Marcher Lord

A Marcher Lord (Welsh: Barwn y Mers) was a noble appointed by the King of England to guard the border (known as the Welsh Marches) between England and Wales.

Wales in the 14th century showing Marcher Lordships

A Marcher Lord was the English equivalent of a margrave (in the Holy Roman empire) or a marquis (in France) before the introduction of the title of "marquess" in Britain (no Marcher Lord ever bore this rank). In this context the word march means a border region or frontier, and is cognate with the verb "to march," both ultimately derived from Proto-Indo-European *mereg-, "edge" or "boundary".

The greatest Marcher Lords included the earls of Chester, Gloucester, Hereford, Pembroke and Shrewsbury (see also English Earls of March).