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17.2.11

The Duchy - a mesne lordships

Following this short blog a Cornish campaigner wrote to the Crown Estate to ask if Queen had sovereignty over Cornwall. The response of their solicitor is below.

Thank you for your website enquiry referred to below to The Crown Estate of 8 February 2011 which has been passed to ourselves by The Crown Estate. We act on behalf of The Crown Estate in respect of property which is subject to escheat, except for property which is subject to escheat in Cornwall and the County Palantine of Lancaster.


Her Majesty the Queen , as head of the state, owns the superior interest in all land in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Property which is subject to escheat in Cornwall and the County Palatine of Lancaster is dealt with by the Duchies within their mesne lordships, not by The Crown Estate. Mesne lordships are intermediate lordships which lie between the freehold and the Crown. Accordingly in these areas the freehold of a property becomes subject to escheat to the Duchies instead of to the Crown.

To answer your question, Her Majesty the Queen remains the monarch of both Cornwall and Lancaster. I hope this email is of assistance in explaining this complex and archaic area of our constitutional and property law and in answering your query.

Your sincerely

Senior Associate

That's a new one on me. After having written to the Duchy, Crown Estate, Government and various other bodies on numerous occasions, I've never had the -mesne- explanation. It seems as if the establishment is constantly developing new ways to explain the unexplainable Duchy.

Their response still seems to suggest that Cornwall -the territory of- is the mesne Lordship or Duchy. This contradicting the Duchies claim that it is just a collection of private estates most of which being outside the territory of Cornwall.

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