Cracroft's Peerage
The Complete Guide to the British Peerage & Baronetage


Long ago I decided that if at all possible Cracroft's Peerage should be a web-based genealogical resource that is free to all users. However, it costs over 1,000 a month to keep Cracroft's Peerage going.  The harsh reality is that over the years I have paid out a lot of my own money to fund the website as well as carrying out field visits for on-site research and acting as an unpaid knowledge expert.  There will shortly come a time when I will be forced to consider closing down Cracroft's Peerage due to dwindling resources.  If this happens then an awful lot of dedicated hard work will be lost to you.  So, if your visit has been worthwhile or has been of professional benefit, then please consider making a donation, however small, to The Peerage Research Trust. This is the charitable side of Cracroft's Peerage and exists to sponsor academic research into peerage and related matters as well as to raise funds so that I can continue to maintain and develop Cracroft's Peerage. To make a donation, please click on the "Donate" button below.

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The Peerage


Hereditary Peerages

Life Peerages

Representative Peers

Deaths of Peers since 2008

British Houses and Palaces

Heraldry and the Peerage

Case Law, Legislation and Other Documents


A peerage is an hereditary dignity derived in origin directly from the Crown, and devolving on a right line of heirs implied or expressed in the instrument of creation. Formerly chief among the privileges which the possession of a peerage conferred was the right to a seat and vote in Parliament, or, in certain cases, by representation. Peerage dignities are of five degrees of rank to which distinctive titles are assigned, namely, Baron, Viscount, Earl, Marquess and Duke. Every peer, however, is the equal, that is to say the peer, of every other, and all enjoy equal rights and privileges, irrespective of the degree of the number of dignities they hold.


Although the modern Lords of Parliament have little in common with the feudal Barons and Earls of the early Middle Ages, they may be regarded as their successors, just as Parliament itself has succeeded the earlier Councils by a gradual process of evolution.


The development of peerages started with the barons-by-tenure, who were the tenants-in-chief of the King, and attended the King's councils. These tenants-in-chief held their lands, according to the feudal system, conditionally upon the performance of certain services to the King, such as personal attendance in the field of battle and the council, and the provision of a stipulated number of full armed knights for the King's wars in proportion to their territorial possessions, reckoned at so many knights' fees. As the etc.


For a very good guide to the Peerage look at Valentine Heywood's British Titles.


Last updated 3 Jul 2012



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