A SELF-STYLED ‘Lord of the Manor’ is attempting to put land in a Pembrokeshire village up for lease for £10,000 tomorrow (Thursday), the Western Telegraph has learned.

Around 100 residents gathered in the village of Spittal, near Haverfordwest, for a public meeting on Monday evening to express concern over a claim made under controversial manorial rights.

As a result, Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb has written to Paul Fosh Auctions calling for the lease of 25 acres of land at Spittal - Lot 51 in the auction in Cardiff - to be removed from the sale.

The man behind the move to lease the land for 25 years for £10,000 is businessman Mark Roberts, who has been involved in several high-profile manorial rights claims across Wales – including a costly court case involving the rights to shipwrecks on part of the Pembrokeshire coast.

Known as the Lord Marcher of Trelleck, the lease is being auctioned under the title of the Manor of Spittal.

MP Crabb, in his letter to Paul Fosh Auctions, wrote: “I understand from the Land Registry that this has no filed plan for the title.

"I note from the Land Registry that the lordship of the manor is simply the title by which the lord of the manor is known. In many cases the title may no longer have any land or rights attached to it. Because of its origin and lack of physical substance, it is known as incorporeal hereditaments, which is defined as an ‘interest having no physical existence’.”

The public meeting in the small village, chaired by Sheena Jowett JP, described as “very effective and calm”, was followed by an extraordinary meeting of the community council on Tuesday evening.

Mr Crabb told the Western Telegraph: “Residents in Spittal are quite rightly shocked and concerned by the sudden news that some 20 acres of common land in the village is up for lease at auction this Thursday.

“I was concerned to hear that the person behind the sale of the long-term lease is businessman Mark Roberts, known as Lord Marcher of Trelleck, whose attempts to acquire manorial rights on land across Wales have been well reported in the media.

“I have written to the auctioneer responsible for the sale urging him to remove the lot from his listings until further legal information can be obtained.

“I have also written to Justice Secretary, Lord Faulks QC, to ask for an update on whether the Government will be taking forward a review of manorial rights which could bring about changes to the way that these manorial rights are currently exercised.”

Managing Director Paul Fosh, of Paul Fosh Auctions, said: “We’re not lawyers; if his lawyer says he’s got title we will sell it. We believe he is selling his leasehold interests, not the freehold.”

Some legal documents relating to the lot were still being awaited by the auctioneers at time of writing so it was unsure if the auction will go ahead or not.