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1. (in Europe from the Middle Ages) originally any tenant-in-chief of a king or other overlord, who held land from his superior by honourable service; a land-holding nobleman
2. a powerful businessman or financier
3. English law (formerly) the title held by judges of the Court of Exchequer
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in Western Europe, a direct vassal of the king; later a noble title (feminine form, baroness). In Britain, where it is retained to this day, the title of baron is below the title of viscount, occupying the last place in the hierarchy of titles of the higher nobility. (In a broader sense the whole British higher nobility and the hereditary members of the House of Lords are barons.) In France and Germany this title was below the title of count. In the Russian Empire the title of baron was introduced by Peter I for the higher German nobility of the Baltic area.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The pressing preoccupation of the insular baronage with landed wealth, and with the role of women in its transmission and circulation, translates directly into a romance in which, true to its genre, heiresses and wealthy dowagers play a central role and feudal law is defended against its principal violator, King John.
The more recent work of Maddicott and Phillips moved the historical focus away from a baronage who presented a more or less united front and acted in the best interests of the Crown and realm, towards an interpretation where the personality and self-interests of the key players were deciding factors in the conflicts of the day.
NO LESS an authority than Frederick Hogarth, of the Baronage Press, has pronounced that, of the late Queen Mother's 49 known ancestors one was Scottish, 34 English, eight Anglo-Irish, one an Englishborn Huguenot, and one Virginian.
Moreover, in all editions of Britannia, each county's perambulation closes with an abbreviated baronage illustrating the creation of peerages and tracing their descents.
In plays written before the Civil War, the favourites are enemies to the ancient baronage, as Blair Warden points out.
BARONAGE: If you want to remind yourself of just who Diana was before she married Prince Charles, you can find out all you need to know about what she could be called - in Scotland, it seems, she was Duchess of Rothesay and Countess of Carrick.
His Trickster of Liberty: Tribal Heirs to a Wild Baronage at Petronia (1988) describes a whole family of Indian tricksters who rebel against conventional systems and establish ingenious enterprises.
The baronage of Bretayne thane, bechopes and othire, Graythes them to Glaschenbery with gloppynnande hertes To bery thar the bolde kynge and bryng to pe erthe, With all wirchipe and welthe pat any wy scholde.
As an essentially peaceable and sedentary monarch, Paris places Edward in his palace at Westminster in 'parliament' (an early occurrence of this word is used in the Life) with his baronage. Westminster is the true political centre of the kingdom.
There he found an English baronage that was not enamoured of either side and quite naturally wanted to squeeze every possible gain out of the stalemate.
Given current views on the medieval desire for effective rule, this restoration is no longer seen as something to be imposed on a recalcitrant baronage, but even so there are likely to be technical problems in reactivating the machinery of royal government if it has once lapsed.
If King John had been less devious and vindictive, or if a committed section of the English baronage had been less determined, there perhaps would not have been any Magna Carta.