FOR SALE: Lordship of Reydon can be claimed by the highest bidder
PUBLISHED: 12:57 03 August 2012 | UPDATED: 10:24 04 August 2012
It was a title that guaranteed prestige and power across a swathe of East Anglia.
The Lord of Reydon presided over two churches, 14 villagers, 16 smallholders, 40 pigs, 110 sheep, 15 goats and 16 acres of what is now north-East Suffolk land, according to records from the 11th century.
But now people are being given a rare opportunity to claim this aristocratic title for themselves – albeit without many of its ancient privileges.
The Lordship of Reydon has been put up for sale to the highest bidder after its current owner Keith Rous – the sixth Earl of Stradbroke – decided to place it on the market.
The lordship is being offered for a starting bid of £6,250 by the Manorial Auctioneers of London and Strutt and Parker of Chelmsford.
Although securing the title would give the buyer no significant powers, the new lord would be given some land rights to excavate minerals – and possibly secure a few “VIP” invitations to community events.
A document provided by the Manorial Auctioneers of London states: “Think of the acquisition of a lordship as the acquisition of a tiny piece of history when you become the latest in a chain of known owners going back hundreds of years.
“You may, as a lord, be asked to take part in local events, such as opening the annual village fete.”
The first mention of the Lord of Reydon can be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. The overlord at that time was Ralph Baynard, Sheriff of Suffolk, who built Castle Baynard, near Blackfriars in London. Thored, possibly a man of Saxon descent, was believed to be his under-tenant at Reydon. By the beginning of the 13th century, the manor was in the possession of Sir Hugh de Cressy, before passing to the Munchesni family at the time of the Barons’ War, led by Simon de Montfort, the sixth Earl of Leicester, between 1265 and 1266.
William de Munchesni joined the baronial rebellion suppressed in 1266 by King Henry III at the Battle of Evesham where de Montfort was killed.
But it was not until the 15th century that the title passed to the Rous family when Francis Rous bought it from the daughter of Edmund, Lord Grey of Ruthyn.
At present, the current Lord of Reydon, Mr Rous – known as the Aussie Earl – lives in Australia, while his son Hektor Rous runs the Henham Park estate. The 3,500 acre estate near Southwold has been in the Rous family for nearly 500 years and is home to the Latitude Festival.
Meanwhile, the 17th century Grade-II listed Reydon Hall, believed to be built on the remains of the ancient manor house, was sold 12 months ago after being advertised for £2m.
Lordships of the manor are deemed the oldest land titles in England and pre-date the Norman Conquest by William I after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. In the 11th century, the lord of the manor was considered one of the most important people in the country and his duties included collecting taxes.
Anyone interested in bidding for the Lordship of Reydon should contact Manorial Auctioneers on 0207 582 1588, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.msgb.co.uk