british nobility


  • [8] • British honours system Dames[edit] • Dame Clan chiefs/Lairds[edit] • Clan chief • Laird Untitled members of the gentry[edit] • Esquire (ultimately from Latin scutarius,
    in the sense of shield bearer, via Old French esquier) • Gentleman Irish and Gaelic nobility Outside the United Kingdom, the remaining Gaelic nobility of Ireland continue informally to use their provincial titles, few are recognised as royal
    extraction by the British Royal Family such as O’Donovan family.

  • Contemporary individuals today designated or claiming a title of an Irish chief treat their title as hereditary, whereas chiefs in the Gaelic order were nominated and elected
    by a vote of their kinsmen.

  • The modern peerage system is a vestige of the custom of English kings in the 12th and 13th centuries in summoning wealthy men (along with church officials and elected representatives
    for commoners) to form a Parliament.

  • In the late 14th century, this right (or “title”) began to be granted by decree, and titles also became inherited with the rest of an estate under the system of primogeniture.

  • The two exceptions are the Earl Marshal (a position held by the Dukes of Norfolk), who is responsible for certain ceremonial functions on state occasions, and the Lord Great
    Chamberlain (a position held in gross and one of a number of persons can hold it), who serves as the monarch’s representative in Parliament and accompanies them on certain state occasions; both are automatically entitled to sit in the House.

  • Until changes in the twentieth century, only a proportion of those holding Scottish and Irish peerages were entitled by that title to sit in the House of Lords; these were
    nominated by their peers.

  • The nobility of its four constituent home nations has played a major role in shaping the history of the country, although now they retain only the rights to stand for election
    to the House of Lords, dining rights there, position in the formal order of precedence, the right to certain titles, and the right to an audience (a private meeting) with the monarch.

  • Following the Norman invasion of Ireland several Hiberno-Norman families adopted Gaelic customs, the most prominent being the De Burgh dynasty and FitzGerald dynasty; their
    use of Gaelic customs did not extend to their titles of nobility, as they continuously utilized titles granted under the authority of the English monarchy.

  • Until constitutional reforms soon after Tony Blair came to power (the House of Lords Act 1999), possession of a title in the peerage (except Irish) entitled its holder to
    a seat in the House of Lords.

  • A Scottish feudal barony is an official title of nobility in the United Kingdom (but not a peerage), and a feudal baron is addressed as The Baron of X. Scottish lairds’ names
    include a description of their lands in the form of a territorial designation.

  • [4] All modern British honours, including peerage dignities, are created directly by the Crown and take effect when letters patent are issued, affixed with the Great Seal
    of the Realm.

  • [1] British nobility The British nobility consists of members of the immediate families of peers who bear courtesy titles or honorifics.

  • British peers are sometimes referred to generically as lords, although individual dukes are not so styled when addressed or by reference.

  • The related Irish Mór (“Great”) is sometimes used by the dominant branches of the larger Irish dynasties to declare their status as the leading princes of the blood, e.g.MacCarthy
    Mor dynasty, lit.

  • Landed gentry Descendants in the male line of peers and children of women who are peeresses in their own right, as well as baronets, knights, dames and certain other persons
    who bear no peerage titles, belong to the gentry, deemed members of the non-peerage nobility below whom they rank.

  • Non-hereditary positions began to be created again in 1867 for Law Lords, and in 1958 generally.

  • Since then, only 92 hereditary peers are entitled to sit in the House of Lords, of which 90 are elected by the hereditary peers by ballot and replaced on death.

  • This is only a convention, and was not observed by prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who asked the Queen to create three hereditary peerages (two of them, to men who had no

  • The largest portion of the British aristocracy has historically been the landed gentry, made up of baronets and the non-titled armigerous landowners whose families hailed
    from the medieval feudal class (referred to as gentlemen due to their income solely deriving from land ownership).

  • In 1958, the Life Peerages Act 1958 enabled (non-hereditary) life peers to sit in the House of Lords, and from then on the creation of hereditary peerages rapidly became obsolete,
    almost ceasing after 1964.

  • History Before the 20th century, peerages were generally hereditary and (with a few exceptions) descended in the male line.

  • The economic system at the time was manorialism (or feudalism), and the privilege of being summoned to Parliament was related to the amount of land one controlled (a “barony”).


Works Cited

[‘Country Life (magazine), Who really owns Britain?, 16.10.2010
2. ^ Jump up to:a b Ruvigny, Melville H. (August 2000). The Nobilities of Europe – Melville H. Ruvigny. p. 2. ISBN 9781402185618. Retrieved 2016-12-06.
3. ^ “Debrett’s Forms of Address
(Lairds)”. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
4. ^ Adam, F. & Innes of Learney, T. (1952). The Clans, Septs, and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands (4th ed.). Edinburgh & London: W. & A.K. Johnston Limited. p. 410.
5. ^ Opinion of the House of Lords in the
Buckhurst Peerage Case
6. ^ Ruling of the Court of the Lord Lyon (26/2/1948, Vol. IV, page 26): “With regard to the words ‘untitled nobility’ employed in certain recent birthbrieves in relation to the (Minor) Baronage of Scotland, Finds and Declares
that the (Minor) Barons of Scotland are, and have been both in this nobiliary Court and in the Court of Session recognised as a ‘titled nobility’ and that the estait of the Baronage (i.e. Barones Minores) are of the ancient Feudal Nobility of Scotland”.
7. ^
“Knight”. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
8. ^ “Knecht”. LEO German-English dictionary. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
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