THE ancient Barony of MacDonald on the Isle of Skye has been put up for sale with a record price tag of £1m.
The buyer will be able to call themselves Baron of MacDonald and apply to Scotland’s Lord Lyon King of Arms for a personal coat of arms. A baron’s wife can use the courtesy title Lady MacDonald.
The highest price paid to date for a baronial title is 250,000 for the feudal Earldom of Arran, which comes with several thousand acres.
But the name MacDonald is one of the most recognisable, famous and ancient names in Scottish history.
The title, with its roots in the 800-year-old Lordship of the Isles, is being sold with the ruins of the MacDonald stronghold Knock Castle and four acres of land by Skye land-owner Sir Iain Noble.
Noble hopes to use money from the sale for local job-creation projects on the island, including a new distillery.
The Gaelic-speaking merchant banker said: "We have several projects we could use the capital for in Skye. The two we have in mind are a distillery and an educational project."
He bought the title with 23,000 acres of land 30 years ago from near neighbour the late Lord Macdonald , Chief of Clan Donald.
The man handling the sale, Brian Hamilton of Baronytitles.com from Dumfries, said the MacDonald title is the best to come on the market.
He said: "Is it worth it? The title is unique. The historical provenance and name are impeccable.
"Ask anyone, anywhere in the world, to think of a Scottish name and the chances are they will come up with MacDonald. But I think we simply do not know what it is worth. No one does. It just happens to be the only one in the world."
Scottish barony title sales have almost doubled this year. In 2002, Baronytitles.com have sold 14 titles - a double the 2001 figure, at an average of 55,000 each. The purchasers are usually Scottish exiles and their descendants abroad. The firm has 200 potential clients on its books from Venezuela to New Zealand who are looking for Scottish titles.
But Hamilton said: "Interestingly women seldom buy baronies. I don’t know why. I think they just don’t see the point."