The Duchy of Lancaster is a private estate of land, property and other assets owned by the Sovereign as Duke of Lancaster. It is an Ancient Inheritance created 750 years ago in 1265.
The history of the Duchy is fascinating – from its origination following a violent rebellion in the 13th century to the famous knight and war hero who became the first Duke of Lancaster. Lancashire was raised to a County Palatine by Edward III in the Middle Ages, meaning the Duke of Lancaster ruled over justice and administration in the area, a move that was thought to provide a protective barrier against the Scots. Find out more about the history of the Duchy
The title Duke of Lancaster has been held by the reigning Sovereign since Henry IV in 1399 and continues to be used, even for a female monarch. At gatherings of Lancastrians within the County Palatine and worldwide, the toast is: “The Queen, Duke of Lancaster!”
Today, the Duchy estate consists of 18,454 hectares of land across England and Wales comprising commercial, agricultural and residential property, the majority of which are in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Lincolnshire.
In Lancashire, 3,900 hectares of land form part of the Duchy estate, including the Wyreside and Myerscough estates in Wyre. The largest estate in Lancashire is Whitewell within the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Eight of the 30 livestock-based farms included in the Lancashire Survey are based on the Myerscough estate, four of which form part of Myerscough College, the North West’s leading agricultural college and centre of learning.
The Queen maintains a keen interest in the Duchy of Lancaster and throughout her reign has made regular visits to the estate. Her Majesty visited Wyre in 2006 as part of her 80th birthday celebrations. Duchy tenants from across the Whitewell Estate took part in the visit which culminated in a private dinner at The Inn at Whitewell.