barons king barony parliament term
BARON. The origin and primary import of this term have been much contested. Menage derives it from the Latin baro, a word which we find used in classical Latin to signify "a simple" or " foolish man " (Cic. Fin., ii. 23). Another form of the same word appears to be •aro, to which Lucilius gives the meaning "a stupid man," "a. blockhead," Forcellini observing that its primary sense is " a block of tough, hard wood." But with greater probability Graff derives the word baron from the old German Bar = Mann, freier Mann. The word seems related to the Spanish varon, which means " a male," " a noble person," and its root may be found in the Sanskrit thr. Like the Greek elvyjp and the Latin vir, the word baron signifies man in general and also a husband - the old legal expression baron and tone being equivalent to our ordinary phrase "man and wife."
In modern English usage the term is particularly applied to a member of the lowest order of the peerage, but in ancient records (as Lord Coke observes) the barony included all the (titular) nobility of England, because all noblemen were barons though they might possess a higher dignity i speak of the " barons wars," and "the barons" who signed Magna Charta, although nobles of higher rank joined in both, and it is usual in summoning the Upper House a peer's son in the lifetime of thj'father to give, for the occasion, a separate existence to the latter's barony.' Thus Earl Forteseue sat in the House of Lords during his father's lifetime as baron of Castle Hill, county Devon - the barony held with his father's earldom. The fiction is still maintained when a commoner is raised directly to one of the higher grades of the peerage, as in the case of Admiral Jervis, who was created at the same time Baron Jervis and Earl St Vincent.
The origin and comparative antiquity of barons have been the subject of much research amongst antiquaries. The inost probable opinion is that they were the same as our present lords of manors ; and to this the appellation of court-baron, given to the lord's court-, and incident to every manor, seems to lend countenance. The term baron had, therefore, originally a very extensive meaning, being applicable to all tenants-in-chief of the Crown, whether holding by knight service or by grand serjcantry. But the latter only were in the narrower sense the king's barons, and as such possessed both a civil and criminal jurisdiction, each in his curia baronis, and were entitled to seats in the great council of the nation. " For," says Sir H. Nicolas, it was the principle of the feudal system that every tenant should attend the court of his immediate superior ; and hence it was that he who held per baronianz, having no superior but the Crown, was bound to attend his sovereign in great council or parliament, which was, in fact, the great court baron of the realm " (Historic Peerage of England, ed. Courthope, p. 18). The lesser barons - those, namely, who held by knight service - were also occasionally summoned to parliament, but upon no fixed principles, and "the irregularity of passing over many of them when councils were held for the purpose of levying money, led to the provision in the Great Charter of John, by which the king promises that they shall be summoned through the sheriff on such occasions ' (Hallam, Middle Ages, iii. 213). Both these classes, but the former especially, might be entitled to the appellation of Barons by Tenure ; but it is evident that the mere possession of a barony (i.e., thirteen knights' fees and a quarter) did not give its possessor an absolute right to a seat in parliament, and, of course, all such baronies must have been swept away by the Act of 12 Car. II. c. 24, abolishing feudal tenures and whatever depended thereupon. But from the reign of Henry III. (49th year) the barons were summoned to attend the king in council or parliament by writ, and thus the dignity ceased to be territorial and became altogether personal. And although the writ, whether addressed to ancient barons or to those who had not before been peers of parliament, contained no words of limitation to the heirs of the person summoned, yet it was laid down by Coke, and has always been accepted, that it ennobles the blood of the person summoned, and that thus the barony becomes heritable by heirs, male or female. A further change by King Richard II. in the 11th year of his reign, when he created John Beauchamp de Holt baron of Kidderminster by letters patent, and since that date this mode of conferring the dignity of a baron has been pursued. Dugdale states that the solemn investiture of barons created by patent was performed by the king himself, by enrobing the peer in scarlet, and this form continued till 13 Jac. I., when the lawyers declared that the delivery of the letters patent without ceremony was sufficient. The letters patent express the limits of inheritance of the barony. The usual limit is to the grantee and heirs male of his body; occasionally (as in the case of Lord Brougham) in default of male issue, to a collateral male relative ; and occasionally (as in the case of Lord Nelson) to the heirs of a sister. The coronation robes of a baron are the same as those of an earl, except that he has only two rows of spots on each shoulder ; and, in like manner, his parliamentary robes have but two guards of white fur, with rows of gold lace; but in other respects they are the same as these of other peers. King Charles II. granted to the barons a coronet, having six large pearls set at equal distances on the chaplet. A baron's cap is the same as a viscount's. His style is Right Honourable; and he is addressed by the king or queen, Right Trusty and 11-(11 Beloved.
Barons of the Exchequer, six judges (a chief baron and five puisne barons) to whom the administration of justice is committed in causes betwixt the king and his subjects relative to matters of revenue. Selden, in his Titles of Honour, conjectures that they were originally chosen from among the barons of the kingdom, and hence their name.
Barons of the Cinque Ports (originally Hastings, Dover, Hythe, Romney, and Sandwich) were (prior to 1831) members of the House of Commons, elected by the Cinque Ports, two for each port. Their right to the title is recognized in many old statutes, but in 1606 the use of the term in a message from the Lower House drew forth a protest from the peers, that "they would never acknowledge any man that sitteth in the Lower House to the right or title of a baron of parliament" (Lords' Journals). These ports are now under the jurisdiction of a warden.
Baron and Few, in the English Law, a term used for husband and wife, in relation to each other, who are accounted as one person. Hence, by the old law of evidence the one party was excluded from being evidence for or against the other in civil questions, and a relic of it is still preserved in the criminal law, Baron and Feme, in Heraldry, is when the coats-of-arms of a man and his wife are borne per pale in the same escutcheon, - the man's being always on the dexter side, and the woman's on the sinister. But in this case the woman is supposed not to be an heiress, for then her coat must be borne by the husband on an escutcheon of pretence. See HERALDRY. (C. J. n.)