Absurd Feudal Aristocracy

Is it a problem that both John Prescott and Bhikhu Parekh are Baron INSERT NAME HERE of Kingston-upon-Hull? Or does it make the crucial difference that I always see hyphens in the news reports for Prescott (Kingston-upon-Hull) but not for Parekh (Kingston upon Hull)? Ought they to have a fight, or something, to settle the matter of who is going to receive loyalty oaths from local vassals, or have the Kingston-upon-Hull serf population work from time to time on their estates? (I am reasonably confident that Prescott would win that fight.) Are there other examples of places with multiple peers attached? And do the locals mind this kind of duplication? Questions, questions.

12 thoughts on “Absurd Feudal Aristocracy”

  1. As a Hull exile I can state fairly confidently that the locals would be divided between resentment at Prescott’s squirearchical extravagance, and being entirely unaware of who Bhikhu Parekh actually is. A close fight and a hard one to predict.

  2. Prescott is actually listed without hyphens on the Parliament site.

    Hmm, Parekh is listed as “Raised to the peerage as Baron Parekh, of Kingston upon Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire 2000”

    and Prescott as: “Raised to the peerage as Baron Prescott, of Kingston upon Hull in the County of East Yorkshire 2010”

    The real question, is has Hull moved?

    It seems not: but perhaps Prescott is Baron of a parallel Hull.

  3. I was under the impression that they’d officially dropped the ‘Kingston upon’ bit. So that just leaves the ‘h’ to drop and it’ll be spelt exactly how it’s pronounced.

  4. I suppose this is all a part of the attempted and necessarily partial defeudalisation of the Peerage. Clearly the territorial part of the title is now less a pretence of feudal overlordship and more of a mere postal address.

    it goes along with the now near-universal tendency to refer to peers as e.g. ‘Lord John Prescott’ though strictly speaking this form of address is as I recall properly used only for ‘courtesy titles’ as with the younger sons of Dukes [?]*.

    If this is part of a deliberate PR campaign to make the peerage seem more folksy I suppose we should oppose it. But I suspect it is more a case of people not just giving much of a damn any more, in which case it should be welcome.

    * though it may be a significant exception that everyone seems to refer to ‘Lord Mandelson’ rather than ‘Lord Peter Mandelson’. Maybe as the latter sounds somehow more ridiculous we should insist on it.

  5. “though it may be a significant exception that everyone seems to refer to ‘Lord Mandelson’ rather than ‘Lord Peter Mandelson’. Maybe as the latter sounds somehow more ridiculous we should insist on it.”

    It was never Lord Darth Vader was it, just plain Lord Vader.*

    *Did Debrett’s ever do a Star Wars cash-in special edition?

  6. Until the sad recent death of Andrew McIntosh, Baron McIntosh of Haringey, we had two Barons of Haringey: Baron McIntosh of Haringey and Baron Harris of Haringey. Though technically the former was “Baron McIntosh of Haringey, of Haringey in the County of Greater London” and the latter “Baron Harris of Haringey, of Hornsey in the London Borough of Haringey”. I have no idea if this distinction here is meaningful, or whether, if it is meaningful, it is meaningful in a way or for a reason related to the possibility of two spatially coextensive peerages, or simply relates to changes brought about by legislative arcana such as the Lieutenancies Act 1997 or similar.

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