Friday, April 19, 2013

Everything you need to know about English titles

No, I'm not going to try to give you all the details about English rank and aristocracy, about precedence, and honours, and dignities. Four years ago, I did a post listing some resources for information on titles. But now I have found two books from 1809 and 1828 which will tell you everything you do need to know, from the horse's mouth, as it were.
Crowns and Coronets of England from The Manual of Rank and Nobility
The 1828 book containing the above illustration is:
Hopefully its information is accurate and can be used without concern, for it does cover everything. The book has no illustrations other than the one at the top of the page, but it does have such arcane details as
The book contains lists of all the current (1828) title holders in Great Britain, and the origins and legalities of terms such as duke, earl, baronet, etc. etc. It also includes articles such as "Privileges of the Queen", "Maxim that the King never dies" and "Embalming Royal Bodies"!

The other book is from 1809 and is declared to be a children's book:
It contains twenty-four charming illustrations, and two excellent tables of precedence--one for men and one for women--at the book's end.

There is no table of contents or index which makes use a little challenging, but the information offered is fascinating. I find children's books such as this as a worth-while starting point for facts, particularly as the material is laid out so clearly. For the beginner, this book, followed by the Manual of Rank and Nobility, should supply every need.
 As well as peers, it also covers the army and navy, the church and various posts of officialdom, with their duties, and often details of costume.
Even court dresses receive a mention:

It is, of course, always best when undertaking research to look for primary source materials. I regard these two books as primary source, and I hope you find them as interesting as I have. They are both available for download from Google Books.

'Til next time,


Anne Gallagher said...

Wow these books are fabulous. I'm off to download right now. I hope.Thanks so much for the information.

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

You are so welcome, Anne! I'm glad you think they will be of use. Happy Spring!