Posted by JW on March 13, 1998 at 06:28:27:
In response to Can someone please help me out?, written by Isabella Rose on March 13, 1998 at 00:28:16
] I am having difficulty finding some straight answers to a few questions of mine.
] The fact is that I know very little about the Regency. I would like to know what the deal is with the whole title thing. For example, in P&P, we have Colonel Fitzwilliam. Colonel Fitzwilliam is the son of an Earl. His father is frequently called the Earl of Matlock. Is this a place? A town . . . somewhere? He is frequently called Lord _______ (Lord Wallingford, on a few occasions). Yet his name is Fitzwilliam. Somebody help me out here, I'm confused . . .
JW: A peer, an earl, marquis or duke, would have a territorial title which would originally have related to where his estates were. Later creations took titles from their birthplace or from some event--eg Wellington was also Baron Douro from a victory in Portugal. The eldest son of a peer took a courtesy title, again a place name on the family estates. Hope this helps. What was special about the British peerage was that only the eldest son was noble, unlike France where all children were noble and hence there was an impoverished and rapacious nobility which paid no taxes and monopolised the avanues to advancement--hence the Revolution. In Britain the other children had to shift for themselves, by marriage , joining the Navy or Army or going into trade or the law. Hence a much more mobile society, and no revolution.
Posting followups to old messages is disabled; instead go to the main index and post a new message which mentions this one.