Titles of Nobility and English Titles

The origins of feudalism in the United Kingdom

Medieval helmet and book of titles.

Ever since the early medieval period in the 9th century, Britain has been divided into subsections of land. It was after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 that William the Conqueror became King William I and brought feudalism to the country for the first time, dividing the country into different areas.

In this move, the King of England was lawfully owner of all the land. However, he subdivided and bestowed some land to Earls and Norman barons in return for general support. This often meant military backing. These Barons would form a royal council and would meet from time to time, offering the king support and advice. This continued until the 14th Century, where two houses of parliament were formed, the Lords and Commons. This system is still in place in the United Kingdom today.

This system, known as Peerage, has continued through to today with the same hierarchy of titles: Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron. Earl being the oldest title, originating from the early Anglo-Saxon time of William the Conqueror.

A history of English nobility: the ranks in detail

There is a simple rank of nobility in England that has been present since the 14th Century. In order of importance, we take a look at the ranks in further detail.

A duke is the highest-ranking noble in the United Kingdom and, since the term was born in the 14th century, there have been less than 500 dukes in total. Today, there are only 24 dukes, presiding over 27 dukedoms. The eldest son of a duke and duchess uses the subsidiary title, whereas his siblings will be referred to as a lord or lady.

A marquess, the next most important title, is addressed as a lord, with the wife of a marquess (a marchioness) being referred to as a lady. Following a marquess is an earl, who again is referred to as a lord. The wife of an earl is given the precidary name of countess. A viscount is the next in rank, with the wife of a viscount being referred to as a viscountess. Finally, a baron is usually referred to as lord or lady. The wife of a baron is a baroness and all children are honourables.

These titles originate back to Medieval times and they continue to this day. This is precisely how you can become a lord yourself!

Peerage in Modern England

Today, peerage is less of a determining factor in society and social class. Whilst barons, dukes, and earls still exist, only the queen and royal family can bestow official titles. It is only members of the royal family that can be given titles. For example, on his wedding day to Kate, Prince William was given the title of Duke of Cambridge, and Kate was given the title of Duchess of Cambridge. Their children are the Princes and Princess of Cambridge. The queen also gave additional titles to William, the titles of Earl of Streatham and Baron Carrickfergus.

While titles cannot be given to anyone apart from members of the Royal family, some specific lordships of land can be bought. This opportunity is open to you!

Mansion room.

In addition to hereditary titles, and those passed on as a member of the royal family, English nobility also allows for life peerages. It is a part of the British honours system and they are granted by the government to honorary members of the public. Technically, these members have the right to sit and vote in the House of Lords. The majority of the House of Lords today is in fact made up of life peers, with only roughly 10% of members being hereditary peers.

How you could become English nobility

If you are feeling inspired by the history of English nobility, you have come to the right place, as you too can join the ranks of lords, dukes and marquesses. All you have to do is purchase your ‘presumed title’ and we will deal with the legalities. You will receive your personal pack with all of the details so you can start to use your new title straight away.

There has been a surge in the popularity of dukeships since the wedding of Kate and William, but there are also a huge variety of titles, as listed above, available. Non-Seated titles will offer you the chance to pick any name at all, and it will be with you for life. However, Seated titles will allow you any title and will also come with a piece of land. This title is also transferable to any member of your family. 

Becoming a Lord of the Manor will allow you to own a piece of land, own the title of Lord of the Manor, and will also offer investment potential. Names have sometimes gained a huge amount of value over a period of time, so your lordship title could also gain value. The Lord of the Manor title originated in the time of William the Conqueror, and so you too could become a part of history by purchasing this title.

Why purchase a title?

First and foremost, by purchasing a title of nobility, you will become a part of the English history that originated a thousand years ago. You will have the opportunity to become a viscount, duke, earl, lord or marquess, and this title will be yours forever. The potential use of these titles can range from professional scenarios, to making bookings for hotels and restaurants. The financial benefit of upgrades and increased hospitality that come with an English title are almost certainly going to pay back the money spent on the title itself. 

So if you are fascinated by English titles and titles of nobility, or if you are simply after some complimentary champagne at your next break away, you have come to the right place. Choose from one of the three options of Elite Titles and we will quickly assess whether you can become a part of English history!