Posted in Febraury 2014….

You may have stumbled across two articles written by Lord Toby Walne if you have been looking to buy a Title.  You may like to read our thoughts where we seek to clarify a number of issues….

Before we look at the article itself I would point out that the writer mentions that he received.. ‘a random email from elite titles‘.. which, I would make clear, is simply not true as we send out emails only in reply to a client’s enquiry and at their request, and above all, never unsolicited.

The article, and the follow-up piece, are both written with little, if any, understanding of the subject matter under discussion and so it is not surprising they are totally inaccurate and totally misleading.

In the opening to the first article for example, the writer describes himself as Lord Toby Walne – thus proving that our titles are legal and can be used openly for I‘m sure Lord Walne would not be a party to any illegal act.

Thank you Lord Walne for your verification.

This point not withstanding, Lord Walne then goes on to say that… ‘The sales literature promised the title IS legal and could be added to my passport, driving licence, bank account and credit cards’.   I am left wondering as to why the writer chose to put the word ‘IS’ in upper case lettering – other than to suggest perhaps, that the title is somehow not legal after all.  However, other than this anomaly (or simple typo perhaps?) all else, within the sentence, remains true and accurate.

After saying some rather disparaging things as to the quality of the certificate and legal paperwork supplied – comments I thought unworthy of the writer and rather churlish – Lord Walne then goes on to ask if ‘….the paperwork supplied means anything at all? Before answering his own question by adding… ‘Apparently not’.

But, and to be clear, it is this legal paperwork that enables the purchaser of the title to change all of the legal documents (passport etc) as mentioned above and so clearly, the paperwork does indeed, have ‘meaning‘.  Moreover, and in any event, a legal document, such as a Last Will and Testament for example, is no less valid should it be written on a cigarette packet.

As to the title certificate: we are quite proud as to the quality of the certificate we supply and it is not uncommon for clients to have them framed and displayed in a prominent position and indeed – Lord Walne notwithstanding – we have never received a single complaint as to the quality of our certificates.

In view of his obvious ignorance and perhaps feeling the need for clarification and guidance Lord Walne then seeks the advice of Mr Robert Smith of the Manorial Society – mistakenly believing perhaps, that Mr Smith is some sort of legal authority on the subject of titles.   However, and in so doing, all Lord Walne achieves is to confirm his total lack of knowledge on the subject for, and in truth, Mr Smith is but one of our competitors and is actively engaged in selling titles – albeit for somewhat more than the £195 charged by us.

Indeed, Lord Walne himself proudly tells us that one of Mr Smith’s titles sold for an eye watering £171,000.

As for the £25 solicitor’s fee mentioned in Lord Walne’s article I would tell you that, before setting-up our title service, many years ago, we instructed a firm of solicitors to investigate, both the legitimacy behind the concept of changing a client‘s title, as well as the practical means by which this might be achieved.   Despite being a very well respected and highly thought of firm of solicitors we discovered that they had very little knowledge of personal titles, this being such a very specialist area of the law.  Therefore, and before they could answer our questions, they had to engage in considerable research, research which, I can tell you, cost considerably more than £25.

If a person did instruct a solicitor to change their title and given that their solicitor would also have to conduct research beforehand, then it is most unlikely that that solicitor’s fee would be less than the £195 we charge.

Here is what Lord Bradford, the well known Peer and entrepreneur, has to say about Mr Smith and his title selling company the Manorial Society:

‘The Manorial Society was founded in 1906, and its original aims were to look after the interests of the ‘Lords of the Manor’. However, its main purpose nowadays, since being taken over by Mr Robert Smith about twenty five years ago, is actually to sell Lordships of the Manor through their sister Company, Manorial Auctioneers.

However, if you are considering the purchase of a manorial lordship through them I would urge caution on you, as the whole area of Manorial Lordships is a complete minefield, with too many grey areas rather than straightforward black and white.

In particular I feel Mr Smith of The Manorial Society sometimes relies too heavily on the use of a Statutory Declaration to ‘prove’ the ownership of a Manorial Lordship in the absence of existing documentary evidence, and indeed, court cases, in which he has been involved, have proved that the use of statutory declarations to prove ownership in this way is far from satisfactory or reliable’.

Whilst Lord Bradford is not exactly calling Mr Smith a crook this is hardly a ringing endorsement of either him or his title selling company, the Manorial Society.

Given that Lord Walne felt the need to conduct some sort of exposé then perhaps he would have been better employed using his obvious talents and knowledge of titles in investigating Mr Smith rather than us. Indeed, perhaps Lord Walne should be seeking advice from us, on Mr Smith’s business affairs, rather than the other way around for whilst Mr Smith has been taken to court – and lost – for his title selling activities, we have not.   Should Lord Walne decide to launch such an investigation then we would be happy to furnish him with details of Mr Smith’s court activities.

For further guidance Lord Walne then seeks the advice of Mr Charles Kidd, editor of Debrett’s Peerage, who said that a title from us would not be shown in their publication.  Debrett‘s however, is, yet again, but a private commercial company and has no authority in law and therefore Mr Kidd can but express an opinion – an opinion which would clearly favour his own company and so must be viewed in that light.  It would appear that not only is Lord Walne ignorant of the facts but so too is Mr Kidd for he states that the.. ‘lordship [title] purchased cannot be used on any legal documents’. Wrong Mr Kidd, wrong, wrong and thrice wrong.

Methinks Lord Walne would be better advised to seek council from someone who knows, a little at least, about what they are talking about.

The article then goes into some detail on the subject of titles of Peerage – details of which, he presumable gleamed from Wikipedia – and Manorial Lordships – details presumably related to him by his new-found friend Mr Robert Smith.  I remain unclear however, as to why Lord Walne saw fit to include these sections as we do not sell, and have never purported to sell, either titles of Peerage or Manorial Lordships.

It is worth noting that whilst both a title from us and a manorial title from Manorial Auctioneers are similar in some areas they differ greatly in others.

Similarities: Both are legal and neither comes with any rights to property (although an Elite SEATED Title does).

Differences: With a title from us (Lord for example) the purchaser (Mr John Smith) can legally call himself Lord John Smith – a title and name that can be used in everyday situations and included upon all legal documents – including Her Majesty’s Land Registry.  However, given that our Mr John Smith were to purchase the Manorial Lordship of Blackarce from Manorial Auctioneers then he could not call himself Lord Smith of Blackacre but rather Mr John Smith, Lord of the Manor of Blackacre – a title that could not be used on legal documents nor registered with HM Land Registry. (Due to the difficulty in establishing provenance or indeed ownership of Manorial Lordships, and following the Land Registry Act 2001, the Land Registry will no longer register this type of title.)

I can only imagine he included these pieces as a ‘filler’ to the article itself and perhaps to give the reader the impression that he actually had some idea about the subject upon which he was writing.

In the follow-up article Lord Walne describes how having a title offers no advantage to the holder thereof and how he received no better or special treatment when using his title. This being so, then Lord Walne, whilst seeming to endorse Mr Smith’s business activities, might try asking Mr Smith what advantages purchasing a title from him for £171,000 has over purchasing a title from us for £195 – what difference does £170,805 make?

Whilst Lord Walne is in the questioning mode he might also ask Mr Kidd of Debrett’s if the proud owner of this newly acquired, and ridiculously expensive title, will be listed in their tome – I have no doubt the answer will be a resounding ‘no’.   This being so, I am left wondering as to why Lord Walne questions a title sold by us for less than £200 but finds it perfectly acceptable for Mr Smith to sell a title for all but £200,000 – a title that, despite its exorbitant price tag, offers no more to the purchaser than does a title from us.  Moreover, and in any event, Lord Walne’s conclusions – viz. that a title offers no social advantage to the user – represents nothing less than a scathing condemnation and attack upon the British Honours system itself.  Perhaps Lord Walne should mention to Her Majesty the Queen that she is wasting her time in awarding honours to deserving members of society as it gives them no social advantage whatsoever.

Humbug Lord Walne, humbug, humbug, humbug.

The proof of the pudding, it is said, is in the eating and despite what Lord Walne may say in his ill-informed ramblings, the fact remains that we have been offering our title service since 1998 and in all that time, we have had not a single dissatisfied client – once again, Lord Walne notwithstanding.   Have you read some of our clients’ comments here?

How many companies can boast of such an achievement?

Read what nonsense Lord Walne has to say by all means – and then make up your own mind.

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