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No, You Cannot Purchase One Sq. Foot of Land in Scotland and Develop into a “Scottish Lord”

No, You Cannot Purchase One Sq. Foot of Land in Scotland and Develop into a “Scottish Lord”

2022-08-17 11:14:45

When you’ve been on the web a lot, you’ve in all probability encountered an commercial sooner or later claiming that, in the event you personal any quantity of land in Scotland, even when it’s only one sq. foot, then you definately legally qualify for the title of “lord” or “girl.” Quite a few firms have promoted this assertion, purporting that, in the event you purchase one sq. foot of land from them, then you may name your self a Scottish lord or girl and they’re going to ship you a certificates to point your new title. A couple of of the businesses of this kind that you’ll have heard of are Highland Titles, Scotland Title, Scotland Titles (which is outwardly a special firm), Established Titles, Laird Title, The Scottish Reward, and so forth.

All of the titles these firms are promoting are faux and they aren’t definitely worth the paper they’re printed on. For one factor, beneath present Scots regulation, it isn’t really potential to switch authorized possession rights to a single sq. foot of land within the first place. Moreover, even when it had been potential, merely proudly owning one sq. foot of land wouldn’t make anybody a “lord” or “girl” in any sense.

Why I’m writing about this concern

Common readers of my weblog are conscious that I usually write posts about historical historical past, so this put up in regards to the enterprise of faux Scottish titles is a little bit of a departure from my typical content material. There are, nevertheless, a few the reason why I’ve determined to put in writing this put up.

The primary motive is as a result of, a few days in the past, I watched a video by a historical past YouTuber (whose identify I can’t disclose right here) by which he was selling one in all these firms for a sponsorship. After watching that video, it occurred to me that the goal marketplace for these faux title firms overlaps significantly with the net historical past neighborhood.

The second motive is as a result of, as some readers could have guessed from my final identify McDaniel, I’ve some Scottish ancestry on my father’s aspect. Admittedly, my ancestors bearing the identify McDaniel came visiting to the British colonies in North America approach again within the 1700s, earlier than america was even a rustic, and have been dwelling right here repeatedly ever since. My most up-to-date McDaniel ancestor who really lived in Scotland is John McDaniel, who was born in Scotland in round 1760. By 1776, he was dwelling in Frederick County, Maryland. I personally have lived my entire life in america and have by no means even visited Scotland. I don’t contemplate myself Scottish and as an alternative contemplate myself solely an American.

My solely connection to my Scottish ancestry aside from my final identify is my hair, which is reddish blond. (The colour adjustments considerably relying on the sunshine, so generally the blond is extra evident and generally the pink is extra evident.) My mom is blond, so I’ve clearly inherited the blond in my hair from her. I do know that I’ve inherited the pink from the McDaniel line as a result of my father and father’s father each have pink of their beards and I’ve an aunt and 4 cousins on the McDaniel aspect who all have pink hair.

It’s typically folks like me who’ve some distant Scottish ancestry, however who’re completely faraway from Scotland itself, that firms attempt to goal with these faux title shenanigans. Because it occurs, I might personally make for a really poor goal for this specific sort of shenanigan, since I’m strongly against all royal and noble titles. I firmly consider that such titles shouldn’t exist in any modern society that claims to be free and democratic. Nonetheless, I really feel that I ought to attempt to make different folks conscious of the reality about this entire fake-title-selling charade.

ABOVE: {Photograph} I took utilizing the digital camera on my laptop computer on 18 Might 2022 exhibiting me sitting in entrance of one in all my bookshelves with the pink in my hair plainly seen

ABOVE: {Photograph} I took of myself in entrance of the identical bookshelf on 2 June 2022 at a special time of day and with completely different lighting

Why you may’t really purchase one sq. foot of land in Scotland

Like Roman regulation, Scots regulation holds that actual property possession is absolute, which means the proprietor of a chunk of property owns all rights in any way to that property and so they can’t switch some rights to the piece of property to a different particular person with out transferring all the rights to it.

A sale of land in Scotland is just authorized whether it is formally registered with the Land Register and, as a way to register a sale of land, the sale should abide by all the necessities of Scots regulation. Because it occurs, the Land Registration etc. (Scotland) Act 2012, Section 22(1)(b), particularly prohibits the sale of “memento plots” of land, which Part 22(2) defines as follows:

“In subsection (1)(b), ‘souvenir plot‘ means a plot of land which—

(a) is of inconsiderable measurement and of no sensible utility, and

(b) is neither—

(i) a registered plot, nor

(ii) a plot the possession of which has, at any time, individually been constituted or transferred by a doc recorded within the Register of Sasines.”

In different phrases, it isn’t potential beneath present Scots regulation for anybody to switch any type of authorized possession over a single sq. foot of land as a result of such a plot of land “of inconsiderable measurement and no sensible utility” clearly suits the authorized definition of a “memento plot” and due to this fact can’t be registered with the Land Register of Scotland.

Due to this, firms that declare to “promote” memento plots of this type will usually have a disclaimer someplace saying that making a purchase order with them doesn’t suggest any authorized switch of possession and that they may merely “dedicate” a chunk of land to the client, or another comparable wording.

These disclaimers generally use sneaky language that disguises or obfuscates what they’re actually saying. As an illustration, the corporate Scotland Title, which is owned by the bigger company Highland Titles OU, has a “Frequently Asked Questions” page on their web site, which lists the query “Should I register my land?” Right here is their reply to that query:

“No. You can not register your land, as a result of that is such a small plot; particularly it’s outlined as a ‘memento plot’.”

“‘Memento’ plots of land have been bought in Scotland for over 30 years. The sale of those plots is ruled by the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979, lately revised because the Land Registration and so forth. (Scotland) Act 2012. Please observe that this act doesn’t allow memento plots of land to be added to the Land Register.”

“Particulars of your private rights in your plot will probably be recorded in a Register of Land maintained by Highland Titles and particulars of every plot will be considered on-line utilizing our web site.”

In different phrases, in the event you “purchase” a memento plot of land from them, they may retain all authorized possession of the land. The land won’t ever actually be yours and so they retain the fitting to “promote” that very same plot of land to anybody else who occurs to return alongside. (Highland Titles insists that they don’t do that, however there may be nonetheless completely nothing to cease them from doing it.)

Why proudly owning one sq. foot of land wouldn’t make you a “Scottish lord” anyway

Within the U.Okay., the U.S., Canada, Australia, and most different western international locations, anybody can legally name themself something they need, so long as they aren’t committing fraud or id theft. Thus, in the identical approach that anybody can legally use the courtesy title of “physician,” although just some folks really possess the authorized proper to follow medication, anybody can legally name themself a “lord” or “girl,” although just some folks possess the authorized recognition, privileges, and protections related to these titles.

In the UK, “lord” and “girl” are peerage titles, which means an individual can solely maintain the authorized recognition, privileges, and protections related to these titles in the event that they rightfully inherit them, in the event that they marry right into a noble household, or if the queen grants them a peerage. Because the solely hereditary peerages the queen has granted in a long time have been to members of the royal household, realistically, the one methods an individual can grow to be a lord or girl are both by inheritance or by marrying right into a noble household. It isn’t potential for somebody to purchase their approach into lordship or ladyship.

Firms that promote memento plots with the declare of granting titles typically depend on a conflation of the titles “lord” and “girl” with “laird,” which is not a peerage title, however reasonably solely a courtesy title akin to the English phrase “lord of the manor.” In Scotland, this title is historically utilized to a member of the landed gentry who owns a big property that has a protracted historical past and who typically has servants and tenants. As a result of “laird” is merely a courtesy title, it has no authorized significance; there aren’t any particular privileges or protections beneath U.Okay. regulation for being a laird.

Though it’s authorized for anybody to name themself a “laird,” merely proudly owning some small quantity of land in Scotland doesn’t really make somebody a laird. To be able to really be a laird, an individual should personal a big property with a protracted historical past. It’s potential to purchase one’s approach into lairdship, however one has to purchase a complete heck of much more than only one sq. foot of land. If you wish to do it, you’ll have to purchase a complete historic Scottish mansion.

One instance of an individual who has grow to be a laird is the British novelist J. Okay. Rowling, who’s finest often known as each the writer of the bestselling sequence of youngsters’s novels Harry Potter and in addition arguably probably the most influential proponent of transphobia within the English-speaking world at present. In 2001, having grow to be outlandishly rich by way of the success of the primary 4 Harry Potter novels, Rowling bought the sprawling, historic nation property of Killiechassie, situated on the financial institution of the River Tay close to the city of Weem within the historic county of Perthshire, Scotland.

The Killiechassie property dates no less than way back to the twelfth century CE, however the present mansion on the property was in-built 1865. A columbarium (i.e., a constructing meant to deal with pigeons or doves) on the property grounds is a Class B listed construction, which signifies that it’s formally acknowledged as a serious historic monument. The property itself is so well-known and traditionally essential that it even has its own article on Wikipedia.

Along with proudly owning Killiechassie, Rowling additionally owns a really giant seventeenth-century mansion within the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, which is surrounded by huge thirty-foot Leylandii hedges. The town of Edinburgh has to shut your entire highway in entrance of Rowling’s mansion yearly or so to ensure that her hedges to be trimmed. This inevitably leads to site visitors chaos and is regularly reported in each native and nationwide information retailers.

On account of her possession of those giant, historic properties, Rowling can precisely describe herself as a “laird.”

ABOVE: Aerial {photograph} exhibiting the outside of the historic Scottish nation property Killiechassie, which is presently owned by J. Okay. Rowling

Earlier than the 20 th century, upper-middle-class landowners in Scotland who owned and cultivated rural estates that had been smaller than these of true lairds, however that had been nonetheless of a big measurement, had been informally often known as “bonnet lairds.” This appellation is roughly equal to the time period “yeoman” in English parlance, signifying an individual who’s of a social and financial standing simply beneath that of the landed gentry or true lairds.

The phrase “bonnet laird” is etymologically derived from the truth that, in Scotland earlier than the 20 th century, such small-time landowners typically nonetheless wore bonnets, a sort of hat that was related to the decrease lessons and never with the landed gentry.

Though this time period is basically historic and is seldom used these days, one may no less than argue that individuals who personal smaller estates in Scotland should precisely name themselves “bonnet lairds” and that changing into one could also be simpler than changing into a laird correct. Being a bonnet laird, although, would nonetheless require somebody to personal a home and a big plot of land in Scotland. Merely proudly owning one sq. foot of land clearly wouldn’t qualify somebody for the title.

See Also

ABOVE: Portrait painted c. 1720, attributed to the Swiss painter Johann Rudolf Huber, exhibiting Peter David Stürler, a citizen of Glasgow, sporting conventional Scottish clothes, together with a bonnet, the sort of hat from which the “bonnet lairds” of premodern rural Scotland took their casual identify

Many firms that declare to “promote” memento plots of land conveying titles have disclaimers someplace by which they clarify that faux possession of a memento plot of land doesn’t really grant somebody a real title of the Aristocracy. As an illustration, Scotland Title’s “Incessantly Requested Questions” web page lists the query “How will you promote me a title?” with the next reply:

“We can’t promote you a title. We’re merely acknowledging your proper to make use of the title of Laird, Lord or Girl of Glencoe, which is trademarked by HT. When you desire to not assume a title, you may be on condition that choice whenever you make your land buy. Recommendation printed by Scottish Solicitors is ‘in Scotland anybody can, topic to necessities of fine religion, name themselves no matter they like, together with “Laird”, “Lord” or “Girl”.’ We have no idea of any jurisdiction the place this isn’t true.”

In different phrases, they don’t really promote actual titles.

Scottish Prescriptive Baronies by Tenure: the one real U.Okay. titles of the Aristocracy that may be purchased and bought

There is just one sort of real, legally acknowledged title of the Aristocracy within the U.Okay. that may be purchased and bought, which is a Scottish Prescriptive Barony by Tenure. Till 2004, a Scottish barony was outlined by possession of a caput (i.e., a fort or property {that a} Crown Constitution had erected right into a barony). In 2004, nevertheless, the Abolition of Feudal Tenure and so forth. (Scotland) Act 2000 abolished the system of feudal land tenure, which resulted in main adjustments to how Scottish baronies work.

Section 63(1) of the act declares that possession of a caput now not conveys a barony, however stipulates “nothing on this Act impacts the dignity of baron or some other dignity or workplace (whether or not or not of feudal origin).” Part 63(2) additional stipulates:

“When, by this Act, an property held in barony ceases to exist as a feudal property, the dignity of baron, although retained, shall not connect to the land; and on and after the appointed day any such dignity shall be, and shall be transferable solely as, incorporeal heritable property (and shall not be a proper as respects which a deed will be registered within the Land Register of Scotland or recorded within the Register of Sasines).”

Which means titles of Scottish Prescriptive Baron by Tenure can now be freely purchased and bought unbiased of the true properties to which these titles had been as soon as connected.

Real Scottish baronies, nevertheless, solely come up on the market very hardly ever and, after they do, they all the time find yourself promoting for the equal of many tens of 1000’s of {dollars} no less than. They’re effectively exterior the value vary of what any one who shouldn’t be already a member of the highest 1% can afford.

ABOVE: {Photograph} from Wikimedia Commons exhibiting Ayton Fortress within the Scottish Borders, in-built 1851, the standard caput of the Scottish barony of Ayton

What about the entire “nature reserve” factor?

Some firms that “promote” memento plots in Scotland, akin to Highland Titles, declare that they keep the land they use for memento plots as a “nature reserve” and that, by “shopping for” a memento plot from them, you’re serving to to revive and protect the pure surroundings of Scotland.

The European information community Euronews, nevertheless, carried out an investigation into Highland Titles and their purported “nature reserves” and printed their findings in a news article earlier this year. The information article notes that, though Highland Titles does certainly personal a number of nature reserves, the corporate has by no means disclosed their funds and it isn’t clear how a lot of the apparently huge cash they create in really goes towards conservation efforts. The article additionally quotes an nameless supply at a serious non-government group in Scotland as saying:

“The surroundings sector in Scotland typically doesn’t maintain a excessive opinion of the work carried out by Highland Titles. However their status for working to court docket signifies that folks don’t really feel snug talking out. Scots with a wider cultural consciousness discover the entire proposition of promoting titles ludicrous and insulting. As you’d discover with any temporary trawl by way of social media on the topic.”

In different phrases, it’s really not clear to what extent, if in any respect, the “buy” of a memento plot from Highland Titles or any of the varied different firms within the enterprise really contributes to nature restoration and conservation work. Furthermore, the precise high quality of this work may be very a lot unsure.

ABOVE: Screenshot from the Google Maps road view exhibiting the doorway to the Highland Titles Nature Reserve at Duror

Writer: Spencer McDaniel

Hey! I’m an aspiring historian primarily excited by historical Greek historical past. A few of my major historic pursuits embody historical faith, mythology, and folklore; gender and sexuality; race and ethnicity; and interactions between Greek cultures and cultures of the Close to East. I graduated with excessive distinction from Indiana College Bloomington in Might 2022 with a BA in historical past and classical research (Historic Greek and Latin languages), with departmental honors in historical past. I’m getting into an MA program in Historic Greek and Roman Research at Brandeis College in fall 2022.
View all posts by Spencer McDaniel

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