Our titles » Baron and Baroness

Buy the aristocratic title of baron and baroness!

At first sight the title of baron sounds highly promising. People associate barons with an elegant appearance and a position of power, though actually nobles with the title of baron are among the lower ranks of the aristocracy in many European countries. A female baron is called a baroness.

The status of this aristocratic title has changed over the years, and the hereditary title stretches back several centuries. Before you buy an aristocratic title and call yourself a baron or baroness, you can find interesting information about barons and baronesses below.

Etymology of the words ‘baron’ and ‘baroness’

The origin of these terms can be traced back to the Latin, more specifically to the Latin word ‘baro’, meaning servant, mercenary or soldier. In Alemannic law a mercenary was called a ‘barus’, while different languages and cultures developed similar definitions over the years. They all shared the same root in the concepts of mercenaries and soldiers or hard work. The origin of the female equivalent, baroness, is unclear, and to this day different sources and theories conflict regarding the etymological origin of the word. One thing is certain, though: barons and baronesses share a long history.

Historical changes in barony

The titles ‘baron’ and ‘baroness’ were more popular in medieval times, when feudal lords were rewarded with property. Anybody who owned property was identified as a lord, but after several centuries feudal barons were a rather antiquated concept. The title of baron signified membership of the nobility, but didn’t correspond to any specific rights or obligations. To this day barons are representative of the aristocracy.

Barons in Anglo-Saxon England under William the Conqueror

William I, known as William the Conqueror, was of great importance in the development of barons, as he was the king that introduced the rank into the English nobility in order to find out which of his citizens would swear allegiance to him. The title of baron was actually eliminated by other aristocratic titles, And barons under William I had to complete military service and form the council that helped shape the king’s political decisions. Higher-ranked noblemen and noblewomen often called these feudal lords ‘barons’, Though it was common for lower-level magistrates to simply be called ‘men’. Despite this, barons under William I were feudal lords who had sworn their allegiance to the higher-ranking aristocrat.

Barons under Henry II

Barons truly established themselves during the reign of King Henry II. Originally all landowners and feudal lords who had received land in thanks for their military service were barons. The Dialogus de Scaccario recognised barons as free men who received land for their service as knights. The aristocratic titles ‘baron’ and ‘lord’ were partly interchangeable under Henry II, though a true landlord would not define himself as a baron, preferring to use the title ‘lord’ itself.

The Magna Carta and its influence on Anglo-Saxon aristocratic titles

The Magna Carta significantly altered many aspects of Anglo-Saxon history. In 1164, higher-ranking barons were regularly summoned to be present at the King’s Council. Later came the Parliament and the House of Lords, which also comprised barons. The Magna Carta set out that lower-ranking barons would receive an summons and would have to select a representative to act in their name. The representatives selected would form the Knight of Shire. From this point on there was a stark difference between common citizens and barons. Medieval barons enjoyed many privileges and also wielded political influence. It was only with Britain’s development into a democratic political system that barons and baronesses lost their privileges as well as their prestige.

The development of baronies and the end of feudalism

The end of feudal barony was drawing close, however. From the fifteenth century the feudal barons were largely replaced by summons that obliged certain people to take part in parliamentary sittings. These letters of patents created new barons, and the focus on the feudal lords’ property and status faded. The titles and positions of power related to the feudal system were now seen as outdated. The Tenures Abolition Act in 1660 modernised this feudal barony: Various laws were implemented that transformed feudal baronies into baronies by socage, meaning the nobles were obliged to make regularly monetary payments.

Baronies in twentieth-century Britain

The development of the aristocracy in twentieth-century Britain was defined by the introduction of non-hereditary aristocratic titles. Anyone with a peerage or a life peerage independent of their ancestry today bears the title ‘baron’ or ‘baroness’, though both hereditary and non-hereditary peers prefer the title of ‘noble lords’. The honour of a barony is often an additional accolade that functions as an honorary title for people of note in the UK. Modern-day barons have an aristocratic title to continue the aristocratic tradition in Britain and to protect the aristocracy. The aristocratic title of baron is no longer linked to any specific rights in Britain.

Baronies – a look into the past, present and future

As the years went on, the aristocratic title of ‘baron’ developed further across Europe. At first barons were common citizens, though they later came to wield political influence. Nowadays ‘baron’ is an honorary distinction for esteemed public personalities. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, for example, rich and powerful personalities were designated barons, so there came to be a newspaper baron, an industry baron or a silk baron. The term ‘baron’ has always been connected to great power.

Today’s barons and baronesses enjoy profound respect: Despite lacking political power and specific aristocratic privileges, baronies nonetheless look back on a long and glorious past. Everything indicates that barons and baronesses will continue to play a key role in England in the twenty-first century. These titles have not yet reached the end of their evolution.

Anyone who wants to be a part of this success story can now purchase an aristocratic title of their own. You’ll then be able to appear in public as a baron and baroness, and enjoy the centuries-old glow of this aristocratic title. People are guaranteed to be fascinated!