Earl of Conway

Ragley Hall in Warwickshire, at present the seat of the Seymour (formerly Seymour-Conway) family, Earls of Hertford

Earl of Conway was a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1679 for Edward Conway, 3rd Viscount Conway (c.1623-1683), subsequently Secretary of State for the Northern Department. He was descended from Sir John Conway, Governor of Ostend, whose son Edward Conway (1564-1631), Secretary of State and Lord President of the Council, was created Baron Conway, of Ragley in the County of Warwick, in 1624, and Viscount Conway, of Conway Castle, in 1627, and Viscount Killultagh also in 1627, all in the Peerage of Ireland. He was succeeded by his son, Edward Conway, 2nd Viscount Conway (1594-1655), a soldier and politician who in 1628 was summoned to the House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in his father's junior title Baron Conway. On his death in 1655 the titles passed to his only son, the aforementioned 3rd Viscount, who was elevated to the earldom in 1679. The Earl of Conway was childless and all the titles became extinct on his death in 1683.

The Conway estates were bequeathed by the Earl to his second cousin Popham Seymour (1675-1699) (3rd son of Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Baronet (d.1708), of Berry Pomeroy in Devon, Speaker of the House of Commons), younger half-brother of Sir Edward Seymour, 5th Baronet (d.1741) and a descendant in the senior line (by his first wife) of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and 1st Earl of Hertford (d.1552), Lord Protector of England, brother of Queen Jane Seymour and uncle of King Edward VI. He assumed the additional surname and arms of Conway in accordance with the Earl's will, but shortly afterwards whilst still unmarried was killed in a duel by a certain Colonel Kirk in 1699. The Conway estates then passed to his younger brother Francis Seymour, who also assumed the additional surname and arms of Conway and in 1703 was created Baron Conway of Ragley in the County of Warwick, in the Peerage of England. In 1712 he was also made Baron Conway and Killultagh, of Killultagh in the County of Antrim, in the Peerage of Ireland. His son, the second Baron, was created Marquess of Hertford in 1793, which title had first been created for his distant cousin William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset (1587-1660) (20 years before he was restored to his great-grandfather's forfeited dukedom), the great grandson (by his second wife) of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset and 1st Earl of Hertford (d.1552), but which marquessate had become extinct in 1675 on the death of his younger son John Seymour, 4th Duke of Somerset, 3rd Marquess of Hertford. See that title for further history of the peerages.[1]

The family seats of the Conway family were Conway Castle in Wales and Ragley Hall in Warwickshire.

Viscounts Conway (1627)

Earls of Conway (1679)

See also


  1. Burke's Peerage (1939 edition), s.v. Hertford, Marquess of.
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