Difference Between Baron and Lord

Key Difference – Baron vs Lord
 

Baron and lord are two terms you encounter when you are talking about nobility. Although both these terms are related to nobility, there is a distinct difference between baron and lord. Baron is the lowest order of British nobility. Lord is a form of address that is used with any member of the nobility. This is the key difference between baron and lord.

Who is a Baron?

Baron is a title of nobility. It is the lowest rank of nobility in the British peerage. Baron is placed immediately after viscounts.  The order of ranking includes duke, marquis, earl, viscount, baron. Duke is the highest rank in the peerage. All these titles are passed as inheritance, typically through the male line. Baroness is the female equivalent of the baron. The feudal tenure of a baron was known as a barony.

The rank of baron was introduced to England by William the Conqueror to distinguish the men who have pledged their loyalty to him under the feudal system.

Difference Between Baron and Lord

1st Baron Howard of Effingham

Who is a Lord?

Lord is not a rank; it is a generic term that can be used to address a member of the nobility. Any nobleman below the rank of duke can be addressed as lord. For example, Viscount Westmoreland can be addressed as Lord Westmoreland; the same goes for Baron Westmoreland. The female equivalent of lord is lady.

An English lord is always a member of the nobility and a member of the House of Lords. A lordship may be hereditary or granted for lifetime (the title dies with the owner).

The title lord is sometimes granted as a life peerage to an individual for certain merit. In this case, the relevant individual is known as lord (surname) of (locality). (Ex: lord Anderson of Leeds). However, the title lord is also used by younger sons of dukes and marquis. Furthermore, in general parlance, the term lord can also be used to refer to a man with great powers.

Key Difference - Baron vs Lord

Lord Palmerston

What is the difference between Baron and Lord?

Nobility:

Baron: Baron is a member of the nobility.

Lord: Lord is a not a rank of nobility.

Form of Address:

Baron: Baron is not used as a form of address.

Lord: Lord is used as a form of address.

Order:

Baron: Baron is the lowest order of the British nobility.

Lord: Lord can be used to address any member of the nobility.

Female Equivalent:

Baron: Wife of a baron or female descendant of a barony is known as a baroness.

Lord: Lord’s female equivalent is lady.

Acquisition of the Title:

Baron: This title is usually hereditary (passed as inheritance)

Lord: This title may be hereditary or granted as life peerage.

 Image Courtesy:
“Lord Palmerston engraving” By Engraved by D.J. Pound from a photograph by Mayall – Robert Montgomery Martin (1858). The Indian Empire. Volume 1. London: The London Printing and Publishing Company. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
“William Howard (circa 1510-1573), 1st Baron Howard of Howard of Effingham, English School of the 16th century” By English School of the 16th century – Sotheby’s (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia