The Manor of Kirkham
The present Manor of Kirkham was given to the Abbot of Vale Royal by King Henry III in 1269.
The Abbot controlled Kirkham from Vale Royal from Cheshire until the Reformation when King Henry VII took the Manor away from the Abbot and gave the Manor of Kirkham to the new created Christ Church in Oxford.
The change from a Catholic to a Protestant Manor has remained to this day. Christ Church continues to supply vicars to their St. Michaels's Church. As a matter of interest, James Hilton, Lord of Lytham, selects his own vicars for the Manor of Lytham.
Christ Church remained active Lords of the Manor of Kirkham until it was decided to lease the Manor to Sir Richard Fleetwood and the Clifton family. The Birley family became the first Lord of the Manor to have paid approximately £8,000.00 for the privilege. The Penney family purchased it from the Birley family and the Sergeant family purchased the Manor from the Penney family for £300.00 in 1933. John Edward North Sergeant inherited the manor when his late father died in 1990. Manors and titles may still be purchased to this day. The only original sealed charter for the Manor of Kirkham is held by the Manor.
This Royal Charter must not be confused with the Town Charter that was issued by the manor in 1296. This Kirkham Town Charter was celebrated during the 700th Anniversary during 1996.
Lord of the Manor of Kirkham may use the title, Lord of the Manor of Kirkham or Lord of Kirkham. It is not permitted to use the title, Lord Kirkham.
It has been stated in the House of Lords that the Lords of Manors of the United Kingdom are the most powerful Lords today. The Manorial Society of Great Britain has stated that there are an estimated 37,998 Manors in the United Kingdom.
The 1922/25 Property Acts reduced the powers of the Lords of Manors. However, many powers still remain.
Although a Peer of the Realm receives a salary and a Lord of a Manor does not; the Lord of a Manor has other Rights and Privileges. Some Peers of the Realm are also Lords of Manors.
The Lord of the Manor of Kirkham has the Right to hold a weekly Royal Charter Market every Thursday, one annual Royal Charter Fair for five days each June (St John) and a Manor Charter for five days in October (St Luke).
The Manor of Kirkham owns all minerals (except coal, oil and gold).
The Lord of the Manor owns all treasure found within the 850 acres of the Manor of Kirkham. This is a special privilege from the Crown of England.
The Manor owns all wastes; the Market Square being one of them.
The Manor owns the Pinfold and all the sub soil within the boundary. According to a statement from Lord Denning; the sub soil is the land lower than two spits from the surface. (A spit is a spade.)
The Manor has the Right to hold a Court Leet; which is the Criminal Court and a court Baron which is a Civil Court. The Court Baron was held in the main hall at Kirkham Grammar School and was televised by the BBC.
Modern Law Courts evolved from the many Manor Courts of Law.
(This history was provided by Lord of the Manor Kirkham; John Edward North Sergeant)