Irish feudal barony

An Irish feudal barony was a customary title of nobility: the holder was always referred to as a Baron, but was not the holder of a peerage, and had no right to sit in the Irish House of Lords. In 1614 the Dublin Government noted that there were "diverse gentlemen" in Ireland who were called Baron, yet: "Never was any of them Lord Baron nor summoned to any Parliament". [1]


In Ireland, most originally-feudal titular baronies have long disappeared through obsolescence or disuse. The Lordship of Fingal was granted to Walter de Lacy, Lord of Meath for seven knight's fees, "although the lords thereof hold elsewhere in capite", according to the unusual grant in 1208 by King John as Lord of Ireland, who allowed de Lacy to retain custody of his fees.[2] Fingal at the time spread from the River Liffey to the River Delvin, north of Dublin, similar to the administrative boundary of today's County Fingal (minus Dublin City) created from part of County Dublin in 1994. A small number of other titular baronies also continued to exist either as submerged titles of members of the Peerages of Ireland, Great Britain or the United Kingdom, or as titles held by grand serjeanty, such as, originally, Fingal. Those few that thus survive at all are traditionally considered "incorporeal hereditaments", and may continue to exist as interests or estates in land, registrable as such upon conveyance or inheritance under the Registry of Deeds of the Government of Ireland, although increasingly these are seen today as titles held in gross as personal rights, and not as real interests in land.

Following a report by the Law Reform Commission, the system of feudal tenure as such, in so far as it had survived, was abolished by the Oireachtas in the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act (no. 27 of 2009); fee tail was also abolished [1]. However, estates and interests in land, including incorporeal hereditaments, continue. Formerly registered or proven feudal titles with a solid root of title, and the submerged feudal titles of surviving Irish or British peers are not affected, and continue to exist as personal rights, now held in gross. However, the obsolete or unregistered feudal titles, and those that lapsed into desuetude after 1662, when the Irish Parliament passed the Abolition of Tenures Act, no longer exist as incorporeal hereditaments, nor as personal rights, and cannot be revived.

Examples of hereditary baronial knighthoods that remain in Ireland include the Knight of Glin and the Knight of Kerry.


List of Irish feudal baronies[3]
Title Family Earliest record First known holder Ref.
Ards (historically Arde[s] or Art) Savage (South/Little), Montgomery and Hamilton (North/Great), Hamilton (Middle) 1226-7 Robert de Valibus (Comitatus de Arde established under John de Courcy 1177) [4]
Ballyvoe Butler 1614 [5]
Bargy als Slemarge Purcell, then St. Leger 1298 Walter Purcell
Birr Fitzowen 1335 Hugh Fitzowen
Brownsford Fitzgerald 1585 David Fitzgerald
Burnchurch Fitzmaurice before 1218 Maurice Fitzmaurice
Castleknock Tyrrel c.1172 Hugh Tyrrel
Castlemagner Magner February 1183 (Castle built);

January 10 1481 (recorded in The Pipe Roll of Cloyne)

William Magunel; David Magnel
Clabbye O'Neill Before 1611 Conn Mac Shane O'Neill [6]
Fingal De Lacy, then Preston, et al. 1208 Walter de Lacy [7]
Galtrim Hussey 1374 John Hussey
Idrone le Gros 1175 Raymond Le Gros [8]
Killetragh O'Neill 1592 Hugh (mac Conn) Mac Shane O'Neill [9]
Kells Fitz-Thomas, then Bermingham 1172 Gilbert Fitz-Thomas [10]
Kilbixey Constantine 1172 Geoffrey de Constantine
Killough [and Rathmollen] Russell 1316 Thomas Russell [11]
Loughmoe Purcell 1328 Richard Purcell
Lune Misset 1172 Robert Misset
Maynooth Fitzgerald 1172 Maurice Fitzgerald [12]
Moyashel Tuite 1172 Risteárd de Tiúit
Mullingar Petit 1172 William le Petit
Naas Fitzmaurice, then de Londres 1177
Navan Nangle 1172 Jocelyn de Angulo
Newcastle Lyons Butler before 1600
Norragh St. Michael, then Wellesley c.1175 Robert St. Michael [13]
Pormanstowne Deane 1577
Rathcormac Power before 1597 Piers Power
Rathdown MacMillan 1344
Rathwire de Lacy, then Daniel 1172 Robert de Lacy
Skryne de Feypo, then Marward 1170 Adam de Feypo

See alsoEdit


  • A View of the Legal Institutions, Honorary Hereditary Offices, and Feudal Baronies established in Ireland, by William Lynch, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, published by Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster Row, London, 1830.


  1. ^ Calendar of Carew Manuscripts, Lambeth Palace Library Vol. V doc. 162
  2. ^ See Rotuli Chartarum in Turri Londinensi Asservati, edited by Thomas Duffus Hardy, published in 1837; it contains original text of the Grant of Fingal by King John in 1208.
  3. ^ National Library of Ireland List of those Baronies whose status is exceptional MS 50 pp.61 and 119
  4. ^ Rot. Cl. 2 Hen. III. m. 24 dores, Tur. Lond.
  5. ^ Calendar of Carew Manuscripts
  6. ^ Calendar of Carew Manuscripts
  7. ^ Charter of 28 April 1208, ref. 9 John, m.1, Rotulum Chartarum in the Tower of London
  8. ^ Healy, W. (1893). History and Antiquities of Kilkenny (County and City): With Illustrations and Appendix, Compiled from Inquisitions, Deeds, Wills, Funeral Entries, Family Records, and Other Historical and Authentic Sources (Vol. 1). Kilkenny, Ire.: PM Egan.
  9. ^ Calendar of Carew Manuscripts
  10. ^ O'Hart, John Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition 1892
  11. ^ Burke, Bernard (1847). Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry. H. Colburn. p. 1162.
  12. ^ Calendar of the Gormanston register folio 1
  13. ^ Otway-Ruthven History of Medieval Ireland