A BUSINESSMAN who discovered he was heir to a feudal lordship intends to use it to promote local charities.
Stephen Young, 52 – who runs an oil heating maintenance company specialising in servicing Aga cookers – now styles himself Lord of Westbury.
The Bournemouth-based businessman says he discovered in 2009 that he could use the title and intends to use it to help good causes.
He set up his company after service in the Cavalry regiment.
Although he employs a team of engineers, he still sometimes works in people’s kitchens himself.
He said: “As a very young child I vaguely remember visiting distant relatives in very grand residences, and recall tales of their aristocratic lifestyle in the countryside.
“My grandmother always claimed her mother came from nobility, but living a working class lifestyle we didn’t know much of this family history.”
Many years after his grandmother’s death, the family discovered deeds, letters and income books relating to the manor house, feudal estate and tied properties.
It transpired that the bulk of the estate was auctioned off in 1916 but a lordship title had not been sold and Stephen had legal rights to the title.
He said: “I find it all quite romantic. The history of having a ‘lord of the manor’ dates back to the Norman Conquest, and whilst it is fairly irrelevant in today’s society, I think it is important to preserve our heritage.”
He recently visited St James’s Palace at a gathering of lords and barons in the presence of the Duke of York. He supports Lewis-Manning Hospice and Julia’s House, where he is an amb-assador, and is involved with the RAF Ibsley Historical Group and Bournemouth Air Festival.
He is a sponsor fo the Vulcan to the Sky Trust which aims to keep the last flying Vulcan XH558 in the skies.
He said: “I hope I can use the title to good use, like a knight of old. It all started as a bit of fun.
“I am no one special, I am just a regular business man, but even in this day and age it seems to hold some kudos, and if having a Lord championing your cause helps raise awareness and funds, then so be it. I haven’t inherited any money, just the title, so whatever I do comes from my own pocket, and I am more than happy to do my bit.”