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The Scottish Baronies of Fulwood & Dirleton

Titles and Honours in Great Britain

Titles of nobility (peerages) are conferred by the monarch. In most hereditary peerages, the title is passed on to a peer's oldest son or  in the absence of a son, to his closest male heir. The title becomes extinct if there is no male heir, although some ancient peerages allow the title to be passed to a daughter in that case.

Life peerages are created each year by the monarch for distinguished persons.

Life peers hold the rank only for their own lives, and as such, the titles do not pass on to their children. A man or a woman may be granted a life peerage; the titles given to them are Baron or Baroness.

Feudal Barons are holders of Lands that has by charter been erected by the Crown  in liberam baronium, giving the owner, whether by inheritance or by acquisition, a whole bundle of land, mineral, and other rights, including certain rights of public justice, privileges not belonging to ordinary estates and unlike Life Peerage and hereditary Peerage it does not become extinct. There are also Feudal Dukedoms, Marquisates ( i.e. Huntley ) and Earldoms (i.e. Aaran)

Duke, Duchess
Created 1337. Highest rank of peerage.

Marquis (also Marques), Marchioness
Created 1385. Rank above Earl, below a Duke.

Earl (Count), Countess
Created c.800. Chief royal representative in the shires, replacing the Anglo Saxon equivalent, "ealdorman".

Viscount,  Viscountess
Created 1440. Rank in peerage below Earl, above Baron. Originally, a viscount was a sheriff of a shire (county) and was the Earl's deputy.

Lords of Parliament ( Scotland only)
A group of Feudal Barons chosen to represent other barons in the Scottish Parliament during the 16th century, who by custom were elevated to a higher position than other Feudal Barons, this was a subject of a litigation between a group of Baron vs. Lord Lyon in June 1673 ( See note below)

Feudal Baron, Baroness
Created c.1066. Lowest rank of the peerage ( Scottish Feudal Barons are no longer Peers by some accounts, however there is not a clear Act of Parliament to support that view, only that they were exempt from attending Parliament at their own request), usually applied to tenants-in-chief, the holders of land granted to them directly by the monarch.

Life Baron, Baroness (By Writ )
Lowest rank of the peerage, created by writ in the case of lords or barons of parliament, normally by indication of the Government of the day, in some case also by indication of the HM Loyal Opposition.

Created 1611. A special hereditary rank, above Knight and below Baron, introduced by James I for the purpose of raising money for the suppression of the rebellion in Ulster. Baronets were required to pay 1,080 for the privilege of their rank. The last Baronet created in the UK was
Sir Dennis Thatcher, title today in the Hands of Sir Mark Thatcher, the former PM's son.


            Not a title, per se, but a form of address for a marquis, an earl, a viscount,
            a baron, the holder of   a Lordship of the manor, a  younger son of 
            a duke or marquis, and or a bishop.


As one can see by this Court Case of 1673 the argument concerning Peerage or none Peerage nature of Scottish Baronies have lingered for over 300 years. It probably will continue for a long time to come, the fact is that neither Feudal Baron nor Lord of Parliament can sit in the House of the Lords as the law stands today, for a time still 92 Peers can be elected, however the Labour Government has declared that by 2006 none will sit in Parliament.

Sundry Barons v. Lord Lyon, June, 1673

(source:  Brown's Supplement, iii. 6).


1673. June.         Sundry  BARONS, &c. against  The  LORD LYON.

ABOUT the same time, in June, 1673, I heard of a process some Barons and Gentlemen had intended against my Lord Lyon, to hear and see it found and declared that he had done wrong in refusing to give them forth their coats of arms with supporters, whereof they and their predecessors had been in possession past all memory, and never quarrelled till now; and, therefore, that he might be decerned to immatriculate them so in his register, and give them forth an extract; conform, as is provided by the late act of Parliament in 1672. The Lyon's reason is, because, by an express letter of his Majesty's, none under the dignity of a Lord must use supporters. (He grants them now to some who were: in possession of them of old.).  But the gentlemen answer, that Lords at the beginning, having been only Barons, and in regard of the considerable interest they hid in their respective shires, being commissionate from the small barons and freeholders to represent them in Parliament, they, because of that credit, got first the denomination of Lords, without any patent or creation; and, upon the matter, were nothing but Barons: and so what is due to them is also due to the other, they originally not differing from the rest by any essential or superior step of dignity. So Craig, pages 78 and 79.—REPLIED, Whatever was their rise, the other Barons have clearly acknowledged a distinction now; in so far as they have renounced their privilege of coming to Parliaments by the 113 act in 1587; and the distinction being made, and their privileges renounced, by the small Barons in the Parliament 1427. DUPLIED, that act is introduced in their favours, and nowise -debars them ; but allenarly dispenses with their absence, and the penalty they incurred thereby, &c. The Gentlemen found on the Interdictum uti possidetis : the Lyon says, it is but vetustas erroris, and an usurpation.

The complainers are the Lairds of Dundas, Halton, Polmais, &,c.

Advocates' MS.  No. 393, folio 216

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Copyright 2005 Barony of Fulwood Trust
Last modified: 08/24/09