- Hereditary titles of nobility originated during the Middle Ages when knights came to be seen as nobles rather than simply mounted warriors. They developed from titles used by the Holy Roman Empire for various officials.
- Some hereditary titles include duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron. Nobles holding these titles are considered peers of the monarch.
- Hereditary titles pass to the descendants of the person who holds the title. Special instructions called a "remainder" describe how this is to be done. "Remainders" can be general, such as "To heirs whatsoever" which allows the title to pass to descendants of either gender, or very specific, designating a particular son.