In many sees there were no vidames, their function being exercised by viscounts or chatelains.
Besides many hundreds of princes, dukes, marquesses, counts, barons and viscounts, there are a large number of persons of patrician rank, persons with a right to the designation nobile or signor-i, and certain hereditary knights or cavalieri.
ANTOINE AGENOR ALFRED GRAMONT, Duc DE, Duc DE Guiche, Prince De Bidache (1819-1880), French diplomatist and statesman, was born at Paris on the 14th of August 1819, of one of the most illustrious families of the old noblesse, a cadet branch of the viscounts of Aure, which took its name from the seigniory of Gramont in Navarre.
The estates of the county had the bishop of Cahors for president; other members were the bishop of Montauban and other ecclesiastics, four viscounts, four barons and some other lords and representatives of eighteen towns.
The 2nd and 3rd viscounts (1629-1663) suffered at Cromwell's hands, but the 4th was restored to his estates (some 50,000 acres) in 1666.
Century onwards the equivocal nature of the title in France was increased by the royal practice of selling it, either to viscounts or barons in respect of their fiefs, or to rich roturiers.
However, in 1625-1626 it is definitely recorded that the viscounts carried their coronets in their hands in the coronation procession from Westminster Hall to the Abbey church.
He sold it to Sir William Fitz-William, from whom it passed to Sir Anthony Browne and descended to the viscounts Montague.
From the 12th century onwards, its bishops, the first of whom appears to have lived about the 3rd century, began to encroach on the authority of the viscounts; the latter, after the Albigensian war, lost their estates, which passed to Simon de Montfort and then to the crown of France.
From the family of the old viscounts was descended Pierre d'Aubusson.
From about 81 9 to 1082 Carcassonne formed a separate countship, and from the latter date till 1247 a viscountship. Towards the end of the 11th century the viscounts of Carcassonne assumed the style of viscounts of Beziers, which town and its lords they had dominated since the fall of the Carolingian empire.
It passed from the possession of the viscounts of Marseilles to Charles of Anjou, count of Provence, and brother of St Louis (the latter landed here in 1254, on his return from Egypt).
Sir Maurice Berkeley of Bruton, a cadet of Stoke Giffard, was forefather of the Viscounts Fitzhardinge, the Lords Berkeley of Stratton (1658-1773) and the earls of Falmouth, all extinct, the Berkeleys of Stratton bequeathing their great London estate, including Berkeley Square and Stratton Street, to the main line.
His grandson William, on succeeding to the Orchard Portman and Bryanston estates, took the additional name of Portman, and from him come the Viscounts Portman of Bryanston (1873).
There were no provincial assemblies, no municipal bodies, no merchant-gilds, no autonomous churches; the people had no means of making themselves heard; they had no place in an administration which was completely in the hands of a central hierarchy of officials of all ranks, from dukes to scabini, with counts, viscounts and centenarii in between.