Lordships of Manors and Manorial Titles.
The Armorial Register Limited is aware that at the present time proving the validity of the ownership of a manor and its associated right to be known as “Lord of the Manor of” is fraught with difficulty. There are an ever growing number of businesses on the Internet only too willing to satisfy a seemingly endless consumer demand for “titles” and it seems that Manors and the right of their owners to be known as Lords have become the easiest target for less than scrupulous dealers. Our best advice is Caveat emptor "Let the buyer beware".
If what you are purchasing really is a genuine Manor (Lordship) then case law (Burton & Bamford v Walker & Others, Land Registry REF/2007/1124 (10 December 2010) requires that in order for it to be confirmed as a genuine Manor it will require the presence of all deeds, correctly made up since 1189. The Armorial Register Limited seriously doubts that there will be anything other than a very few Manors which will be able to satisfy this direction but the case does go on to say that in the absence of correct and complete sets of deeds there is a requirement for Court approval to confirm ownership. In our view, no one considering the purchase of a Manor should do so without the advice and guidance of their own solicitor. We simply can’t see how anyone could be truly satisfied that there is a true and proper conveyance of correct and complete sets of deeds without consulting a properly qualified conveyancer. If the matter has to be referred to a Court for approval and confirmation then you can expect a large legal bill. This is why truly genuine manors sell for large sums of money.
We believe that those who seek to sell so called Manors or “Use of the title "styled titled name or legend” (whatever that is!) or a resurrected Bygone title, or tries to tell you that you will have acquired the hereditary or incorporeal hereditary right to the Lordship/Ladyship bygone “title” (all of which are not genuine manors or lordships) will do all they can to assure you that it is not necessary to involve a solicitor. If they do, the alarm bells should be ringing. If you really want something, it is all too easy to talk yourself into the cheapest and easiest option – beware of doing so, you will regret it.
We could write pages and pages of advice and cite one after the other dubious trader but for the purpose of this small note we have chosen to restrict ourselves to just two instances:
Is it real?
If you are thinking of purchasing a Manor and the seller says that their “company's service is based on the fact that the English Legal system allows titles to be claimed and registered, if it can be proved that there are no living descendants or heirs to the title in question” we recommend that you check out the legal case of Burton & Bamford v Walker & Others, Land Registry REF/2007/1124 (10 December 2010) which confirmed that adverse possession, prescription, loss of modern grant, or proprietary estoppel do NOT enable ownership of a Lordship of the Manor title. Confirmed ownership requires the presence of all deeds, correctly made up since 1189. The absence of correct and complete sets of deeds requires Court approval to confirm ownership.
The assertion that a title (or more properly a manor since one can not call oneself a Lord of a manor unless one owns a manor) can be “claimed and registered” if it can be proved that there are no living descendants or heirs to the title in question implies that a “title” can be obtained by adverse possession. Case law (Burton & Bamford v Walker & Others) is now quite clear that this can not happen in law. It should also be born in mind that when the last known owner of a manor died they would either have left a will, in which case the manor will be owned by one or more descendants (whether they are aware of it or not) or if there is no will then the estate would have been dealt with under the intestacy rules which again means that the manor will be owned by someone (whether they know it or not) or, if there were no heirs, the estate would have reverted to the Crown which in effect means that the manor no longer exists.
The Company using the above phrase trades as Heritage Titles Limited and we have seen a conveyance between a purchaser and Heritage Titles Limited which is dated 17th October 2008. A check of the records of Companies House shows that there is no such company as Heritage Titles Limited presently existing or existing at the time of the conveyance. The records show that Heritage Titles Limited (company number 03632577) was formed 16/09/1998 and dissolved (struck off) 15/02/2000 having never filed any accounts.
We have advised the “purchaser” to seek legal advice.
Another company states “We Sell Genuine Bygone English Lordship Titles and Titles of Nobility and Feudal Titles of France, Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland and Italy.” Note here the word Bygone. The dictionary definition of bygone is - Adjective: Belonging to an earlier time. Noun: A thing dating from an earlier time. Synonyms -adjective. past - last - former - departed - overpast – ancient. noun. Past.
In other words, it may have been “genuine” once but it is something from the past which no longer exists! We fail to see how anyone can buy something which is former and once existed but is now departed.
The Armorial Register Limited will not include these so called titles in their Registers.
Our best advice is Caveat emptor "Let the buyer beware".
Law and Recent Court Cases relevant to Manorial Law>
Scottish Feudal Baronies
The Armorial Register Ltd. will accept proof of ownership of a baronial dignity from The Lord Lyon or upon proof of registration of the dignity in the Scottish Barony Register.
English and Irish Feudal Baronies
The Armorial Register Ltd. declines to register English and Irish Feudal Baronies. In regard to English Feudal baronies, whilst there has been at least one legal opinion which asserts the continuing legal existence of the feudal barony in England and Wales, namely that from 1996 of A W & C Barsby, Barristers of Grays's Inn, this opinion does not have widespread support and is not considered to be a suitably reliable authority.
In regard to Irish Feudal baronies, most originally-feudal titular baronies have long disappeared through obsolescence or disuse. At present a Bill for proposed legislation is before the Oireachtas which proposes to abolish the concept of the feudal system of land tenure in the Republic of Ireland.
Follow this link for more information on how to register >