Home > Arts & Humanities > History > In the middle ages, could a wealthy enough commoner buy him self a nobility title? The church used to "sell" salvation for a fee, so?

In the middle ages, could a wealthy enough commoner buy him self a nobility title? The church used to "sell" salvation for a fee, so?

  • Best Answer
    Yes, not at 1st in the Middle Ages, but in the later and High Middle Ages indeed...yes. It was usually technically against the rules, and the other nobles looked down on the 'nouveau barons', but you know the saying.....'money talks'.
    Wealthy rich merchants/ traders lawyers all bought titles (and got the lands that went with them). In the Italian commercial city states buying your titles was the most common way to get them. This was most common in the 1300's/1400's and didn't happen before 1200.
    larry1 · 0 0
  • Other Answer
  • It was not unusual for commoners to be raised to the nobility. The present Duke of Bedford's ancestors were medieval wine merchants for instance. If a commoner became sufficiently wealthy and important he certainly might attain a noble title. Even a peasant who became sufficiently prosperous might rise to the ranks of the minor gentry.
    Louise C · 0 0
  • In France, a seigneurie (lordship) might include one or more manors surrounded by land and villages subject to a noble's prerogatives and disposition. Seigneuries could be bought, sold or mortgaged. If erected by the crown into, e.g., a barony or countship, it became legally entailed for a specific family, which could use it as their title. Yet most French nobles were untitled ("seigneur of Montagne" simply meant ownership of that lordship but not, if one was not otherwise noble, the right to use a title of nobility, as commoners often purchased lordships).
    Gray Bold · 0 0
  • Buying nobility was WAY different than buying your way into heaven.
    Elaine M · 0 0
  • Yes.
    Emdog · 3 0
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