Earls of Clarendon

In 1665 Charles II granted Kenilworth Castle to Laurence Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, in whose family’s hands it remained until the 20th century.

Despite changing fortunes, the castle had long been a tourist attraction. Curious travellers came even before the Civil War, and by the 1770s visitor numbers were sufficient to warrant production of a guidebook.

Kenilworth Castle (English Heritage)

In 1790, the Earl of Clarendon was Thomas Villiers. He was the son of the 1st Earl Clarendon (of the second creation) and great-grandson of the 4th Earl (of the first creation). He sat as Member of Parliament for Christchurch and Helston.

Thomas Villiers, 2nd Earl of Clarendon (© National Portrait Gallery, London (Ref: NPG D33270))

The Earldom descended to brother to nephew to son to son to grandson to son.
The Clarendon connection with Kenilworth Castle ended when the 6th Earl sold it in 1937 to the industrialist Sir John Siddeley, whose son gave it to the people of Kenilworth in 1958.