The Laurence family were English nobility. In the early 19th century, the head of the family held title as the eleventh Earl of Allendale and was addressed as Lord Allendale.
The eleventh earl's family
Their eldest son and heir, George Laurence, was married. It is not known whether he held a courtesy title such as Viscount. By late 1805 or early 1806, he and his wife Elizabeth had three sons and one daughter (the youngest child). In late 1807 or early 1808, he assumed the duties of his father, who was incapacitated by illness.
Lord and Lady Allendale's second son entered the Church. Their third son, William Laurence, was intended for this profession as well, but ran away to sea and joined the Royal Navy, reaching the rank of Captain in that service before unexpectedly harnessing Temeraire and transferring to the Aerial Corps.
The Earldom of Allendale was created in 1529, during the reign of Henry VIII.
By the end of the eighteenth century, the main branch of the Laurence family was distantly descended from King Edward III of England (1312-1377) via "several contortions and one leap through the Salic line", to the great pride of the eleventh Earl of Allendale.
The unspecified "contortions" may include intermarriages within the family, awkward cases of illegitimacy, or other irregularities.
The Tudor era
Lord Allendale's Plantagenet-descended ancestors successfully survived the Wars of the Roses and the subsequent purge of any remaining Yorkist heirs. This suggests that they did not oppose the Tudor regime and their kinship was sufficiently remote to avoid suspicion as rival claimants.
(Irregular descent in itself would not necessarily have saved them from elimination. The Tudor claim was based on descent through John Beaufort, a grandson of Edward III who was born illegitimately; Beaufort was later legitimized when his parents married, but under terms that should have excluded him and his descendants from the succession.)
Henry VIII may have created the Earldom of Allendale to reward the loyalty of a distant cousin. However, it is equally possible that the Plantagenet connection did not occur until after the Earldom was created. The latter speculation partially depends on how to interpret the phrase "one leap through the Salic line".
"Leap through the Salic line"
Technically, a "Salic line" refers to strict male descent.
If the "leap through" is construed as occurring over and in spite of this requirement, then that suggests that an otherwise purely agnatic (male-based) line was broken by a single exception, traced through one woman to her sons and their male-line descendants.
This interpretation leads to several different scenarios for the first earl's identity, his relationship to the heiress, and the Allendale/Laurence line of succession.
- The first Earl of Allendale had both Plantagenet blood and the Laurence surname. The heiress was his ancestress, creating no discontinuities in his line of descent.
- a. Alternately, the heiress was his direct descendant, inherited the title of Countess of Allendale in her own right, and was succeeded by her son and his male-line descendants. The family name remained unchanged, whether because her husband already shared the Laurence surname (as, for example, a male-line cousin) or because she demanded it as a condition of her marriage.
- The first earl had the Laurence surname, but no royal blood. The heiress brought the Plantagenet blood into the direct line by marrying him or one of his descendants.
- The first earl had royal blood, but not the Laurence surname. The heiress was his direct descendant; the Laurence surname came from her husband and was given to her sons and their successors.
- The first earl had neither royal blood nor the Laurence surname, nor did the heiress as his direct descendant. Both qualities entered the direct line through her husband.
The other interpretation would be a single instance where the descent passed via the Salic line, bypassing potential heiresses and their issue to settle on an otherwise junior male claimant. This does not make sense in the strict context of determining the direct line of descent from Edward III, but it is possible that the family title or estates were entailed and once underwent this type of inheritance.
Deviations from History
There is no history of an English Earldom of Allendale in the real world.