Below you'll find answers to the questions we get asked the most.

  • Who owns The Crown Estate?

    The Crown Estate belongs to the reigning monarch 'in right of The Crown', that is, it is owned by the monarch for the duration of their reign, by virtue of their accession to the throne. But it is not the private property of the monarch - it cannot be sold by the monarch, nor do revenues from it belong to the monarch.

    The Government also does not own The Crown Estate. It is managed by an independent organisation - established by statute - headed by a Board (also known as The Crown Estate Commissioners), and the surplus revenue from the estate is paid each year to the Treasury for the benefit of the nation's finances.

  • How did The Crown Estate come into being?
  • What is The Crown Estate's relationship with the Treasury?
  • How does the Sovereign Grant Act affect The Crown Estate?
  • Does The Crown Estate manage the Royal Palaces?
  • Does The Crown Estate manage the Royal Parks?
  • Is the Royal Family involved in the running of The Crown Estate?
  • Is there any relationship between The Crown Estate and the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster?

    No. The two Duchies are completely separate organisations and operate under their own statutes.

  • What is 'Crown land'?
  • What is Old Land Revenue Property?
  • What happens to the boundaries of the foreshore when the sea advances or retreats?
  • Does The Crown Estate assume management of 'unclaimed land'?
  • Do I need a permit to metal detect on Crown Estate foreshore?
  • Does The Crown Estate license gold panning?
  • I would like to harvest seaweed from the foreshore, what do I need to know before I do this?

FAQs about Escheat

  • What is escheat?

    Under our legal system, the Monarch (currently Queen Elizabeth II), as head of state, owns the superior interest in all land in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In most cases, this is usually irrelevant but it can become relevant if a freehold property becomes ownerless. If this happens, freehold land may, in some circumstances, fall to the monarch as the owner of the superior interest. This process is called 'escheat'.

    The types of properties that become subject to escheat are wide ranging from verges, roadways, freehold reversions and amenity land to disused coal mines and, in some cases, historically significant property. There is no comprehensive list of properties that may be subject to escheat but The Crown Estate is aware of around 7,000 properties listed as being subject to escheat. Recent specific examples of escheat include the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Carlisle and the Trent Valley Recycling site in Worksop.

    The Crown Estate, by convention only, through its appointed legal advisors Burges Salmon LLP, deals with the vast majority of instances where property may be deemed subject to escheat throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Please note that where properties subject to escheat are located within the Duchy of Lancaster or the Duchy of Cornwall, they will fall to be dealt with by those bodies, respectively.

  • How does land and property become ownerless and subject to escheat?
  • What is The Crown Estate’s approach to handling escheat properties?
  • How are properties and land subject to escheat sold back into private ownership?

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