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  The Convention of  

 The Baronage of Scotland 


Titles and Usages

A guide to correct form

When taking a Scottish baronial title, the holder may have decided to continue using his existing surname (eg Shand) and simply add the title, becoming Ian Shand, Baron of Pitscot. More often he will have taken the territorial (or laird's) designation as part of his surname, to become Ian Shand of Pitscot, Baron of Pitscot. In some cases, the territorial title and barony may differ, as in Ian Shand of Tallieban, Baron of Pitscot. The name is usually recorded by the Lord Lyon as part of a grant of arms or matriculation (an updating of arms) and becomes the holder’s name for all official purposes.


The Baron and Baroness of Pitscot
Pitscot and Madam Shand of Pitscot
Pitscot and Lady Pitscot
The Baron of Pitscot and Lady Pitscot


Because so many variations in Scottish titles are accepted, it is helpful when the style preferred by the holder of a barony is printed at the head of a letter or correspondence card. To quote Debrett's Correct Form: "It is of considerable assistance to correspondents when all letters... include the sender's name and appropriate letters at the top... The system has many advantages over typing the name under the signature, which only facilitates the deciphering of handwriting because it is not customary to include the letters after the name here, and seldom a title."

Baronial titles, when correctly used, differ from those of hereditary peers and baronets, and this avoids any confusion between the peerage and the untitled nobility. In Scotland, it has always been legal to call yourself anything you like, so long as it is not fraudulent, but it should be noted that the holders of the ancient feudal baronies who have matriculated arms have paid Exchequer taxes on their Lyon Court documents, unlike those who assume various bogus titles and who evade taxation.