Definition of EARL


EARL

Eng. law. A title of nobility next below a marquis and above
a viscount.

2. Earls were anciently called comites, because they were wont comitari
regem, to wait upon the king for counsel and advice. He was also called
shireman, because each earl had the civil government of a shire.

3. After the Norman conquest they were called counts, whence the shires
obtained the names of counties. They have now nothing to do with the
government of counties, which has entirely devolved on the sheriff, the
earls deputy, or vice comes.


Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition

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