Earl of Macclesfield is a title that has been created twice. The first creation came in the Peerage of England in 1679 in favour of the soldier and politician Charles Gerard, 1st Baron Gerard. He had already been created Baron Gerard, of Brandon in the County of Suffolk, in 1645, and was made Viscount Brandon, of Brandon in the County of Suffolk, at the same time as he was given the earldom. These titles are also in the Peerage of England. Lord Macclesfield was the great-grandson of the distinguished judge Sir Gilbert Gerard, Master of the Rolls from 1581 to 1594. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the second Earl. He was involved in the Rye House Plot of 1683, was sentenced to death but later pardoned by the King. On his death without legitimate issue in 1701 the titles passed to his younger brother, the third Earl. He had earlier represented Yarmouth, Lancaster and Lancashire in the House of Commons. When he died in 1702 the titles became extinct.
William Dorington or Dorrington, Colonel of the King's Royal Irish Regiment of Foot Guards, was created Earl of Macclesfield in the Jacobite Peerage in or about 1716. The title, such as it was, became extinct in 1841.
The second creation came in the Peerage of Great Britain in 1721 when the noted lawyer Thomas Parker, 1st Baron Parker, was made Viscount Parker, of Ewelm in the County of Oxford, and Earl of Macclesfield, in the County Palatine of Chester. He was Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench from 1710 to 1718 and Lord High Chancellor from 1718 to 1725. Parker had already been created Lord Parker, Baron of Macclesfield, in the County Palatine of Chester, in 1716. This title is also in the Peerage of Great Britain. In contrast to the barony the viscountcy and earldom were created with remainder, in default of male issue, to his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Sir William Heathcote, 1st Baronet of Hursley Park, and her issue male. In 1725 Lord Macclesfield was convicted of corruption and forced to pay a £30,000 fine. He was succeeded by his son, the second Earl. He was a distinguished astronomer and served as President of the Royal Society for many years.
On his death the titles passed to his son, the third Earl. He had sat as Member of Parliament for Newcastle under Lyme, Oxfordshire and Rochester. He was succeeded by his eldest son, the fourth Earl. He was a prominent politician and served as President of the Board of Agriculture from 1816 to 1818. When he died the titles passed to his younger brother, the fifth Earl. He was succeeded by his son, the sixth Earl. He had represented Oxfordshire in the House of Commons as a Conservative. He was succeeded by his grandson, the seventh Earl. He was the son of George Augustus Parker, Viscount Parker, eldest son of the sixth Earl. Lord Macclesfield was Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire from 1954 to 1963. As of 2010 the titles are held by his grandson, the ninth Earl, who succeeded his father in 1992.
Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles, first husband of the Duchess of Cornwall, is the son of Derek Henry Parker-Bowles (who assumed his mother's maiden surname of Bowles), grandson of Reverend the Hon. Algernon Robert Parker, third son of the sixth Earl. Consequently, he is in distant remainder to the earldom and its subsidiary titles. Another member of the family was the Right Reverend Wilfrid Parker (1883–1966), son of the Hon. Cecil Thomas Parker, second son of the sixth Earl. He served as Bishop of Pretoria (1933-1950).
The family seat of the Parker family is Shirburn Castle, near Oxford, but the castle and estate is held by the Beechwood Estates Company, the Macclesfield family estate management company. Following a long-running and acrimonious court battle, the ninth Earl was evicted from the family seat at the end of 2004.