Jersey Seigneur sells his ancient feudal title – and it could be yours (if you have £25,000)

Sam Le Quesne is auctioning his Seigneurial title Picture: JON GUEGAN (34675875)

A SEIGNEUR is advertising his recently acquired ancient feudal title to raise funds for Jersey Overseas Aid’s humanitarian relief work in Ukraine.

Earlier this year, on the death of his father, Sam Le Quesne became Seigneur of the Fief ès Poingdestre – and he saw an opportunity.

He said: ‘It is an unearned privilege which has come to me purely because I was born as the person who would inherit that title.

‘To me it’s something which doesn’t fit with my world view but there is a definite value in it for people who want to become part of that tradition and who are fascinated by it.’

Mr Le Quesne explained that he now wanted to use the sale of the title to make a contribution where it was most needed.

‘I realised that it had a monetary value. Various people have said to me that they know people who would be interested and just to let them know the details,’ he added.

Sam Le Quesne is auctioning his Seigneurial title to raise money for the Bailiff’s Ukraine appeal Picture: JON GUEGAN. (34675873)

The title of Seigneur du Fief ès Poingdestre is one of the few in the Island never to have been sold, passing down 19 generations by natural descent. While the title – attached to the Island’s most northerly fief from Sorel down to Sion – no longer comes with land, residential rights or property, it retains significant ceremonial value.

Its holder is required to attend the prestigious annual Assise d’Héritage ceremony in the Royal Court in September where title-holders acknowledge their duty to the Crown, known as ‘comparence’, in a ceremony normally presided over by the Bailiff with the Lieutenant-Governor in attendance.

They can also style themselves Seigneur – or Dame in the case of a woman who assumes the title – rather than being addressed in a more prosaic form to which the majority must resign themselves.

Seigneurs, originating from the French word for lord, enjoyed privileges and powers under the feudal system, including typically practices like the corvée – the carriage of the Seigneur’s wood, wine and hay wherever required – and receipt of rentes, recurring payments from tenants related to the agricultural productivity of their land. Most of the rights once enjoyed by Seigneurs were abolished by law in 1966.

The sale of the title of Seigneur du Fief ès Poingdestre does not require the consent of the Crown but it does need to be formalised by contract passed before the Royal Court. It can be purchased by anyone, regardless of gender or nationality, and the holder does not need to be a Jersey resident. They will receive the original manorial scroll, detailing its lineage.

Mr Le Quesne explained why he had taken the decision to donate the proceeds of the sale, once legal fees and other costs had been deducted, to Jersey Overseas Aid’s humanitarian relief work in Ukraine: ‘I started to speak to Simon Boas from Overseas Aid and he was really interested in it. I have such incredible admiration for the way the Ukrainian people have responded to what’s been happening to them. They have not yielded to one of the most tyrannical and oppressive forces that we’ve seen for a long time, and I just think that anything that can possibly be done to show financial and moral support for them needs to be done.

‘I did think a lot about whether [the funds] should be funnelled into what’s needed here in Jersey, but the thing is that there you are talking about life and death. It is the most urgent thing, and it needs all the help it can get. That was the thought process, really,’ he said.

The sale of the title will be conducted by sealed bid through lawyers appointed to handle the transaction, and there is a £25,000 reserve price. The tender document can be downloaded at or picked up in person from the offices of Benest & Syvret, 16 Hill Street, St Helier, JE2 1BS.

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