It promises to be a passport to reservations at the best restaurants, upgrades on long-haul flights and a place at the captain’s table on luxury cruises.

Having a title is big business, with vendors promised red carpet treatment for an outlay of a few pounds.

A Birmingham auction recently sold the Lordship of the Manor of Bericote for £12,000, but there is a growing list of companies offering socially ambitious buyers the chance to take their first steps towards nobility for just £19.

The Lordship of the Manor of Bericote – a former medieval parish in Warwickshire, containing the odd meadow and overgrown field – was sold to an anonymous bidder.

One of the biggest sales in recent years was the disposal of the Lordship of the Manor of Wimbledon by Earl Spencer in 1996, for which he pocketed £171,000.

Titles available via a five-minute internet application range from a lordship to a baron, duke, earl or viscount.

Websites promise the transaction is legal and the title can be added to a passport, driving licence, bank account or credit card.

Titles for sale online start from just £18.95, including a plot of land in the Lake District, from firms such as

A seated title, offering a piece of land measuring just eight inches square, is listed at £995.

It is promised that the plot – in a town or location of the purchaser’s choice – is officially registered and enables the title owner to couple the new ennoblement with the name of a town or city.

A spokesman for Lordtitles said: “Our titles in no way purport to offer anything other than a Lordship of the Manor and make it clear that is what is being purchased.

‘‘There are ample opportunities to view the terms and conditions on our website and people also have a three-week cooling off period from when they purchase their title.

‘‘We have had many satisified customers and continue to do so.”

However, these easily-obtained routes up the Britain’s hierarchy are frowned upon by those with hereditary blue blood in their veins.

Lord Bradford, whose family seat is at Weston Park, near Wolverhampton, has started a website called to register his disapproval and shame people trading on a noble name.

Lord Bradford said: “The first and most important fact that needs to be grasped is that you cannot purchase a genuine British title, with the one exception of the feudal title of a Scottish baron.

‘‘And you certainly cannot buy a peerage title.

“In Britain, the sovereign has always traditionally been the sole person to grant titles, though in the last couple of centuries this has very much been at the instigation of the government of the day.

“While it is impossible to fathom completely the process by which titles and other honours are awarded by the government in the twice a year Honours List, at New Year and on the Queen’s Birthday, basically it is for achievement in many different forms.”

However, it appears that the process of purchasing a title, especially those at the higher end of the price range, are not worth the fancy paper that the certificates of “authenticity” are written on.

It is not the same as a Lordship of the Manor, enshrined in English law as incorporeal hereditament – property without body. Title holders can call themselves what they want as long as they do not commit fraud.

Heraldry experts allege that a purchased lordship cannot be used on any legal document.

“You are tarnishing the name of an authentic title and putting it into disrepute,” said a spokesman for Debrett’s Peerage.

Lordships had been around for centuries but it was not until the arrival of William the Conqueror in 1066 that they assumed prestige.

William handed them out to his followers and by the time the Domesday Book was commissioned in 1086 there were at least 13,000 titles.

Modern title sales were enabled by the 1922 Law of Property Act, which dispensed with the vestiges of feudal tenure but sometimes kept a few ancient rights, such as holding markets, fishing and choosing the vicar. It also allowed investors to purchase a title without buying land.

The Manorial Society is a leading auctioneer of authentic titles in Britain.

They start at about £5,000 but can cost six figures. Robert Smith, of the society, said he did not believe titles should be viewed as investments, but accepted they can increase in value.

He also pointed to the perks a title can offer such as fishing and mining rights and the prestige it may bring in business and private life.

he society has 1,700 members, including historians who all have a claim to a title.

“Buying a title can prove personally fulfilling, but there are fraudsters operating firms all over the world that other nothing more than a flimsy certificate,” he said.

The British Embassy in Washington now even states on its website that Peers of the Realm honours cannot be purchased through a normal transaction in a warning to gullible Americans.

Nothing noble about my upper crust title

Just a few pen strokes can transform a humble West Midlands journalist to the grandeur of the nobility, it would appear.

An outlay of a little more than £20 has enabled me to become the owner of a prestigious legal title, according to website Lord Titles.

It purports to offer Lord of the Manor titles in England, as well as the equivalent in Scotland and Ireland, for little more than the cost of a take-away curry.

In exchange for my outlay I am now entitled to become the sole owner of a dedicated land plot of five square feet in the beauty of the Lake District, near Windermere.

The title offers me the chance to log in to an exclusive area of the internet site to access official forms to forward to the UK Government to include my newly-obtained nobility on all official papers, such as passports and driving licences.

According to paperwork received with my new Lord of the Manor title I am also entitled to allow banks to abbreviate the rank to plain Lord on my account, providing it is not claiming to support a peerage.

Under the Law Of Property Act 1925, my correct form of address is now Lord Of The Manor – although I will settle for a common Lord.

I am still undecided about altering my birth-name to include my “honour.”

Although Lord Brett Gibbons of Rushall does have a certain ring to it.