Noblesse Oblige

Exact Meaning of the word Gentleman or Gentlewoman (Norman Law)

January 8, 2017

This was defined by Chief Justice Coke (1552 – 1634) as a bearer of coat armour, this means an Armiger or person granted arms. Therefore the younger sons or daughters of the younger sons or daughters of Peers and the younger sons or daughters of baronets, knights and esquires in perpetual succession. The term is therefore the common denominator of gentility (and armigerousness if they have been awarded arms) shared by the constituents of the English and Welsh aristocracy: The Peerage and the Gentry. Scotland has its own law and its own system. A Prince or King is the highest rank of the Peerage, so being descended from Princes and Kings automatically makes one a Gentleman, irrespective of the number of generations. In the law of Hywel Dda I am automatically an Uchelwr (aristocrat or nobleman) because of descent from King Hywel Dda and King Rhodri Mawr and then back to pre Roman times and the Iron Age. According to the ruling by Chief Justice Coke in Elizabethan times, I am also a Gentleman because I was awarded arms myself in 2008. So I was included in Burke’s Peerage and Gentry by William Bortrick in 2012. He often discusses genealogy with Queen Elizabeth II. I do not think that my distant cousin the Queen would be amused at the remark that the son of a coal miner cannot be a Gentleman, because the Queen is above all concerned with meritocracy. She is very interested in genealogy. I write this as a republican, many republicans have coats of arms. This deeply insulting remark is also an insult to Crown and Parliament, because I am a Civil List Pensioner. Above all it is an insult to merit. In Wales, such a remark would also be taken as ethnic prejudice, a criminal offence because so many coal miners lived and worked in Wales, attaining legendary status. If contemporary society cannot recognize merit and honest achievement, it is finished. I regard the remark with aristocratic disdain, one eyebrow raised in contempt.”

It clearly falls to us to point out the obvious. Nobody cares much about quaint archaic titles and, short of being grabbed by Dr Who and his Tardis, nobody is going to fall foul of medieval laws.  By the way, Ron, are you sure that you are not infringing the old sumptuary laws by wearing clothes or eating foods which are above your proper social station? Moreover, nobody wants to diss the miners, even if they did have a habit of striking during wartime. What offends people, Ron, is that you simply do not behave like a gentleman. Members (not that you are) of the British aristocracy are generally noted for their modesty and for not ‘standing on ceremony’; many a lord has no remaining land or money and lives quietly. No gentleman would daily boast of his supposed importance or, worse, lie ceaselessly about his academic success. Perhaps even more revolting is your tendency to ‘come the old soldier’ with respect to mining. You were quick to swerve that fate, so stop challenging others to ‘do a shift underground’. It is dishonest and distasteful.



3 Responses to “Noblesse Oblige”

  1. Frank B Says:

    Who is Ron’s intended audience for these posts? Just the readers of this blog or is he regularly getting into arguments about the meaning of the word gentleman? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised if Ron is pompous enough to assume that everyone he has ever had contact with reads his blog.

    Other than trying to create some sort of siege mentality amongst his supporters, I don’t understand why he would waste time repeatedly writing the same thing over and over as if he is trying to win an argument with some unknown person. If he thinks his science is so important, maybe he should focus on that.

    • crackpotwatch Says:

      He fondly imagines that he is keeping his thousands of followers abreast of his progress. There are of course no followers apart from his little gang, and the progress is illusory. It does seem that some of the locals make mock of his ‘lord of the manor’ attitude. Rather than moaning online, he should march straight over to that heavyweight cage-fighter’s house and tell him what’s what! No flowers.

  2. Interested Observer Says:

    It is amusing to see Ron mangling legal history so badly. If you read the passage of Coke he refers to, the following facts immediately present themselves:
    a) Coke nowhere defines the word ‘gentleman’. He merely lays out the rules governing the inheritance of arms by those entitled to them.
    b) The document is not a ‘ruling’. It is a legal commentary.
    c) The text under commentary is not by Coke. It’s from Thomas de Littleton’s Treatise on Tenures (c. 1480).
    d) The bulk of this 530-year-old treatise concerns land law in the days of feudalism. Though fragments survive in the common law, it’s about as relevant to modern legal practice as Ptolemy is to modern astronomy.

    A few other fact-checks for you, Ron:
    1. The ownership of arms does not confer the status of ‘gentleman’. It confers no status at all. Traditionally it *recognised* the status of gentleman, but the term has been meaningless except as a term of courtesy since c.1850.
    2. ‘Refusing to recognise the status of Gentleman’ is not, and has never been, a criminal offence, as you claimed in your blog a few days ago.
    3. ‘Refusing to recognise the status of Gentleman’ is not, and has never been, a *civil* offence, as you subsequently claimed.
    4. The Law of Arms has precisely nothing to say about the ‘status of Gentleman’.
    5. There *is* a Court of Arms, but it concerns itself solely with heraldic matters: disputed ownership of arms, and misuse of them.
    6. The Court has sat once in the last century. That case concerned the alleged misuse of a local council’s coat of arms.
    7. Claiming any sort of legal recourse for a perceived slight about your social status is therefore sheer fantasy.

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