Lord of the Dons

A CAMBRIDGE DON SNAPPED UP the title of ‘LORD OF BOWLAND’ when it was sold at auction last month.

A Cambridge Don snapped up the title of ‘LORD OF BOWLAND’ when it was sold at auction last month.

The full identity of the mystery bidder has not yet been revealed, although it is known that the 49-year old Don is a linguistic scientist who specialises in the history of Lancashire. 

According to the Manorial Society, which represents Britain's 1,900 lords of the manor, the elusive Don also has ancestral links to the Forest of Bowland, in North-East Lancashire. 

The local Lordship dates from the days of the Domesday Book, and the new Lord inherits a range of ancient rights. 

Though the 300-square-mile estate is no longer part and parcel of the title, the new Lord is lucky enough to be able to appoint a Master Forester and Bowbearers, who traditionally kept company on hunting trips. 

The title has been all but obsolete since 1885 when the one of Lancashire's great aristocratic families, the Townleys, was broken up following the death of the last male heir.

Earlier this year however, family-tree-fanatic Charles Townley claimed the Lordship, which he promptly flogged to the as-yet-unknown Cambridge Don.

The sum paid by the mystery Master remains unknown, but titles such as this usually run into several thousand pounds.

Robert Smith, executive chairman of the Manorial Society, said “There is an ancient courthouse in Bowland but the new Lord is in for a shock – it's now become a gastro pub, better known locally as the Inn at Whitewell."

More news later as The Tab establishes the identity of the Don.