The Duchy of Lancaster

What is the Duchy of Lancaster?

The Duchy of Lancaster is an ancient body responsible for managing an investment land, property and financial investments on behalf of the reigning Monarch who is styled, the Duke of Lancaster. The Duchy was originally a gift of land from Henry III to his son Edmund in 1265 from the estates of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, which were seized after his rebellion against the crown in the 1260s and defeat at the Battle of Evesham.

The estates and jurisdiction now known as the Duchy of Lancaster have directly belonged to the reigning Sovereign since 1399 and is administered on behalf of the King by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Clerk of the Council.

The rural estates consist of 18,481 hectares of land in England and Wales and comprises commercial, agricultural and residential properties, the majority of which are in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Lincolnshire. Additionally the Duchy has a significant commercial and investment property portfolio largely in London.

The Duchy has many other duties including ceremonial, management, educational and church appointments throughout the Duchy lands, administration of ownerless estates and historic buildings.

So why Wyggestons?

Wyggeston’s Hospital was founded by William Wyggeston the Younger in 1513. It was licensed by King Henry VIII and was originally funded by the income from Wyggeston’s lordships, manors and lands. In 1857, the management of the Hospital was vested in twenty Trustees, who were required to erect a building for 25 residents. The Trustees also established a school for 200 boys and 100 girls between the ages of 7 and 17. This led to the foundation of Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys and Wyggeston Grammar School for Girls, both of which are now co-educational sixth form colleges.

The present Hospital on Hinckley Road was built in 1966. It offers 54 warden assisted flats, each suitable for a couple alongside a 24 room Residential Care Home named after the founder’s wife, Agnes.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is responsible for appointing the Chaplain of Trinity Hospital and the Master of Wyggeston’s Hospital on behalf of His Majesty The King as Duke of Lancaster. Both organisations also continue to receive an ancient stipend or small annual grant from the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund.

Rev. Tony Leighton

Master of Wyggestons

There has been a ‘Master’ of Wyggestons since William Wyggeston sent up his ‘Hospital’ in 1513. It is a historic title denoting the person in charge of and responsible for an institution. Much has changed in our society in the past 500 years and so has the role of Master of Wyggestons.

In the 21st Century the Master of Wyggestons is required to be an Anglican Priest and to live on site but is no longer ‘in charge’. My role as Master is that of a Chaplain, a member of the Senior Staff and a Governor (Trustee) of the Charity.

As ‘Chaplain’ I am therefore responsible for the regular and special Services (both Anglican and non-denominational) in our lovely Chapel of St Ursula’s. I am available for pastoral care of residents, staff and relatives (regardless of creed or background). As an ‘ex-officio’ Governor I attend and take part in all Governors meetings (and their committees). As part of the Senior Staff I am involved in much of the day to day life and administration of both William and Agnes House and the office staff. One special aspect of this is being involved in meeting prospective residents.

Rev. Tony Leighton

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