Duchy of Lancaster

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Duchy of Lancaster
Flag of the Duchy of Lancaster.svg Coat of Arms of Duchy of Lancaster.svg
Creation date6 March 1351
Monarch Edward III
First holder Henry of Grosmont
Present holder Elizabeth II
Heir apparent Charles, Prince of Wales

The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate of the British sovereign as Duke of Lancaster. [1] [2] The principal purpose of the estate is to provide a source of independent income to the sovereign. [2] [3] The estate consists of a portfolio of lands, properties and assets held in trust for the sovereign and is administered separately from the Crown Estate. [3] The duchy consists of 18,433 ha (45,550 acres) of land holdings (including rural estates and farmland), urban developments, historic buildings and some commercial properties across England and Wales, particularly in Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Savoy Estate in London. [4] The Duchy of Lancaster is one of two royal duchies: the other is the Duchy of Cornwall, which provides income to the Duke of Cornwall, which is traditionally held by the Prince of Wales.

Contents

In the financial year ending 31 March 2018, the estate was valued at about £534 million. [5] The net income of the Duchy is paid to the reigning sovereign as Duke of Lancaster: [2] it amounts to about £20 million per year. [5] As the Duchy is an inalienable asset of the Crown held in trust for future sovereigns, the sovereign is not entitled to the portfolio's capital or capital profits. [2] [6] The Duchy of Lancaster is not subject to tax, [7] although the Sovereign has voluntarily paid both income and capital gains tax since 1993. [8] As such, the income received by the Privy Purse, of which income from the Duchy forms a significant part, is taxed once official expenditures have been deducted. [7]

The Duchy is administered on behalf of the sovereign by the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a government minister appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the prime minister, and by the clerk of the Council. [9] Day-to-day management of the estate's properties and investments is delegated to officers of the Duchy Council, [2] [7] while the Chancellor is answerable to Parliament for the effective running of the estate. [10] [11] [12] [13]

Lancashire County Palatine shown within England; this map does not correspond to the landholdings of the Duchy of Lancaster, however EnglandLancashireTrad.png
Lancashire County Palatine shown within England; this map does not correspond to the landholdings of the Duchy of Lancaster, however

The Duchy exercises some powers and ceremonial duties of the Crown in the historic county of Lancashire, [14] which includes the current Lancashire ceremonial county, Greater Manchester and Merseyside as well as the Furness area of Cumbria. Since the Local Government Act 1972, The Queen in Right of the Duchy appoints the High Sheriffs and Lords Lieutenant in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire. [15]

History

As the Lancaster inheritance, the estate dates to 1265, when Henry III granted his younger son, Edmund Crouchback, lands forfeited by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester.[ citation needed ] In 1266, the estates of Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby, [16] another protagonist in the Second Barons' War, were added. In 1267 the estate was granted as the County, Honour and Castle of Lancaster. In 1284 Edmund was given the Manor of Savoy by his mother, Eleanor of Provence, the niece of the original grantee, Peter II, Count of Savoy. Edward III raised Lancashire into a county palatine in 1351,[ citation needed ] and the holder, Henry of Grosmont, Edmund's grandson, was created Duke of Lancaster.[ citation needed ] After his death a charter of 1362 conferred the dukedom on his son-in-law John of Gaunt, Earl of Lancaster, and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten for ever.

In 1399 the Duchy of Lancaster, held by John of Gaunt's son Henry of Bolingbroke, merged with the crown on his appropriation of the throne (after the dispossession from Richard II). His first act as Henry IV was to declare that the Lancastrian inheritance be held separately from the other possessions of the Crown, and should descend to male heirs. This separation of identities was confirmed in 1461 by Edward IV when he incorporated the inheritance and the palatinate responsibilities under the title of the Duchy of Lancaster, and stipulated that it be held separate from other inheritances by him and his heirs, but would however be inherited with the Crown, to which it was forfeited on the attainder of Henry VI. [17] The Duchy thereafter passed to the reigning monarch, and in 1760 its separate identity preserved it from being surrendered with the Crown Estates in exchange for the civil list. It is primarily a landed inheritance belonging to the reigning sovereign (now Elizabeth II).

In 2011, the Duchy established a rebalancing asset plan[ clarification needed ] and sold most of the Winmarleigh estates farms in Lancashire, and donated a plot of land to the Winmarleigh Village Hall committee by June 2012. [18] [19]

In 2017, the Paradise Papers revealed that the Duchy held investments in two offshore financial centres, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. Both are British Overseas Territories of which Queen Elizabeth II is monarch, and nominally appoints governors. Britain handles foreign policy for both islands to a large extent, but Bermuda has been self-governing since 1620. The Duchy's investments included First Quench Retailing off-licences and rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse. [20] Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn posited whether the Queen should apologise, saying anyone with money offshore for tax avoidance should "not just apologise for it, [but] recognise what it does to our society". A spokesman for the Duchy said that all of their investments are audited and legitimate and that the Queen voluntarily pays taxes on income she receives from Duchy investments. [21]

Role

The chief officer is the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a position sometimes held by a cabinet minister but always a ministerial post. For at least the last two centuries the estate has been run by a deputy; its chancellor has rarely had any significant duties pertaining to its management but is available as a minister without portfolio.

The monarch derives the privy purse from the revenues of the Duchy. The surplus for the year ended 31 March 2015 was £16 million and the Duchy was valued at just over £472 million. [22] Its land holdings are not to be confused with the Crown Estate, whose revenues have been handed to the Treasury since the 18th century in exchange for the receipt of a yearly payment.

The Duchy Council's primary officers carrying out the estate's day-to-day duties are the Clerk of the Council (the Chief Executive Officer), the Chairman of the Council, and the Chief Finance Officer. [7] The chancellor is responsible for the appointment of the steward and the barmaster of the barmote courts on behalf of the Queen in right of Her Duchy. [23]

Royal prerogative

Both the Duchy of Lancaster and the Duchy of Cornwall have special legal rights not available to other estates held by peers or counties palatine, for example, bona vacantia operates to the advantage of the Duke rather than the Crown throughout the Duchy. Proceeds from bona vacantia in the Duchy are divided between two registered charities. [24] [25] Bona vacantia arises, in origin, by virtue of the Royal Prerogative and in some respects remains the position although the right to bona vacantia of the two major categories is now based on statute: Administration of Estates Act 1925 [26] and the Companies Act 2006. [27]

There are separate attorneys general for the estates. Generally the exemptions tend to follow the same line: any rights pertaining to the Crown in most areas of the country instead pertain to the Duke in the Duchy. Generally, any Act of Parliament relating to rights of this kind will specifically set out special exemptions for the two Duchies and specify the extent to which they apply. They are subject to strict regulation, especially with respect to auditing and alienation of land.

Holdings

The Duchy of Lancaster headquarters office in Lancaster Place, London. It flies the Duchy flag. Duchy of Lancaster offices 2020.jpg
The Duchy of Lancaster headquarters office in Lancaster Place, London. It flies the Duchy flag.

The holdings of the Duchy are divided into six units called surveys, five rural and one urban. The rural surveys make up most of the assets and area but the urban survey generates a greater income. The holdings were accrued over time through marriage, inheritance, gift and confiscation, and in modern times by purchase and sale. [4]

Revenue surplus/income

Revenue surplus or income from the Duchy of Lancaster has increased considerably over time. In 1952, the surplus was £100,000 a year. Almost 50 years later in 2000, the revenue surplus had increased to £5.8M. In 2010, the revenue surplus stood at £13.2M and by 2017, the surplus had grown to £19.2M. [39]

See also

Related Research Articles

Lancashire County of England

Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county and a ceremonial county in North West England. The county's administrative centre is Preston, while Lancaster is the county town. The borders of the county were created by the Local Government Act 1972 and enclose a population of 1,449,300 and an area of 1,189 square miles (3,080 km2).

Duke of Cornwall Title in the Peerage of England

Duke of Cornwall is a title in the Peerage of England, traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning British monarch, previously the English monarch. The Duchy of Cornwall was the first duchy created in England and was established by a royal charter in 1337. The present duke is the Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. His current wife, Camilla, is the current Duchess of Cornwall.

Duke of Lancaster Titular owner of the estates of the Duchy of Lancaster and head of the County Palatine of Lancaster

The Dukedom of Lancaster is an extinct English peerage. It was created three times during the Middle Ages but finally merged in the Crown when Henry V succeeded to the throne in 1413. Despite the extinction of the dukedom the title has continued to be used to refer to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom in relation to Lancashire and the Duchy of Lancaster, an estate held separately from the Crown Estate for the benefit of the sovereign.

Intestacy Condition of the estate of a person who dies without having made a valid will or other binding declaration

Intestacy is the condition of the estate of a person who dies without having in force a valid will or other binding declaration. Alternatively this may also apply where a will or declaration has been made, but only applies to part of the estate; the remaining estate forms the "intestate estate". Intestacy law, also referred to as the law of descent and distribution, refers to the body of law that determines who is entitled to the property from the estate under the rules of inheritance.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Ministerial office in the United Kingdom

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is a ministerial office in the Government of the United Kingdom that includes as part of its duties the administration of the estates and rents of the Duchy of Lancaster.

A civil list is a list of individuals to whom money is paid by the government, typically for service to the state or as honorary pensions. It is a term especially associated with the United Kingdom and its former colonies of Canada, India, New Zealand, Singapore and many more. It was originally defined as expenses supporting the monarch.

The Duchy of Cornwall is one of two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Lancaster. The eldest son of the reigning British monarch inherits possession of the duchy and title of Duke of Cornwall at birth or when his parent succeeds to the throne, but may not sell assets for personal benefit and has limited rights and income while a minor.

Privy Purse

The Privy Purse is the British Sovereign's private income, mostly from the Duchy of Lancaster. This amounted to £20.1 million in net income for the year to 31 March 2018. The Duchy is a landed estate of approximately 46,000 acres held in trust for the Sovereign since 1399. It also has 190 miles of foreshore. The Duchy was valued at approximately £533 million in 2018. The land is organised into the Lancashire Survey, the Yorkshire Survey, the Crewe Survey, the Nedwood Estate and the South Survey. The Sovereign is not entitled to the Duchy's capital, but the net revenues of the Duchy are the property of the Sovereign in right of the Duchy of Lancaster. While the income is private, the Queen uses the larger part of it to meet official expenses incurred by other members of the British Royal Family. Only the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh receive payments from Parliament that are not reimbursed by the Queen.

Crown Estate

The Crown Estate is a collection of lands and holdings in the territories of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch as a corporation sole, making it "the sovereign's public estate", which is neither government property nor part of the monarch's private estate.

County palatine

In England, Wales and Ireland a county palatine or palatinate was an area ruled by a hereditary nobleman enjoying special authority and autonomy from the rest of a kingdom or empire. The name derives from the Latin adjective palātīnus, "relating to the palace", from the noun palātium, "palace". It thus implies the exercise of a quasi-royal prerogative within a county, that is to say a jurisdiction ruled by an earl, the English equivalent of a count. A duchy palatine is similar but is ruled over by a duke, a nobleman of higher precedence than an earl or count.

History of Lancashire Aspect of history

Lancashire is a county of England, in the northwest of the country. The county did not exist in 1086, for the Domesday Book, and was apparently first created in 1182, making it one of the youngest of the traditional counties.

A high sheriff is a ceremonial officer for each shrieval county of England and Wales and Northern Ireland or the chief sheriff of a number of paid sheriffs in U.S. states who outranks and commands the others in their court-related functions. In Canada, the High Sheriff provides administrative services to the supreme and provincial courts.

Unowned property refers to tangible, physical things which are capable of being reduced to being property owned by an individual but are not owned by anyone. Bona vacantia is a legal concept associated with the unowned property, which exists in various jurisdictions, with a consequently varying application, but with origins mostly in English law.

<i>Ultimus haeres</i>

Ultimus haeres is a concept in Scots law where if a person in Scotland who dies without leaving a will and has no blood relative who can be easily traced, the estate is claimed by the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer on behalf of the Crown. It is one of two rights to ownerless property that the Crown possess, the others being bona vacantia.

John Wilson-Patten, 1st Baron Winmarleigh British politician (1802-92)

John Wilson-Patten, 1st Baron Winmarleigh PC was a British Conservative politician.

Winmarleigh Human settlement in England

Winmarleigh is a village and civil parish of the Borough of Wyre in Lancashire, England. The population taken at the 2011 census was 273. The village, which is north-west of Garstang, has an agricultural college, and the Duchy of Lancaster has an estate here. This includes the local pub, the Patten Arms. It is home to the great manor of Winmarleigh Hall. Constructed to the order of the Duchy of Lancaster, it was given to the first Lord Winmarleigh. Since then the house has been donated to NST Travel Group, who have turned the grounds into an outdoor education programme for schools across the country.

Inter regalia (Scots law)

The inter regalia are the rights falling to the Crown in Scots Property law. The term derives from Latin inter (among) and regalia.

Currently, there are two duchies in England; the royal Duchy of Lancaster and the royal Duchy of Cornwall. Unlike historic duchies in England, these are no longer coextensive with a distinct geographic area, though they originated in the counties palatine of Lancaster and Cornwall. Rather, they are "Crown bodies", regulated by Acts of Parliament, that have some of the powers of a corporation or trust. The administration of the duchies is regulated by the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall (Accounts) Act 1838. The duchies invest primarily in land, and their income is payable either to the monarch or the monarch's eldest heir.

Finances of the British royal family

The finances of the British royal family come from a number of sources. The British government supports the monarch and some of her family financially by means of the Sovereign Grant, which is intended to meet the costs of the sovereign's official expenditures. This includes the costs of the upkeep of the various royal residences, staffing, travel and state visits, public engagements, and official entertainment. Other sources of income include revenues from the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, a parliamentary annuity, and income from private investments. The Keeper of the Privy Purse is Head of the Privy Purse and Treasurer's Office and has overall responsibility for the management of the sovereign's financial affairs.

Sovereign Grant Act 2011 United Kingdom legislation

The Sovereign Grant Act 2011 is the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which introduced the Sovereign Grant, the payment which is paid annually to the monarch by the government in order to fund the monarch's official duties. It was the biggest reform to the finances of the British Royal Family since the inception of the Civil List in 1760.

References

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "FAQ". Duchy of Lancaster. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
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  17. Blackstone, W. (1765) Commentaries on the Laws of England, Introduction, chapter 4 Archived 27 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine . Sir William Blackstone described the duchy as "separate from the other possessions of the crown in order and government, but united in point of inheritance." (Footnote no. 78.)
  18. "The Duchy nears completion of Winmarleigh sales". Duchy of Lancaster. 21 June 2012. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  19. 1 2 "Duchy land farm sell-off". Garstang Courier. 31 March 2011. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  20. Osborne, Hilary (5 November 2017). "Revealed: Queen's private estate invested millions of pounds offshore". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 5 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  21. "Paradise Papers: Queen should apologise, suggests Corbyn". BBC. 6 November 2017. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
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  25. "Terraced house 'belongs to Queen'". BBC News. 3 August 2006. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2010. – provides an example of bona vacantia operating in favour of the Duchy in Gorton in Manchester.
  26. "In default of any person taking an absolute interest under the foregoing provisions, the residuary estate of the intestate shall belong to the Crown or to the Duchy of Lancaster or to the Duke of Cornwall for the time being, as the case may be, as bona vacantia, and in lieu of any right to escheat." Administration of Estates Act 1925 Section 46
  27. Section 1016 of the Companies Act 2006 defines the Crown Representative in relation to property vested in the Duchy of Lancaster, as being the Solicitor to that Duchy
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  34. "AFC Rushden & Diamonds Agree Heads Of Terms For New Home". Official Home of AFC Rushden and Diamonds. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  35. The Staffordshire Survey Archived 1 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine .
  36. The Yorkshire Survey Archived 12 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine .
  37. Newton, Grace (21 July 2020). "Three gamekeepers suspended over killing of goshawk on Queen's land". Yorkshire Post . Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  38. "The Urban Survey -". www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk. Archived from the original on 26 December 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  39. "The Queen has hit the jackpot again. But why does she need so much money?". The Guardian. 19 July 2017. Archived from the original on 20 July 2017.

Further reading