Occasionally Strutt and Parker, the International Property Consultants, hold Auctions of what they refer to as ‘Feudal Lordships by Tenure’. There have two in the recent years, the first was on Wednesday 23rd of October 2002 and the second on Wednesday 26th of November 2003, but there were several in previous years.
Unfortunately these sales have been infiltrated by various sellers of extremely dodgy titles. For instance, Antony Boada Cartaya of British Feudal Investments used earlier auctions as an opportunity to offload some of his worthless titles, and I believe was even behind the Barony of Barnstaple (see below) though Strutt & Parker denied it.
Before the first sale, I tried to alert Stephen Hawes of Strutt & Parker to what had been going on, but he was not prepared to comment, so I warned him: “I assume therefore that you will not mind me mentioning on the Fake Titles website the fact that Strutt and Parker sold a title in the sale for a lot of money, despite having been warned in advance by an eminent authority in the field that it was completely bogus?”
However, once again they had been fooled into accepting for that sale some ‘titles’ that were of dubious provenance, and I will let Robert Smith of the Manorial Society take up the tale.
“Lady Chichester rang The Manorial Society out of the blue on Monday the 23rd of September. She had been somewhat surprised to learn that the family's (Feudal) Barony of Barnstaple - Lot 41 - is up for sale next month, apparently, not on their instructions.
The Chichesters (the Baronets, not the Earls) have owned Barnstaple and numerous Devon manorial lordships for generations. She told Robert Smith that the family had sent the manorial documents for Barnstaple, together with many others to do with their lordships of the manor, to the County Record Office in Exeter some years ago. She could not recall when.
Her husband, Sir John, is 86 and I could hear her referring questions to him while we spoke. One of these was whether they had sold Barnstaple to a merchant bank in 1983. On this she was emphatic that they had not.
She asked me to write to her son, James, who lives in one of the Exbury houses belonging to Lord Rothschild. He now looks after these interests and also works for Sotheby's, so understands provenance.
As you know, I wrote to Strutt & Parker about the Irish lordships, the Lordship of the Manor of Monkstown - Lot 5 - and the Lordship and Territorial Barony of Barnahely - Lot 25 - both purportedly sold by Lord Shannon, pointing out that, besides being a friend of some 15 years, I had acted throughout for him in the sales of manors in Co Cork, that these had never been sold, and that Lord Shannon would confirm this if necessary. I am waiting for a reply to that letter.
Meanwhile, I spoke to Viscount Boyle (Harry) who was as amazed as his father. Harry prepared all the research on the Castle Martyr and Bandon estates some years ago, and he spoke to Stephen Hawes at Strutt & Parker. I understand that instructions for these sales came from Savills, but not surprisingly Mr Hawes couldn't talk in detail about clients. Harry, as of yesterday, was going to write to Strutt & Parker.”
Results of the Sale:
Five lots, including the Barony of Barnstaple - 4, 8, 15, 28 and 41 - were withdrawn before the sale, half the other lots did not reach their reserve, and strangely there were no successful bid for Lots 5 & 25.
The Second Sale in November 2003:
Sadly, though warned in advance, once again Strutt & Parker refused to listen to my helpful advice. The Manorial Lordship of Monkstown was put up for sale again.
As Monkstown actually belongs to Viscount de Vesci, I have now put him in touch with Strutt & Parker; regrettably they seem to pay as little attention to him as they do to me, though the family documents clearly show him to be the owner.