Historically, the title of a medieval baron was given to individuals who were at the base of the medieval hierarchy, the barons had to serve on the king’s council and provide food and beds to the king and his men when they traveled through the land. Barons also had to pay rent and provide soldiers to the king’s army as needed
Barons were in charge of their own currency and collecting taxes from the people who lived on their land. They also had their own justice system. They could pass out sentences in various disputes. They also were responsible for the protection of serfs on their estates.
Barons were allowed to use their land however they wished, but they usually gave some of their land to their knights. In some cases, the king required the barons to give land to knights who had fought for the king. The knights in turn gave some of the land to serfs. Serfs had no rights and had to work the land as instructed by the knights.
In SCA Practice, Barons serve as the Crown’s representative to the Barony, and as the Barony’s representative to the Crown by maintaining contact with the King and Queen so Their Majesties’ needs and desires can be communicated to the populace of the Barony..
They serve as the ceremonial head of the group. This includes holding courts, leading the populace in toasts to the Crown, and other ceremonial tasks which provide a sense of medieval pageantry to an event. The Baron and Baroness also recognize excellence with awards, and honor effort with public recognition and with thanks.
They are charged with long-term planning, with keeping an eye to the general mood of the group, and with working to make the Barony what the populace wants it to be. They also serve as mediators in conflicts, ensuring that a working solution is found.