Lord of manor renounces mineral rights


gold market

A lord of the manor has made peace with the local villagers after causing outrage by asserting his rights over their land.

Roy Hart, who bought the manorial title at auction 35 years ago, wrote to the residents of Rettendon, Essex, claiming fishing, shooting and mineral rights over their land. Following an outcry, though, he has promised to extinguish the rights.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "I'm not acting like a big ogre at all, and I will sign an affidavit to say that I won't touch people's properties."

Manorial rights are the ancient rights of the lord of the manor over land that later became freehold.

Mr Hart had written to the villagers under legal advice. Under Land Registry rules, every holder of a manorial title was required to register his or her interest by 13 October this year; otherwise, the rights would be extinguished with the next sale of the manorial property - in this case a house called Toad Hall.

"I didn't like the tone of the letter myself," he confessed, explaining that he'd wanted to make sure he didn't lose the small income from the rental of telegraph poles.

Mr Hart is not the only lord of the manor to have found himself unpopular for asserting his rights. Last week, a protest was held at the gates of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire over the Marquess of Salisbury's registration of rights in Welwyn Garden City.

Nottingham residents are also concerned by the claims of the Duke of Rutland, with some worried that the mineral rights could lead to drilling for natural gas. Even Prince Charles has caused alarm amongst Cornish residents by registering mineral rights on over 130,000 acres of land. The Crown has done the same for its 360,000 acres, and the Church of England for its 500,000.

Manorial Lordships can be bought through the Manorial Society of Great Britain; most cost around £10,000, and there's a list of available titles here. But be warned: "There is no value in owning mineral rights if there are no commercially exploitable minerals, such as granite or aggregate," says the society, "and purchasers should not expect a manorial Eldorado."

The house that hasn't changed in 50 years

The house that hasn't changed in 50 years

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