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GLENDOWER: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

HOTSPUR: Why so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?

This Shakespearian exposure of human frailty had come to mind when, as some readers may remember, a correspondent boasted that nothing could stop him flying the ruddy lion rampant (the Banner of the Queen of Scots), and we suggested that if that flag was flown unlawfully it was just a red and yellow flag and not the Royal Banner (or "Royal Standard" as it is more usually called). The infinite capacity of some men to delude themselves has produced another example, this time in respect to the use and abuse of titles of dignity.
Arms of Alexander of that Ilk

This one started with an application to subscribe to The Feudal Herald newsletter.

Please enter my subscribtion to the Feudal Herald.  Thank you. Sincerely, The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Stirling

Three factors jarred. First, the b key and the p key are too far apart for "subscribtion" to be a typing error. Second, peers do not sign letters in this style. Third, the Earldom of Stirling has been dormant for over two hundred years, and it seemed that we had overlooked its revival. (The pronominal arms of its last holder are on the right.)

The applicant, whose e-mail address revealed his name to be Timothy Alexander, was asked for more information.

Under Scots law and tradition, one of the established proceedures to claim a dormant Scottish peerage title is to "assume" the title. This I have done after serving notice on the Secretary of State for Scotland and Buckingham Palace. I had a unchallanged public claim by right for over nine years prior to my assumption. I have held the feudal Scots Barony of Greenan for over 10 years. Normally after an assumption one would defend one's right to the title before the Committee for Priviliges of the House of Lords (with the involvement of the Lord Lyon). However, as I am neither a British citizen nor a Commonwealth citizen resident in the United Kingdom, I am not eligable for a summons to attent Parliament and this route is not open to me. Neither the Palace nor the Secretary of State for Scotland (Scotland Office) has objected to my claim by right. I assumed the titles on 12th August 1999.

Six misspelt words tended to confirm that our correspondent was not as well educated as the average peer, but nature had balanced this disadvantage with the gift of imagination. He claimed not only the coronet of an earl, but also the chapeau of a feudal baron (added by the Lord Lyon to a baron's achievement).
baronial chapeau
earl's coronet
The chapeau of a feudal baron

We were intrigued by his claim to the "feudal Scots Barony of Greenan", assumed it was not the one we knew, and asked for information about it together with the blazon of his arms. (A Scottish baron without arms lacks the "ensigns of nobility" that law and custom require.) We received the following in reply ~

I was not aware that you maintain a registry of Scottish feudal baronies. The Barony of Greenan and Greenan Castle are licated in Ayrshire at Doonfoot, just outside the city of Ayr. I purchase the castle and barony some 10 to 11 years ago from the Chief of the Kennedys, Lord Alisa.
You may write to me at:
The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Stirling
(Sir Timothy Brent Michael Alexander of Menstrie and of that Ilk, Bt.)
Evansville, Indiana 47715, U.S.A.

Yet more spelling mistakes, and he cannot even write Lord Ailsa's name correctly, the name of the man from whom he claims to have bought the castle and barony.

But look at the parenthetical addition to the address. Timothy Alexander is now also a baronet and has become chief of the Alexander name ("of that Ilk"). He claims a chief's coronet (illustrated on the right). A quick check on the Roll of Baronets maintained by the Secretary of State for Home Affairs revealed no entry for "Sir Timothy Brent Michael Alexander of Menstrie and of that Ilk, Bt". We asked why.
highland chief's coronet

In any case the Lyon Court only becomes involved in feudal baronies when one seeks a Grant of Arms with the additiments of a feudal baron. As far as your other question/s, you should read up on the process of "assuming" a dormant Scottish title/s.

From this we assumed that the reason we had received no answer to our question on the blazon of his arms was that Lyon Court had not recognised him as the baron of Greenan, that he had no baronial additament and had no arms either. (Perhaps he uses the arms illustrated at the head of this page, on the right, either alone, or quartered with a galley.) We assumed also that we would receive no answers from Timothy Alexander to the many further questions his early answers had prompted.

We would thus have to investigate his claims ourselves. NOW READ ON

The answers to the questions
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