Friday, 10 October 2014

The Baron & Baronesse

Originally, a Baron was the vassal of the King but during the Ancien Regime a Baron had evolved into being a Lord in his own right. His duty was to administer a piece of land, albeit smaller than that of a Vicomte. The Barons did not enter the ranks of nobility before the 16th century when they were added as the lowest rank of the nobility. A barony could be sold off to anyone who aspired to advance in the world.

For members of the Noblesse d'épée and Noblesse de Robe the title of Baron offered an opportunity for the younger members of a large family to adopt a courtesy title, especially since these younger nobles often would not stand to inherit any title at all. Louis XIV eyed an opportunity to add to his treasury by creating a large number of baronies and then putting them up for sale. Since there were suddenly a lot more baronies to be had it became a lot cheaper to buy a Baron-title. While the old families frowned the addition of "new" nobles were a gift sent from heaven for the gene-pool. As with the other ranks of nobility it was common that a Baron married another Baron's daughter.

A Baron's crown

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