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The Barony of Buittle was established in 1325 by King Robert of Scots, known as The Bruce, in a grant to Sir James Douglas. Scottish Baronies, at the time, were titles of nobility attached to land, which gave the holder of the land, and the concommitent Barony certain rights over that land, as well as various responsibilities. Until roughly 1600 Scottish Barons sat in Parliament in the Upper House, however that right was largely abandoned by the baronage at large, and there is only one Scottish Baron (in fact a Feudal Earl), The Earl of Sutherland who uniquely continues to exercise his parliamentary right based on Feudal Nobility rather than by virtue of a Nobility by Writ. 


Because Baronies were attached to the land, they are known in law as 'in commercio', meaning they can be bought and sold, or otherwise transferred. This makes Scottish Baronies unique in the UK, as the only real titles of nobility that can be transferred in these ways (i.e. not by heredity but by acquisition or disponement). The tie the land ceased in 2004, with the coming into effect of the Abolition of Feudal Tenure (Scotland) Act 2000. The act maintained the dignity and noble status of the Scottish Barons, but removed the titles' tie to the land - as the Act has it, 'the dignity of baron, though retained, shall not attach to the land; and on and after the appointed day any such dignity shall be, and shall be transferable only as, incorporeal heritable property'.

Today, many baronies have been sold on the open market. Buittle is amongst the few active baronies which has not been sold in such a way. Following the acquisition of the Castle, the current Baron set about arranging the transfer of the dignity by Assignation from the then holder of the Dignity. The move was taken for several reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, although these dignities are no longer legally attached to the land with which they were once associated, they have significantly more meaning when the two are maintained together - a Barony divorced of any connection to its territorial designation becomes little more than a personal 'style'. Additionally, the Barony's connection with the current Baron's family, having been held by his ancestors for over 700 years, its long historic connection to the Castle, the land's governance, and the areas social and political history were all important factors in the decision to seek out and secure the barony. 

Background of Scottish Baronies and Buittle

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