In the British Peerage, there are five classes (the peerages of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and Ireland and the United Kindom and Ireland) and five degrees (duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron). Baronets (knighthoods which can be inheirited) and knights are not peers.
A peer can also hold two or more separate peerages; for example, the 9th Duke of Hamilton (in the peerage of Scotland) was also the 6th Duke of Brandon (in the peerage of Great Britain and Ireland). Therefore, the number of peerages may be greater (for example, there were 28 ducal peerages held by 25 families).
Almost half of the 210 earldoms in 1818 had been created in the peerage of Great Britain and Ireland (97); the remaining peerages had been created in the peerage of England, Scotland and Ireland (78) and the peerage of the United Kingdom and Ireland (35). Like the ducal families, several of these families held ‘double’ earldoms.
Dukes of the peerage of the United Kingdom
Dukes of the UK
“The writer of prose can only step aside when the poet passes; he makes the best of us look like a piece of cheese. It is evident then that the writing of poetry should be left to the dukes, and I should like to see their rights protected by the most severe pain and penalties, for it is intolerable that the noblest of arts should be practised by any but the noblest of men. And since here, too, specialisation must prevail, I foresee that the dukes (like the successors of Alexander) will divide the realm of poetry between them, each confining himself to that aspect with which hereditary influence and natural bent have rendered him competent to deal: thus I see the dukes of Manchester writing poems of a didactic and moral character, the dukes of Westminster composing stirring odes on Duty and the Responsibilities of Empire; whereas I imagine that the dukes of Devonshire would be more likely to write love lyrics and elegies in the Propertian manner, while it is almost inevitable that the dukes of Marlborough should pipe in an idyllic strain on such subjects as domestic bliss, conscription, and content with modest station.”
from Cake and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham