Viscount. The next grade in the ascending scale towards the highest estate of the realm, is that of vicecomes, or viscount, which title was formerly applied to the sheriff of a county, but was not used as a designation of nobility before the reign of Henry VI. A viscount is uniformly created by patent, and descends from father to son, unless especially provided against. The honour was originally conferred as an advancement to barons; but afterwards created frequently with the barony; and, in modern times, it has been conferred on private gentlemen, as a reward for distinguished services. Thus, for example, Viscount Sidmouth, Viscount Leinster, Viscount Goderich, Viscount Exmouth, etc. Viscounts are addressed by the crown as "Our right trusty and well-beloved Cousins." Letters to them bear the superscription - "To the Right Honourable Viscount A. or B." The sons and daughters are simply "the Honourable."