The Egerton family are an English aristocratic family. The first member of the family to gain distinction was Thomas Egerton, 1st Viscount Brackley, Lord Chancellor from 1603 to 1617. The second Viscount was created Earl of Bridgewater in 1617 and the fourth Earl was made Duke of Bridgewater in 1720. On the death of the third Duke in 1803 the dukedom became extinct. The substantial Bridgewater estates were inherited by Lord Francis Leveson-Gower, second son of George Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland. He was the great-grandson of Lady Louisa Egerton, daughter of the first Duke. Lord Francis assumed by Royal license the surname of Egerton in lieu of his patronymic and was created Viscount Brackley and Earl of Ellesmere in 1846. The fifth Earl of Ellesmere succeeded in the dukedom of Sutherland in 1963. Consequently, the present Duke of Sutherland is head of both the Egerton and Leveson-Gower families (although this branch of the family has retained the surname Egerton).
While the dukedom of Bridgewater became extinct in 1803 the earldom survived, and was passed on to the late Duke's cousin, the seventh Earl. However, this title became extinct on the death of his younger brother, the eighth Earl, in 1829. After a lengthy lawsuit, the late Earl's estates were inherited by John Egerton-Cust, 2nd Earl Brownlow, great-great-grandson of Lady Amelia Egerton, sister of the seventh and eighth Earls of Bridgewater. However, he died childless at an early age and was succeeded by his younger brother, the third Earl, who retained the original family surname of Brownlow-Cust.
The Barons and Earls Egerton were members of another branch of the family, descended from William Tatton (who assumed the surname of Egerton in lieu of his patronymic), husband of Hester, granddaughter of the Hon. Thomas Egerton, youngest son of the second Earl of Bridgewater.
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