Earl of Shaftesbury

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Anthony Ashley-Cooper,  1st Earl of Shaftesbury
Anthony Ashley-Cooper,
1st Earl of Shaftesbury

Earl of Shaftesbury is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1672 for Sir Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 2nd Baronet, a prominent politician in the Cabal then dominating the policies of King Charles II. He had already been created Baron Ashley, of Wimborne St Giles in the County of Dorset, in 1661, and was made Baron Cooper of Paulett, in the County of Somerset, at the same time he was given the earldom. These titles are also in the Peerage of England. Baron Ashley is used as a courtesy title by the Earl's eldest son and heir apparent. The Baronetcy, of of Rockbourne in the County of Southampton, was created in the Baronetage of England in 1622 for the Earl's father John Cooper. He sat as Member of Parliament for Poole.

Shaftesbury was succeeded by his son, the second Earl. He represented Melcombe Regis and Weymouth in the House of Commons. His son, the third Earl, also sat as a Member of Parliament but is chiefly remembered as a writer and philosopher. On his death the titles passed to his son, the fourth Earl. He notably served as Lord Lieutenant of Dorset. His younger son, the sixth Earl, represented Dorchester in Parliament. He was succeeded by his son, the seventh Earl. He was a prominent politician, social reformer and philanthropist.

His eldest son, the eighth Earl, sat as Member of Parliament for Hull and Cricklade. He was succeeded by his son, the ninth Earl. He was Lord Mayor of Belfast, Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, County Antrim and Dorset and Lord Steward of the Household. On his death the titles passed to his grandson, the tenth Earl, the son of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Ashley. He was murdered in 2004. As of 2007 the titles are held by his second and youngest son, the twelfth Earl, who succeeded his elder brother in 2005.

Another member of the family was the Liberal politician Evelyn Ashley. He was the second son of the seventh Earl. His son was the Conservative politician Wilfrid Ashley, 1st Baron Mount Temple.

The family seat is Ashley House, near Wimborne St Giles in Dorset. The family also own Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles.

Ashley-Cooper Baronets, of Rockbourne ( 1622)

  • Sir John Cooper, 1st Baronet (d. 1631)
  • Sir Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 2nd Baronet ( 1621- 1683) (created Earl of Shaftesbury in 1672)

Earls of Shaftesbury ( 1672)

  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1621- 1683)
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 2nd Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1652- 1699)
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1671- 1713)
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 4th Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1711- 1771)
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 5th Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1761- 1811)
  • Cropley Ashley-Cooper, 6th Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1768- 1851)
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1801- 1885)
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 8th Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1831- 1886)
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9th Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1869- 1961)
  • Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1938- 2004)
  • Anthony Nils Christian Ashley-Cooper, 11th Earl of Shaftesbury ( 1977- 2005)
  • Nicholas Edmund Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury (b. 1979)

There is no heir to the titles.

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