THE OFFICIAL ROLL
It is a popular misconception that the heir apparent succeeds automatically to a baronetcy on the death of the current holder. Nothing could be further from the truth. By a Royal Warrant of King Edward VII dated 8th February 1910 an Official Roll was established to be kept at the Home Office. It was further stated “that no person whose name is not entered on the Official Roll of Baronets shall be received as a Baronet, or shall be addressed or mentioned by that title in any civil or military Commission, Letters Patent or other official document.”
REGISTRAR OF THE BARONETAGE
In a further Warrant of King George V dated 10th March 1922 the Home Secretary is required to appoint a senior official as Registrar of the Baronetage charged with the duty of keeping the Roll and making all necessary entries and deletions. In 2001 under the Machinery of Government changes the Registrar of the Baronetage and staff were transferred from the Home Office to the Lord Chancellor’s Department. In 2003 this was re-named as the Department of Constitutional Affairs and in 2007 it became the Ministry of Justice.
In order that claims to Baronetcies can be properly and fairly assessed high standards of evidence are required. The procedure is that the Registrar of the Peerage & Baronetage first assesses the claim, then it and the supporting evidence are referred to Garter King of Arms, except in the case of Baronetcies which have a Scottish territorial designation which go to Lord Lyon King of Arms. A final decision is taken by the Registrar following the report by the King of Arms.
The evidence required varies according to the relationship of the claimant to the dead baronet. As a minimum the birth certificate of the claimant, the marriage certificate of the claimant’s parents and the death certificate of the dead baronet, together with a Statutory Declaration (Statutory_Dec__Rev_2006,) will be required. For collateral successions evidence will be required to establish that the claimant is descended in the male line from the first Baronet and that all male lines of descent from the first Baronet senior to that of the claimant are extinct. In the case of certain Scottish baronetcies descent may include the female line.
The Ministry of Justice has provided detailed guidance notes on succession which are attached for:
In the case of a Nova Scotian Baronetcy, or a baronetcy of Great Britain or the United Kingdom with a Scottish Territorial designation, succession can also be proved in a Matriculation of a Coat of Arms by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. Guidance notes can be found at:
Lyon Court Guidance Note 1 (Jan 16)
For claims where the relationship of a claimant is more distant than issue of the late Baronet, advice on appropriate wording may be sought from those named below.
Any person wishing to prove succession to a baronetcy is advised, as a first step, to get in touch with:
The Assistant Registrar of the Peerage & Baronetage
Ministry of Justice
9th Floor, 9.25A
102 Petty France
Tel : 07976 633978
Independent advice or assistance in the preparation of a claim may be obtained from:
Commander Perry Abbott OBE RN
Secretary, Standing Council of the Baronetage
Hampshire PO7 4RA
Tele & Fax: 02392-632672