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How do I Become a English Lord?

Margo Upson
Updated May 23, 2024
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An English lord is a person who has the right to sit in with the House of Lords in Great Britain. The House of Lords has both legislative and judicial duties, including trials of peers and impeachment cases. An appointment by the Queen is usually required to become a lord, although there are other ways to achieve this title.

The first way to become a lord is by receiving a life peerage. This title cannot be passed on to future generations, and it is normally given to those who have performed an exemplary service for the country. The Prime Minister nominates people for this honor, and then the Queen can choose whether or not to appoint them.

Law lords are also appointed by the Queen, after being nominated by the Prime Minister. To receive a lordship this way, you must first be a judge in the court of appeals, and catch the attention of the Lord Chancellor. The Lord Chancellor can then recommend you to the Prime Minister. Judges in the Court of Appeal in England, Wales, and North Ireland, as well as those in the Court of Session in Scotland are all eligible for this.

A third way to obtain a title is to be either a bishop or an archbishop. There are 26 archbishops and bishops who get a seat in the House of Lords. Upon retirement, this seat is passed along to the next most senior bishop in service. Archbishops of York and Canterbury are often offered life peerages when they retire, making them lords for the rest of their lives.

Some peerages are inherited. This is true of some of the oldest families in the United Kingdom. It is difficult to become a lord in this manner, unless you happen to be lucky enough to marry into an entitled family with no sons to pass the title onto. Lords who have inherited their titles no longer get a seat in the House of Lords after a change in legislature in 1999, but they do get to keep the actual title.

There are a few companies that sell titles, along with small plots of land, as souvenir gifts. The recipient will receive certificates, deeds, and other paperwork stating that he or she is now a lord or lady of a private estate — usually a 1 foot (30 cm) square plot. These peerages do not enable you to hold a seat in the House of Lords or to enjoy any of the other privileges of being a lord or lady, but they make great novelty items. Some of these titles can be inherited by future generations, but most cannot be passed on. Many of these offers are scams, however, so it is worth the extra time to research a company before buying a title through them.

Historical Index is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Margo Upson
By Margo Upson
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education, Margo Upson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role as a Historical Index writer. Her wide-ranging interests and skill at diving into new topics make her articles informative, engaging, and valuable to readers seeking to expand their knowledge.
Discussion Comments
By anon355915 — On Nov 20, 2013

The pick of the bunch is Highland Titles who conserve land in Scotland. Priced as a novelty it makes a great gift.

By FitzMaurice — On Dec 10, 2010

Serfdom and social status have been overturned by the changing times, but what ultimately caused this? If we revert to the old ways and forget the values which spurred relative freedom and liberty of thinking, what would be the outcome in our modern world? I fear that with the ever-changing political climate and unscrupulous dependence on money we may approach yet another "right by might" sort of world.

By ShadowGenius — On Dec 09, 2010

Hierarchy and social class don't carry the same importance as they used to. Owning lands and collecting rent from estates used to be of immense importance for status and riches. Lords would live off of the interest of their deposits and their lands while tenants harvested crops and paid them to dwell on the estate. As the bank progressed and free trade and thinking advanced, the power of these lords dwindled, and today they are merely enabled to hold some political power and relatively little social status compared to the olden days.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education,...
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