Orrery for earlier history of this branch of the family). He was a writer and a friend of Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope and Samuel Johnson. He was succeeded by his second but eldest surviving son, the sixth Earl. He represented Charleville in the Irish House of Commons and Warwick in the British House of Commons. He died unmarried at the age of thirty-three and was succeeded by his half-brother, the seventh Earl. On his death 1798 the titles passed to his second but eldest surviving son, the eighth Earl. He was a General in the Army and fought in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

He was succeeded by his grandson, the ninth Earl. He was the son of Captain Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan. Lord Cork was a Liberal politician and served as Master of the Buckhounds and as Master of the Horse under Lord Russell, William Gladstone and Lord Rosebery. His eldest son, the tenth Earl, fought in the Second Boer War but died childless in 1925. He was succeeded by his younger brother, the eleventh Earl. He also died childless and was succeeded by his second cousin, the twelfth Earl. He was the grandson of the Hon. John Boyle, third son of the eighth Earl. Lord Cork was an Admiral of the Fleet and notably commanded the combined expedition for the capture of Narvik in 1940. He was childless and was succeeded by his nephew, the thirteenth Earl. He was the eldest son of Major the Hon. Reginald Courtenay Boyle. He served as a Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords and as Deputy Chairman of Committees in the House of Lords from 1973 to 1978. He died childless and was succeeded by his younger brother, the fourteenth Earl. As of 2007 the titles are held by the latter's eldest son, the fifteenth Earl, who succeeded in 2003.

Several other members of the Boyle family have gained distinction. The Hon. Sir Lewis Boyle, second son of the first Earl, was created Viscount Boyle of Kinalmeaky in 1628. The Hon. Francis Boyle, fourth son of the first Earl, was created Viscount Shannon in 1660. The Hon. Robert Boyle, fifth son of the first Earl, was a prominent physicist and chemist and gave his name to Boyle's Law. The Hon. Henry Boyle, younger son of Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan, eldest son of the second Earl, served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and was created Baron Carleton in 1714. The Hon. Sir Courtenay Boyle (1770-1844), third son of the seventh Earl, was a Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy. His eldest son Courtenay Edmund William Boyle (1800-1859) was a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy while his youngest son Cavendish Spencer Boyle (1814-1868) was the father of 1) Sir Courtenay Edmund Boyle (1845-1901), Permanent Secretary of the Board of Trade, and 2) Sir Cavendish Boyle, Governor of Newfoundland from 1901 to 1904.

The Hon. Robert Edward Boyle, fourth son of the eighth Earl, was a Colonel in the Coldstream Guards and represented Frome in the House of Commons. The Hon. William George Boyle, second son of Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan, eldest son of the eighth Earl, was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Coldstream Guards and briefly sat as Member of Parliament for Frome. Henry Boyle, 1st Earl of Shannon, was the son of the Hon. Henry Boyle, younger son of the first Earl of Orrery.

Earls of Cork (1620)

The Heir Apparent is the present holder's only son Rory Jonathan Courtenay Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan (b. 1978)

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