Britannia, by William Camden

States or Degrees,

Big T THE Government of the Scots, as that of the English, consists of a King, Nobility, and Commonalty.

The KingKing. (to use the words of their own Records) is, directus totius Dominii Dominus, direct Lord of the whole Dominion or Domain; and hath Royal Authority and Jurisdiction over all the States of his Kingdom, as well Ecclesiastick, as Laick. Next to the King, is his Eldest Son, stiled Prince of Scotland, and by birth Duke of Rothsay, and Steward of Scotland. But the rest of the King’s Children are called simply, Princes.

Among the Nobles, the greatest and most honourable in old times, were the Thanes,Thanes. that is (if I judge aright) those who were ennobled only by the office they bore; for the word in the antient Saxon signifies The King’s Minister. Of these, they of the higher rank were called Ab-thanes; they of the lower, Under-Thanes. But these Names by little and little have grown out of use, ever since King Malcolm the third conferred the Titles of Earls and Barons (borrow’d out of England from the Normans) upon such Noblemen as had merited them. Since when, in process of time, new Titles of Honour have been much taken up, and Scotland, as well as England, hath Dukes, Marquisses, Earls, Viscounts, and Barons. Dukes, Marquisses, Earls, Viscounts, Barons. As for the title of Duke, the first who brought it into Scotland was Robert the Third, about the year of our Lord 1400; as the honourable titles of Marquiss and Viscount, were * * So said, ann. 1607.lately brought in by our most gracious Soveraign, King James the sixth. These are accounted Nobles of a higher degree, and have † † In person, or by Represen­tation, since the and voice in Parliament, and by special right are called Lords, ¦ ¦ Together with the Bishops, the Bishops also were.representation

Amongst the Nobles of a lower degree, in the first place are Knights,Knights. who are certainly created with greater Solemnity here, than any where else in Europe, by taking of an Oath, and being proclaimed publickly by the Heralds. ⌈In the year 1621. was instituted the hereditary Order of Knights Baronet,Knights Baronet. for advancing the plantation of Nova Scotia in America, with precedency of all ordinary Knights, lesser Barons or Lairds; of which Order there is a great number, but the ancient great Lairds, Chiefs of Clans or Families, have not generally yielded precedency to them.⌉ In the second rank, are those who are called Lairds,Lairds. and commonly without any addition Barons; amongst whom none were anciently reckoned, but such as held Lands immediately of the King in Capite, and had the * * Power to hang, &c.Jus Furcarum. In the third place, are such as being descended of Honourable Families, and dignify’d with no certain title, are term’d Gentlemen.Gentlemen. All the rest, as Citizens, Merchants, Artificers, &c. are reckon’d among the Commonalty.Commonalty.

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06