CAVEAT EMPTOR



"Buy a Noble Title and Become a Lord"

(continued)

The Vendors

Who are these companies selling trademarks as titles of honour and dignity?

It seems to be some sort of franchise operation. First, there is Manor Titles Ltd (parenthetically "Heritage Researchers"), which uses the "Landed Gentry Titles Heritage Researchers" graphic on the right as its chief emblem. This may be, in view of the parenthetical claim to research, the organisation that seeks out the ancient and extinct manors. This company may be also the originator of the promotional material the two other identified companies use, material which, in common with the lawyer's letters ostensibly supporting the legality of the business, has great difficulty with the correct use of apostrophes and in places is barely literate.

Second is Noble Titles, seemingly unlimited, whose emblem is reproduced here top right.

Noble Titles logo
Landed Gentry Titles logo
Third there is English Manor Titles Ltd which has an extremely interesting website whose home page is decorated at its head with this picture of Letters Patent recording a grant of ensigns armorial.
Letters Patent

Our readers are invited to guess what impression this is supposed to give to potential "lords of the manor" ~ WOW! I want some of that! ??? Well, perhaps.

Actually, its impact in this office was quite impressive, for the arms were recognised immediately as those granted to Edward Harold Cole by Garter King of Arms in 1957, and it was found impossible to believe that either he or his descendants would have consented to their use in this manner.

Royal Achievement cropped
Further down the page are more arms, easier for most readers to recognise. These have been carelessly cropped from the Royal Achievement, and they are the arms of the Queen. The gorge of the royal helm is included, plus a couple of legs from the lion and unicorn supporters, and the garter is mutilated. It is an abomination. In earlier days the culprit responsible would have had his facial features cropped just as severely.

Much is made in the promotional material of the one-year membership of the "Landed Gentry Society" saving the £450 joining and the first year's £300 membership fees. So the new "lords" may claim that, yes, they do belong to the "Landed Gentry", and thereby pretend to belong to the great untitled aristocracy of the United Kingdom.

The privileges attending membership of this society include visiting the tennis at Wimbledon and the regatta at Henley, horse trials at Badminton and sailing at Cowes, opera at Glyndebourne and the antique fair at Newark (and one of the promotional pages actually includes the royal garden parties at Buckingham Palace).

Landed Gentry Society badge
When Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arms, first listed the Landed Gentry of the British Isles, he made his cut-off the possession of 20,000 acres. As the effects of punitive taxation became more obvious, subsequent editors of Burke's Landed Gentry progressively amended the criterion to the point where ancient and interesting lineage was sufficient and acreage alone, owing to the post-war arrival in the countryside of rootless but rich war profiteers, did not qualify. Some of these new "manorial lords" are going to be acutely embarrassed when challenged about their status (especially if at Buckingham Palace).



The Pay-Off

So what are the punters buying?

1. ~ They buy the intellectual rights to a verbal description (itemised as "a styled titled name and legend") that include the trademark registration of the form of words and the copyright in what is written by the vendors about the manor whose name has been appropriated. They do not buy a personal title of dignity. They do not become lords. They will not be noble. They have no connection with the manor whose ancient name they use.

2. ~ They receive the following "documents & Seals":

a. ~ "A 'Deed of Title' on hand-made papyrus (decorated with wax seals)"

b. ~ "A 'Title Deed of Assignment' on hand-made papyrus (decorated with wax seals)"

c. ~ "A Deed of Ownership on hand-made papyrus (decorated with wax seals) FRAMED"

d. ~ "A Deed of Certificate on hand-made papyrus decorated with your Family Seal of Honour, and Latin Motto (if found), (decorated with wax seals) FRAMED"

e. ~ "A Domesday Map 1086 A.D. showing the Manor (decorated with wax seals) FRAMED"

f. ~ "A Solicitor's Legal 'Deed of Title' & 'Deed of Assignment'"

All the "papyrus documents" are treated to give them "an aged antique effect."

"Display documents on hand made Egyptian papyrus (aged to make them look hundreds of years old) are provided to adorn the walls of your castle / home."

"Bestowed membership to the Landed Gentry Society of Great Britain" includes "Gold credit card style membership card".

Invitations to "Wimbledon, Ascot, Henley Regatta, Grand National, Derby, British Grand Prix, Hickstead, Polo, Badminton Horse Trials, The Boat Race, Golf (British Open), Garden Party, Opera, Cowes, Newark Antique's Fair" will be arranged and "Members are permitted to invite their honoured guests to all the society's events". (With the exception of the royal garden parties, all these events are open to the general public.)

In conclusion ~

When one of our researchers insisted that the purchase of the trademark would not qualify its new owner to style himself "lord", he was reminded that in English law a man could call himself what he wished.

Well, up to a point! (But indeed, if this is so, why should he pay money for a "title"?)

A man may call himself "Bill Gates" if he wishes, but he does not thereby acquire the right to drive a Microsoft car, to enjoy the conjugal favours of Mrs Gates, or to access the Gates banking accounts. Moreover, he continually risks exposure and embarrassment.

FOOTNOTE ~

"......your Family Seal of Honour, and Latin Motto (if found)......" Don't ask! We have no idea.




Caveat Emptor ~ Part One
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