The Roll of the Peerage is an officially compiled and maintained list, intended to contain the names of all living peers. Peers are enrolled in it in the following circumstances:

  • Hereditary Peers who have proved succession in accordance with the terms of the 2004 Royal Warrant.
  • Hereditary Peers who up to 1999 received a Writ of Summons.
  • Hereditary Peers who from 1999 have proved their succession in order to be eligible either for election to a vacant seat amongst the remaining 92 hereditary peers in a House of Lords 'by-election', or to vote in such a by-election.
  • Life Peers.

The Roll comprises all those Peers who have proved succession to an English, Scottish, Irish, Great Britain or United Kingdom Peerage. In some cases the Peer's name appears against his junior title; it may then be cross-referenced elsewhere in the Roll if the Peer is customarily styled in a different or senior title. This arises for example where succession has been proved in a junior title for the purposes of sitting in the House of Lords.

Each entry on the Roll is headed with the style of the dignity (the nomen dignitatis), e.g. 'Abercorn'; with the body of the entry showing:

  • whether the dignity is hereditary or for life.
  • the class or rank of dignity, i.e. duke/duchess, marquess/marchioness, earl/countess, viscount/viscountess or baron/baroness, (lord/lady in the case of some Scottish titles).
  • the Peerage within which dignity was created, i.e. the Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain or the United Kingdom.
  • the full style of the current holder of the dignity, including forenames, and indicating where applicable any senior title by which he or she is customarily known.
  • the surname of the present holder of the dignity.

The Royal Warrant of 2004

Proving succession to a peerage

The Roll of the Peerage

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The Royal Warrant of 2004 requires that a person wishing to be recognised as a Peer prove succession to the relevant dignity, to the satisfaction of the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. Guidance notes are provided on how to prove succession to a Peerage both with and without the right to stand and vote in by-elections in the House of Lords. These notes are likely to be of most help where the relationship of the claimant to the late Peer is close, but anything more distant may require detailed advice, which may be obtainable from an officer of the College of Arms in London or the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh, a genealogist, a lawyer or the Registrar or Assistant Registrar of the Peerage. Claims are made by submission of a formal Petition to the House of Lords and Statutory Declaration to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice via the Crown Office, made on behalf of the claimant by a suitable person. Information about the suitability of a particular person to make the Declaration is contained in the guidance notes or in cases of doubt individual cases can be discussed with the Registrar or the Assistant Registrar.

The Royal Warrant of 2004

What is recorded in the Roll of the Peerage

The Roll of the Peerage

Clicking on several of the links on this page will open documents in secure pdf form. In order to read these you must have a pdf reading program such as Adobe Reader to view them, a free program that you may have on your computer already.

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