Edward Courtenay, 1st & last Earl of Devon

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Edward Courtenay, K.G.

Birthdate: (50)
Birthplace: Boconnock, Cornwall, England
Death: May 28, 1509 (46-54)
Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Chapel, Tiverton, Devonshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Hugh de Courtenay, of Boconnoc and Margaret Courtenay
Husband of Elizabeth de Courtenay, of Devon
Father of William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon and Maud Arundell
Brother of Isabell Mohun; Matilda Maud Courtenay; Florence Trelawny; Sir John Courtenay; Walter Courtenay and 1 other

Occupation: 1st Earl of Devon (2nd creation); 9th Earl of Devon
Managed by: Darren Edward Blumer
Last Updated:

About Edward Courtenay, 1st & last Earl of Devon

Edward Courtenay, K.G., 1st and last Earl of Devon

  • M, d. 28 May 1509
  • Parents: Sir Hugh Courtenay and Margaret Carminow
  • Married: Elizabeth Courtenay, daughter of Sir Philip Courtenay and unknown daughter Hingeston.

Also known as Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon (1485 creation); 9th Earl of Devon

biographical notes

A loyalist of the House of Tudor, he fought alongside Henry VII at Bosworth and had been one of his original companions in France. There he went to pay homage to the future King of the Lancastrian affinity to which he adhered. Edward was particularly opposed to Richard III, and as such sought the patronage of Margaret Beaufort and her secret alliance with the Dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville on the disappearance (and suspected murder) of the princes. Courtenay acted a courier over the Channel during the 1480s. He also met Marquess of Dorset, the alienated Yorkist, whose disaffected support left Richard dangerously exposed on the flank of his kingdom.

Immediately after the Battle of Bosworth, Henry VII restored the estates to Edward, grandson of Sir Hugh Courtenay of Haccombe and Boconnoc, brother of the blind Earl, and who was therefore heir-at-law. He was created Earl of Devon by patent, "to him and the heirs male of his body", on the twenty-sixth of Oct, 1485.

This Earl married his cousin, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Phillip Courtenay of Molland, and was the father of Sir William Courtenay, created a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of Henry VII.

In 1484 he was attainted and banished by King Richard III.1 He was invested as a Knight in 1485.1 He fought in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.1 In 1485 by Act of Parliament, he was restored to his honours lost by attainder of 1483, although it is unclear what honours are meant by this.1 He was created 1st Earl of Devon [England] on 26 October 1485.1 He held the office of Constable of Restormel Castle, Cornwall in 1486/87.1 He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) in 1494.1 He fought in the Battle of Blackheath on 22 June 1497, against Perkin Warbeck's forces.1 On his death, his earldom was forfeited due to the attainder on his son.1


Edward COURTENAY (9° E. Devon) Died: BEF 27 May 1509

  • Father: Hugh COURTENAY of Boconnoc (Sir)
  • Mother: Margaret CARMINOW
  • Married: Elizabeth COURTENAY


1. William COURTENAY (10° E. Devon)

William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon (d.1511), attainted 1504, imprisoned during the reign of Henry VII and released by Henry VIII but died before being formally restored to earldom. His son Henry Courtenay was restored in blood and honours and created Marquess of Exeter in 1525, but beheaded in 1539 for conspiring to place Reginald Pole upon the throne.

Death and burial

Edward made his will on 27 May 1509 and died in the same month, possibly only hours later. His will was proved at Lambeth on 15 July 1509. In it he requested to be buried in "the chapel at Tiverton", next to his wife. This refers to the now demolished Courtenay chantry chapel, which once contained no doubt many richly decorated Courtenay family monuments. To this chantry he left lands of the yearly value of £4 for the performance of religious rites.


The Earl's inheritance was disputed and became a celebrated Peerage Case in the 19th century.[4] The analysis in several documents deposited at Westcountry Studies library and the Devon History Centre, Exeter, reveal how the bifurcation of the lineage caused the descendants of the female lines to claim patrimony. This was rejected in favour of the cadet Powderham line, despite this being the junior male inheritance.

peerage of England

From cracroftspeerage:

Some early peerages were revived in later centuries.  For example, the earldom of Devon, in the family of Courtenay since 1335, was forfeited in 1471, when the 8th earl was attainted.  The title was revived in 1485 for Edward Courtenay, who died in 1509, under a cloud, for his son and heir William, had been attainted.  In 1511 Henry VIII forgave William and created him Earl of Devon, but he died a month later.  In 1525 the 2nd earl of the new creation was made Marquess of Exeter, only to be attainted before execution in 1539. In 1553 Mary I created the earldom again for his son, who died childless in 1556.  The remainder, however, was to all his male heirs - that is, male members of his wider family.  The peerage remained dormant until 1831, when another branch of Courtenays established their right to his earldom.  In 1916 the ancient baronies of Burgh, Dudley, Strabolgi and Wharton were called out of abeyance on the same day.

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Edward Courtenay, 1st & last Earl of Devon's Timeline

Boconnock, Cornwall, England
Age 16
Devon, England, United Kingdom
May 28, 1509
Age 50
Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
May 28, 1509
Age 50
Chapel, Tiverton, Devonshire, England
June 30, 1951
Age 50
June 30, 1951
Age 50
November 6, 1951
Age 50
November 6, 1951
Age 50