Manorial Services is offering four Lordship of the Manor titles for sale in Sussex.
The ancient manors of Swanborough, Blackham, Broome and Heathfield are being offered on behalf of a private vendor.
The four manors previously belonged to the Earls De La Warr, a family who had a great estate in Sussex and very close links to the county.
The Sussex manors have had several famous owners – Thomas Cromwell was Lord of Swanborough for a time and Heathfield was held by Lord Buckhurst, lover of Nell Gwynn before Charles II.
Offers are sought in the region of £8,000 for each title.
They can be purchased by men or women – and women are able to choose between being lord or lady of the manor.
Couples can add titles to both of their names.
Unlike peerages, the lordship of the manor title comes after your name – you would become, for example, Mr Smith, Lord of Blackham.
The title can be added to passports and any other documentation, such as bankcards.
They can also be passed on to heirs.
The Lordship of the manor title is a property – in legal terms it is known as a ‘incorporeal hereditament’, which is a property without physical being.
Historically, manors were tied to a particular physical place, but a law introduced in the 1920’s severed the link between the title and land.
Purchasing a title nowadays does not involve the transfer of land, and buyers do not need to have any link to the area.
The Manor of Swanborough is found in the parish of Iford, near Lewes in East Sussex and Swanborough Manor House still stands today.
Meanwhile the Manor of Broome lies on the Sussex/Kent border, a few miles from East Grinstead. The present day Anchor Inn was the manor house for Broome.
The Manor of Heathfield is found in Healthfield, near Uckfield, while the Manor of Blackham and village of Blackham lie in the parish of Withyham near Royal Tunbridge Wells.
So why would someone wish to become Lord of the manor?
Stephen Johnson MA, Head of Research at Manorial Services, said there were a number reasons, one of which was undoubtedly ‘vanity’. “To pretend otherwise would be naive,” he said.
“Some people buy them as a kind of reward to themselves. Some people buy them because they have everything and it appeals to them.
“Quite a lot of people buy them as presents for someone.”
Many buyers have a real interest in English history, and Mr Johnson said there were a lot of foreign buyers who were ‘real Anglophiles’.
Manors first originated in the tenth and eleventh century as estates held by noblemen and their retainers.
They formed a central part of the English agricultural system in the medieval period.
William the Conqueror’s Great Survey of England, enacted in 1086, is entirely divided into manors.
They continued to form the bedrock of the English agricultural system right up to the Tudor period.
“To me, they are the ultimate antique,” Mr Johnson said.
“These titles have existed for near of a thousand of years.
“In a lot of cases, you can trace them back to the Normans or even further.
“They are a real part of English history, they are pretty unique. Nowhere in the world has anything else like this.”
To find out more, visit the Manorial Services website here.