What is the difference between a duke, a count, a lord, a margrave and a baron?

Thanks to Kerstin Ewelt for the request.

Unfortunately, the terms are completely confused and that makes the answer difficult.

Lord is a collective term for all nobles in England and Scotland (although they are also called Lairds in Scottish vernacular, but Laird is actually the lowest rank of the nobility there). [1 Lord is also a salutation for a male nobleman, regardless of rank; the female form is Lady.For example, the (fictitious) Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey is also called Lord Grantham as a short form, or with the real name Lord Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham. If you meet him, you’d talk to him with my lord (or m’lud)or Your Lordship. [2 His wife, a native American, acquired the title through marriage and became Lady Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham.She is addressed with my lady or Your Ladyship.

Dukes as the highest nobility are the exception here and are not addressed with Your Lordship/My Lord, but with Your Grace; a royal duke (such as Prince William or Prince Harry) is addressed with Your (Royal)Highness, the monarch with Your Majesty.

Duke, Margrave, Count and Baron are all ranks in the German nobility (from top to bottom).Dukes of S. (Duke in English, duc in French) is the highest of these titles. [3 Then come Margrave[4 and Count[5 (Margrave/Marquess and Count in English, marquis and comtes in French).Both are counts, or come in Latin.Comes, on the other hand, means companion, i.e. originally a military companion of a king.A margrave is still a tick more important and promoted because he is responsible for defending a mark (a border area).The equivalent of this in England was the so-called Marcher Lords along the border with Wales (a mark in English is a march). [6

The term Mark referred not only to border areas between countries, but between Christianity and paganism.Hence Mark Brandenburg, who was led by a margrave.This was set up as a buffer between the then pagan Slavs and the Christians in Germany. The Altmark in Brandenburg is the original border area, but through conquests and conversions the border shifted to the east.

Baron is rather unusual in the German nobility[7 鈥?one uses rather the German counterpart Freiherr[8 鈥?and in England it is an older collective term for the low nobility, but also a low title of an aristocratic.However, in German one sometimes encounters Baroness as the spouse of a baron or female owner of a baronial title, rare baron or even a free wife. Barons/barons are knights who are allowed to inherit the knighthood and thus they are far down the leaderboard of the nobility.

In English orBritish nobility are the rank of lords as follows, from top to bottom: Duke (Duke, Female Duchess), Marquess (Margrave, Female Marchioness), Earl (no German equivalent, but comparable to Count, female Countess), Viscount (Vicomte/Vizegraf, female Viscountess) and Baron (Baron, female Baroness). [9 Nowadays, outside the Royals, only so-called life peerages[10 with the rank viscount or baron are awarded; Life peerages are nobility titles that are not inherited.New Duketitles are de facto (but not de jure)reserved for the Royals and their families.Only the monarch as fount of honour (source of the nobility) may confer a title, but with the advice of the Prime Minister.

Incidentally, there are quite bizarre exceptions and special arrangements.For example, the title Lord of Mann, the head of the Isle of Man. First, you are suddenly written with two N, secondly, you are Lord regardless of gender.The incumbent Lord of Mann is no other such as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.[11[12

Another exception is the head of the island of Sark (Sercq), one of the Channel Islands and a last remnant of the old Duchy of Normandy.This is not called Lord, but Seigneur (French for Lord/Lord). [13 On Sark, by the way, the unrestricted feudalism was still in force until 2006, and to this day there are still limitations! [14



Gerd-Christian Treutler has a useful addition to the origins of the titles of nobility in the comments.As he notes, they come from the strict hierarchy of feudal feudal feudal men in the early Middle Ages, a kind of pyramid with the king or emperor at the top.

However, I would like to point out that this hierarchy was often not so clean or well thought out in practice and local peculiarities have been repeated over and over again.It also changed a lot over time. Especially in England after the conquest by the Danes and Normans, this was completely changed. Before that it was rather provisional and rudimentary, but the Normans introduced feudalism with the typical hierarchy from 1066 and expanded over time. This also had a strong impact on Scotland, with the Scots retaining some peculiarities.



Here again for a simpler illustration:

In the British nobility are all nobles Lords and Ladies.The top-to-bottom ranking is:

  1. Duke/Duchess, Ansalytyour Your Grace
  2. Marquess/Marchioness , Salutation Your Lordship/Ladyship or my lord/lady
  3. Earl/Countess , Salutation like 2 above
  4. Viscount/Viscountess, Salutation like 2 above
  5. Baron/Baroness, Salutation like 2 above

In the German nobility, the ranking is:

  1. Duke/Duchess
  2. Margrave/Margravine
  3. Countess
  4. Vice-Countess (very rare in Germany)
  5. Baron/Baronin



[1 Laird – Wikipedia

[2 Forms of address in the United Kingdom – Wikipedia

[3 Herzog – Wikipedia

[4 Margrave – Wikipedia

[5 Count – Wikipedia

[6 Marcher Lord – Wikipedia

[7 Baron – Wikipedia

[8 Baron – Wikipedia

[9 Peer (Adel) – Wikipedia

[10 Life Peerages Act 1958 – Wikipedia

[11 Lord of Mann – Wikipedia

[12 Lord of Mann – Wikipedia

[13 List of seigneurs of Sark – Wikipedia

[14 Sark – Wikipedia

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