Enola Holmes and the aristocratic appellation

Just a brief note on the film which we watched a week ago. Millie Bobby Brown, who we already knew as Eleven in Stranger Things, is great as Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes’ smarter younger sister Enola, as is Helena Bonham-Carter as their mother. It’s a lot of fun.

BUT. The chap at the centre of the mystery (such as it is) is referred to as Viscount Tewkesbury, although he also has the title Marquess of Basilwether. Normally, someone who holds both a marquessate and an earldom is referred to by the former rather than the latter. (Except if the two titles are from different jurisdictions, in which case they will be referred to by the earldom title when they are in the appropriate place, but Tewkesbury is in England and it does not sound like Basilwether is anywhere outside England.)

A long but interesting Facebook discussion prompted me to do more research, discovering that only three women in England have ever held a marquessate in their own right. The first was Anne Boleyn, who was not Marchioness but Lady Marquess of Pembroke; the second was George I’s lover Melusine von der Schulenburg, created Marchioness of Dungannon but known as the Duchess of Kendal as it’s the higher title; and the third was the curious case of Jemima Campbell, Marchioness Grey, whose title was created for her grandfather in 1740, but he died almost immediately after, so she inherited it at the age of 16 and held it for the remaining 57 years of her life.

The other massive plot hole is that we are supposed to believe that Tewkesbury / Basilwether’s vote is critical to pass legislation in the house of Lords. In fact, hereditary peers could not take their seats at the time the film is set until the age of 21, and though we are not told Tewkesbury / Basilwether’s age, the actor is only 17. (Quite apart from the fact that it’s never been possible to whip the House of Lords as tightly as that.)

As I said, apart from that, I really enjoyed it, and Millie Bobby Brown, who produced it as well as starring at the age of 16, is clearly someone to watch.