More Ritchiebollocks on the City of London

Maurice threatened that power in a very simple way. He asked to have the title when offered a peerage of Lord Glasman of the City of London. And he was told that was not possible. He explained why it isn’t possible.

You see, the City of London is in a very real sense not a part of the UK. And peers are. They take their title from a territory and owe their loyalty for having lien over it to the Crown which bestowed the privilege. But the City has never been subject to the Crown.

As Maurice related, when William the Conqueror conqured the rest of England and made it Norman he did not conquer the City. The City, with its origins in Roman times, made peace with him quite separately and in return kept all its rights and privileges – which it has had ‘from time immemorial’.

But that also means that the City is neither accountable to parliament or to the Crown – meaning that Maurice Glasman could not be Lord of the City of London becasue for these purposes it is not part of the UK – but a location quite separate to it.

Err, no.

There\’s a very simple reason why a mere Baron could not be styled as \”of the City of London\”.

It\’s because the city is too large to be a titular appendage to a mere Baron.

Barons tend to get bits of the city: \”of Cornhill in the City of London\” or \”of Blackfriars in the City of London\”. And there are in fact two peers who are so styled.

Now, if Maurice comes along and gets made Baron of the City of London he is, in this feudal naming system, now claiming to be the liege lord of those more minor Barons: and they to be his feudal vassals.

Now in fact we do have a system of doing this. If people are to be higher up the food chain then we give them a different title: Viscount, Earl, Marquess, Duke. So, as an example, Winston was offered the title Duke of London and that would have been fine: there\’s a Viscount Chelsea and I assume that back then there were Barons of this or that part of London, but Winnie would have been a Duke and thus able to have a territory that encompassed theirs.

Just as we have a Duke of Somerset and a Baron of Weston super Mare, and I think there was a Marquess of Bristol and there\’s certainly a Marquess of Bath. But we couldn\’t have a Baron of Somerset nor a Viscount of Bath…..meaning that my own overdue peerage will probably have to be \”of Twerton\” or possibly if by birth place, \”of Strete\” (there already being an Earl of Dartmouth you see).

No, I\’m sorry, this is simply Ritchie having been taken in by a story. The reason you can\’t be Baron of the City of London is simply that a Baron isn\’t important enough to be so styled. And that Maurice wasn\’t reckoned important enough to become a Viscount or higher.

21 thoughts on “More Ritchiebollocks on the City of London”

  1. I don’t know which aspect of Murphy’s ignorance is the most surprising: its specificity, its all-encompassing generality or its mule-headed resistance to correction.

    RMIAC

  2. The argument regarding titles may or may not be correct – I don’t know. But that the City of London was never conquered and remains with its preconquest rights, is, I understand, correct.

  3. “The City of London was never conquered”???
    I am not alone in thinking that there is a significant piece of Norman architecture in the City, called the Tower of London, that William built to house his family and a garrison that dominate the conquered city.
    Richard Murphy presumably does not believe in its existence.

  4. John77: The Tower of London is not part of the City of London. The City’s border runs round the side of it. Go and look if you don’t believe me.

    SurreptitousEvil: “Wasn’t Churchill supposed to have been offered the title ‘Duke of London’?” No sir, you have been Surreptitiously misled. Churchill was (allegedly) offered a dukedom and/or earldom, which he (just as allegedly) refused. Such dukedoms and earldoms have existed since ye olden tymes, are hereditary and only become vacant when they become vacant when primogeniture hits dead end, and these days aren’t created by the monarch or anyone else on a whim. There has never been a “Duke of London”, so Churchill was unlikely to have been offered such a title (though, inevitably, Wikipedia begs to differ). If there is a “Duke of London”, it is the Duke of Westminster (though I have it on good authority there was once a “Duchess of Duke Street”).

  5. morpork…it remains within the sovereign’s gift…I doubt whether the viscountcy of Alamein existed much before 1942

  6. I’ve been into this ‘Lord of the City of London’ nonsense with Richie but he deletes anything he can’t rebut.

    As far as I can work out if the City has a Lord it’d be the Monarch.
    Bill One granted lands throughout England to his Norman & French cronies but the City did some sort of deal so they kept their independence. They must have sworn fealty as would any of his subject lords (& as their subjects did to them). Under the feudal system you can’t not have a lord. The monarch is lord of England, Scotland etc so if they weren’t subject to any of the other lords they must have been subject to the king as lord.
    This sort of makes sense in the Corp of London now being responsible for Epping Forest & other Crown lands that would have been subject to the Forest Charter because they hold them for their lord.
    The lawyer that Richie’s been abusing-
    ( Richie:
    “Let me tell you a little story

    Every morning in every court in the land two lawyers get up and argue their opponent is wrong

    Only one of them is ever right

    It must be odd to be in a profession that is always at least 50% wrong

    I admire your conviction

    But you’re also wrong

    But you’re in what you’d call good company – that of lawyers”
    Charming. )

    has made a good case that the City hold its own lordship but that really amounts to the same thing because in that case they can’t surrender it without their lords permission.

    Richie reckons this is all pedantry. Of course it’s bloody pedantry. Whole system of feudal title depends on it.

  7. @ morpork
    I have looked, many times. It is inside the line of the Roman Wall (which was destroyed to create the moat on the side of the Tower furthest from the City).
    When I was young the comment was that no more dukedoms would be created which is why Winston Churchill had not been offered one. HM’s youngest son was made an Earl, which tends to support this theory, as does Harold MacMillan’s declension of a peerage until after Lady Dorothy had died.

  8. Afterthought – are you trying to say that because the City has no power over the Tower of London that was built inside the old city walls that proves the City is independent of the Crown (which everyone can see in two shakes of a bee’s knee is ludicrous)? Really?

  9. @ bloke in spain
    After William had defeated Harold Godwinsson and the remnants of his army at Hastings (they had left behind all their archers and many casualties after the battle of Stamford Bridge where they had defeated Harold Hardrada who was not just deemed the greatest general of his generation but also had (unlike William) a legitimate, but disputable claim to the throne, he moved northwards to London. The burghers could not and did not put up a fight.
    Lord Glassman and Mr Murphy want us to believe that William granted them concessions that they did not have under the Saxon monarchs, which they had held since 1189.
    FYI under Saxon rule, everybody swore allegiance to his direct superior, ear;doman, thane, earl or king – William changed that to demanding that eberyone swore allegiance to himself personally

  10. Even for Himself, this is dotty. Either you can pass his City of London Act because you have the power over the City to do so, or you can’t because you don’t. What you can’t do is not have the power and solve the problem by passing the Act, because

    Oh I give up.

  11. And for an accountant who spends half his time getting the law wrong (the other half is getting the accounting wrong) to slag off a lawyer not even tackling the accounting, but on the law itself, is

    Oh I give up.

  12. morpork, new titles (including dukedoms) can be created, and are.

    Recent(ish) dukedoms, none of which existed before, are:
    The Duke of Westminster (1874)
    The Duke of Fife (1889)
    The Duke of Windsor (1937)

    There have been more recent creations of lesser hereditary titles:
    The Marquis of Reading (1926);
    The Marquis of Willingdon (1936);
    The Earl of Stockton (created for Macmillan) (1984);

    The current queen has created many new hereditary titles, including 9 new Earldoms (not counting Wessex, which was a recreation of an older title), about 40 viscounts (including ones for Whitelaw and Eden) and nearly a hundred hereditary baronies.

    Yes, there are some titles that get recycled when they die out (particularly for minor royals), but there are also plenty that are newly created.

  13. Tim is right about some places (including the City of London but probably also any city or county) being reserved for the higher peerages.

    I seem to remember reading in a politician’s memoirs that when he was given a peerage he was not allowed to take his constituency name as his title, because he was told that parliamentary boroughs were too grand for a mere Baron. I think it said you have to be an Earl to get one of those.

  14. On the Tower of London: legally it is today part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. This is actually a reverse of the historical situation. The Constable of the Tower of London theoretically reports directly to the Crown, and the Tower was a completely separate jurisdiction from the city. As well as the Tower itself, the Constable also got to rule some land to the east of the city. These areas were known as the “Tower Hamlets” as they were ruled by the Tower and not the City, and apparently they were required to provide yeomen when to Tower needed some. The Tower was neither part of Middlesex nor part of the City of London. (The Tower Hamlets were theoretically part of Middlesex but the county had no jurisdiction over them , this being entirely held by the Constable of the Tower). The Borough of Tower Hamlets was created when the County of London was established in the late 19th century, and at that point the Tower became part of the borough and hence the County of London and later Greater London, but not part of the City.

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