The Question

In the various British peerages - i.e. the peerages of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom - one finds titles of the form Duke of X, Marquess of X and Earl of X. There are, of course, a great many baron-tier titles, but these are almost always of the form Baron X, Baron Y or Baron X of Y, and not Baron of Y. Why is this?

Extra Details

  • The only exception to the above that I've been able to unearth is the title of Baron of Dunsany. This exception seems to have occurred because said title is so very ancient. This makes me think that, in the earlier part of the Middle Ages, the form Baron of X was more common. Is that right?
  • The title of viscount also tends to have been bestowed in the form Viscount X rather than Viscount of X. This makes some sense to me, since a viscount was intended to be, in the distant past, one of an earl's deputies, and so the title would naturally be more personal than territorial. Is this connected to the form baronial titles?
  • Scottish feudal barons are always styled Baron of X. English feudal baronies were abolished by Charles II, and so records are patchier, but I can't imagine that English feudal barons were styled all that differently to their Scottish counterparts. The feudal baronage, both sides of the border, is an older institution than the peerage, hence my intuition the form Baron of X is older than Baron X.
  • 3
    Baron is the lowest order in British nobility. I'd be surprised if the form Baron of X was common at any point in time. Also, it's Lord X, rather than Baron X. Dec 29 '19 at 16:26
  • 3
    @DenisdeBernardy: In the most formal contexts it is "Baron of Dunsany", that being the official formal title. However as these contexts are rare, "Lord Dunsany" is most often used. Dec 29 '19 at 16:56
  • @DenisdeBernardy 'I'd be surprised if the form Baron of X was common at any point in time.' Well, at present that form is universal amongst the Scottish feudal baronage. You might well feel I'm moving the goal posts here! But the feudal baronage is older than the peerage, hence my feeling that the of form is older.
    – Tom Hosker
    Dec 29 '19 at 22:03
  • Sir John Sutton was made 1st Baron Dudley in 1528 under Henry VIII.
    – Spencer
    Dec 29 '19 at 23:43
  • 2
    @MarkC.Wallace But I did update the question! See the last bullet point thereof, which I added at the same time as replying to Denis de Bernady's cogent point.
    – Tom Hosker
    Dec 30 '19 at 0:53

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