Page:Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage.djvu/72

This page needs to be proofread.


XXXIV TITLES, ORDERS, AND DEGREES OF PRECEDENCE AND DIGNITY. Bishops. The Bishops of England, with six exceptions,* are also barons of the king- dom and of Parliament. To these, says Cam- den i " By right and custom it appertained to be, with the rest of the peers personally present at all Parliament whatsoever, there to consult, to handle, to ordain, decree, and determine in regard of the baronies which they held of the king." Bishops take precedence of the temporal barons, and it would seem that at one time their degree of precedence went even higher, for " At the coronation of Charles II. it was ex- pressly ordered in doing homage to the king, that, according to ancient custom, the archbishops and bishops should precede all the lay lords, and even the Duke of York. " The Bishops of London, Durham, and Win- chester have precedence over all other bishops, who rank according to the seniority of their con- secrations. A bishop resigning his see ceases to be a peer of Parliament. Every bishop is entitled to the prefix of Lord, and styles himself " Right Reverend Father in God, by Divine Permission, Lord Bishop of ." The mitre, placed over the arms of a bishop, is a round cap, pointed and cleft at the top, from BISHOP'S MITRE. which hangs two pendants, fringed at the ends ; it is surmounted by a fillet of gold, set with precious stones. The mitre of the Bishop of Durham (as nominally Count Palatine of Durham) is, however, represented as issuing out of a ducal coronet. The Bishops of Ireland who were consecrated prior to the Disestablishment Act of 1868 are en- titled to the prefix of " Lord," and though retain- ing their former precedence, have not seats in the House of Lords. All Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland and of the Roman Catholic Church have the precedence which belonged to the Archbishops and Bishops of the Established Church of Ireland before the passing of the Irish Church Act of 1869, and they rank inter se according to the dates of their consecration or translation. A bishop impales his arms with those of the see, but he does not bear crest, supporters, or motto. The wives and children of bishops have not any social precedence. Baron. t Much obscurity prevails as

  • The six Junior Bishops, not being of London, Dur-

ham, or Winchester, have not seats in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Sodor and Man has a seat in the House of Lords, but does not vote, as he is a legis- lator in the Isle of Man. t Batons are commonly styled Lords :*.., Lord Coleridge, to the ancient meaning, and even derivation of, the word baron ; and eccentric speculations have been indulged in with respect to their ancient position. When the title was introduced into England is uncertain, but it is probable that its original name in England was Vavassoiir, which the Danes changed into Thane, and the Normans into Baron. It never occurs as a title of dignity in Saxon annals. By some it was supposed to have originally meant a hired soldier: by others, a free man ; by others, a man equal to any other BARON'S CORONET, man ; and so on. It is cer- tain, however, that as a title of dignity it is of very ancient date in some parts of the Continent. Gregory Taroncnsis writes of "the Barons of Burgundie, as veil Bishops as other Leudes," and other writers mention it in equally good company. But though the Normans introduced it into England, it was some time before it implied a man of distinguished mark. Earls had their barons under them, and charters are extant in which earls addressed them thus : " To all my barons, as well French as English, greeting." Even citizens' of good note were called barons. The salient fact, however, is, that the barons of England soon rose to be the great moving power in the State, and how the title was accounted' may be judged from a summons of Henry III. to the High Court of Parlia- ment : " For he, after many troubles and enormous vexations betweene the King himselfe and Simon of Montfqrt, with other barons, and after appeased, did decree and ordaine that all those earls and barons of the realme of England, unto whom the King himselfe vouchsafed to direct his writs of summons, should come unto his Parliament, and none others." The date of this (the first precept) is 49 Henry III., 1264. The first baron created BY PATENT was John Beauchamp de Holt, created Baron Kidderminster, by Richard II. The fact appears to be that the title or dignity of baron, at first vague and uncertain, like other designations and distinctions of disturbed times, was, like those, mellowed and moulded, with the growth of con- stitutional law and defined right, until it has taken its present intelligible position amongst English orders and degrees of honour. The succession to baronies by writ is not limited to heirs male, but is vested in heirs general. In the event of the death of a baron by writ without male issue the title will fall into abeyance should he leave wo or more daughters, and will so continue until only one daughter or the sole heir of one of the daughters survive. The crown can, however, at any time terminate the abeyance in favour of any one of the co-heiresses, but it cannot alienate the barony from the repre- sentatives of the first baron. When a baron is called to the House of Peers by writ of summons the writ is in the Queen's name. The robes of a baron have but two guards of white fur, with as many rows of gold lace ; in other respects they are the same as those of other peers. King Charles II. granted a coronet to the barons, who till his reign wore only a plain circle of gold. It is formed of six silver balls, set at equal distances on a circle of gold bordered with ermine. A baron is styled Right Honourable, and by the sovereign Right tnisty and -well-beloved. The children of barons bear the courtesy title of Honourable,