List Of French Marquisates
The following page contains an incomplete list (A-U) of marquisates (French marquisat) that currently, or once did, exist within France or within its conquered provinces. They were created by the kings of France and Spain, the dukes of Savoie and Lorraine, the popes in Comtat Venaissin, and other sovereign lords in the current day Republic of France.
From the late Middle Ages until the French revolution, marquisates were mainly raised by Letters patent (in French lettres patentes). In a few cases, other official acts, such as brevet royal, were used to create marquisates. These marquisates were given to members of princely houses or to distinguished nobles as rewards.
Currently, there does not exist a complete list of marquisates (or other marquess titles, which are not covered in this list), in part, because their creations were numerous, especially during the reigns of Louis XIV and XV.
This list also contains "marquisates of usage", which, in reality, might only be hereditary courtesy titles, or might be true, raised marquisates. Due to the loss of proven records because of fires and wars, and during the French revolution, when estate archives were deliberately destroyed, it is difficult, if not impossible, to prove whether certain marquisates were ever raised to a formal marquisate.
Recent archive findings has shown that some titles previously believed to be only courtesy titles are, in fact, raised marquisates. Thus, the following list contains proven-raised marquisates, uncertain marquisates, proven-hereditary courtesy titles (or at least generally believed to be proven at this time), and feudal marquisates or margravates. (Marquisates are the modern replacement of margravates. Margravates created after 1500 are marquisates.)
In the "Type" column is an acronym or symbol that identifies the type of marquisate (or margravate) in that row.
- LP means it is a proven marquisate that was created by letters patent.
- BR means it is a proven marquisate that was created by brevet royal.
- C LP or C BR means it is confirmed that a title older than the marquisate is associated with that fief or title holding family; that is, the family had a different title before they acquired the marquisate.
- * (asterisk) means it is an uncertain marquisate.
- TC means it is a confirmed, hereditary courtesy title used with a fief, or that it is currently believed to be proven as being only a courtesy title.
- FD means it is a feudal marquisate or a margravate.
The title holder of a marquisate before the French revolution was addressed as Marquis de X. The title stayed with the fief but, strictly speaking, a buyer of a marquisate needed a confirmation of the marquisate to be able to use the title - otherwise, he or she could formally only be styled Seigneur/Dame de Marquisat de X (Lord/Lady of the Marquisate of X). The policy on this matter was fairly relaxed, however, and the number of confirmations were rather few, which did not hinder the usage of the title Marquis. In most cases, before the French revolution, once a fief was raised, the feudal rank of Marquisate remained even if the fief passed to new owners through marriage, inheritance, or purchase.
With the French revolution, feudalism was abolished and the titles became disconnected from the land they previously belonged to. Therefore, after the French revolution, it was no longer possible to purchase a former marquisate and thereby obtain the title Marquis, or any other noble title for that matter. Only a few marquisates in France were specifically transferable through marriage (opposite to the normal custom in Italy and Spain). This means many titles have became extinct when the last direct male descendant of the title holder at the time of the French revolution died. An adoption of another male person by the last, legal, male title holder could, in some respects, be treated as a legal transfer of the title itself, but never a transfer of nobility if the adopted male was not a noble.
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