Taking Stock: Earl to sell plot to pay off tax mountain

by Taking Stock

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06 May 2014

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SOMETIMES, we at TS struggle to relate.

Generally, we like to think we've been around the block enough to know a thing or two, but even we are not worldly enough to get our heads around, say, being in a position to sell a monolithic landmark.

And so, when news reached TS Towers that the earl of Lonsdale is to sell off a mountain in order to settle a £9m inheritance tax bill following the death of his father in 2006, we were initially nonplussed.

It transpires that rather than break up his northern Cumbria estate, which has been in the family for hundreds of years and potentially evict those on his land, the earl chose to place the 2,850ft (869m) Lake District's Blencathra mountain on the market for £1.75m.

It comes with some perks, too. Whoever buys the peak will be entitled to use the title ‘lord of the manor of Threlkeld'. The feudal lordship will allow the new owner to apply to the College of Arms for their own individual coat of arms. Swish.

They will also obtain grazing rights for 5,471 ewes, 732 hoggs [young sheep] and 200 lambs.

Blencathra, which is known as Saddleback due to its distinctive shape, was once described as "one of the grandest objects in Lakeland and one of the best known" by renowned guidebook author Alfred Wainwright.

Lord Lonsdale told the BBC: "My family have owned Blencathra and its manor for over 400 years, so the sale of this iconic property will be a great loss.

"However, we need to realise capital for inheritance tax following the death of my father in 2006 and our aim is to retain the core portions of the Lonsdale Estates intact as far as is possible."

Image credit: Rob Bendall / Highfields

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