The table is hierarchical
France and Europe
|Earl [Eorl] ==
|Comte [Count] ==
The term title would indicate the ownership of real property land and its
buildings] as in title deeds. Thus holding a title meant more than elitist
kudos but the opportunity to garner real wealth [£iberty]
through land, labour and capital.
Duke- This term was reintroduced into England by Edward III when
he titled his son, Edward,
[later "The Black Prince"] as the Duke of Cornwall.
The last duke in England prior to this had
been the Duke of Anjou, William I of England.
A Viscount can also be a son or younger brother to an earl, or
in France, a deputy to a Count.
Viscount is from Viscomte 1300's French vice + comte.
Baron was formerly the title held by a judge of the Court of the
Exchequer in England. Now
lowest rank of the nobility
A Baronet title [Bart. or Bt.] can be held today by a commoner.
This name evolved from the word banneret, the bearers of the title were
permitted to have a square banner attached to their lances, whereas a knight
was not. This derivation might suggest that a baron would be permitted to
fly a banner.
Marquis [France] is from 1300's French meaning literally "Count
of the March"
In England the term 'Lord' came to refer to members of the nobility such
as an marquess, earl, viscount or baron.
Often the younger offspring in large families or illegitimate children
of the nobility were assigned posts in the Church as archbishops, bishops,
abbesses, priors and prioresses.
In Scotland, which was also conquered by the Norman-French, the term
Laird is used for a land- owner and is a Scottish variant of Lord.
Note: The nobility did not until recently intermarry with the 'commoner',
from this observation, chemists in the 1700's came to name elements as 'noble
gases' e.g. helium and krypton They were recognised as unreactive elements
which would not chemically combine with other elements.
© Copyright Tim Midgley, February, 2002, revised August 2023.