Every Christmas, I like to look at websites offering novelty gifts. Most of the time I see harmless junk, stuff that is amusing but will never last. Like USB cupholders.
But the last few years people have been selling things which are, at best, less immediate than a USB cupholder like the ability to name a star, a rose, own land on the moon or become a lord.
It's this last one that really frustrates me (though I'm not a fan of the others either!). The logic behind it is this:
1. Anyone who owns land in Scotland is a laird (check)
2. Anyone who is a Laird is a Lord (I don't think so - Lord implies peerage, laird just means landowner).
3. Laird may be used as a title (Again - Laird is not a title as it doesn't replace Mr, Mrs, Dr etc)
4. One square foot of land is enough to make you a laird (Again, I'd disagree - you can only register plots 5m x 5m or greater)
5. Ipso, if you buy said square foot of land, you become a laird which is equal to Lord which makes you "Lord X of Y". This is utterly wrong.
In reality, Lords are generally peers. For the most part, that's hereditary, but we also have life peers who are appointed for life, and feudal baronies. Then there are Baronetcies, Knighthoods and much more. On top of this, you've got ye old Lord of the Manor which is again not a title (but a lovely slice of British history if you do own a real one - look out for Statutory Declarations in place of proper paperwork).
So how does it all fit? Do you know your Marquesses from your Baronetcies? Have you ever wondered how you could actually become a Lord or Lady? I'm not going to say it's easy - a real title is often down to inheritance, great talent/ luck in being appointed, or having the money to buy a Scottish feudal barony (think £50k+ for that!).
Want to know more? My new non-fiction title will launch this week on Kindle entitled 'How (Not) to Become a Lord or Lady'. But, for my lovely blog readers I'm happy to give away a free copy or ten. Just direct message us on twitter @90daysnovel with your email and we'll send you a mobi copy right over.