If you’ve ever wanted to call yourself a ‘Lord’ or ‘Lady’ you could have the chance, for a mere starting price of £8,500.
The historic title of The Lordship of Spalding is up for sale by London-based Manorial Auctioneers - and anyone can buy it.
I’ve heard of people putting the title on their passport and getting bumped up a class on their flight.Robert Smith, of Manorial Auctioneers
Up until now, it was owned by the Marquess of Bristol Frederick Hervey, brother of media personality Lady Victoria Hervey and Lady Isabella Hervey.
He inherited it from the Carr family of Spalding after it was passed down through marriage.
Robert Smith, from Manorial Auctioneers, said: “The Marquess has decided it is time to sell it.
“Historically, having the title was the only way to hold land and property.
“It also meant you would be able to have the rights to mines and minerals on the land.
“There are places where being the lord of the manor today means that you could own subsoil on land, whereas the topsoil belongs to the farmer.
“For instance, in the case of the footings of wind turbines.
“In the north of the country and Cumbria there have been cases where a deal has been done with the local farmer as the subsoil belongs to the lord of the manor.
“So if you’ve got 20 or so wind turbines on a piece of land at just under £2,000 for each turbine that can be a lot of money.”
And there have been cases where title-holders have been able to cash in on money made by wind farms built on their estates.
But in the case of owning the title of ‘The Lord Manor of Spalding,’ Robert says it’s unlikely that will mean laying claim to any historical land as “most of it has buildings on it”.
However, he added: “I have heard of people using the title on their passports, and getting bumped up to a higher class on their flight.
“Buying the title is really for him, or her, who has everything!”
In historical documents explaining the background of the title, ‘The Lordship of Spalding’ is said to have been drawn up at the time of the Domesday survey of 1086.
This survey, famously known as the Domesday Book, was compiled by William the Conqueror as an inventory of principal landholders in his new Norman kingdom of England.
This was after he defeated the last Saxon king, Harold, at Hastings in 1066.
Background information from Manorial Auctioneers reads: ‘In the Middle Ages, the most important corporations in the area were the ‘Abbey of Croyland’ (Crowland Abbey) and the priory of Spalding.
‘This is because they were in charge of religion and that most people ‘believed and strove to do well enough in the eyes of the church to make it to heaven’.
It also says that the Romans almost certainly had a camp at Spalding when Britannia was part of their empire.
‘In the 1830s, workmen accidentally unearthed 40 graves of Anglo-Saxons and Danes in Bridge Street,’ the document reads.
‘Among the great men who visited Spalding was John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, third son of Edward III.
‘Apparently, Geoffrey Chaucer, the duke’s brother-in-law, sometimes travelled with Gaunt.
‘One wonders if these travels had any influence on Chaucer’s the Priest Tale, or one of the other Canterbury Tales?’
The auctioneers also point out that “a great event took place here or close-by in 1216 when King John, in an effort to get to Newark Priory, lost all the Crown Jewels in the River Welland.
“We were taught in our formative years that they were lost in the Wash.
“Only two solid gold objects survive - the Ampulla which contained the sacred chrism of the anointing oil of a monarch during the Coronation, and the gold spoon for applying the oil.
“Both are still used at coronations. The crown and all else was lost.”
Once the Domesday Book came into effect it was seen as being the last word on land ownership and is known at the National Archives as Public Record No 1.
In 2014, Manorial Auctioneers also announced the sale of the Lordship of the Manor of Whaplode Abbots, near Holbeach.
Robert said: “Whaplode sold to a Lincolnshire gentleman for £10,000 because it included six volumes of Court Books on parchment/vellum.”
He added that, with the exception of Bradford in Yorkshire, the Spalding title being sold at private treaty ‘is the second most populous manor they have ever sold.’
So, if you have a spare £8,500 or so lying around, you could be the next person to call yourself the Lordship of Spalding and put it on your passport.
○ Lordships of the manor are among the oldest titles in England.
Lords were once the most important person in village affairs - whether it was collecting taxes for the King or having the power to inflict death in the courts.
Manorial rights were retained by the lord of the manor when the land became freehold.
They can include rights relating to mines and minerals and those to hunt, shoot or fish.
The title today if bought, can be used on your passport, or bank cards.