A Lord today reassured residents he is “not after their land and property” after letters sent out by the Government sparked huge upset.
Hundreds of people in Kirkham received letters last month claiming John Sergeant, who holds the title Lord of the Manor of Kirkham, was making a claim to preserve his ‘manorial rights’.
Ancient manorial rights include things such as the right to mines and minerals under land, which he claims as his.
The letters left many people frightened and confused, but Mr Sergeant has today moved to clear up the situation – after claiming he has been threatened with violence over the letters.
Mr Sergeant, 85, who has offices in South West London, said: “I sincerely regret that this matter has caused many people within the 850 acres of the Manor of Kirkham worry, upset and hurt in any form.
“I’ve been trying to let people know that I’m not after their land and property. I’ve had people ringing me up telling me they are coming to London to beat me up.
“One man in Kirkham threatened to beat me up with a shovel.
“I’ve had about 30 phone calls and about 50 individual letters and more from the Land Registry.”
Mr Sergeant claims the letters were sent out by the Land Registry and verified his Royal Charter Rights and Privileges.
The depth of the land which Mr Sergeant can lay claim to under his title is ‘two spits’ (the length of two spades). Below that, the land belongs to the Crown.
Mr Sergeant also denied he was registering the land in case of any future financial benefit that could be made should shale gas drilling, known as fracking, under the town be given the go-ahead.
He added: “I did not create or send out these letters from the Land Registry. In truth, the present Government created an Act in 2002.
“If any Lord of a Manor did not register their Manorial Rights by October 2013, Manor Rights would ‘probably’ be lost forever. I registered my Manor of Kirkham and my Royal Charter with the Land Registry, as instructed.
“I am simply defending my Royal Charter Market and Fair Traders and my land in Kirkham. I am against fracking and I have no desire to take away from any person their legal and lawful owned house or land.”
A spokesman for the Land Registry has previously said: “The broad issue about why someone might register these rights is a decision for the person who makes that application.”