Copyhold

It has been pointed out to me that in last week’s blog I inadvertently stripped Lord Foster of his nobility, demoting him to the mere ‘Sir Norman Foster’. The Baron of Thames Bank was, of course, raised to the peerage in 1999. However, for the rest of us, undeserving of such a title, never fear – you can always buy one. Becoming a Lord of the Manor can cost anywhere from a few hundred pounds to the £171,000 that Earl Spencer secured for Lordship of the Manor of Wimbledon in 1996. And, if you thought that feudalism was ended with the Law of Property Act 1922, think again. Whilst the freehold interests within most manors have long since been flogged to third parties, Lords and Ladies of the Manor still, in some cases, hold the rights to hunt, shoot, fish, hold fairs and markets and extract minerals. Whilst fracking presents new opportunities for Lords in Lancashire to extract not just gas but also payments, those familiar with falling Scottish rod prices might now see less incentive to becoming a Laird of Lanarkshire.