Official Home of the Clan McLea - the Highland Livingstones
Barons par le Grâce de Dieu
The Lord Lyon, Innes of
Learney, in 1951 found that the
“The Coarbs.. .of St Moluag have come down through the centuries
.. ‘acknowledging no earthly authority or hierarchy’.
In my view …the Bachuil lands had no feudal superior in the
Middle Ages …And the Baron of the Bachuil at first like certain
old French barons, was in the nature of a ‘baron par le Grâce
In the "Robes of the Feudal Baronage of Scotland" (27th Oct
1945) Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Vol. 79,
Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, then Lord Lion King of Arms, wrote:
“ The baronage is an order derived partly from the allodial
system of territorial tribalism in which the patriarch held his country
under God, and partly
from the later feudal system - which we shall see was, in Western Europe
anyway, itself a developed form of tribalism - in which the territory
came to be held off and under the King in an organised parental realm.
“ It [Baron] is a title superior to 'miles' (Knight, in the feudal sense,
which is to be distinguished from the later Eques Auratus), and whilst
a baron usually held his baronial fief feudally, instances arise of
Barons par le Grâce de Dieu - nobles who, of evident baronial status, held
allodial fiefs, ie by ancestral family occupation, by no grant from, nor as
to, any Prince, in respect thereof.
“ Such considerations all bear out Craig's views that the title of Baron
in Scotland was first applied to those who were Capitani Tribum, and
that feudalism (or anyway an organisation which would now recognised
as synonymous with it) existed in Scotland prior to the Norman conquest
The Scottish parliament was careful, in 1556, to remind the
Crown and nation that the title King of Scots denoted that the sovereign
was essentially, and at common law, a personal Ard-Righ, not territorially
King of Scotland.
“The great antiquarian Niall Campbell, Duke of Argyll claimed
that the Baron a Bachuil was ‘the oldest peer in the realm, being
a Baron of the kingdom of the Scots of Dalriada’. The Livingstones
of Callender, Edwin B Livingstone, Edinburgh University Press, p 417
In an article on Saint Maolrubha contributed to the Scottish Historical
Review in April 1909 by the Reverend Archibald B. Scott, the writer in
a foot- note says: 'The late Duke of Argyll long envied the Bachul. He
used to address the holder of the relic, as " my Lord".'
Squirrel fur or vair, heraldically represented as blue and white "greys" was
the fur associated with the allodial sire or "Baron par le Grâce
de Dieu" . Thus the chapeau is furred vair to indicate the Barons
of Bachuil are Barons par le Grâce de Dieu.
In Old Regime France, the term Prince could refer to a rank or a title.
In the strictest sense the term prince implied a notion of sovereignty.
It was a rank generally reserved to the princes du sang (Princes of
the Blood), who were all in line to succeed to the throne. This concept
easily with the Irish Scot concept of the "true family" or
Derbhfine. This is why the old families made great use of the hand
which was considered a symbol of the Derbhfine and made other allusions
their royal blood wherever possible - such as the Lion Rampant born
in the arms.
In some areas (especially in Brittany), the title of prince was traditionally
attached to a feudal land which had been considered allodial, i.e.,
without overlord. In France, almost all lands were feudal, that is,
some superior, ultimately back to the king. But there were a few allodial
lands (allods were more common in northern Italy and in Germany). Such
titles of “prince”, which appear in early charters, were
considered by jurists to have no more meaning than the title of lord;
there are dozens of examples.....Some families took upon themselves
to change a title of lord into a title of prince (Condé, Conti).” http://www.heraldica.org/topics/france/frprince.htm
This article is of interest as it shows how those families who held
le Grâce de Dieu” were able to assume any style or title