A marquess (UK: /ˈmɑːrkwɪs/; French: marquis, [mɑʁki];
Italian: marchese, Spanish: marqués, Portuguese: marquês) is a
nobleman of hereditary rank in various European peerages and in those
of some of their former colonies. The term is also used to translate
equivalent Asian styles, as in imperial China and Japan.
In the German lands, a
1 Etymology 2 In the Duchy of Brabant and Kingdom of Belgium 3 In Spain 4 In the United Kingdom 5 Equivalent non-Western titles 6 See also 7 References 8 External links
A 17th-century engraving of a marquis in the robe worn during his creation ceremony.
The word "marquess" entered the English language from the Old French marchis ("ruler of a border area") in the late 13th or early 14th century. The French word was derived from marche ("frontier"), itself descended from the Middle Latin marca ("frontier"), from which the modern English words "march" and "mark" also descend. The distinction between governors of frontier territories and interior territories was made as early as the founding of the Roman Empire when some provinces were set aside for administration by the senate and more unpacified or vulnerable provinces were administered by the emperor. The titles "duke" and "count" were similarly distinguished as ranks in the late empire, with dux (literally, "leader") being used for a provincial military governor and the rank of comes (literally "companion," that is, of the Emperor) given to the leader of an active army along the frontier. In the Duchy of Brabant and Kingdom of Belgium Several marquesses (Markies/Marquis) lived in Belgium, still today this title exists.
Currently in Spain the rank of
In the United Kingdom
Main article: Marquesses in the United Kingdom
The honorific prefix "The Most Honourable" is a form of address that
precedes the name of a marquess or marchioness in the United
The coronet for a marquess in the British realms
The theoretical distinction between a marquess and other titles has,
since the Middle Ages, faded into obscurity. In times past, the
distinction between a count and a marquess was that the land of a
marquess, called a march, was on the border of the country, while a
count's land, called a county, often was not. As a result of this, a
marquess was trusted to defend and fortify against potentially hostile
neighbours and was thus more important and ranked higher than a count.
The title is ranked below that of a duke, which was often restricted
to the royal family and those that were held in high enough esteem to
be granted such a title.
The rank of marquess was a relatively late introduction to the British
peerage: no marcher lords had the rank of marquess, though some were
earls. On the evening of the
Coronation of Queen Victoria
I spoke to Ld M. about the numbers of Peers present at the Coronation, & he said it was quite unprecedented. I observed that there were very few Viscounts, to which he replied "There are very few Viscounts," that they were an old sort of title & not really English; that they came from Vice-Comites; that Dukes & Barons were the only real English titles; — that Marquises were likewise not English, & that people were mere made Marquises, when it was not wished that they should be made Dukes.
Equivalent non-Western titles
Like other major Western noble titles, marquess (and marquis) is sometimes used to render certain titles in non-Western languages with their own traditions, even though they are, as a rule, historically unrelated and thus hard to compare. However, they are considered "equivalent" in relative rank. This is the case with:
In ancient China, 侯 (Hóu) was the second of five noble ranks 爵
(Jué) created by
Mark (county) Marquesses in the United Kingdom List of marquesses in the peerages of Britain and Ireland List of marquessates in the peerages of Britain and Ireland
List of French marquisates List of marquises in Norway List of marquises in Portugal
References Informational notes
^ "English: Marquis". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 22 September
^ "French: Marquis". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 22 September
The Chronological Peerage of England, hereditarytitles.com as of 2
March 2003; ; omits Normanby, misspells Hartington as Martington,
Media related to Marquesses at