Barony (county division)

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A barony is an administrative division of a county in Scotland, Ireland and outlying parts of England. It has a lower rank and importance than a county.

Contents

Origin

A geographic barony is a remnant from mediaeval times of the area of land held under the form of feudal land tenure termed feudal barony, or barony by tenure, either an English feudal barony, a Scottish feudal barony or an Irish feudal barony, which all operated under different legal and social systems. Just as modern counties are no longer under the administrative control of a noble count or earl, geographic baronies are generally no longer connected with feudal barons, certainly not in England where such tenure was abolished with the whole feudal system by the Tenures Abolition Act 1660. The position in Scotland is more complex, although the legal force of the Scottish feudal baron was sadly abolished early in the 21st century. [1]

Surviving examples

England

Two divisions of the county of Westmorland in England:

Scotland

Ireland

Norway

See also

Related Research Articles

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The history of the British peerage, a system of nobility found in the United Kingdom, stretches over the last thousand years. The current form of the British peerage has been a process of evolution. While the ranks of baron and earl predate the British peerage itself, the ranks of duke and marquess were introduced to England in the 14th century. The rank of viscount came later, in the mid-15th century. Peers were summoned to Parliament, forming the House of Lords.

Fingal County in Ireland

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County palatine

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Tenant-in-chief Medieval term for an landholder who held his land directly from the king

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Barons in Scotland Scottish feudal barons, and a list of baronies

In Scotland, a baron is the head of a feudal barony, also known as a prescriptive barony. This used to be attached to a particular piece of land on which was situated the caput or essence of the barony, normally a building, such as a castle or manor house. Accordingly, the owner of the piece of land containing the caput was called a baron. According to Grant, there were around 350 identifiable local baronies in Scotland by the early fifteenth century and these could mostly be mapped against local parish boundaries. The term baron was in general use from the thirteenth century to describe what would have been known in England as a knight of the shire.

Knight-service

Knight-service was a form of feudal land tenure under which a knight held a fief or estate of land termed a knight's fee from an overlord conditional on him as tenant performing military service for his overlord.

Feudal baron

A feudal baron is a vassal holding a heritable fief called a barony, comprising a specific portion of land, granted by an overlord in return for allegiance and service. Following the end of European feudalism, feudal baronies have largely been superseded by baronies held as a rank of nobility, without any attachment to a fief. However, in Scotland, the feudal dignity of baron remains in existence, and may be bought and sold independently of the land to which it was formerly attached.

Barony of Kendal Subdivision of the English historic county of Westmorland

The Barony of Kendal is a subdivision of the English historic county of Westmorland. It is one of two ancient baronies that make up the county, the other being the Barony of Westmorland. In 1974, the entire county became part of the modern county of Cumbria and ceased to have an administrative function. At the same time, Kendal borough along with some other rural and urban districts in Westmorland was merged with the neighbouring parts of Lancashire, Furness and Cartmel, and also the Sedbergh Rural District of the West Riding of Yorkshire into the new South Lakeland district of the new county.

The Barony of Westmorland also known as North Westmorland, the Barony of Appleby, Appleshire or the Bottom of Westmorland, was one of two baronies making up the English historical county of Westmorland, the other being the Barony of Kendal. Geographically, the barony covered the northern part of the larger county of the same name, and was divided into two wards – East Ward and West Ward. It covered an area similar to that of the Eden District of the new county of Cumbria, although it did not include Penrith, which is now the administrative capital of the district.

Dirleton Village in East Lothian, Scotland

Dirleton is a village and civil parish in East Lothian, Scotland approximately 20 miles (32 km) east of Edinburgh on the A198. It contains 7,500 acres (30 km2). Dirleton lies between North Berwick (east), Gullane (west), Fenton Barns (south) and the Yellowcraigs nature reserve, Archerfield Estate and the Firth of Forth (north). Gullane parish was joined to Dirleton parish in 1612 by an Act of Parliament because "Golyn is ane decaying toun, and Dirleton is ane thriven place."

A feudal lordship is a Scottish feudal title that is held in baroneum, which Latin term means that its holder, who is called a feudal lord, is also always a feudal baron. A feudal lordship is an ancient title of nobility in Scotland. The holder may or may not be a Lord of Regality, which meant that the holder was appointed by the Crown and had the power of "pit and gallows", meaning the power to authorise the death sentence.

English feudal barony Medieval English noble title and type of land tenure

In the kingdom of England, a feudal barony or barony by tenure was the highest degree of feudal land tenure, namely per baroniam, under which the land-holder owed the service of being one of the king's barons. The duties owed by and the privileges granted to feudal barons are not exactly defined, but they involved the duty of providing soldiers to the royal feudal army on demand by the king, and the privilege of attendance at the king's feudal court, the precursor of parliament.

An Irish feudal barony was a customary title of nobility: the holder was always referred to as a Baron, but was not the holder of a peerage, and had no right to sit in the Irish House of Lords. In 1614 the Dublin Government noted that there were "diverse gentlemen" in Ireland who were called Baron, yet: "Never was any of them Lord Baron nor summoned to any Parliament".

References

  1. P. G. B. McNeill and H. L. MacQueen, eds, Atlas of Scottish History to 1707 (University of Edinburgh: Edinburgh, 1996), pp. 201-7