Is it possible for a British peer to have the same surname and title? As in William Podunk, Duke of Podunk?

I had been quite sure of the thing's impossibility till I thought of a counterexample: there was a Richard (of) York, Duke of York.

On the other hand, is "of York" even a proper surname? I feel I am a bit out of my depth here.


As @Pieter pointed out, the counterexample is wrong. It's Richard Plantagenet.

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    As a simple search on Wikipedia explains: "Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, was born on 21 September 1411, ...." (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_of_York,_3rd_Duke_of_York) The Wars of the Roses, of which said Richard was a prime instigator, was an internecine quarrel between the York and Lancaster lines of the Plantagenet dynasty of English monarchs. Commented May 15, 2017 at 4:26
  • @PieterGeerkens Platangenet - of course! I missed the obvious. So, do you concur with my original version that X, Duke of X is impossible? Commented May 15, 2017 at 5:07
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about history.
    – DevSolar
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 7:14
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    If the question were "Have there ever been..." instead of "Are there" then is it History?
    – justCal
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 16:31
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    I have voted to reopen the question, because I little thought has reminded me of a historic example of a Duke of a place with the same name as his surname. James Hamilton, 3rd Earl of Arran, died childless and insane in 1609. His younger brother John Hamilton (d. 1606) became first Marquess of Hamilton. The third Marguess, James Hamilton 1606-1649, became 1st Duke of Hamilton. His daughter Anne became Duchess of Hamilton in 1651 and her descendant Alexander Douglas-Hamilton is the 16th duke of Hamilton.
    – MAGolding
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 17:50

3 Answers 3


It is very common to have titles based on the surname such as Barry Jones, Baron Jones or with a location so as to reduce ambiguity such as Nigel Jones, Baron Jones of Cheltenham

There are others with minor spelling differences such as Peter Carington, 6th Baron Carrington (note the extra r) who renounced his hereditary peerage but was later awarded a life peerage as Baron Carington of Upton (single r)

But in the comments you seem to be looking for of X examples. I am not aware of any dukes (David Somerset is Duke of Beaufort, while the Duke of Somerset has the surname Seymour, going back to the family of Henry VIII's third wife). There are some earls and countesses, such as Elizabeth Sutherland, 24th Countess of Sutherland and Benjamin Craven, 9th Earl of Craven and Rupert Onslow, 8th Earl of Onslow, as well as the slightly odder example where the surname includes of namely Margaret of Mar, 31st Countess of Mar

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    I'm not certain this is spot on. I have a feeling that the Scottish countesses mentioned have adopted (or been attributed) surnames from their title, and surely "of Mar" is not a surname and is directly taken from the title. Onslow and Craven are unusual, and it's notable that both those titles were elevations of Barons, whose lordly title is usually their surname. Commented May 15, 2017 at 8:52
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    @AndrewLeach Margaret of Mar's now divorced husband apparently changed his name in 1969 from Edwin Noel Artiss to Edwin Noel of Mar. Their daughter and granddaughters apparently have the family name of Mar too. The name is presumably related to being the head of the Clan Mar and the dispute with cousins (family name Erskine) about whether the Earldom of Mar is a territorial title or not
    – Henry
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 12:02

There have been several dukes whose titles match their surnames.

These include Frederick Schomberg, a German-born general who, at various times, commanded forces for France, Brandenburg and Portugal. In 1673 he was invited to England to plan and lead an invasion of Holland, which was cancelled. He later did the opposite, accompanying William III in the Dutch "invasion" of England and was killed at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. In 1689 he was created Duke of Schomberg, in the peerage of England.

Phillip Wharton was created Duke of Wharton, in the peerage of Great Britain, at the age of 19, in 1718.

Charles Lennox, the natural son of Charles II, was created Duke of Lennox, in the Scottish peerage, in 1675.

In Scotland, if a name and title are the same the phrase "of that ilk", meaning of the same name or place, is sometimes used. Sir Iain Moncrieffe, baron of East Moncrieffe, for example, was known as Moncrieffe of that Ilk.


Yes, it is possible for a British peer to have the same surname and title. Although it depends on what period you're considering. In more recent times, not every title is based on giving title to land and, therefore, the title isn't tied to an actual place (and not every title, therefore, has 'of' in it).

For example, the first Baron Kenyon was Lloyd Kenyon. One of his contemporaries was John Campbell, 1st Baron Campbell. Another was the naval commander Sir George Brydges Rodney, 1st Baronet who became the 1st Baron Rodney.

  • Thank you, this is most helpful. But may I be a bit finicky and emphasize the of part? In all 3 examples you gave it was Baron X, not Baron of X. Thanks again! Commented May 15, 2017 at 5:15
  • As I noted, the 'of X' was used to tie the title to a place. Since titles are no longer actual grants of land (or control of land), there's no need to have that link and in the more numerous lower peerages it's common for the titles to omit it. Theoretically, in modern times, there's nothing to prevent someone, whose name is also a place name, taking a title with that place in it, e.g. John Kingston can become "Baron of Kingston"
    – Steve Bird
    Commented May 15, 2017 at 5:33
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    @SteveBird Well, he would become Baron Kingston of Kingston. Barons always use their surname, unless they have a real title (like Lord Carrington mentioned in another answer) Commented May 15, 2017 at 9:32
  • Your reminder that while hereditary, baronetcies are not peerages; just hereditary knighthoods essentially. Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 1:10

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