Duke of Norfolk who owns large amounts of Sheffield downsizes city base after 'life is not easy' comment
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The top toff’s affairs are now conducted in the much humbler Abbey House, a modern block on Leopold Street, where he rubs shoulders with ordinary citizens working for commercial companies.
His previous base at 8 St James’ Street is a Grade-II listed Georgian delight at the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, dating from 1850.
Edward Fitzalan-Howard is the highest-ranking duke in the country, below only royalty. He helped arrange the Queen’s funeral and will do the same for the upcoming coronation of King Charles III.
The duke lives in a huge castle in Sussex and has vast inherited wealth. His family has owned huge parts of Sheffield for centuries and he still collects rent, visiting about once a month.
Estate agent Fowler Sandford looks after his affairs in the city and the firm has also made the move. Partner Jeremy Robinson stressed the decision to relocate was nothing to do with the duke.
“It’s an office he attends where we have our meetings. He goes where we wish to meet, he has no opinion of it.”
Most tenants had been notified about the move and only a handful still pay ground rent in person, he added.
Number 8 St James’ Street is being cleared out. It is estimated several flats could be created in area where heritage buildings are increasingly returning to their original residential use.
In September, the peer was banned after driving through a red light while using his phone. His argument he needed his licence to organise the coronation failed to convince magistrates who gave him six points.
The Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshal, also owns Framlingham Castle, Bungay Castle, Worksop Manor, Carlton Towers and Norfolk House in London, according to author Nick Hayes.
Author Guy Shrubshole states he owned 46,000 acres of land in 2001. And in 2015 he received £449,166 in taxpayer-funded farm subsidies and £259,605 in single area payments.