Could you be next Lord of the Manor of Weston-super-Mare?
- Credit: Emily Eades
A rare opportunity to become Lord of the Manor of Weston is up for grabs.
Manorial Services, a company which specialises in selling Lordship of the Manor titles on behalf of their owners, is offering the Manor of Weston title at an asking price of £20,000.
Stephen Johnson, head of research at Manorial Services, says the interest in the title has 'been phenomenal' so far.
He told the Mercury: "It's not very often that a place like Weston comes, this is a very well-known area and a rare opportunity.
"We always encourage people to get involved in their local area and the more you get involved, the more you get out of the title.
"We have already had a torrent of interest so far which has been phenomenal."
Under the laws of real property in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Irish Republic, Lordships of the Manor are known as ‘estates in land’.
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Manors cover an immutable area of land and may include rights over and under that land, such as rights to exploit minerals under the soil, manorial waste, commons and greens.
The essence of a manorial lordship, other than the title itself, is its relationship to the land which falls within its geographical extent. Nowadays the majority of land will be freehold, there might be some areas which remain under manorial ownership, as well as a range of historic rights held by the manorial lord.
The title carries no privileges - local government and magistrates now undertake those responsibilities and there are no residual benefits accruing to this particular lordship. The title can be used on the holder's address, bank cards or passport.
It also has no ties to Jeffrey Archer, Baron Archer of Weston who has a lifetime peer in the House of Lords.
The Smyth-Pigott family were Lords of Weston from the 17th century and played a large part in developing the town as a seaside resort. The manor appears to have had just four familial owners in its 950-year history.
In 1470, the manor of Ashcombe was divided and Weston became its own manor, although it had been there since at least the 12th century, according to church records.
The manor was purchased by the Arthur family. They married into the Winter family in 1636 and so the manor transferred.
After the Winter family fell on financial hardship due to one member's gambling addiction, the manor was sold in 1695 to Col John Pigott. His illegitimate descendent - John Hugh Smyth, from the Ashton Court side of the family, married an illegitimate cousin Ann Provis, from the Brockley Court Pigott side of the family, and became the Smyth-Pigotts, who continued as lords of several manors including Weston until 1980.
The manorial residence in Weston was Grove House. But after the family moved out, it became a municipal building, which was unfortunately bombed in World War Two and little of the old house remains.
The current, private owner, purchased the title from them in the late 1980s.
Interest in the title must be registered before the end of the month, before the bidding begins.
To learn more about the position and express an interest, log on to www.manorialsociety.co.uk