This title, Baron, derives from the Old Germanic word “Baro“, meaning “Freeman“. Created c. 1066, a Baron is the lowest rank of peerage, and is usually applied to “tenants–in–chief“, the holders of land granted to them directly by the Monarch. The normal form of address is Lord/Lady.
Barony/Baronial/Baronage – Baron‘s were originally (in Britain) those who held their lands directly from the King. Not all British nobles have Baronies and many Vice–Counts, do not. (Louis Epstein) The majority of nobility in Britain are just plain Barons. In the UK, life peers are also Baron‘s or Baronesses.
Once, a Baron was an important noble, especially before the Renaissance. It was the Baron‘s who brought King John to heel at Runnymede, and “Robber–Baron” has entered English as the term for one of the Lord’s who collected “tolls” from Rhine River – Traffic. In olden times, when there was little differentiation in degree or rank between neighboring nobles.
“Baron” could signify a noble, large or small, a meaning with some currency today on the continent, roughly equivalent in meaning to “peer” or “Lord” in the UK. The status of Baron‘s varies. It can be a very high title or something of little consequence. It is definitely a noble title, however, it needs to be clearly distinguished from “Baronet“.