British Titles, Nobility and Peerages





(A remote highland lochside estate)

Have the right to address yourself as
The Laird of Glencairn & John O' Groats.

( In Scots law "Laird" is a unisex title but you can buy the title Lady Of as well)

Help conserve this unspoiled landscape for you and your descendants

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Have you ever wanted to change from being Mr or Mrs Smith and become Lord Smith? Or maybe Baron Smith? Or even Scottish Laird Smith?

You may have seen titles being auctioned on sites such as Ebay but is it legal and are the offers genuine? Can you become a Lord or a Scottish Laird?

You do occasionally see German or French titles for sale. We don’t know how valid these titles are but since the French revolution we doubt the French titles have much value.

Well the truth is that you can easily become a Scottish Laird and it is perfectly legal to do so, wherever you live. Even better, you can help the ecology of Scotland and conserve Scottish wildlife at the same time.

Becoming a British Lord or Lady or even a Viscount is a little bit more difficult and a lot more expensive unless you are born into the position.

Before discussing your options it is worth understanding how British nobility and peerage works.

British Nobility and Peerage

Basically, a member of the nobility is someone who has had a title conferred upon them by the Crown (HM The Queen) or whose forbears have had a hereditary title conferred upon them by the Crown. The Monarch is both the head of state and the ‘Fount of Honour’ in Great Britain.

A peer is someone who is entitled to sit in the House of Lords , the second chamber of the British Parliament.

Recent changes in legislation mean that many hereditary Lords etc are no longer able to sit in the House of Lords and those made a Lord nowadays may no longer pass this to their heirs.

In times gone by, it was usual for lands and vast estates to be given to the newly ennobled by the Crown. Usually a reward for faithful service, such as supporting the King against rebels.

The system of honours was part of the feudal system and the Normans introduced knighthoods after their conquest of England in 1066. There is a hierarchy of honours which runs:

1. Duke/Duchess
2. Marquess/Marchioness
3. Earl/Countess
4. Viscount/Viscountess
5. Baron/Baroness

How these titles are inherited is complicated and not always consistent, some pass down the male line to the eldest son but some can pass down the female line.

A holder can renounce or give up a title – perhaps to enter politics as a Member of Parliament. But the holder of a title can not, as a general rule dispose of the title to another as he (or she) sees fit.

Courtesy Titles

There are also ‘courtesy’ titles. Examples of these would be where the eldest son of an Earl would be addressed as Viscount (Earl being the noble rank above Viscount)

A younger son of the Earl would be addressed by the courtesy title of Baron.

As well as the noble titles, people can be made a knight and entitled to use the honorific ‘Sir’ as with ‘Sir Lancelot’ of King Arthur’s fame.

The well known Scottish title of Laird is not part of the British peerage – it does not entitle the bearer to sit in the House of Lords for example – but it is perfectly legal to acquire the title and is valid.
Scotland's Kings and Queens

There's a great page on Scotland's Kings and Queens which can be located here.