Ages ago I came across a brief mention on the Web of a principality existing briefly within England. It was made up of the County Cheshire and some surrounding territory. I think it was created by Henry VI and it only lasted a year, presumably being undone after his brief second reign. Is this true and, if so, where can I find more information about it?

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    Not an answer, but are you thinking of the Counties Palatine, quasi-autonomous areas in England ruled (usually) by earls? The Earldom of Cheshire was also associated with the Prince of Wales, which may be the connection? en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_palatine
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 22:42
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    How is the question not answered here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_of_Chester#County_Palatine Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 23:17
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    I think if you look back you'll see that TheHonRose suggested the Counties Palatine; I proposed two google books results that touch on the Principality. Also, the convention is to answer your question in an answer, rather than in the question - that makes it easier for people to learn.
    – MCW
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 1:25
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    @Curt You should be able to post answers straight away... The delay is only for marking it the accepted answer afaik.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 15:42
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    @Semaphore, thanks for the correction. It's been a while since I've answered my own question.
    – Curt
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 18:54

2 Answers 2


After doing some more searching, I found an entry in a wikipedia timeline for Cheshire:

"1397: Lands in the march of Wales added to Cheshire, and it is promoted to the rank of principality."

The source given is:

Davies, R. R. (1971). Richard II and the Principality of Chester in The Reign of Richard II: Essays in Honour of May McKisack, ed. F. R. H. Du Boulay and Caroline Baron.

I also found:

During the last two years of the reign Richard showed exceptional favour to Cheshire where his support was strong. In September 1397 he raised the county to the status of a principality.

This is from Google books in Richard and the English Royal Treasure, 98. The quote cites the work mentioned above as its source. If I can find this work, I'll add additional detail should there be any.

From a wikipedia page on the Prince of Wales:

Since 1301 the title Earl of Chester has generally been granted to heirs apparent to the English throne, and from the late 14th century it has been given only in conjunction with that of Prince of Wales. Both titles must be created for each individual and are not automatically acquired. The Earldom of Chester was one of the most powerful earldoms in medieval England extending principally over the counties of Cheshire and Flintshire.

In 1397, the 'Prince of Chester' would have been Richard of Bordeaux.

  • I found the book at Stanford University. I'll try to check it out this weekend.
    – Curt
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 18:57
  • The Earldom of Chester had been traditionally given to the Prince of Wales since the mid-13th century. However, Richard II had no heir and therefore there wasn't a Prince of Wales. So who was Earl of Chester at the time and who became, briefly, Prince of Chester?
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 12:02
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    @SteveBird If the Earldom of Chester devolved to the Prince of Wales, and there was none, then the Earldom would have reverted back to the Crown - as do all "defunct" peerages, I believe.
    – TheHonRose
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 15:41
  • I don't see how this answers the question. There is no mention of some unusual new boundary to Cheshire in the reign of Henry VI. In fact, Henry VI is not even mentioned. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 20:18
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    @TylerDurden, I only mentioned Henry VI as my recollection of when it happened. That's why I said "I think".
    – Curt
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 20:22

The principality associated with the reign of Henry VI did exist, but it wasn't connected to the Earldom of Chester.

Go to the website Regnal Chronologies - section Pretenders - section British Islands - section Isle of Wight. The first part of that section deals with succession to the title of Lord of Wight, the second with the succession to Henry Beauchamp, Earl and Duke of Warwick, who was created King of Wight by his friend King Henry VI in 1444.


According to the site, the present heir to the medieval Lords of Wight is Hugh Courtenay, 18th earl of Devon. But he died in 2015 and the present heir is his son Charles Peregrine Courtenay (born 1975), 19th Earl of Devon (married to American actress A.J. Langer).

The present heir to the Medieval King of Wight, Henry Beauchamp, Earl and Duke of Warwick, should be Michael Simon Abney-Hastings (born 1975), 15th Earl of Loudoun.

Added June 26, 2023.

The story about Henry Beauchamp being crowned king of the Isle of Wight in 1444 is probably Just a legend.

He is said to have been crowned King of the Isle of Wight in 14444 by Henry VI, to place his playmate on a more equal standing with him, but this story is considered unhistorical.[2][5]


Henry, 14th earl of Warwick (1423-1445), Earl Richard's son, a descendant, through his mother Constance le Despenser, of Edmund, duke of York, fifth son of Edward III., received a patent making him premier earl in 1444. A year later he was created duke of Warwick with precedence next after the duke of Norfolk, a rank disputed by the duke of Buckingham. The assertion that he was crowned king of the Isle of Wight seems to have no foundation in fact.


He is asserted to have been also crowned king of the Isle of Wight by Henry (Mon. Ang. ii. 63 ; LELAND'S Itinerary ; NICOLAS'S Synopsis, ed. Courthope, p. 500), but for this there is no evidence (CoKE, &th Inst. p. 287 j STUBBS'S Const. Hist. iii. 433).


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