Titles of the Nobility

                     England              France and Europe
                                                                                                    The table is hierarchical
King           ==                 Queen Rei                     ==      Reina
Duke          ==                  Duchess Duc                    ==      Duchesse
Marquess   ==                  Marchioness Marquis              ==      Marqesse
Earl [Eorl]  ==                  Countess Comte [Count]   ==      Comtesse 
Viscount     ==                  Viscountess Vicomte             ==      Vicomtesse
Baron        ==                   Baroness Baron                ==       Baronesse
Baronet     ==                   Baronetess

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"

Lords
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.
 

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 © Copyright Tim Midgley, February, 2002, revised June 2007.