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Just who runs these Highland Titles?

Lion Rampant -- Royal standard of Scotland, wi...
Are they all based in Scotland? You’d think wouldn’t you? Image via Wikipedia

… and where are they based?

You’d think that these laird and lady schemes would benefit folk in Scotland, wouldn’t you? You’d think they’d be run by the laird himself or herself surely? Maybe benefit the local community, support the economy or preserve some site of public interest? They can’t surely be only about making money. Surely?


At the top of our chart at the moment, the site sells lairdships from Dunans Castle. The scheme is run by Mr and Mrs Dixon-Spain and they live onsite. Indeed, the sale of highland titles is specifically for aiding the restoration of the ruined Castle. There’s also a charitable trust apparently and a very important bridge. All good. So no demerits here!

Another home grown effort is Laird of Kincavel which is owned by the Sonachan Hotel. As we say in our review any effort to keep hotels open in the Highlands is welcome, and this may be doing the trick. There are two howevers here: first the site doesn’t really give too much detail about how the land is managed and how it relates to the hotel, and second the lairdship scheme is marketed, and therefore administered, through Moon Estates, which is based in England.

Absentee but in Scotland

And then there is ScottishHighlandTitles, run out of Arbroath in … Scotland! Another result then for the homegrown crew, except that the geographical spread of the titles means that there can be little local economic benefit to the wider community as well as little hope of interaction with lairds and ladies onsite by the owner.

The same can be said for Instant Royalty which is run out of Aberdeen and administers a West Coast lairdship and also Highland Heritage Services which sells lairdships from Sanday, but hails from Glasgow.

At least these are in Scotland, but then we come to those schemes which are …

Further Afield

The number 2 in our chart Laird of Lochaber is run by an outfit in the Channel Islands. If you were going to pick a location that was as far away as you could get from the location of the land in question, the Channel Islands would be it. In fact place your mouse over any one of the four trust guard logos on their website and you get the full address in the Isle of Alderney.

Laird of Bandrum looks as if the owners hail from Somerset, and Laird of Tattingstone is wholly based in England, including the parcel of land which means the title “laird” cannot pertain.


This may all be irrelevant to you – who owns what where and how, who benefits and who doesn’t, but it seems to us at OSF, that if you’re going to purchase a title which is Scottish, then in our humble opinion you should be purchasing from schemes which benefit Scotland, and at the top of the list is Laird of Dunans Castle and (possibly) Laird of Kincavel.

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  1. Mr bremner

    Are all titles backed by the queen and recognized by the house of lords. I was told that a recognized baron title costs over £1million to buy and rarely are available to buy anymore. I’v just bought a lord title and I’m worried about the legal side of it now. Should I write a letter to the house of lords for confirmation of my title.

    Posted on 25-Oct-10 at 7:32 pm | Permalink
  2. Admin

    The short answer is that the laird and lady title are not recognised by the court of the Lord Lyon and so therefore you do not need to write to anyone. The titles are informal not formal.

    Posted on 09-Feb-12 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  3. B van Rijszen

    The title may be informal, but these websites selling titles seem to suggest otherwise. How legal is it to start calling yourself Lord (as these websites suggest), when even the more appropriate title of Laird is a stretch? You don’t actually own the land, as far as my quick research now shows. Let alone that the size of the plot you “own” is insufficient to even be able to have the plot registered to your name (required to have the land actually be yours). (again a note that this has only been 10 minutes research. I may be slightly wrong…)

    As soon as these websites/companies go under (and HAS gone under), where does it leave these so-called owners, who don’t actually own the land they bought since it isn’t registered to their names?
    Furthermore, the aforementioned website seems to have made a restart under
    Seems a bit suspicious.

    I’m certainly tracking down the vendor I purchased my package from to get a refund. Getting absolutely bad feelings about this whole thing.

    Posted on 19-May-12 at 11:11 pm | Permalink
  4. Admin

    I am not sure but I think only the outfit mention looking at the issue of longevity of the titles, and I think that is because the proprietors live onsite. They might even have set up a trust to look after the interests of the folks who have bought a title. I am not sure about the rest.

    Posted on 14-Jul-12 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

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