Parliament’s justice committee has announced it intends to launch an inquiry into the ancient rights of Lords of the Manor as part of investigations in response to a number of letters received in recent months by the Government relating to lords of manor formally asserting their rights.
The title of Lord of the Manor is one of the only titles that can be legally bought and sold in the United Kingdom and the only one which can in England. These historic titles formerly signified the ownership of a manor in England though since 1926 have been separate from the land.
In 2002, a law was passed which required the vestigial rights that come with the titles to be registered with the Land Registry by October 2013 to avoid these rights being lost.
Ancient rights enjoyed by lords of the manor can range from rights to hold fairs and markets in their manor to the right to fish or the right to mines and minerals in the area.
Recent controversy over some Lords of the Manor has been from some who have chosen to assert their rights with some claiming rights to minerals under people’s homes in the most extreme cases. According to the parliamentary committee’s announcement, they have received a large number of ‘representations’ on the matter which has led to the inquiry they are launching.
The inquiry has appealed for people to submit written evidence to the committee ahead of its launch after 5th September (the final date for submissions).
At the moment the inquiry is just a probing one looking into the viability of changing the status of these formerly protected manorial rights.
Lordships of the Manor are freely bought and sold and many can be acquired for just a few thousands pounds from specialist organisations or from auctioneers. Recently, it was announced the Lordship of the Manor of Wales – formerly held by the family of a Duke – was to be put up for auction in Newport at the end of the month.
The title of Lords of the Manor can be put as an observation on one’s passport, though despite its appearance, it is not actually a title of nobility and doesn’t allow the holder to prefix Lord to their name. The correct form for a lord of the manor is simply “Name, Lord of the Manor of X”.