It's a chance to become part of the gentry, hold one of Cumbria's most distinguished titles - and one of the oldest in England.

The Lordship of the Manor of Arthuret, which takes its name from the legendary King Arthur, is going under the hammer in London.

For more than four centuries, the lordship had been held by the Graham family of Longtown before Sir James Graham, 7th Baronet, sold it to a Mr McGlone, of Scotland, about nine years ago.

Trustees are now offering the title for sale at auction on the direction of Mr McGlone's family after he died six months ago.

Auctioneer and director Robert Smith said there has been some interest in the sale already - but he could not be specific.

"People don't always tell you," he said.

"They keep it in their heart because they don't want the auctioneer to know what they are thinking.

"A couple of people have asked questions and I think at least one person is going to bid for it."

The title has been advertised for sale and can be bought be anyone.

It goes up for auction on Tuesday at Manorial Auctioneers in Lambeth in the capital.

It is expected to sell for between £6,000 to £7,000 but Mr Smith said you can never tell what the end result will be.

When it comes to their sale and the reason people bid for lordships, he said it can be extraordinary what people are prepared to pay.

He said: "Why do people want anything?

"When you look at some of the modern art that come on the market that makes me think to myself: Why would you pay a million or more for this? But beauty is in the eye of the beholder," he said.

Sir James Graham "Local people are probably not interested enough to buy it but probably interested enough to know who buys it.

"Lords of the Manor often get roped into all sorts of donations or invited to open a fete or something like that.

"It's all part of the reason for buying."

Mr Smith has sold about 3,000 lordships since he started his company in 1984.

They include the Lord of the Manor of Stratford Upon Avon, bought for £110,000 by American programmer Peter Norton and the Lord of the Manor of Wimbledon which went for £171,000 to an American who wanted to remain anonymous.

"He has always wanted complete privacy which I didn't understand," said Mr Smith, chairman of the Manorial Society of Great Britain.

Manors originated in the 10th and 11th centuries.

In Domesday Book, Cumberland doesn't appear, along with the northern counties of Westmorland, Northumberland, and Durham, but the book itself records 14,418 lordships of the manor in England.

Officially a manorial title is “a property without body” - so any would-be buyers shouldn't expect a country pile or sprawling gardens with their new status.

Historically, lordship of a manor carried with it a bundle of rights over land within the manor, even over land that was in the hands of tenants and common land.

Other privileges have included the right to hunt wild animals on the wastes of the manor - common land - and the right to wild fish. The lord could demand payment from people fishing in rivers and lakes within his manor.

The new Lord or Lady of the Manor will be elligible for membership of the Manorial Society of Great Britain.

The title can be used publicly and can appear on the holder's passport, credit cards and bank cards.