County palatine

County palatine

Discussion
Ask a question about 'County palatine'
Start a new discussion about 'County palatine'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
A county palatine or palatinate is an area ruled by an hereditary nobleman possessing special authority and autonomy from the rest of a kingdom or empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

. The name derives from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 adjective palatinus, "relating to the palace", from the noun palatium, "palace
Palace
A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word itself is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome. In many parts of Europe, the...

". It thus implies the exercising of a quasi-royal prerogative
Royal Prerogative
The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity, recognized in common law and, sometimes, in civil law jurisdictions possessing a monarchy as belonging to the sovereign alone. It is the means by which some of the executive powers of government, possessed by and...

 within a county
County
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

, that is to say a jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

 ruled by a count
Count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

, the English equivalent word for which is earl
Earl
An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke...

. A duchy palatinate is similar but is ruled over by a duke
Duke
A duke or duchess is a member of the nobility, historically of highest rank below the monarch, and historically controlling a duchy...

, a nobleman of higher precedence
Precedence
Precedence may refer to:* Message precedence of military communications traffic* Order of precedence, the ceremonial hierarchy within a nation or state* Order of operations, in mathematics and computer programming...

 than an earl or count. The nobleman swore allegiance to the king yet had the power to rule the county largely independently of the king. It must therefore be distinguished from the Feudal barony
English feudal barony
In England, a feudal barony or barony by tenure was a form of Feudal land tenure, namely per baroniam under which the land-holder owed the service of being one of the king's barons. It must be distinguished from a barony, also feudal, but which existed within a county palatine, such as the Barony...

, held from the king, which possessed no such independent authority. Rulers of counties palatine did however create their own feudal baronies, to be held directly from them in capite, such as the Barony of Halton
Barony of Halton
The Barony of Halton, in Cheshire, England, comprised a succession of 15 barons who held under the overlordship of the County Palatine of Chester ruled by the Earl of Chester. It was not therefore an English feudal barony which was under full royal jurisdiction, which is the usual sense of the...

. County palatine jurisdictions were created in England under the rule of the Norman dynasty
Norman dynasty
Norman dynasty is the usual designation for the family that were the Dukes of Normandy and the English monarchs which immediately followed the Norman conquest and lasted until the Plantagenet dynasty came to power in 1154. It included Rollo and his descendants, and from William the Conqueror and...

. On continental Europe, they have an earlier date. In general, when a Palatine-type autonomy was granted to a lord by the sovereign, it was in a district on the periphery of the kingdom, at a time when the district was exposed to unsettling behaviour from non-loyal armed people who could retreat beyond the borders and re-enter again. For the English sovereign in Norman times this meant northern England, Wales and Ireland. As the authority granted was hereditary, some counties palatine legally survived well past the end of the feudal period.

Durham, Chester and Lancaster


Counties palatine were established in the 11th century to defend the northern (Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

) and western (Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

) frontiers of the kingdom of England. In order to allow them to do so in the best way they could, their counts were granted palatine ("from the palace", i.e. royal) powers within their territories, making these territories nearly sovereign jurisdictions with their own administrations and courts, largely independent of the king, though they owed allegiance to him.


William the Conqueror
William I of England
William I , also known as William the Conqueror , was the first Norman King of England from Christmas 1066 until his death. He was also Duke of Normandy from 3 July 1035 until his death, under the name William II...

 founded the County Palatine of Durham
County Palatine of Durham
The County Palatine of Durham was an area in the North of England that was controlled by the Bishop of Durham.-Liberty of Durham:The territory was originally the Liberty of Durham under the control of the Bishop of Durham. The liberty was also known variously as the "Liberty of St Cuthbert's...

, ruled by the prince-bishops of Durham and the County Palatine of Chester
Earl of Chester
The Earldom of Chester was one of the most powerful earldoms in medieval England. Since 1301 the title has generally been granted to heirs-apparent to the English throne, and from the late 14th century it has been given only in conjunction with that of Prince of Wales.- Honour of Chester :The...

, ruled by the Earls of Chester
Earl of Chester
The Earldom of Chester was one of the most powerful earldoms in medieval England. Since 1301 the title has generally been granted to heirs-apparent to the English throne, and from the late 14th century it has been given only in conjunction with that of Prince of Wales.- Honour of Chester :The...

. Chester had its own parliament, consisting of barons of the county, and was not represented in the parliament of England until 1543, while it retained some of its special privileges until 1830. The earldom of Chester has since 1301 been associated with the title of Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

 which is reserved for the heir apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

 to the throne or crown of the UK
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 (though originally the throne of England).

As well as having spiritual jurisdiction over the diocese of Durham
Diocese of Durham
The Diocese of Durham is a Church of England diocese, based in Durham, and covering the historic County Durham . It was created in AD 1000 to replace the Diocese of Lindisfarne...

, the bishops of Durham retained temporal jurisdiction over County Durham until 1836. The bishop's mitre which crowns the bishop of Durham's coat of arms is encircled with a gold coronet which is otherwise used only by duke
Duke
A duke or duchess is a member of the nobility, historically of highest rank below the monarch, and historically controlling a duchy...

s, reflecting his historic dignity as a palatine earl.

Lancashire was made a county, or duchy, palatine in 1351 and kept many of its special judicial privileges until 1873. Although the dukedom of Lancaster merged into the Crown in 1399, it is to this day held separate from other royal lands, and managed by the Duchy of Lancaster
Duchy of Lancaster
The Duchy of Lancaster is one of the two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall. It is held in trust for the Sovereign, and is used to provide income for the use of the British monarch...

. The title of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is, in modern times, a ministerial office in the government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties, the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster...

 is still used by a member of the cabinet
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

. In Lancashire, the loyal toast is to "the Queen, Duke of Lancaster."

The king's writs did not run in these three palatine counties until the nineteenth century and, until the 1970s, Lancashire and Durham had their own courts of chancery
Court of equity
A chancery court, equity court or court of equity is a court that is authorized to apply principles of equity, as opposed to law, to cases brought before it.These courts began with petitions to the Lord Chancellor of England...

. (See Court of Chancery of the County Palatine of Lancaster
Court of Chancery of the County Palatine of Lancaster
The Court of Chancery of the County Palatine of Lancaster was a court of chancery that exercised jurisdiction within the County Palatine of Lancaster.-Relevant legislation:The court was regulated by the following Acts in particular:...

 and Court of Chancery of the County Palatine of Durham and Sadberge
Court of Chancery of the County Palatine of Durham and Sadberge
The Court of Chancery of the County Palatine of Durham and Sadberge was a court of chancery that exercised jurisdiction within the County Palatine of Durham.-Relevant legislation:...

)

The appeal against a decision of the County Court of a County Palatine had, in the first instance, to be to the Court of Common Pleas of that County Palatine.

Other palatine counties


At various times in history the following areas had palatinate status: Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, the Isle of Ely
Isle of Ely
The Isle of Ely is a historic region around the city of Ely now in Cambridgeshire, England but previously a county in its own right.-Etymology:...

, Hexhamshire
Hexhamshire
Hexhamshire was a county of northern England. It existed for several hundred years until it was incorporated into Northumberland in 1572.-County:...

 in Northumberland
Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...

, and, in Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, the Earldom of Pembroke (until the passing of the Laws in Wales Act 1535).

The county of Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

, although not strictly a palatine county, had a similar status to Lancashire, in that it was a duchy
Duchy
A duchy is a territory, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess.Some duchies were sovereign in areas that would become unified realms only during the Modern era . In contrast, others were subordinate districts of those kingdoms that unified either partially or completely during the Medieval era...

 and, according to custom, a duchy had more independence from the sovereign than a county had. Technically today the royal lands in Cornwall are held by the Duchy of Cornwall
Duchy of Cornwall
The Duchy of Cornwall is one of two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Lancaster. The eldest son of the reigning British monarch inherits the duchy and title of Duke of Cornwall at the time of his birth, or of his parent's succession to the throne. If the monarch has no son, the...

 and some royal powers in Cornwall are possessed by the sovereign's eldest son, the Duke of Cornwall
Duke of Cornwall
The Duchy of Cornwall was the first duchy created in the peerage of England.The present Duke of Cornwall is The Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning British monarch .-History:...

.

In the history of Wales in the Norman era, the term most often used is Marcher Lord, which is similar to, but not strictly the same as, a Palatine Lord. Nevertheless, a number of strictly Palatine jurisdictions were created in Wales.

There were several palatine districts in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, of which the most notable were those of the Earls of Desmond, and the Earls of Ormond in Tipperary—the latter continued in legal existence until County Palatine of Tipperary Act 1715
County Palatine of Tipperary Act 1715
The County Palatine of Tipperary Act 1715 is an Act of the Parliament of Ireland . This Act enabled the purchase by the crown of the Palatine Rights in the County Tipperary given to the Earls of Ormond later Dukes of Ormonde over the preceding centuries...

.

In Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, the earldom of Strathearn
Strathearn
Strathearn or Strath Earn is the strath of the River Earn, in Scotland. It extends from Loch Earn in Perth and Kinross to the River Tay....

 was identified as a palatine county in the fourteenth century, although the title of Earl of Strathearn
Earl of Strathearn
The Mormaer of Strathearn or Earl of Strathearn was a provincial ruler in medieval Scotland. Of unknown origin, the mormaers are attested for the first time in a document perhaps dating to 1115. The first known mormaer, Maol Íosa I is mentioned by Ailred of Rievaulx as leading native Scots in the...

 has usually been merged with the crown in subsequent centuries, and there is little indication that the status of Strathearn differed in practice from other Scottish earldoms.

In the colonies, the historic province of Avalon
Province of Avalon
Province of Avalon was the area around the settlement of Ferryland, Newfoundland and Labrador, in the 17th century, which upon the success of the colony grew to include the land held by Sir William Vaughan and all the land that lay between Ferryland and Petty Harbour.Sir George Calvert had acquired...

 in Newfoundland was also granted palatine status, as was Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 under Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore
Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore
Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, 1st Proprietor and 1st Proprietary Governor of Maryland, 9th Proprietary Governor of Newfoundland , was an English peer who was the first proprietor of the Province of Maryland. He received the proprietorship after the death of his father, George Calvert, the...

.

See also

  • Marcher Lord—very similar to a Palatine lord in the Middle Ages.
  • Margrave
    Margrave
    A margrave or margravine was a medieval hereditary nobleman with military responsibilities in a border province of a kingdom. Border provinces usually had more exposure to military incursions from the outside, compared to interior provinces, and thus a margrave usually had larger and more active...

    —very similar to a Palatine lord in the Middle Ages.
  • Count Palatine
    Count palatine
    Count palatine is a high noble title, used to render several comital styles, in some cases also shortened to Palatine, which can have other meanings as well.-Comes palatinus:...

    —sometimes similar to a Palatine lord, but this term was not in use in Britain
  • Duchy of Lancaster
    Duchy of Lancaster
    The Duchy of Lancaster is one of the two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall. It is held in trust for the Sovereign, and is used to provide income for the use of the British monarch...

  • Justice of Chester
    Justice of Chester
    The Justice of Chester was the chief judicial authority for the County Palatine of Chester, from the establishment of the county until the abolition of the Great Sessions in Wales and the palatine judicature in 1830....

  • Honour (feudal land tenure)
  • English feudal barony
    English feudal barony
    In England, a feudal barony or barony by tenure was a form of Feudal land tenure, namely per baroniam under which the land-holder owed the service of being one of the king's barons. It must be distinguished from a barony, also feudal, but which existed within a county palatine, such as the Barony...

  • Scottish feudal barony
    Scottish feudal barony
    A Scottish feudal barony used to be attached to a particular piece of land on which is the "caput" , or the essence of the barony, normally a building, such as a castle or manor house...

  • Irish feudal barony
    Irish feudal barony
    In Ireland, most originally-feudal titular baronies have long disappeared through obsolescence or disuse. The Lordship of Finegal was granted to Walter de Lacy for seven knight's fees, "although the lords thereof hold elsewhere in capite", according to the unusual grant in 1208 by John, Lord of...


External links

  • Durham: Echoes of Power at the British Library
    British Library
    The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

    website
  • United Kingdom—World Statesmen.org