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Ulster, Earls Of

ULSTER, EARLS OF. The earldom of Ulster was the first title of honour in Ireland of English creation, and for more than a century was the only one. By many authorities John de Courci (q.v.), the conqueror of Ulster, is held to have been the first earl of Ulster; " it is, however, certain," says J.H. Round, " that this title was the invention of a late chronicler, and that it first appears in the Book of Howth, where we read of " Sir John Courcey, earl and president of Ulster." The confusion probably arose from the words of a charter, dated the zgth of May 1205, by which King John confirmed to Hugh de Lacy, whom he then created earl of Ulster, a grant of Ulster " as John de Courci held it on the day when Hugh conquered and took him prisoner in the field "; these words referring not to the earldom but to the lands held by de Courci, and possibly also to the authority which he had exercised in the king's name. The earldom therefore dates from this grant to de Lacy in 1205.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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