Mr. Sedivy's History
Historical Figures Architecture



US Flag

Mr. Sedivy's
History Classes:

More Features:

Site Search
History QuotesHumor
Submit Links/Info
LinksWhat's New?
Shop for Stuff



Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Rise of Nation State England
The British Monarchy's Peerage -

Crowns of Dukes, Viscounts, Marquess,
Earls, Baronets, and Barons

Peers were the military companions and the tenants-in-cheif of the English monarchs. Greater definition of their positon and privileges became necessry in the 13th-century with the development of parliamentary institutions. Summons to the House of Lords was accepted as evidence of a peerage. In 1387, during the reign of King Richard II, the first peerage by letters patent was created when John Beauchamp di Holt became Baron Kidderminster.



At first, the title "Duke" was reserved only for members of the royal family. Although efforts to restrict it have failed, the title has been sparingly granted. The first non-royal creations were by Richard II.



The title, "Viscount" is derived from the Latin term "vice-comes" meanining responsible for a county. The first viscount in England was based on French example, and was created by Henry VI in 1440.



The title, "Marquess" gets its name from the custodianship of marches or borders. It was instituted by the French example of Richard II in 1385 when Robert de Vere was created marquess of Dublin.



The title, "Earl" is derived from the Saxon and Danish office of responsibility for a shire. Therefore, earl and baron are the oldest titles of the peerage.


Baronetcy is a hereditary order of knighthood, founded in 1611 by James I to provide funds for the settlement of Ireland. The original intention was to not exceed 200, but soon there were lavish creations, mainly to raise money, in the Stuart period. An order of Irish and Scottish baronets was subsequently established. They merged in 1707 into baronets of Great Britain, and in 1801 into baronets of the United Kingdom.



The title, "Baron" is of Norman origin. Formal recognition was first by what later became the House of Lords. In 1387, Richard II granted a barony by letters patent to John Beauchamp de Holt as Baron Kidderminster.

Though the peerage was always regarded as one of the pilars on which the crown rested, during the 17th and 18th centuries, it was credited with a balancing role, preventing the constitution from sliding either into despotism or into anarchy.

British Crown Jewels
The British crown jewels contain some of th most famous gems in the world. Shown are the St. Edward's crown, used to crown the monarch in the coronation service. Also pictured are two scepters, the coronation ring and the Soveriegn's orb. The Imperial State Crown (not pictured) was made for Queen Victoria. It contains a huge ruby called the Black Prince's Ruby.

Tower of London
The jewels are all kept in the tower of London.

In 1707, with the Act of Union with Scotland, a new British peerage was instituted. It was changed in 1802, after the Union with Ireland, into a peerge of the United Kingdom.

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria

During Queen Victoria's reign, "life peerages" were granted to judges to enable the judical work of the House of Lords to be carried on. But, the institution of "life peerage" to other persons, to mitigate the party bias of hereditary peerage, was postponed until fairly recently - in 1958. One result has been to give a new lease on life to the House of Lords, which probably is in higher public esteem than at any time during the 20th-century. (In the late 1990s, just under 1/3 of the house consisted of life peers, although they had taken the greater share of the House's business and debates.)

Back to top of page

Mr. Sedivy's Lecture Notes & Historical Info

The Celts
| Gallic He-Men | Celtic Culture, Trade, Religion, Women |
| Threat of the Celts - Celtic Battles and Conquests |

- Rise of Nation State England -
| Roman Conquest of Britain | Christianity in Britain |
| Customs: Thanes, Churls, Thralls, Wergeld, Folk-Moot |
| Dark Ages: Alfred the Great, Edward the Elder, Athelstan |
| The Return of the Vikings |
| Kings of Britain: Aethelred, Cnut, Edward the Confessor |
| Bayeaux Tapestry, William the Conqueror,
Edward the Confessor, Harold Godwinson, Harold II
| The Crusades: Richard Lion Heart, Pope Urban |
| King John, Innocent III, Archbishop Stephen Langton |
| Magna Carta / First Parliament |

Wales and Scotland
| Wales: Edward I, Llewellyn, Snowdonia |
| Scotland: Alexander III, John Balliol,
William Wallace, Robert Bruce, King Edward II

The 100 Years War
| Edward III, Longbows at Crecy, Edward IV, Black Prince |
| Henry V, King Charles VI, Battle at Calais, Treaty of Troyes |

More Information
| Other Kings of the Dark and Middle Ages:
William II, Henry I, Henry II
| The British Monarchy's Peerage: Dukes, Viscounts,
Marquess, Earls, Baronets, and Barons

Class Activities
Roman Conquest Comparison
Battle of Agincourt

Related Information
Mr. Sedivy's World History - The Middle Ages
The Complete Bayeux Tapestry
Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages / Crusades
The Hundred Years War
King Henry VIII
The Interesting Life of Elizabeth I
The Stuarts - James I, Charles I, Charles II, James II
Oliver Cromwell



Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000

Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Advanced Placement Modern European History | Rise of Nation State England | World History |
| Home | Back to top of page | Site Contents |