Lordship of Codiford Farleigh
Cornwall, England  

Manorial Lordships

The Origins of Manorial Lordships

Lordships of the Manor titles are arguably the oldest feudal titles in England and still in continuous use. In English society, the Lordship of the Manor is a Lordship originating in the feudal system of manorialism. In modern England and Wales it is recognised as a form of property.                                
Historically a Lord of the Manor might be a tenant-in-chief if he held a capital manor directly from the Crown; otherwise he was a mesne Lord if he did not hold directly from the Crown, yet had his own tenants.

But in fact their origins date back much earlier into Roman times, when the Roman Empire set up a tax system to fund the central Roman administration. It was remarkably simple and efficient. Instead of taxing people, land was taxed. Because there were so many landowners, one landowner was charged with collecting taxes from all his neighbours. These tax collectors possessed great power and became the first landlords, Latin "seignior". Their appointment was not linked to this title, but developed over time through custom. As English law recognised Common Law the titles were embedded into English Law.

The myth that titles were bestowed dates comes from the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. William the Conqueror did something unique for England that has never been repeated. He claimed all land as his own. He also never gave any of this land away, but simply granted ongoing leases to people to farm the land. Since these leases were called "seigniories" and were granted to the "seignior", many assume that this was the granting of the title as well as the actual lordship, land and land rights. However, this is not the case; it is merely a conveyance of rights that had existed for hundreds of years before the conquest. This is confirmed by the fact that the Domesday Books which record both the lords after the Conquest and the lords prior the conquest. Following the Norman conquest, land at the manorial level was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Many of these lords owned their lands by possessing them rather than recording them of any paperworks (deeds).

There are three distinct legal elements to a Manor:

  • the Lordship of the Manor or dignity - the title granted by the manor,
  • the manorial land - the manor and its land,
  • the Seignory (manorial rights) - the rights granted to the holder of the Manor.

To convey all three rights they had to be specifically listed in the deeds of transfer. A feudal Lordship title itself can be separated from the physical property just as any other right can. Under the laws of real property in the United Kingdom, manorial or feudal Lordships are known as ‘Estates in land’.  Titles became separate from the physical land in 1922 and officially a manorial or feudal Lordship title is “a property without body”.
They are in English common law as well as in English property law classified as incorporeal hereditaments and are therefore inheritable to the next generation.
Incorporeal means having no physical presence (not to see, touch or smell). Hereditament means inheritable, a Lordship title can be inherited to the next generation (meaning the right continues forever more).

The lawful holder of a Lordship has the legal right to style him or herself Lord or Lady of the Manor of X, Lord or Lady of X or Lord or Lady X. Historically the feudal Lord has carried with it a bundle of rights over land within the manor, even over land that was in the hands of tenants and common land. Lordship rights varied from Lord to Lord, some of these were included in the grant of the Lordship such as the right of corporal and capital punishment or the 'Right of Gallows' and 'Right of Stocks'. Another important grant of right would be to hold a market within the manor.
Other privileges have included the right to hunt wild animals on the wastes of the manor - common land - and the right to wild fish. The Lord could demand payment from people fishing in rivers and lakes within his manor - common land.

Manorial rights are part of English property law and refers to the law of acquisition, sharing and protection of valuable assets in England and Wales. As such they can be bought and sold as other properties. Therefore manorial Lordships can be rightful conveyed, transfered or sold to other parties. In addition, they are the only titles that can be legally purchased. Feudal titles like Lord of the Manor, feudal Baron or Earl are nonetheless historic artifacts and protected in the 1922 Law of Property Act.

Manorial Lordships & the new Legal Rights enshrined in English Custom Law

Manorial Lordship titles created by Custom Law last forever. For the most manorial titles there is no legal documentation to prove ownership, i.e. the required complete, correctly executed and consecutive deeds going back to the date of grant by the Crown or to all eternity (3 September 1189), whichever is earlier.
Potential owners may attempt to rely on historical records, i.e. Court Rolls or Statutory Declarations, but these are not a legally acceptable substitute for missing deeds as ownership cannot be proven in this way.
Where the deeds to the lordship have been lost, so ownership of the lordship granted by the Crown has been lost.
It is generally accepted that almost not a complete sets of deeds exists, so effectively there are no owners.

Since we have more sophisticated taxation system and the Crown is not interested in manorial Lordship title rights, the legal title rights remains unused.
In cases where there is no proof of ownership or historical records indicating possible ownership, UK's leading vendor of manorial lordship titles, Manorial Counsel Ltd., applies the law identified by their legal team to create a new legal right based on the original, restoring legal use and possession of the manorial title.
Under the new applied legal rights, created by Manorial Counsel, ownership is not based on the date of grant by the Crown, but refers to the English Common Law right that was merely the use of the title. Whereas the Crown confirmed the legal use by granting the manorial lordship, by creating a new right that confirms that the original grant by the Crown has been lost, this new rights legally bring it back into use.
According to what has been said here the Crown owns all the rights to a lordship title, in fact the Crown still owns all physical land that is ownerless. So should we be putting back into use, by any method, property that is owned by the Crown? There is very simple reasoning to justify what Manorial Counsel is doing. The Crown only exerts its ownership over physical land where it is worth their while. All other land is left unclaimed. So that this land is not a wasted resource to the country law exists whereby an individual can take possession and if they can prove they are using the land they can gain ownership after a period in time. Lordship titles are just not important enough to justify legislation and therefore would remain wasted.
Manorial Counsel believes they are an important part of English history and wants them to be used and valued to keep our history and heritage alive, holder of real manorial Lordships are custodians for future generations.

It is not possible to do this by any other method than by intellectual property. As with most legal scenarios it is not that simple to say a piece of intellectual property is created and the title is back in use. Manorial Counsel took advice from a leading London Senior Barrister who provided them with guidance how this could be done. A combination of research and a complex mathematical database used to assess the lack of proof of any legal ownership was the solution for the new legal rights.

Furthermore, an UK registered Solicitor (SRA) has confirmed that Manorial Counsel Ltd. has taken extensive legal advice from a Senior London Counsel (Barrister) to bring manorial lordships which have no owners back into legal use. The privileged and sophisticated process developed and used on this basis can not to be disclosed to the public due to plagiarism.

Manorial Counsel Ltd. market and sell Lordship and Barony titles with a legal right for use and proof of ownership, supported by several UK registered Solicitors (SRA). According to an approved legal process, Manorial Counsel has the right to bring dormant or unused manorial titles back in existence. The law which Manorial Counsel used to create the new rights to the Lordship and Barony titles has been thoroughly reviewed and approved by two Senior Barristers and five Solicitors!

Each title they sell will be confirmed by three different UK registered Solicitors (SRA - Solicitors Regulation Authority). As proof of authenticity of the titles, the conveyance documents include confirmations of rights from two UK registered Solicitors (Lawyers) and a 'Solicitor's Letter' from a third Solicitor.

In addition, the legal conveyance and ownership of titles will be officially announced and recorded in The Gazette (formally The London Gazette), the official public record of His Majesty's Government, which operates under strict Government and Crown approval.
The entire content of the publication is dedicated to necessary publishing of legal notices, events and announcements. That implies that there are some legal requirements for the notice placer to advertise a notice in The Gazette. As an official public record, notices can only be placed in The Gazette by registered and verified persons acting in an official capacity, who have the authority to create an official record of fact (e.g. UK registered Solicitors/Lawyers).