Corby Castle family feud decided at appeal court

A son has lost his appeal in a £1.5m legal battle with his baronet father to recoup money from the sale of the family castle in Cumbria.

Sir John Howard-Lawson sold the 13th Century Corby Castle estate in 1994, but his son claims it was not his to sell.

Philip Howard, 50, took his bid to recover his "inheritance" to London's High Court a year ago, but lost.

Mr Howard has now lost his challenge to that ruling at the appeal court.

'Forfeited' inheritance

The business consultant claimed his father, whose original surname was Lawson, had "forfeited" his right to inherit the castle in 1962 by neglecting to comply with some terms in his great grandfather's will.

He said this made him, not his father, heir to the estate, and entitled him to the £1.5m proceeds from its sale.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Howard's challenge against the ruling by Mrs Justice Proudman and backed her interpretation of the clause in the will which required the adoption of the Howard surname and coat-of-arms.

Ruling that there was no forfeiture, she had said Sir John had applied to use the surname and coat-of-arms within the time specified in the will.

She added that the clause was included because Mr Howard's great-great-grandfather, who had only one daughter, wanted to continue the association of his family name and arms with his landed estate.

The estate had been in the family for 400 years before it was sold due to financial difficulties.

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