RIVERS, EARL, an English title held in succession by the families of Woodville or Wydeville, Darcy and Savage. In 1299 John Rivers, or de Ripariis, was summoned to parliament as a baron, and his son John was similarly summoned by Edward II. The earldom was created for Sir Richard Woodville in 1466 and remained in this family until 1491. (For the three earls of his line see below.) As borne by the Woodvilles the title was not derived from the name of a place, but from an ancient family name, Redvers, or Reviers, members of this family, whose arms are quartered on the Rivers shield, having been sometime earls of Devon.
From 1626 to his death in 1640 the earldom was held by Thomas Darcy, Viscount Colchester, from whom it descended by special remainder to his grandson John (c. 1610-1654), the son of his daughter Elizabeth (d. 1651) by her marriage with Sir Thomas Savage (d. 1635), who was created Viscount Savage in 1626. John's son Thomas (c. 1626-1694) was the 3rd earl, and his grandson Richard the 4th earl (see below). The title became extinct when John, the 5th earl, died about 1735.
A new barony of Rivers, held by the family of Pitt and its later representative, that of Pitt-Rivers, was in existence from 1776 to 1880.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)