Feudal Barons of Ireland
For a primer on Feudal Irish Baronies, see House of
According to the principles of the English law, Honours can only have been created in three ways, by tenure, by
writ, or by patent. An attempt may be made here to show that there is an analogy between the ancient feudal
baronies and the baronies that have since been created in Ireland, and that all feudal baronies went to the heirs
male, and therefore, although the feudal principle has ceased, still all those baronies are confined in their
descent to the heirs male. We assert that no
feudal baronies of Ireland
have ever been confined in their descent to heirs male.
There exist, from the reign of John, grants of land, held in
of the Crown, and
every case the grant has  been to the grantee and his heirs. There can be no dcubt that at the time of the
Baron Fitz-Walter and Baron Say, and some others, were barons by tenure; but when claims have been made to those
baronies, this House has uniformly treated them as the first writs of summons, and heirs general of those barons
have frequently succeeded to them; all the earldoms in Ireland before the year 1316 were granted to the heirs of
the parties, so that there is not till that year, before which period the Barony of Slane was created by writ of
summons, a single dignity in Ireland which descended to heirs male only. All the early patents of the English
peerage have been printed, and the result is that the first time heirs male were ever mentioned in the creation of
any dignity, was in the instance of the Earldom of Kildare in 1316. The next was that of Louth in the 12th Edw. 2d,
and the third that of the Earldom of Carlisle, in the 15th Edw. 2d.
The first creation of a baron
by patent in England was in 1387, which was also the first instance in England of a barony being created to a man
and the heirs of his body. No second instance occurred till 1443. No creation of a baron in Ireland by patent is on
record limiting the dignity to the heirs male of the body, until the 2d of Edw. 4th, in 1462, when Sir Robert
Barnwall was created. From the Crown downwards, every dignity, from an early period, was granted to the heirs of
the persons created, or the heirs of the body.
The Barons of Delvin of Westmeath-Longford)
summoned to Parliament on various occasions.
Connor, who was King of
Meath, and the ancestor of Cuniffe. According to O'Dugan, this Connor was the ancestor of Nugent, Earls of
The original and antiquity of baronies has occasioned great inquiries among our English antiquaries. The most
probable opinion seems to be, that they were the same with our present lords of manors, to which the name of
(which is the lord's court, and incident to every manor) gives some countenance. (11) It may be collected from king
that originally all lords of manors, or barons, that held of the king
had seats in the great council or parliament; till about the reign of that prince the conflux of them became so
large and troublesome, that the king was obliged to divide them, and summon only the greater barons in person,
leaving the small ones to be summoned
the sheriff, and, as it is said, to sit
representation in another house, which gave rise to the separation of the two houses of parliament.
degrees the title came to be confined to the greater barons, or lords of parliament only; and there were no other
barons among the peerage but such as were summoned
writ, in respect of the tenure of their lands or baronies, till Richard the Second first made it a mere title of
conferring it on divers persons
In the 13th Century in England the barons ceased to be peers, unless so created, but in Scotland, up to the
year 1587,—in which year, various acts, drawn up by Lord Menmuir [see article BALCARREs, ante, p. 199] were passed
for regulating the form and order of parliament and the vote of the barons,—the title of baron was common to all
the landed proprietors or lairds, holding their lands directly of the Crown.
The feudal system was introduced into England by the Norman Conquest. Its pressure on the common people was
aggravated by the completeness of the subjection of the Saxon race. All the land was held by feudal tenure, and
there was no allodium. The few Saxons who were permitted to retain their lands were brought under the feudal
system; and the thanes were reduced to the condition of franklins, or simple freeholders. The Normans, who held
most of the manors from the king, were called tenants-in-chief (in capite); and they were bound to knight
service—that is, to maintain in the field, for forty days at a time, a certain force of their subtenants. This
service extended to religious foundations and monasteries. Exclusive of these, 1400 tenants-in-chief and about 8000
mesne lords (holding fiefs not directly from the crown) are enumerated in Domesday Book.