British Lord auctions his noble title …

By William Pherrel

British Lord of the Manor of Warleigh and millionaire David Piper has made headlines in recent years for his attempt to auction off his multi-million dollar assets, but especially in 2002 for advertising his search for a “Lady of Warleigh.” With this, he had hoped to find solvent ladies to pass on through marriage his manorial title and 111 acre estate, including the mansion house itself, two hotels, various outbuildings, two Bentleys and his art collection. In the following two years, he had been swamped by nearly 2000 replies, over 100 with which he had made contact but sadly not found an appropriate match despite about 100 newspaper articles, 30 radio and television interviews and an extensive report about him in the U.S. magazine People. However, he still does receive up to 35 emails a day with offers from all parts of the world and still remains in contact with some of the earlier interested ladies.

He had finally managed to sell the manor and 105 acres in October 2004, leaving him with 6 acres of organic undeveloped farmland, a contemporary art collection, Bentleys, seafront hotel and café, two ocean-view apartments and four big garages crammed full of belongings, from antique clock to chamber organ to a grand piano dating from 1912.

This entire enterprise began when David Piper placed a newspaper ad seeking “an attractive 25 – 35 year old entrepreneurial, intelligent professional of independent means” to “become Lady of Warleigh”. With this, he had hoped to find someone who would first fall in love with his estate “and then fall in love with me” to help get him out of the financial situation he had gotten himself into after the 1999 purchase of the manor and attached noble title of Lord. On top of that, he did not have enough cash to maintain the estimated $ 10,000.00 per month necessary to keep up his estate and pay off his debts.

His ultimate hopes are to clear off his debts and move from the present home town of Plymouth to be closer to his children near London, where he could also receive further treatment at the University College Hospital. Being forced to close the hotels and the café because of his physical inability to spend the necessary time to run them appropriately, Piper was motivated by the story of a British-born rug salesman in Perth, Australia, who had put his life up for sale on eBay after a painful separation from his wife, to do the same.

With this in mind, Piper put himself and all of his worldly belongings on eBay, hoping to raise at least $ 2 million, even though the entire assessed value of his estates of over $ 10 million could theoretically have brought more. However, due to dramatic drops in property prices, he was forced to settle for less. Perhaps the more important reason for his efforts though, are his hopes to fund his cancer treatment after being diagnosed with a T3b prostrate cancer, which had proven too difficult to treat in his home country of Great Britain.

Considered by the press to be eccentric and by many others to be “weird” or “lusty”, I believe that Lord David Piper is merely using his own intuition to resolve his increasingly unmanageable situation with innovative ideas. His title “Lord of the Manor of Warleigh” had been purchased along with the manor itself in 1999. Why should he not sell it in the same way to a person who seeks not only a title, but the wonderful property that belonged to it, perhaps even falling in love with the interested person??

His innovative ideas have not ceased with his eBay offers however. Among 30 different marketing ideas, he is selling the remaining 6 acres of property bit by bit to people who had wanted to buy a part of the Warleigh estate but couldn’t afford the entire property. With this, he is hoping to sell up to 400 separate plots of land varying in size and price beginning at 200 square feet for about $ 1,700.00 up to 5000 square feet for about $ 63,500.00. From planting a tree in memory of a loved one, scattering the ashes of cremated family (or even pet) members, vineyards, rose gazebos, truffle tree plantations or even a Japanese garden, the sky’s the limit for the interested parties!

For a man that has gained much, married twice, and lost much, he is amazingly lacking of sentimental feelings over the loss of his assets – “mostly they are just possessions. I won’t be weeping” he was quoted as saying. It’s quite the opposite actually. He is looking forward to getting rid of it all to begin a new life near Regent’s Park in London – closer to his children, closer to the hospital for his treatments and to settle down to make the most of what might only be a few remaining years of a fast paced and adventurous life.