What is a Lordship

Bearing in mind lords have not been responsible for tax collection for many years.  All that is left is an honour role with no responsibility to collect tax, an empty shell. 

Confusion comes where people believe that the lordship represents a set of rights over the land within the bounds of the old manor.  In addition to this we have the added complication of the lordship titles, Lord and Lady of the Manor.  During the last thousand years the lordship has been conveyed through death, conveyance or grant and on probably the majority of occasions with other rights relating to the manor.  Whilst it may have been common to do this legally, for the majority of this time they had to be specifically listed to convey them.  So a sale of a manor in the 17th century would have had to have the following detail in the conveyance to convey all the possible parts.  These would be, “the manor in demesne (the part of the manor lived in by the lord), land as defined by map or description (maps were only just being introduced for manors at this time), the lordship, all manorial waste, and all rights and privileges over the land contained within the manor”.  Needless to say not all of this was always listed so we may never know today what the intention in each conveyance was.

Before finishing we must clarify how the confusion has probably occurred over the rights and titles that have accompanied the lordships.  The actual lordships themselves as we have explained have existed for hundreds if not thousands of years.  The right and titles are younger, but how old they are would differ for each lordship.  These rights were not created through an appointment of a tax collector, they have been created through custom and then custom law.  The “tax collector” had huge influence in his area as he was the voice with the governors of Britain.  It was not long before the lesser residents of the estate started calling the “tax collector” lord.  So the titles of lord and lady are a custom law creation and not as some would believe granted by the Crown.  The same goes for other rights such as mineral or rights of way.  These developed over many years as something that happened and because they had been in existence for so long they became legal rights protected by English law.

We hope this has broken a few myths and if contemplating purchasing an original lordship please be sure of what it is you are actually buying.  The old adage of, “let the buyer beware!”