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

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The Peerage of Great Britain


Dukes of Great Britain

Marquesses of Great Britain

Earls of Great Britain

Viscounts of Great Britain

Barons of Great Britain


Peerages of Great Britain were created between 1707 and 1801.  During this period peerages of England and Scotland ceased to be created.  The 18th century was a period of aristocratic wealth and splendour, and of social mobility, with a peerage the desired consummation of a political career.  In 1719 a Bill introduced in the House of Lords designed strictly to limit the number of new peerage creations was defeated in the House of Commons.  It was said that the Commons wished to keep the way to the upper House "as open and as easy as possible".


Two "wild acts of anti-Scottish prejudice" made it impossible for Scottish peers who had also been created peers of Great Britain (for their work in advocating or cementing the Union) to sit in the House of Lords as peers of Great Britain.  In 1709 the Lords laid down that a peer of Great Britain "might neither vote nor give a proxy in the election of representative peers".  In 1711 they resolved that no Great Britain peerage granted to a Scottish peer entitled him to sit among them.


For example, in 1722 Robert Ker, Marquess of Bowmont, son and heir of the 1st Duke of Roxburghe, was created a peer of Great Britain (Earl Ker) as a reward to his father, who had been Secretary of State.  After his majority (from 1730), he sat in the House of Lords as Earl Ker.  In 1741 he succeeded his father as 2nd Duke of Roxburghe, and was excluded from the Lords.  Eventually in 1782 it was established that a Scottish peer who also held a peerage of Great Britain could sit in the House of Lords as a peer of Great Britain.


from "Aspects of Britain:  Honours and Titles", Office for National Statistics Crown Copyright 2000




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