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The Editor
This page and those which will be added with future editions of the Baronage magazine contain the Editor's answers to some of the most frequently asked questions sent to him during the last six years.
Does Baronage sell feudal titles?
No. (Baronage does not sell feudal titles, has never sold feudal titles in the past, and has no plans to sell feudal titles in the future.)
Can Baronage recommend any dealers in feudal titles?
Baronage has until recently maintained a policy of not recommending any dealers in feudal titles. However, in response to repeated requests for the identity of reliable dealers, and while emphasising that the only UK feudal titles of nobility that can be recommended are Scottish baronies, we may occasionally give the name of a specific source in which we have confidence. However, buyers are urged to retain their own independent lawyers, for The Baronage Press does not offer legal advice.
If I buy a manorial lordship, can I legitimately call myself a lord?
If it is a genuine manorial title, then you will be a “lord of the manor”, but that does not give you any right to the title of “lord”.

The following is an extract from the website of the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. ~

Misleading advertisements for lordships of manors sometimes appear in the press. A manorial lordship is not an aristocratic title, but a semi-extinct form of landed property. Lordship in this sense is a synonym for ownership.

According to John Martin Robinson, Maltravers Herald Extraordinary and co-author of The Oxford Guide to Heraldry ~ "Lordship of this or that manor is no more a title than Landlord of the Dog and Duck". It cannot be stated on a passport, and does not entitle the owner to a coat of arms.


I have been offered a genuine manorial lordship recognised by the British Government as a “styled, titled, name and legend”. Is it valid?
No. What you have been offered is the name of a manor that may once have existed and has now been registered as a trademark at the Government’s Patent Office. Its registration as a trademark is not a formal recognition of its existence as a manorial title, and if it was registered by a body trading in trademarks it would be invalid anyway (as Patent Office regulations forbid trading in trademarks).
I have been offered a genuine noble title recognised by Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Is he always the official responsible for the authentication of aristocratic titles?
If you examine the documents supplied with this title, which you ought to do most carefully before signing a cheque, you will find one that carries in its margin a stamp and signature from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. That note is an apostille which adds a little extra formality to a formal document and is given in accordance with an ancient and internationally recognised procedure whose value is probably now much diminished. You will find that the document to which it has been added does nothing to support directly the authenticity of the "title" you have been offered. It is perhaps a lawyer’s certificate authenticating the signature of the seller. Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs would be neither pleased nor amused to learn that his office is being used to support the sale of such “titles”.
I am going to buy an English title from an aristocrat who will be selling part of her lands to me. Her name is Lady Sarah Leeder. Do you know her? How much land is it normal to buy with a title of nobility?
“Lady Sarah Leeder” must be the daughter of a duke or of a marquess or of an earl, but as there is no duke or marquess or earl with such a daughter you may assume that there is something not quite right about this deal. In respect of buying land as part of a transaction which transfers a noble title there are few guidelines, primarily because so few genuine titles of nobility are transferred for money. Manorial titles can be sold without land attached, but these are not titles of nobility. It has not been possible to sell British peerage titles for many centuries (and it was so rare then that historians argue about the validity). Scottish baronial titles (which, if genuine, are indeed noble titles) used to be sold together with the caput of the barony (and the extent of the caput, probably a minimum of a couple of acres, had to be agreed with the Lord Lyon if he was to recognise the succession), or, following the decision of the Court of Session in Kidston-Montgomerie of Southannan (1951 SLT [Lyon Court] 3), with a valid superiority, but the law that allowed this was recently changed. The transaction you intend to undertake will give you one square foot of land plus a certificate from the Land Registry Office. That certificate will not be a legal proof of your new “title”, nor will it be a “recognition” by H.M. Government of your new “aristocratic status”. You will have wasted your money.
My name is John Smith. What is my crest?
We assume that by “crest” you mean coat of arms. If you are descended in the direct male line from a male ancestor who bore arms lawfully, then you are probably in right of arms. It is possible also, in a few cases, that you could qualify through a female connection. However, to answer your question you would have to provide us with a chart of proven ancestry back to the relevant armiger. Bearing the surname of Smith does not entitle you in any way to bear the arms of someone else of that same name.
Why can’t Scots use the lion rampant flag?
The correct flag for a Scot to wave is the banner of St Andrew, the blue flag with the silver (or white) saltire. “The ruddy lion ramping in his field of tressured gold” is the banner of the Scottish monarch. Its use signifies his or her presence
Is there a difference between an Irish barony and a Scottish barony?
Yes. The authenticity of the Scottish baronies he recognises is still monitored by the Lord Lyon because the holder of a genuine feudal barony in Scotland is still entitled to the inclusion of a chapeau in his armorial achievement. (The effects of new legislation altered this from November 2004, but its full effects are uncertain.) Feudal baronies in Ireland were extinguished by Act of Parliament in 1662. Moreover, the word “barony” in Ireland is used for an administrative district, and such a barony may have no connection whatsoever with any erstwhile feudal barony, even if the name is the same. This ambiguity is exploited by unscrupulous dealers. (Do not accept any offer of an Irish “barony”.)
I have been offered an Irish title of Viscount, but I cannot find it listed in Debrett’s Peerage. Does this mean it is not genuine?
In the early days of the feudal system, long before the rank of Viscount was introduced into the peerage, earls appointed deputies to act for them in specified districts. Such a deputy was in the latin language vicecomes (vice count ~ a count being the continental equivalent of an earl). Sometimes the appointment became for a short while de facto hereditary, but this was not in any way the law, and the duties a vicecomes performed were those of a sheriff. (For example, the maternal grandfather of the immortal William Wallace was Sheriff of Ayr, but this is recorded in the charters as vicecomes.) Some dealers in feudal titles have found it difficult to resist the temptation to “revive” the names of such sheriffs and then to offer them for sale as viscountcies, claiming that viscount was an hereditary rank in the “feudal peerage”. This is fantasy, a very profitable fantasy. (Do not accept any offer of any Irish “feudal” noble title, and note especially that while an Irish manorial lordship might be genuine, manorial lordships are not titles of nobility.)
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