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The Editor
These pages 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.
Page 4
I understand that certain members of the nobility had “first rights” on young women within their area of responsibility. Can you confirm if this is true.
This was called jus primae noctis or droit du seigneur, and was said to be the right of the local lord to spend the first night with a bride.

There is no evidence that it ever existed anywhere in Europe at any time. It has been said, however, that in parts of what is now Germany the local lord, often the abbot of the local monastery, was in ancient times entitled to a payment from a newly married couple, this being paid on the wedding day and called the jus primae noctis (the law of the first night). That practice probably gave rise to the myth.
I understand the Scottish position, but is it not possible to buy outside Scotland a feudal Barony or similar that would entitle one to the title of “Lord”?
The purchase of no feudal barony will entitle its buyer to be addressed or styled as “Lord”. Even in Scotland, where a genuine barony is bought, its buyer is armigerous, and the barony is recognised by the Lord Lyon, the owner is not addressed or styled as “Lord”. His style becomes, for example, “John Smith, Baron of Xton”, and he is addressed as “Xton”.
Is it possible for a real baron, count or earl to sell his title?
In a few European countries it is possible for the holder of some feudal titles to nominate a successor, and it is believed that some holders do so for a fee. But this is not a common practice and it does not apply in England where any feudal titles that may still exist are integrated inseparably with peerage titles.
I would welcome your opinion on the validity of the Royal and Serene House of Akabona-Ostrogjsk and the web pages of the Duke Maxalla (Internet Chivalry and Knighthood Information Centre)
There is not much to say. I suspect that most of those who join this group know full well they are entering one of the many similar fantasy organisations. As long as they do not expect us or the Baronage readers to take them seriously, we cannot object.

We cannot put it more simply than this ~

The only genuine titles that can be bought and may, together with the possession of arms (already possessed, or, if not, granted after presenting a Petition to the Lord Lyon), bring their buyers to be accepted by the British Crown as holders of noble titles are Scottish feudal baronies. (This is, however, now subject to a judicial review.)

The existence of this route to a noble title accepted by the British crown and thus the British Government (and thus by all other governments) has encouraged scores of entrepreneurs to imitate it with fictitious “noble titles”. This in turn has encouraged others to copy the audacity of these entrepreneurs by creating pseudo orders of chivalry. The object of most of these frauds is to separate the gullible from their money, but there are some who, similar to those who invite dudes to enjoy the delights of “wild west” ranches, only want to create a fantasy world for a harmless bit of fun. (Some of this latter guide their activities towards helping charities.)

Baronage cannot stop the frauds, however much we deplore them. All we can do is help to educate our readers. We should like to print in capitals a warning that no one should attempt to buy any title except a genuine barony, but it would not help. We would still receive letters asking whether such and such is an exception. We know of only one exception, and we have found, during the last six years in which this trade has prospered on the Internet, only this one exception selling on the Web genuine titles only. (By genuine we mean a noble title accepted as such by the British Crown.)
The Prestige Titles website offers Vidame titles. What is a Vidame?
A vidame was a minor noble in mediaeval France, often one deputising in temporal affairs for his bishop.

The vidame title advertised on the “prestigetitles” website is acknowledged to be honorary. The value of any honorary title is based on the prestige of the body awarding it. What prestige does the Church of St Lazarus have? And what value does an honorary title have when a fee of US$10,000 must be paid for it, and when that is the only qualification?

However, even without the answers to these two questions, it would be fair to state that such a “title” is worthless, that it would not give the claimed right to the use of the style of “Right Honourable” in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa, and that “the Ecclesiastical Order of St Allan Kardec” advertised on the site would not be recognised as an order of chivalry by any responsible government.
I know it would be foolish to try to buy a British title other than a Scottish barony, but I am interested in obtaining a European title. These can be bought legitimately, can’t they? When a European noble wants to sell his title, how does he arrange it?
Some of the older titles from continental European countries are claimed to be, when it appears appropriate, descendible to heirs general (note ~ not heirs general of the body) and may thus pass to a nominee (perhaps for a fee). Such titles are very few, if they truly exist at all. Other titles, it is claimed, can pass to adopted children, and this has led to some impoverished and childless noblemen adopting (for a consideration) rich successors as their sons. The known existence of this practice, effectively the commercial sale of titles of nobility, acts as the platform for the creation and offer for sale of bogus titles on the Internet.

Genuine nobles with authentic titles seeking to pass them to successors for a cash consideration do not advertise them on the Internet. They use their family lawyers and those lawyers’ connections. The sums known to be traded are very large indeed, but often, in addition to the title, the conveyance will include a castle in need of restoration and some ill-managed lands in a comparatively inaccessible location. A typical sum three years ago (in 1999) was a million Deutschmarks, but much higher figures have been discussed and doubtless agreed.

Do not attempt to buy a European title on the Internet. Do not under any circumstances try to buy a title of any kind from a “Prince of Galilee” or from anyone claiming to represent the “King of Jerusalem”, both active in trading extinct or fictitious “titles” allegedly from onetime Crusader territories. Do not buy anything from Antonio Adolfo Boada Cartaya (beware his many pseudonyms) or from British Feudal Investments, his company. Do not buy any “title” advertised on e-Bay or through any other Internet auction house.
I understand that the title of Esquire may be used in the United Kingdom by “those who by long prescription can show their lineal ancestors were styled Esquires”.

Is this restricted to the first male of each generation line? Does the authority with which to use the title Esq. after one’s name require this to be confirmed with any official body? Are the regulations different in England and Scotland?
The answers to your three questions are:

1. In theory - no - but it should be noted that in the case of a knight (who of course outranks an esquire) it is only his eldest son who automatically, in respect of his father’s rank, is an esquire.

2. In theory - no - but it should be noted that a man’s style should accord with that indicated by the helmet on the arms approved for him by the appropriate body.

3. In theory - no - but the strictness of the disciplines at Lyon Court in Edinburgh may perhaps be greater than at the College of Arms in London.

However, in reality the use in Great Britain of Esq. after a man’s name is today usually haphazard and the title has no protection in law (unlike, for example, the equivalent Ecuyer in Belgium).

I’ve seen you use “Ilk” a few times, as in Anderson of that Ilk and Stevenson of that Ilk. What does it mean?
“Ilk” is a much misused word. One often hears phrases such as “others of that ilk”, especially among politicians, supposedly meaning “others of that kind”. However, “ilk” means “same” and, accordingly, “Anderson of that Ilk” means “Anderson of that Same”, which in turn means “Anderson of Anderson”.

Some Scottish chiefs choose the latter style (e.g. Macleod of Macleod), while others choose the former (e.g. Moncreiffe of that Ilk). There is no set rule to guide the choice, and after it has been recorded by the Lord Lyon in a matriculation it will not be altered, if at all, until the heir in the next generation matriculates.

Can a man inherit arms from his mother?
Yes, on occasions. For example, a man whose mother is an hereditary peer in her own right may use her arms properly differenced, and her eldest son will inherit her undifferenced arms. If his father is or was armigerous, then he may bear his father’s arms quartering his mother’s. However, in general, arms descend in the male line.

For men who take their mother’s surname and wish to use their mother’s arms there is no blanket answer. Each should consult with, as appropriate, the College of Arms in London, or with the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh, or with the Chief Herald of Ireland in Dublin. This is a matter to which changes may be expected in the coming years. The Canadian Heraldic Authority has already introduced a system of differencing for Canadians who inherit their mother’s arms, and this may be followed eventually in other jurisdictions.

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