The Stations of the Nobility: Lord

Barons, or Lords, are the most common of the “magnates” or local nobility, the lowest of the ranks of landed nobility that may be called “peer”, having at least one Lordship (manor- or castle-feof) in the realm. They are allowed council with the Crown in Parliament by right of this peerage. A single manor or castle lordship might take the proceeds of 20 parishes for basic support, commonly more. The lady Baroness might have as many as 20 or so chamber women, not to be confused with her maids-in-waiting of gentle blood.

The baron’s yearly income can vary from £500 to £900.

The term “baron” is not used as an honorific but only to refer to those of that station severally. Inidivually they bear the name of the lordship they hold, called “Lord (x)”. Lords can vary greatly in wealth and social standing. Not all feofs represent the same amount of wealth in richness of soil (thus the yield in crops) or in natural resources such as forests, minerals like coal, iron, lead, or silver, and pasturage especially for sheep), so the income of a few of the Lords might be as great as an earl, and in the same vein, a noble character’s lordly father may not be much better off than a Knight Banneret, only just able to support his staff and maintain his manor or castle.

Many of the castles in the hands of the lords started out as manors, wide-ranging estates carrying with them a wide spectrum of regalian rights, for which a “license to fortify” or to “crenellate” was granted by the crown as a means to provide a strong point in an area of the country where the presence of strength in arms for pacification and/or defense of a region was considered deficient, or to raise the dignity and importance of the lord in the managing of local affairs.