Advice on buying a manorial title
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1: WHAT IS A MANORIAL LORDSHIP?

 

1.1:  Introduction

1.2:  Importance of Solicitors

1.3: Taxation

1.4: British and overseas owners and death

1.5: Land Registration Act, 2002 (LRA)

1.6: Scottish baronies

1.7: Some publications

 

1.1: Introduction

UNDER the laws of real property in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Irish Republic, Lordships of the manor are known as ‘estates in land’ and in Courts, where they may crop up in cases to do with real property, they are often simply called ‘land’.

They are ‘incorporeal hereditaments’ (literally, property without body) and are well glossed from the English and Welsh point of view in Halsbury’s Laws of England, vol viii, title Copyholds, which is available in most solicitors’ offices or central reference library.

Manors cover an immutable area of land and may include rights over and under that land, such as rights to exploit minerals under the soil, manorial waste, commons and greens.   While it has always been the case that manorial rights can sometimes have a high value, this is rare because the rights are frequently unknown and unresearched (or are just not commercial).   There is no value in owning mineral rights if there are no commercially exploitable minerals, such as granite or aggregate, and purchasers should not expect a manorial Eldorado.   If such benefits were routine, then asking prices by agents would be considerably higher to reflect this.

We are sometimes asked whether Lordships are a ‘good investment’ to which the answer is, ‘what goes up can also come down.’   The average price of a Manor was about £300 in 1955; about £600 in 1976; about £2,500 in 1981; about £10,000 in 1989; about £7,000 in 1992, during the last recession; about £12,000 in 1998, and about £7,000 now.   Some Lordships command a premium price because of their names: Stratford Upon Avon and Wimbledon, sold respectively in 1993 and 1996 for £110,000 and £171,000.   These are exceptional.   At auction, some Manors will go higher or lower than the average, depending on the competition in the room.   If you should enjoy a capital gain, then treat it as serendipity.

 

1.2: Importance of Solicitors

Like any other real property (known as real estate in the United States), Manorial Lordships belong to some one and are conveyed in precisely the same way as you would convey a house.   Just as you would not contemplate the purchase of a house without legal advice, so you would be unwise to contemplate the purchase of a Manor without legal advice and you should appoint an independent solicitor/attorney.  Agents Manorial Auctioneers and Strutt & Parker have panels of solicitors who are well versed in this arcane area of property law and will advise, but an intending purchaser is free to appoint any solicitor of his or her choice.

Solicitors will be looking principally for one thing: whether the person or company selling is the legal owner.   ‘Legal owner’ is an important expression in law, and is quite different from a similar expression in law ‘beneficial owner’ (eg such as a beneficiary under a Will where the legal owner is the Executor or Trustee).   The solicitor will also make inquiries with the seller’s solicitors about any rights that may be passed.   He will also make Land Searches at HM Land Registry.

Once you have made your offer and it is accepted, your solicitor will ask the vendor’s solicitor for what is known as an Epitome of Title: ie proof of ownership over not less than 15 years (20 years in Ireland).   With Lordships, in practice in the Civil Law, title is generally traced back 50 or more years.   Proof of ownership is sometimes found in family or estate documents: viz Assents, Probates, Wills, Mortgages, Settlements. Statutory Declarations are common, the latter supported by persuasive exhibits from secondary sources.   In effect, they are similar to the authentication of an unsigned painting, unmarked porcelain or furniture.   They are as good as the person making the Declaration and the evidence adduced in exhibits.   The legal expression that will appear in a Conveyance or wording very similar, in such Conveyances is ‘All and Singular that Manor or Lordship or Reputed Manor or Lordship of X, in the parish of Y, in the County of Z...’

A purchaser’s solicitor will check also by Searches that the seller is not a bankrupt or (if a company) where it is incorporated and not struck off or in receivership.  

A solicitor will also check that the Manor is purchased ‘unencumbered’ (ie that there are no unexpected costs, such as the duty to repair the chancel of the local church, known as the ‘lay rectorship’, or ‘lay improprietorship’ or to maintain the village green).

 

1.3: Taxation

It is not a very complicated job, but it is worth spending about £400 with a solicitor who will ask the right questions of the seller’s solicitor and to get the correct paperwork.   We mentioned commercial rights and capital gains on the asset: do not forget that if by chance there were potentially valuable rights on the Manor, the first thing you need to prove any legal entitlement to them is good title and conveyancing.

Value Added Tax (VAT) does not apply to the Lordship or Barony/Honour itself, but VAT on commissions paid to the auctioneers/agents will attract VAT at the prevailing rate (presently 20% in the UK) to all purchasers within the European Union.   All other purchasers are exempt, as they are if they buy most goods in the UK.   Those non-EU visitors who know the large London shops, such as Harrods, will have seen signs about ‘tax free shopping.’

Other taxes, such as Capital Gains or any income from a Lordship (eg mines and minerals, manorial waste) may well apply in the national jurisdiction of the owner.   Owners should consult a tax accountant if need be.

 

1.4: British and overseas owners and death

A Lordship has a value and for all Lords of Manors, it will count as an asset at death, unless a lifetime arrangement has already been made.   If you are domiciled outside the UK and your Lordship is your only UK asset, you will still need a Probate Certificate, even though the value is very likely to be well below the threshold for Inheritance Tax.   This is usually a formality - an important one - and the solicitor who helped you to acquire the Lordship can do this for a deceased estate inexpensively.   A Probate Certificate is important where the beneficiary wishes to sell the Lordship for a cash amount, as a purchaser’s solicitor will want evidence that it was transferred lawfully: ie that no tax was due on the death of the Testator.   The Probate Certificate confirms that tax was not due, or if it formed part of a larger portfolio of assets in the UK, that took the value of the estate above the Inheritance Tax threshold, that it was included as part of the entire deceased estate in the UK.

 

1.5: Land Registration Act (LRA) (2002)

Lords of the Manor in England and Wales have been given until 13 October 2013 to register any rights they may have in the Manor.   The LRA does not oblige owners to register their rights, and non-registration does not mean that the Lordship or its rights are lost.   It just means that the traditional paper conveyancing continues, as opposed to electronic conveyancing today.

An advantage of registration, however - especially if an owner does not live on the spot, enabling him or her to see what is going on - is that a solicitor to a landowner, developer, or house owner, mineral excavation company, wind farm operator, and so forth, where manorial rights might apply, will make a search of the Land Registry as a matter of course.   Your name and address, or the address of your solicitor, will be available on the Certificate and one of you will receive a letter from a solicitor acting for some one who may need to come to an arrangement on manorial rights with the Lord.   This is known as First Registration.   NB: not being registered does not affect your ownership of title and rights, but it is better to be registered as anyone seeking changes of use of land where the Lord of the Manor may be involved will come to you.   You do not need to find the developer or other individual or company if your Lordship is registered.

You should also note that claims to manorial rights are not retrospective.   For example, if you discover that a developer has used a route across the manorial waste or Common, known as a ransom strip, to gain access to a number of houses he has built, and the houses have been built, the Civil Courts of England will not entertain a ‘late claim.’   The Courts will take what is known as the ‘balance of convenience:’ ie if you did nothing about a ransom strip before building, or other activity, took place (regardless of whether you knew about it or not), you are most unlikely succeed in such a claim.

 

1.6: Scottish Baronies

Scottish Baronies are essentially what in England are called ‘manors’, but are called ‘baronies’.   Indeed, Scottish Dispositions (Conveyances) routinely refer to the ‘manor place’ in barony documents going back centuries.   Some land was still held feudally in Scotland until reforming legislation in the Scottish Parliament was enacted and came into force in November 2004.   Purchasers should engage a Scottish solicitor (Scotland being a separate legal jurisdiction from England and Wales), and a seller will provide what is called an ‘Opinion’ or an ‘Advice’ from a lawyer or other land historian, who has made such things a speciality, as to the existence of a barony and the seller’s entitlement to sell.   Its effect is the same as an English Statutory Declaration.  

It should also be noted that Scottish baronies were stripped of all interests in land in November 2004.   Rights, therefore, in superiorities, reversions, mines, minerals, solum (common and waste) were abolished, and the shell title ‘barony’ is all that remains.   In England, a Lordship stripped of all its rights exists as a ‘Lordship in Gross.’   There is no comparable term in Scottish Law of which we are aware.  

Conveyances in Scotland tend to be called ‘Dispositions’ and some legal words differ, but one acquires a barony in much the same way as a Lordship in England.   It should be noted that Scottish solicitors are very much more expensive in these matters than English or Irish solicitors.   It is wise to get a written quotation from a solicitor before committing.

 

1.7: Some publications

* The Manorial Society of Great Britain has recently published The Proceedings of a Conference on the implications for Manorial Lords of Land Registration Act (2002).   The Conference was held at Merton College, Oxford, in September 2005 and included speakers from HM Land Registry, the Commons Commission, solicitors, barristers, and land agents.   The Proceedings are available for £250.00 to non-members and £150.00 to members.  

The Society was also jointly associated in 1996 with Legal Research and Publishing Limited in publishing Manorial Law, the legal history behind property ownership as it affects Manorial Lordships, price £49.95.

Irish property law is similar to mainland UK (two Legal Opinions on Lordships and Baronies in Ireland by an academic lawyer and a Senior Counsel are available in copy for purchasers’ solicitors if requested).   The conveyance of Feudal Baronies in England and Ireland (not the same as peerages) works in the same way as for a Manorial Lordship.   The principal legislation affecting mostly manors, but also Baronies or Honours in England and Ireland were an Act of the English Parliament, 1660, and of the Irish Parliament, 1662.

 

 

2: INTERNET SITES

 

2.1: Introduction

2.2: Property: Real and Incorporeal

2.3: Treasury Solicitor (BV)

2.4: Resurrected Lordships

2.5: The London Gazette

2.6: Internet site solicitors

2.7: Simple checks you can make

2.8: Getting your money back

2.9: How they get away with it

2.10: I want to believe

2.11: What owners should do if their Lordship appears

 

Publication of dubious conveyances &c

(see below)

 

2.1: Introduction

The internet is a great tool - for the dishonest as well as for legitimate concerns.   We have all heard of internet sites, many based in Spain, which promise enormous annual financial returns if you give them your money to invest.   In fact, for the most part, such money is invested in site operators’ own villas, Rolls-Royces, and, if really successful, in private jets.   There is probably a fraud available for every legitimate activity, whether financial services, fur coats, diamonds, Viagra, even brass washers.   Sadly, this is also true for Lordships of the Manor and Baronies.   One site has been going for more than 14 years in different guises.   Many have been closed down, or abandoned by their operators, and their dishonest or negligent solicitors have been struck off.

It comes to this: if an offer sounds too good to be true, it is probably untrue.

 

2.2: Property: Real and Incorporeal

It is perhaps obvious to state, but for the avoidance of doubt, real property is property capable of physical possession, such as a house, a field, a wood, a painting, furniture, and so forth.

Incorporeal property is incapable of physical possession.   As already noted, Lordships of the Manor (and Honours or Baronies) (all from now on in this advice called ‘Lordships’) are incorporeal property (‘incorporeal hereditaments’ - literally property without body).   Other forms of incorporeal property, with which readers might be more familiar, are copyright, patents, intellectual property.

The important aspect of both forms of property ownership is that property belongs to some one come what may.   The vast majority of Lordships belong to some individual or to trustees or might be held in a limited company, or a ‘corporation sole,’ such as the Lord Mayor and Corporation of the City of London, who are Lords of the King’s Manor, Southwark, an Oxford College, a hospital charity, as Residuary Estate, and so forth.

Statute and recent Case Law is clear that incorporeal hereditaments (here meaning Lordships) cannot be claimed or prescribed: the Limitations Act (1980) and the Land Registration Act (2002), and Case Law in 2009.

 

2.3: Treasury Solicitor (BV)

However, one institution can lay claim to Lordships and other property.  

It sometimes happens that there are no heirs to all sorts of property, including Lordships, or property is in a dissolved limited company or other defunct body.   In cases such as these, this property passes to the British Treasury, in the person of the Treasury Solicitor BV (BV stands for bona vacantia, literally ‘good vacancy’) when the British Treasury becomes the owner.   Since it was not the intention of Parliament to deny property to lost heirs or assigns, who may live at the other side of the world and be hard to locate, the Treasury does not normally seek to make sales of unclaimed property for 50 years, but maintains a friendly protective ownership in case an heir turns up within that period.   Thereafter, the Treasury comes to market with the property.   Lordships are no different, in this instance, from any other property and periodically Treasury (BV) Lordships come up for sale ‘on the instructions of the Crown.’

The conception of the Treasury Solicitor (BV) derives from an ancient word, ‘escheat.’   Escheat came into being in English from the French word ‘eschete’ from the verb ‘eschoir’ which itself originates from the Latin ‘escadere’ ‘to fall to the lot of So and So.’   Some members may find, in their conveyance, that they are said to have the right to escheat within their manor.   In fact, the private ownership of escheat was done away with in reforming legislation many years ago, and transferred to the Crown (ie the British State), which had always enjoyed the right of escheat where there was no heir, or a family had been forfeited and their property escheated.   That ‘escheat’ sometimes appears in conveyances of Lordships today is a legal solecism, usually included because it appears in earlier documents connected with the Lordship, and solicitors, quite rightly, add it to a modern conveyance because ‘you never know.’   There may be some loophole not yet tested in the Courts, unlikely to succeed as that must be.

Lordships, therefore, always belong to some one, and cannot legally be ‘claimed’ by third parties, which is what all the dubious websites assert.

 

2.4: ‘Resurrected’ Lordships

It is no surprise this year to find several new or re-constituted websites offering to restore, reclaim, even to resurrect, what are described as ‘lost’ or ‘discarded’ or ‘forgotten’ Lordships, and to offer them for sale to the unsuspecting.   We thought that only Jesus Christ was resurrected.

One site has set up a bogus ‘firm of solicitors’ and places advertisements in the London Gazette under this alleged firm.   Another uses a solicitor’s firm whose one-man partnership is under investigation by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, and the owner of the site is still trading under a formerly incorporated company (say, ABC Limited) that was struck off the Register by British Companies House on 27 December 2011.   So even if this site were actually possessed of the thousand or so manors it claims to own, its conveyances since 27 December last, under ABC Limited, are nul and void as the company has no legal existence.   It is likely that ABC Limited was dissolved on 27 December 2011 so that there was no legal entity that could be sued.   However, deception and fraud are not only criminal offences, they are also civil offences and the directors of such companies can be sued personally.

One site does not name its solicitors, but until recently stated that it was ‘working closely with our legal experts, our solicitor and a senior barrister...’   The senior barrister’s name was not mentioned, but his time so far at the Bar was, and also some of his work in the Courts, so he was easily identifiable to those, like members of the Society and colleagues in the Law, who do know him.   He had no knowledge of this and had never acted for the person behind this site; indeed, he had told this person, who approached him in 2011, that he was unable to assist him.   He complained to the owner of this site and all reference to the senior barrister has since disappeared from public view.   However, we understand that the manager of this site still speaks of this barrister in telephone conversations with potential purchasers as if the barrister were retained.

One site claims to be working for a large a well known charity.

Between them, these several sites purport to be offering some 4,000 Lordships.   That is a great number when there are only 13,418 Lordships in Domesday Book.  

At the time of writing, two of these sites are publicly quarrelling on the internet because each of them has several of the same Lordships for sale.   Since neither site is possessed of any Lordships at all, this is a bizarre state of affairs.   One site advises legitimate owners that (in paraphrase): ‘if we have put up your manor inadvertently for sale, let us know and we will withdraw it.’   One wonders what steps the manager of this site would take if he had already ‘sold’ the Lordship?

 

2.5: The London Gazette

The doubtful websites make much of the London Gazette as the place where the Honours’ List, Acts of Parliament, Statutory Instruments, and the like are published.   In fact, the London Gazette is an advertising medium and earns its living from publishing adverts.   There is almost no editorial in the paper at all.   A copy of such an ad by these dubious websites is intended to give a purchaser comfort, and we know that it works because some disappointed purchasers have told us that they thought the Lordship must have been genuine because it was printed in the London Gazette.

Newspapers, including the London Gazette, must take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves, under Consumer Protection legislation in the UK, that their advertisers are genuine.   The London Gazette cannot have satisfied themselves on this point, as they have published, inter alia, an alleged name of a firm of solicitors.   A phone call check to the Law Society of England and Wales would have established that one alleged firm of solicitors, placing an ad for these sites, had never existed, while another was the subject of an inquiry by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA).   Numerous solicitors over recent years have been disciplined by the SRA as a consequence of working for these and earlier sites.   A Law Society tribunal fined another £80,000, and struck him off.

One of these sites periodically put ads in the London Gazette under the name of a self-styled Viscount, which is a serious title of honour.   We feel sure that the London Gazette will have upto date copies of Who’s Who and Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage, in which this self-styled ‘viscount’ will not be found.   Getting it right is not rocket science.

What intending purchasers must bear in mind about these announcements in the London Gazette is that they are advertisements, and that little or no checks as to the bona fides of the advertisers seem to be made.

 

2.6: Internet site Solicitors

(See Importance of Solicitors at 1.2 above)  None of these dubious sites will entertain an intending purchaser who wishes to employ his or her own solicitor because the people behind them know only too well that even a solicitor unversed in this arcane area of property law would see the paperwork for what it is: make-believe.   Put this to the test, if you wish: get a verbal offer accepted, and then tell the site operator the name of the solicitors you will be using - whether you are using the firm or not.   They are likely to tell you that their solicitors are also protecting your interests and that this is cheaper.    But if you persist in wishing to engage your own solicitor, communication will suddenly dry up.

Perhaps the saddest part of all of this is that, at somewhere between £800 and about £4,000 - averaging about £2,000 - most of the purchasers are not in the financial league of paying the market price for a legitimate Lordship, so the sites and their solicitors, additionally, are taking advantage of people with not very much money.   We have had letters from one retiree, who lived in a council house (publicly-owned property) in Wrexham, who thought that he had bought two Lordships from one of these sites, as an investment for his children on his death.   A Norwegian, about five years ago, spent most of his savings, he wrote, on an English Lordship (about £6,000 at the time), on one of these sites.

 

2.7: Simple checks you can make

If you are interested in any of the offerings on a site, you can make some simple checks before you approach the person behind the site.

An intending purchaser could request a history of the Lordship in which he or she has expressed an interest.   The chances of getting this are low, first, because this is too much like work and, second, the site operator would hardly know where to find the information.   A legitimate agent would have a Catalogue in which the owners of the Lordships being offered are written up from the earliest times, and the current sellers named.

None of these sites produces a Catalogue, which is unsurprising since the work required in researching and writing up the ownership and devolution of some 4,000 manors would be enormous.

Well established agents are offering Lordships at prices that have been determined by the market over years at auction and at private treaty.   Since we calculate that the average selling price of titles by dubious sites is about £2,000, why are they not selling at the average market price of at least three times that amount?   The answer is easy; they are not selling a Lordship.   The cost to them is the confection of some 10 or 20 sheets of paper, kept of word processor, where the only changes are the name of the Lordship and the name of the alleged purchaser.

Land addresses given on the dubious sites are generally some kind of accommodation address, quite often at the local chamber of commerce, or similar.   One is a corrugated iron shed used as a store for small machinery.   The only time most of these website operators spend there is likely to be no more than collecting any postage that may have been delivered.   However, today you can use Google GPS in many cases to get a picture of an address, or you may live locally and can go to see it.   It could be revealing.

If there is no GPS or you live some distance from the presumed headquarters, ask for an appointment to meet them at HQ.   Do not be side-tracked into a meeting at a local hostelry.   One defunct site used to invite people to drinks in the Palm Court of the Ritz Hotel, London.   If they will not meet you at HQ, be suspicious.

In the unlikely event that you are invited somewhere clearly private, does it have a library in several rooms, full of books going back a couple of hundred years, in some cases, and printed in folio or quarto (ie very large and often valuable antiquarian books)?   Is there a secretary or other staff, a large photocopier, word processor terminals - all the things one would associate with an office?

You could ask one of these operators for a selection of press stories about the Lordships they are offering.   Legitimate agents will send press releases and Catalogues to the local press where they have Lordships for sale to spread the word.   The dubious operators have no Catalogue to send and do not welcome press inquiries.

Various sites offer membership of some kind of manorial club or guild, but there is no evidence of any such group ever holding meetings or one would expect to see pictures of a merry band of members with a VIP guest of honour.   One site printed a list of ‘patrons’ or VIPs, and when a number of these people complained, knowing nothing of their alleged involvement, their names were removed, but their initials left on the site so they are still identifiable.

One site manager claims to have a ‘leading’ barrister’s Opinion as to the legality of his endeavour, but claims that the barrister has told him that the Opinion is personal to him and may not be shown to interested third parties.   There are two salient points to bear in mind on Legal Opinions: first, the person giving instructions is seeking to understand that what he plans to do is lawful; second, when a third party asks to see this Opinion to satisfy him or herself as to the veracity of the offers being made on the site, that Opinion should be routinely sent.   That is what an Opinion is for.

 

2.8: Getting your money back

If you have already lost money to one of these sites, we can put you in touch with solicitors who have become most proficient at getting it back for you, plus your legal costs.

In many ways, the various internet sites work like Ponzi schemes, or pyramid sales.   So long as they are taking in more money than they are having to pay out, they will usually make a grudging refund.   What they do not want is a case in the County Court when their fraud will be publicly exposed, and when a judge might refer the matter to the police for further investigation.   When they run out of money, they pull up the shallow roots they have put down in one location and move to another.

 

2.9: How do they get away with it?

We are often asked why the Society does not report these matters to the police and the answer is simple.   The Society has not been defrauded and, therefore, has no locus in law.

The defrauded purchaser only has locus to report the situation and then the Society can support him or her.

We learn of these matters when innocent ‘purchasers’, having bought their ‘title’ from one of these sites, apply for membership of the Society and send in the farrago of the paperwork they have been given.   Many ‘purchasers’ have already told their family and friends and they want to believe, and would suffer embarrassment before family and friends if they admitted that they had been turned over.   Others just forget the matter as a bad experience because they think that engaging a legitimate solicitor will cost them money.   In fact, the rogue site will pay their costs, together with refunding their money, because these sites do not want the case to go to the County Court.

This attitude has changed somewhat, however, since the credit crunch and the continuing recession.   We are all less well off than we were with companies passing dividends, many banks being effectively nationalized, government bonds paying 1%, pensions being much lower, but inflation even by the lower rate of CPI being high.   Purchasers are now angry that they have also been parted from a couple of thousand pounds, and much more prepared to do something about it in these straitened times.   They can also do it outside the public gaze and very likely get their money back at no cost to themselves.

 

2.10:  I want to believe

We recently had correspondence with a man who thought that he had acquired a Devon Lordship that reflected his name as he was, he said, now the head of this eminent literary family.   He concluded his letter thus: ‘I therefore conclude...   that you are intent upon causing me distress, hurt, nuisance and mischief for which I am entitled to claim compensation from you...   It is...  for me to recommend that you consult with (sic) your solicitor on my allegation of your perpetrating a nuisance and a mischief.   Having done so, I expect to receive an appropriate withdrawal of your claim and an apology from you by... ‘   This is very sad.

In country areas especially, where many Lordships, like the one in Devon, are located, there is, in our experience, always a local historian, a keeper of the flame, who will quickly disabuse the pretended Lord of the Manor because they will know who the Lord of the Manor is.   Word of that sort very quickly spreads around the area, so if a pretended Lord is thinking that he might be invited to open the village fete, he had better think again.

 

2.11: What owners should do if their Lordship appears for sale

Several sites announce that in the event of a Lord of a Manor seeing his or her Lordship for sale, they should get in touch by sending their proof of ownership (ie conveyance and backing papers) and the title will be taken off the site.

In itself, such an announcement should cause all potential purchasers to be super cautious.   In fact, since some sites admit that they are ‘reclaiming’, ‘resurrecting’ titles, and if a site is willing to remove a mistaken Lordship, then what does this say of any of the purported research undertaken for the Lordships they are offering?

In fact, these enormous sites are selling Lordships to which they have no legal title, as we have already discussed.

But these sites are dishonest and if owners of Lordships send in their own paperwork, do not be surprised if this is subsequently used to create backing documentation to a later ‘sale’.   All the site owners need do is to make a forged conveyance from the legitimate owner to an intending purchaser.

We advise all owners not to send their documents, but instead to contact the Society.   Owners should remember that, irritating as it might be, any conveyance of their Lordship by a site is of no effect, but what such a ‘sale’ could do is to muddy the waters for an owner socially, or commercially, if the owner is in negotiations with some one else over manorial rights.

 

 

 

 

 

How 'Restored Titles' are advertised

We give below an advertisement, placed in the London Gazette, by Hatton Solicitors, on behalf of one of the dubious Internet sites, entitled 'Restored Lordship of the Manor Title(s)'. As we know, under the Limitations Act (1980) Lordships of the Manor, being incorporeal hereditaments, cannot be restored or reclaimed. Insofar as the place names can be identified in our comprehensive county files of manors, all belong to some one other than the dubious Internet site that sold them to the people mentioned below. Consequently, the people mentioned below are not Lords of the Manors mentioned, and it is unlikely that any of the alleged purchasers was represented by an independent solicitor, or these alleged sales would not have proceeded to completion.

The alleged sales, according to dates given in this following advertisement, took place between 8 December 2010 and 23 February 2011. Purchasers know what they paid, and can calculate the likely total sum collected by this Internet site, in return for the confection of photocopied or word processed modern papers, numbering some dozen sheets or so. We base this assertion on copies of papers supplied by this Internet site that have been sent to us by their 'purchaser' clients not mentioned below. In the space of about two months, therefore, in exchange for worthless papers, the nine alleged purchasers have parted, between them, with a five-figure sum in sterling.

The apparent proprietor of this Internet site recently sought the assistance of a national agent in the holding of an auction of some of this site's 'Restored Titles'. After an exchange of correspondence, this agent concluded their correspondence, on the proposed auction of 'Restored Titles', as follows: 'Sadly, all of this does not take us any further forward and without proof of ownership I have to decline your invitation to act.'

Restored Titles

Conclusion

Purchasers might think of the acquisition of a Lordship as the acquisition of a tiny piece of history when they become the latest in a chain of known owners going back many hundreds of years.   They may, as the Lord, be asked to take part in local events, such as opening the annual village fete.   It is not obligatory, but some Lords feel a sense of duty in accepting these kinds of invitations when they arrive, and might feel there is public validation of their local role.  The Lord of the Manor of Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, presides over the Court Leet (Manorial Court) every November.   The Lord and Lady of Kettleburgh, Suffolk, inaugurated a new peal of three bells in the Manorial Church.   The Lord and Lady of Moulton Bewsolas, Lincolnshire, open the village fete every summer.   The Lord of Wootton Bassett, Wilts, appoints the town crier.   There are other examples.   Such rights are traditional and purely honorific.

 

Publication of dubious conveyances &c

 

We are preparing space on our website to publish, over time, conveyances/assignments/dispositions/alleged research, alleged Statutory Declarations/Solicitors’ and alleged Solicitors letters by the dubious websites alluded to above.

 

We shall commence with the most recent alleged documentation, and publish these papers backwards, covering a period of about 15 years.

 

The first will be the ‘sale’ to Mr Derek Berry of Bermuda of the alleged Lordship of the Manor of Chaylesmore (sic) near Coventry, West Midlands, by Mr Graham Fothergill, who sometimes styles himself ‘Baron Graham Fothergill’ of Noble Titles, an unincorporated  company within the jurisdiction of England and Wales.   Noble Titles may be incorporated elsewhere, but documentation presented to us does not identify where.