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How the Peerage is Ranked


There are five grades of the Peerage:

Duke
The highest rank in the Peerage was introduced into England in 1337 when King Edward III created his eldest son Duke of Comwall. The first non-royal dukedom was created in 1448. In Scotland, the first two dukedoms were created in 1398.

Marquess
The second rank in the Peerage is derived from the Gernlan Markgraf, signifying the guardian of a March, or border territory. King Richard introduced it into England in 1385, and it was introduced into Scotland by King James VI in 1599.

Earl
The third rank in the Peerage, but the oldest. Its origins are traced back to Saxon times, when an Ealdornlan administered a shire or province for the king. The present title of Earl, derived from the Scandinavian Jarl, dates from the reign of Canute (1016-35).

Viscount
The fourth rank in the Peerage is derived from the hereditary office of Vice-Comes, that is, the deputy of a Count. King Henry VI introduced it into England in 1440.

Baron
The Normans introduced the fifth and lowest rank of the Peerage into England. A Baron was tenant-in-chief of the king, holding his land directly from him. In Scotland, the equivalent title is Lord of Parliament, as the word 'Baron' relates to Feudal Barons.

ORDER OF PRECEDENCE

Taken from Burke's Peerage and Gentry 106th edition.  The order of Precedence begins with the
Sovereign.  The Peers, of which there are five grades are detailed in the order of precedence below,
beginning with the highest rank of Duke -

54-Marquesses in the peerage of England.
55-Marquesses in the peerage of Scotland.
56-Marquesses in the peerage of Great Britain.
57-Marquesses in the peerage of Ireland created before the Union of 1801.
58-Marquesses in the peerages of the United Kingdom or Ireland created since the Union.
59-Dukes' eldest sons according to the same order as dukes themselves.
60-Earls in the peerage of England.
61-Earls in the peerage of Scotland.
62-Earls in the peerage of Great Britain.
63-Earls in the peerage of Ireland created before the Union of 1801.
64-Earls in the peerages of the United Kingdom and of Ireland created since the Union.
65-Younger sons of Dukes of the Blood Royal.
66-Marquesses' eldest sons.
67-Dukes' younger sons.
68-Viscounts in the peerage of England.
69-Viscounts in the peerage of Scotland.
70-Viscounts in the peerage of Great Britain.
71-Viscounts in the peerage of Ireland created before the Union of 1801.
72-Viscounts in the peerages of the United Kingdom or Ireland created since the Union.
73-Earls' eldest sons and the eldest sons of peeresses in their own right who are Countesses.
74-Marquesses' younger sons.
75-The Bishop of London.
76-The Bishop of Durham.
77-The Bishop of Winchester.
78-Other Church of England Diocesan Bishops with seats in the House of Lords in order of seniority
of confirmation of election.
79-Church of England Diocesan Bishops without seats in the House of Lords in same order as 78.
80-Church of England Suffragan Bishops in same order as 78.
81-Retired Church of England Bishops in order of original date of confirmation of election (a
retired Bishop is still in valid Holy Orders and remains a Bishop).
82-Secretaries of State if of the rank of Baron.
83-Barons in the peerage of England.
84-Lords of Parliament in the peerage of Scotland.
85-Barons in the peerage of Great Britain.
86-Barons in the peerage of Ireland.
87-Barons in the peerages of the United Kingdom or Ireland created since the Union of 1801. Life
peers, who these days are always of baronial rank, are included here, as also are Lords of Appeal in
Ordinary, who these days are made life peers too. They rank among themselves according to the date
of the peerage's creation or the date of appointment as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.


 


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