See also:rank of the
See also:nobility . In the
See also:peerage it intervenes between the dignities of
See also:earl and baron . The title is now purely one of
See also:honour, having long been dissociated from any
See also:office or functions . In the Carolingian epoch the
See also:vice-comites, or missi comilis, were the deputies or vicars of the
See also:counts, whose official
See also:powers they exercised by delegation, and from these the viscounts of the feudal
See also:period were undoubtedly derived . Soon after the counts became hereditary the same happened in the case of their lieutenants; e.g. in
See also:Narbonne, Nimes and Alby the viscounts had, according to A .
See also:Molinier, acquired hereditary rights as early as the beginning of the loth century . Viscountcies thus
See also:developed into actual fiefs, with their own jurisdiction, domain and seigniorial rights, and could be divided or even transmitted to
See also:females . Viscounts, however, continued for some
See also:time to have no more than the status of lieutenants, calling themselves either simply vice-comites, or adding to this title the name of the countship from which they derived their powers . It was not till the 12th century that the universal tendency to territorialize the feudal dominions affected the viscountcies with the
See also:rest, and that the viscounts began to take the name of the most important of their patrimonial domains . Thus the viscounts of
See also:Poitiers called themselves viscounts of
See also:Thouars, and those of Toulouse viscounts of Bruniquel and Montelar . From this time the significance of the title was extremely various . Some viscounts, notably in the duchy of
See also:Aquitaine and the
See also:county of Toulouse, of which the
See also:size made an effective centralized
See also:government impossible, were
See also:great barons, whose authority extended over whole provinces, and who disputed for power on equal terms with counts and dukes .
Elsewhere, on the other
See also:hand, e.g. in the Ile de France,
See also:Champagne, and a great
See also:part of
See also:Burgundy, the vicomtes continued to be
See also:half feudatories, half officials of the counts, with the same functions and rank in the feudal hierarchy as the chatelains; their powers were jealously limited and, with the organization of the
See also:system of prevots and baillis in the 12th century, practically disappeared . In the royal domains especially, these
See also:petty feudatories could not maintain them-selves against the growing power of the
See also:crown, and they were early assimilated to the preoots; thus there is no record of a vicomte at
See also:Paris after 1027 . In
See also:Normandy, where from the first the central power had been strong, vicomtes appeared at a very early date as deputies of the counts (afterwards dukes) of the
See also:Normans: " They are both
See also:personal companions and hereditary nobles." When
See also:local Norman counts began in the rrth century, some of them had vicomtes under them, but the normal vicomte was still a
See also:deputy of the duke, and
See also:Henry I. largely replaced the hereditary holders of the vicomtes by officials . " By the time, of the Conqueror the judicial functions of the
See also:viscount were fully recognized, and extended over the greater part of Normandy." Eventually almost the whole of Normandy was divided into administrative viscountcies or bailiwicks by the end of the 12th century . When the Normans conquered England, they applied the
See also:term viseoiunte or vicecomes to the sheriffs of the
See also:English system (see
See also:SHERIFF), whose office, how-ever, was quite distinct and was hardly affected by the
See also:Conquest . Nearly four centuries later " viscount " was introduced as a peerage
See also:style into England, when its
See also:king was once more
See also:lord of Normandy .
See also:John, Lord
See also:Beaumont, K.G., who had been created count of-
See also:Boulogne in 1436, was made Viscount Beaumont,
See also:February 12, 1440, and granted precedence over all barons, which was doubtless the reason for his creation . Within a
See also:year the feudal vicomte of Beaumont in Normandy was granted to him and the heirs male of his
See also:body on the ground that he traced his descent from that
See also:district . In 1446 Lord Bourchier, who held the Norman countship of Eu, was similarly made a viscount . The
See also:oldest viscountcy now on the
See also:roll is that of
See also:Hereford, created in 155o; but the Irish .yiscountcy of Gorman-ston is as old as 1478 . The dignity was sparingly conferred in the peerage of England till
See also:recent times, when the number of viscounts was increased by bestowing the dignity on retiring speakers (e.g . Viscounts Canterbury,
See also:Hampden, Peel, Selby) and. ministers who accepted peerages (e.g .
See also:Goschen, St Aldwyn,
See also:Morley of
See also:Blackburn, Wolverhampton) . A viscount is " Right Honourable," and is styled " My Lord." His wife, also " Right Honourable," is a " viscountess," and is styled " My
See also:Lady." All their sons and daughters are " Honourable." The coronet first granted by
See also:James I. has on the
See also:golden circlet a
See also:row of fourteen small pearls set in contact, of which number in representations nine are shown . The
See also:parliamentary robe of a viscount has two and a half doublings of
See also:ermine . See A . Luchaire,
See also:des institutions francaises (Paris, 1892), bibliography on p . 282; Stapleton s Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae; Powicke's ` The Angevin Administration of Normandy " (Eng . Hist . Rev. vols. xxi., xxii.); Lords' Reports on the Dignity of a Peer;
See also:Courthope Nicolas's Historic Peerage .
VISHNU (Sanskrit, " the worker," from root vish, "t...
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