Territorial designation

Territorial designation

A territorial designation is an aspect of the creation of modern peerages that links them specifically to a specific place or places, at least one of which is almost always in the United Kingdom. It is given in the patent of creation after the actual peerage title itself, of which it is not a part. It is also an integral part of all baronetcies.

For instance, the life peerages conferred on the former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and James Callaghan were created as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire and Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, of the City of Cardiff in the County of South Glamorgan. The part of the peerage before the comma is the actual title, and the part after the comma is the territorial designation. These peers should be referred to as The Lady Thatcher and The Lord Callaghan of Cardiff: it is incorrect both to use part of the territorial designation as part of the title and to leave out part of the actual title; thus The Lady Thatcher of Kesteven and The Lord Callaghan are incorrect.

Some territorial designations name more than one place, and the format used depends on whether such places are in the same county or other administrative division. For instance, the life peerages conferred on Margaret McDonagh and John Morris were created as Baroness McDonagh, of Mitcham and of Morden in the London Borough of Merton and Baron Morris of Aberavon, of Aberavon in the County of West Glamorgan and of Ceredigion in the County of Dyfed. Occasionally, a place outside the United Kingdom can be named: for instance, the life peerage conferred on Howard Florey was created as Baron Florey, of Adelaide in the Commonwealth of Australia and of Marston in the County of Oxford.

With the exception of Royal peerages, which are often created without them, territorial designations are used with the creation of almost all baronies and viscountcies. Higher ranks of the peerage often used to have them as well, but now rarely do. With the higher ranks, the format could be the same as with lower ranks or it could simply specify the location of the place named in the actual title. For example: Duke of Wellington, in the County of Somerset (1814) and Duke of Gordon, of Gordon Castle in Scotland (1876) but Duke of Fife (1899); Marquess of Cholmondeley, in the County Palatine of Chester (1815) and Marquess of Ailsa, of the Isle of Ailsa in the County of Ayr (1831) but Marquess of Zetland (1892); Earl of Craven, in the County of York (1801) and Earl Nelson, of Trafalgar and of Merton in the County of Surrey (1805) but Earl of Stockton (1984).

In the 19th century, it was possible to create a different peerage title merely by altering the location of the comma. Thus the title Baron Stanley of Alderley, in the County of Chester differs in format from Baron Stanley, of Bickerstaffe in the County Palatine of Lancaster only by the placement of the comma: the former title is Baron Stanley of Alderley whilst the latter is Baron Stanley. This format is no longer used: if a peerage title in the format "Baron X of Y" is wanted, the full territorial designation must be used. Thus if the Barony of Stanley of Alderley were created at the moment, it would have to be Baron Stanley of Alderley, of Alderley in the County of Chester.

Recognition of a Territorial Designation may also be granted in Scotland by the Lord Lyon to Scottish armigers who own named land “outwith” a town (i.e. rural). This was used in the old days to identify a person when, for example, there might be ten Thomas MacDougals in a given county. The Territorial Designation in this case is not a title but is considered to be an indivisible part of the name.

In the case of a victory title, at least one term usually refers to the site of the grantee's triumph, usually outside the UK.



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