Clan Carruthers, False Claims

CLAN CARRUTHERS: Use of titles of nobility; true or false.

As has been highlighted in the past, there are those who may make claims and some who also offer certification, information, arms and titles that carry no real weight nor in many cases, credibility.

However, more and more people are starting to rile against it and are saying enough is really enough and they are responding in kind.

Below is a piece from the Facebook page of the Armorial Register Heraldry Group in reference to the above certificate, authored by Martin Goldstraw and shared with his permission.

“I thought of adding this entry to the “Heraldry Hall of Shame” forum however, it is not the heraldry that is shameful, it is the use of it that is shameful.

Because of our obligations under the Data Protection Act, I have redacted the name of the applicant from all details. We received an enquiry overnight asking if we would register a title in our Register of Feudal Lords and Barons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Included with the application was a “certificate”. My reply was as follows:

Oh dear, where to begin!

Firstly, our Register of Feudal Lords and Barons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is what it says on the tin, it is a Register of Feudal Lords and Barons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I am at a complete loss as to how someone who has, in effect, paid for the privilege of changing their name to resemble something that might fool a few but is not a real title can believe that they might be considered to be a feudal lord of the UK & N.I. Feudal Lords are those who own a real Manor and are therefore Lords of Manors and entitled to be called Lord of the Manor of … and Feudal Barons are those who own the dignity of a Scottish barony and are entitled to be referred to as baron of ….

Secondly, the form of address “Lord First Name Surname” would imply that you are the younger son of a Duke or a Marquis and a quick check in any reputable peerage volume would confirm that there is no such bona fide titled person. No one who knows the slightest bit about the protocols of titles in the UK would be fooled into thinking that someone using this style was a titled person.

Thirdly, the certificate you so kindly sent is an abhorrent travesty of good taste and can not possibly be considered to be any kind of legal conveyance of a title or legal certification of a title – I shall explain why. The armorial bearings which the signatories claim as their own are usurped – stolen – from others; they have absolutely no right to claim them as their own or use them in any way shape or form and certainly not to certify a bogus title. The one in the bottom left is that belonging to Sir Francis J. Grant, KCVO, WS, Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland (the pendant decoration is that of his office). I could quite easily identify the others but it is patently obvious that the operators of this fake title company were not in their own right armigerous and could not even be bothered to design and assume their own arms but simply chose others from the internet and stole them. Absolutely despicable.

Fourthly, whilst you can of course call yourself anything you wish, you could just as easily have saved yourself some money and simply changed your name to Lord First Name Second Name of XXXXXX. Even if you were persuaded to purchase a token piece of land that would be “registered in Land Registry” along with the name change, it would still be what it is, simply a name change. It certainly isn’t a title that would be recognised by the UK Government.

The UK Passport Office has this to say of the “Presumed Titles” trade:

Presumed titles
There are companies that change an individual’s name to include a title. Legal advice has been sought on this issue and the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) policy is based on the advice received.It is clear an individual can call themselves any name they wish providing it is not for a fraudulent purpose. However, it is believed there is no legal basis for a person to change their title: e.g. from Mr to Lord. It follows, therefore, that applicants have the right to change their name, for example, from Mr John Smith to Mr Sir John Smith and adopt “Sir” as an additional forename. But they cannot change their title from Mr John Smith to Sir John Smith.
As there is a right for an applicant to change their name by deed poll, the presumed title can appear on the personal details page of the passport as a forename with an observation being entered relating to the name change. An observation is required in any case where there is the potential for any name change to mislead; this includes reference to a title and to maintain the integrity of the passport.
In cases where an applicant has adopted a description of a title of nobility as a
forename the observation to be entered is:

This observation should automatically be placed in the passport of any such applicant and there is no need to contact them unless the application form is completed in a way that indicates the customer believes they are applying for a change of title rather than of name. In these circumstances the applicant should be advised of how the data will be displayed in the passport and of the observation that will be entered in the document. The above observation should also be used in all renewal applications where the children’s and adult’s birth names are similarly misleading, for example where names on birth certificates are registered as Princess, Prince, Earl, Duke, etc.

I make no apologies for being so blunt. The Companies who trade in this sort of thing are to be treated with the utmost contempt.


Martin Goldstraw

Editor and Director”

As such it is imperative that you do your own research, before committing money, time and trust. As many Carruthers know and in fact has been mentioned in the Heraldry Hall of Shame, not all claims or arms are real.

Be careful out there folks, it’s a strange world.

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