He is the foundation of nobility. He is the most numerous and least appreciated. He wages war on behalf of his lord; he protects the land on behalf of his lord, as well as a myriad of other tasks his lord needs him to due. He his given all the custom and courtesies, as well as rights and privileges of nobility. His title also warrants him military authority, as he and the Lord are the primary fighting arm of the kingdom; this is because most nobles higher then lords plan wars whereas the Knight and Lord fight them. He differs from a lord in that he is not given land to govern over and thus is not “landed” as Lords and above are. His title reads Sir (or Dame) (First Name) (Last Name).
The Knight Protector
The knight protector is a knight who has been given, sometimes temporary, authority of a landed noble; in general this consists of holding court over that area; justice, proctorship, taxes, etc. He does not own the land as do lords and above do, but he has authority over it. There are two common instances when this happens. One is that the knight is warranted as knight protectorate over a small area of land that has problems or just needs attention; i.e. an area of woodland that contains several villages. Or the knight as given knight protectorate over his lord’s lands in the absence of the lord. His title reads Sir (or Dame) (First Name) (Last Name) Knight Protector of (the area of land)
The lord is the pillar of stability that runs from the knight to the baron. He is “landed” in other words he is given lands by the authority of a Baron or above. He is the lowest of landed nobles he commands knights, squires, and vassals in times of war and peace. In addition to the customs and courtesies as well as rights and privileges of a knight he can and must hold court for the people in his domain. Court includes, but is not limited too, dispensing justice, taxing, managing the property and welfare of his people, and raising armies in the time of war. His landsize can vary but is usually big enough to support a keep and town as well as three to ten villages (this is not a hard and fast rule just an average). His title reads Lord or Lady (last name) of (the name of the lands).
The next set of nobles generally extend their chain of command to the king their only difference is the size of their landholdings. However it is possible for a Count or Duke to give a portion of their lands to make Barons but this is not common.
The baron is where the beginning of military nobility and political nobility grow apart. This is not to say he is not a military figure its just that military matters are generally left to lords and knight to deal with. He is also landed and holds court. What is different about a Baron and above is that they own their land, whereas a Lord is given land to rule over. In effect the lord’s land is still the Barons, but the Barons land is not still the Kings. In other words when a baron is made lands are relinquished to that baron forever. Thus this gives the Baron the right to choose his successor from his immediate family. But the Baron is not let of the hook completely, for a King may attempt to win back his lands from an insubordinate Baron by means of war. And if the Baron lacks a successor from his immediate family the King automatically regains control of his lands, however a good king will acknowledge a good baron's wishes and give the Barony over to a named successor that is not a relative. A Barony generally consists of small castle, one to three cities, many towns, and countless villages. A Barons title is that of a lord, but he may opt to be referred to as Baron (or Baroness) versus lord. The proper way to address a Baron is "Your Excellency"
A Count generally rules over a County, which is comprised of many portions of land ruled by lesser nobility. A County may be comprised of lands that are not adjacent to each other. A Counts title is that of a lord, but he may opt to be referred to as Count (or Countess) versus lord. The proper way to address a Count is "Your Grace"
A Duke rules over a Duchy, which is comprised of many portions of land ruled by lesser nobility. A Duchy is comprised of lands that are adjacent to one another forming a singular large area. A Duke's title is that of a lord, but he may opt to be referred to as Duke (or Duchess) versus lord. The proper way to address a Duke is "Your Grace"
An Earl is a high noble title bestowed by the crown and comes with a special purpose or charge attached to the title. An Earl's title is that of a lord, but he may opt to be referred to as Earl. The proper way to address an Earl is "Your Grace."
The Prince or Princess
A Prince or Princess is the direct descendent of the King or Queen. He has no true authority in the ranks of nobility, in fact he may not even be landed, accept that one day he might become king. However, if an older sibling becomes king then his only chance is for that sibling to die without heirs, otherwise he will remain a prince for the rest of his life. Usually a prince with older siblings is given land and thus wears both the hats of Prince and (title) i.e. Baron. His title reads Prince or Princess (first name)
The King or Queen
He is the head of state. He creates and destroys other nobles at a whim. He raises armies, and decides on affairs of state. He holds court for his Barons, Counts and Dukes. His domain has no limits and no restrictions. His title reads King or Queen (first name).
Now in all cases of landed nobility (everyone except Squires, Knights, Knight Protector and Princes) the union of marriage carries with it the right of nobility; i.e.. When a lord marries his wife becomes a lady.
Visiting Nobles are not true nobles in our realm. They have no authority or rights, but are generally given the customs and courtesies of their station.
The Squire is not nobility, though it is generally assumed that a squire is on the path to knighthood, be it thorugh deed or bloodline. However, they are generally young and inexperienced, thusly need the mentorship of a full noble for an undetermined time period until they are mature in both skill and mental ability. He is given respect due to his station, but lacks true authority; at times he might oversee a task that his knight or lord gives him. Any noble can have a squire; however, those above Lord due not normally take squires due to vast quantity of other dealings and tasks they have on a daily basis which would impede the time spent on educating a squire. The squire's title reads “Squire (First Name)”.