Duchy Breathes New Life Into Local Landmark

IMG_4603 (2)Garden2 Reception2 Reception1 (2)                                       A local landmark has been brought back to life this month following a comprehensive programme of repair, refurbishment and restoration works by the Duchy of Lancaster.

 Amicia Tenement on the Duchy’s Crewe Estate in Cheshire was originally built by Lord Crewe in the mid 19th century and named after his daughter, the Honourable Amicia Henrietta Milnes. Used during his lifetime as a private retreat from his formal residence at Crewe Hall, the property was acquired as part of Lord Crewe’s estate by the Duchy of Lancaster in the 1930s. In the intervening years, it has served as a private residence, corporate headquarters and equestrian centre before falling vacant at the end of 2015.

Early in 2016, the Duchy of Lancaster commissioned a programme of works to restore the property to its former glory and update it to reflect the Duchy’s national Design Standard and quality specification. The works are now completed and on 23rd May, Duchy tenants, local residents and other interested parties were invited to Amicia Tenement to see the transformation for themselves.

Commenting on the project, Christopher Sparrow, Duchy Head of Rural said: “This has been a genuine labour of love for everyone working on the project. Amicia is a unique and very special place set in three and a half acres of garden and parkland with a commanding view over open countryside. Its magnificent façade is now matched by the quality of the interior finish, creating a home that is designed for modern family life – and of course for entertaining. It has been a privilege to bring this extraordinary period property back to life and we look forward to this new chapter in its long and illustrious history.”

The restoration of Amicia Tenement is the latest in an ongoing schedule of property repairs, refurbishments and restorations across the Duchy’s rural estates.


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Historic Year For The Barmote Courts

2016 is already proving to be an exciting year for the 700-year old Barmote Court in Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

  • External repairs and internal decoration work are underway on the historic Moot Hall, built here in the early 19th century and home to the Court since 1814.
  • Mr Jim Rieuwerts became the longest continuously serving juror of the Barmote in May, having completed 50 years of service, 14 of which were spent as foreman of the jury.
  • Also in May this year, for the first time, two lady solicitors were appointed to the post of Deputy Steward. Suzanne Porter was appointed to the Wirksworth and Juanita Haigh to the Chatsworth Barmote Courts. Both are part of the Bakewell team of legal firm Taylor & Emmet LLP.Dating back some 700 years, the Barmote Courts were set up to preside over disputes arising from lead mining rights across the Peak District. There were originally two Courts – one at Monyash (High Peak) and one at Wirksworth (Low Peak). The two Courts merged in 1814 and meetings for both Courts were held at the Moot Hall, built in the same year.

The Court consists of the Barmaster, the Steward and twelve Jury members. The Steward, who is appointed by Her Majesty The Queen as Duke of Lancaster must be a barrister of five years’ standing, or a solicitor of seven years’ standing. The main duties of the Steward are to receive complaints, issue summonses and preside over the Courts. The current office-holder is Mr. Michael Cockerton, a Solicitor of Goodwin, Cockerton and Colhoun of Bakewell. Mr Cockleton has been in post since 1983.

The Barmaster is also appointed by Her Majesty The Queen as Duke of Lancaster. The Barmaster acts as the executor of precepts for summoning members of the jury issued by Steward, attends viewings of mines, ensures that justice is done between the mines, apportions any new veins discovered and collects fines. The current Barmaster is Mr. Eddie Tennant, who is also the Duchy of Lancaster’s Mineral Agent.

The Grand Jury of the Barmote Court is formed of twelve men who must be resident within the jurisdiction of the Court in the High Peak, or be resident and working within Wirksworth. These individuals are summoned by the Barmaster to attend the Court, view mines and to give an opinion on matters put to them. The role of the Deputy Steward will be to swear in the twelve members of the Jury on behalf of the Steward.

While there has been no business at the recent sittings of the Court , the Court’s jurisdiction still exists and the jury is sworn in for 12 months. In line with tradition, beer, bread and cheese are provided before the jury is called and each member of the jury is given a clay pipe. A replica clay pipe, mounted and framed in a display case, was presented by the Duchy Solicitor Mr Timothy Crow to Mr Rieuwerts in recognition of his exceptional record of service.

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Duchy To Bring Prime Industrial/Commercial Space to Market

PRIMUS 104 WOOD LANE  The Duchy of Lancaster is bringing to market a purpose-built industrial/warehouse unit in one of the country’s most central locations. The large, premium quality warehouse, associated offices and delivery yard occupied by British heating systems and boiler manufacturer Baxi since 2002 is now back in Duchy ownership. Refurbishment and redecoration works are already underway to ensure the buildings are in tip-top condition and ready for immediate occupation.

Renamed, refurbished and relaunched as Primus 104, the 104,000 sq ft warehouse is 10m high and offers six dock and four level loading doors, as well as secure parking and access to the 54m service yard. It is located on Wood Lane, just 1.5 miles from junctions 5 and 6 of the M6 to the north of Birmingham City Centre.

Other globally established brands including Amazon, Jaguar Land Rover, Hermes, Stapletons and XPO Logistics are already operating distribution and logistics operations from this popular location.

Commenting on the response to date, Duchy Head of Urban Mike Andrews said: “We know that the market for this type of facility suffers from a dramatic shortage of supply and the early indications are that the release of Primus 104 is going to attract significant interest. The combination of offices, warehouse space, delivery and transport capability and security services here makes this a highly desirable option. It is one of the best, most convenient and most central locations in the UK, so I am confident that it will let quickly – and to the right tenant.”

Jones Lang LaSalle and local agent McGuinness Waddington have been appointed to act for the Duchy and a dedicated website has already been set up to share information and collect expressions of forward interest: www.primus104.co.uk.

Light industrial and commercial buildings have been a growing area of focus for the Duchy over recent years as demand has continued to exceed supply. Recent acquisitions include similar properties in Blackburn, Manchester and Liverpool.

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Duchy Partners with Natural England and Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust To Protect Environmental Sustainability

bio-diversity audit - bee   As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, the Duchy of Lancaster is to commission a bio-diversity audit across all of its rural holdings in England and Wales. Working in partnership with Natural England and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Duchy will undertake the nationwide audit over the next two years, developing an action plan for implementation in 2019.

Commenting on the initiative, Christopher Sparrow, Head of Rural Estates at the Duchy, said: “We have an extraordinary breadth of habitats within our rural portfolio, including woodland, water courses, grassland, arable farmland, hedgerows, field margins, moorland, foreshore and more formal landscapes. This partnership gives us the opportunity to review these habitats and accurately identify the wide variety of species that exist in these different environments.

“As a responsible landowner, the Duchy is keen to support national ecological initiatives. Natural pollinators are of particular interest and the Duchy has already successfully introduced a bee-keeping grant for tenants. This further investment is part of that ongoing commitment and we look forward to taking further action where we need to in order to protect some of these vibrant natural environments and priority species.”

The bio-diversity audit, which will be carried out by a team of independent professionals, will record and report on the quantum, location and condition of the Duchy’s natural assets. Thereafter, an action plan will be developed to prioritise assistance to any vulnerable assets so they might be protected and preserved for the future.

“Our farming tenants will be our key partners in this long-term endeavour,” added Christopher, “as the active custodians with the best local knowledge of our land. We recognise that a partnership approach is crucial in order to protect the land and ensure a sound ecological balance is maintained, now and in the future.”

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Lancastrians Toast ‘The Queen, The Duke of Lancaster!’

HMQ 90th Birthday_052HMQ 90th Birthday_148            The Duchy of Lancaster was delighted to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday in the company of the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, representatives of the Queen’s Own Yeomanry, and cadets from Stonyhurst College at Lancaster Castle on 21st April 2016.

At a private reception in the Castle Courtyard, guests were entertained by the Lancaster Royal Grammar School Band and a trumpet fanfare to announce the lighting of a rooftop beacon on top of the historic John O’Gaunt Gate. The beacon was one of a chain of similar beacons lit across the British Isles in celebration of Her Majesty’s birthday. The Queen’s Own Yeomanry and a unit of cadets formed the guard of honour for the Lord-Lieutenant as Her Majesty’s representative in the county.

Following a warm welcome from the CEO of the Duchy of Lancaster, Nathan Thompson, Lord Shuttleworth KCVO read a message of support from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales before lighting the beacon. The Lord-Lieutenant then went to on to propose the traditional Lancastrian toast at the closure of the ceremony, following the singing of the National Anthem.

Her Majesty The Queen is not only the longest reigning British Monarch, but also the longest serving Duke of Lancaster, having acceded to the Dukedom when She came to the throne in 1952.

Commenting on the celebrations, Duchy CEO Nathan Thompson said: “It seemed entirely fitting that we should mark the occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday in this historic Castle with a reception to celebrate the close links that the Duchy of Lancaster has with this city. Lancaster is often said to be at the heart of the Duchy – and the Castle is at the heart of the city.”

Since the Castle was decommissioned as a working prison in 2011, the historic buildings have been fully investigated by architectural historians and archaeologists and a programme of restoration works initiated to protect and preserve the Castle for future generations.

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