Baronies created by error

Baronies created by error

Baronies created by error refers to English baronies (baronies in the Peerage of England), Scottish baronial titles (in the Peerage of Scotland) and Irish baronies (baronies in the Peerage of Ireland) that were created by error. The usual type of error was perpetuated in the Committee on Privileges of the British House of Lords, whether by the Committee itself or by a clerk, in mistaking the origins of a dormant, abeyant, or extinct title, and in awarding that title to a person who was not the heir to that peerage. Such mistakes are rare.

One such error was made when the English barony of Wharton was conferred upon a claimant, believing that the barony had been created by writ of summons; however, the original barony had been created by letters patent to the heirs male of the original grantee. In this case, the original documentation had been lost.

Similar errors were made for the Percy barony when the 2nd Duke of Northumberland was summoned to Parliament erroneously in 1722 as Baron Percy (in the belief that the 1299 barony had descended to his mother), and the Strange barony created in 1628 for the 7th Earl of Derby by error.

Since the early twentieth century, the Committee on Privileges has been reluctant to revive older English baronies on various grounds, and thus, the opportunity for new baronies to be created by clerical error or failure in research are rare.

Other errors

The most famous error made by the House of Lords in awarding a title was not in the case of a barony, but for the Scottish earldom of Mar which was awarded to a distant collateral heir male of a previous earl, and not to the heir general, as customary under Scottish peerage law. However, this did not create a new Scottish earldom of Mar, that already having been done three centuries earlier. As a result, there are two peers holding the Mar title today; the Countess of Mar (holder of the oldest surviving Scottish peerage) and the Earl of Mar and Kellie.

The most common errors are made in the spelling of a title as granted in letters patent.

This category does not include baronies such as the very old English Barony de Ros or the Barony of Hastings that were awarded to persons who were not the senior heir (or co-heir) general. Nor does it include baronies that were not awarded at all to the claimant, for various other reasons.


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