An aristocrat so poor he is on benefits could be left homeless over plans to sell his country home – after being in his family for almost a THOUSAND years.
The Earl of Cardigan, 60, has been in and out of court after becoming embroiled in a number of legal wrangles with his estate trustees.
He claims they have denied him cash leaving him penniless and forced to wash in a local leisure centre and living off #71 a week Jobseeker’s Allowance.
But now the lord, real name David Brudenell-Bruce, faces the shame of seeing part of the 4,500 acre Savernake Estate being sold from under him.
Tottenham House, the 100-room mansion at the heart of the Wiltshire estate, is set to be sold to property mogul Jamie Ritblat for £10million.
The palatial home includes a whopping 1,000 acres of land – enough to build 570 football pitches.
Speaking yesterday (Tues) the aristocrat vowed to fight the sale of his Grade-I listed family home.
Lord Cardigan blamed the potential sale on trustees Wilson Cotton and John Moore and says he is launching a High Court action to save the house.
The trustees were appointed by his father Michael Brudenell-Bruce, 8th Marquess of Ailesbury, to manage the massive estate’s assets and finances.
Lord Cardigan said: “I am in a London meeting all day, doing everything necessary to block that sale arranged by two men who have taken over half a million from my estate without my permission.
“My claim in the High Court against these two Trustees is that they have taken over #500,000 from my Estate without my consent.
“I can only enjoy that property today because none of my ancestors took the money and ran off to blow it. By what right can I allow others to do the same with my property?
“That matter needs to get sorted first, and then I can turn my hand to finding another hotelier who wants to make Tottenham House a very elegant hotel that befits the building.”
The Earl currently lives in a rundown farmhouse on the estate, which he claims has no running hot water, while the 19th-Century Tottenham House lies empty.
Cardigan lives with his second wife Joanne, 48, who is heavily pregnant with his child.
The pair reportedly survive on #10-a-day because his American wife is not entitled to benefits.
The prospective buyer of the estate, Mr Ritblat, is the son of wealthy property magnate Sir John Ritblat, who is a patron of the arts and the chief executive of British Land.
Mr Moore and Mr Cotton took control of Savernake when the depressed Earl fled to America in 2005.
He suffered a breakdown and was committed to a psychiatric unit and lost control of the estate when he returned four years later.
The earl has since appeared in court a number of times faced with various charges from beating former friend John Moore to damaging bird feeders and stealing a car battery.
Cardigan’s next legal wrangle is set to go before the High Court in December, where he is trying to force out the trustees of his estate – hopefully before Savernake is sold.
He owns 49 per cent in the country estate, and his son Thomas, 30, owns the remaining 51 per cent.
But the trustees say they have a legal writ that gives them complete control over the estate until such time as they see fit to relinquish their power.
He is currently on police bail after being charged with harassment and disorderly conduct after allegedly making 69 unwanted phone calls to Mr Moore and turning off an electric pump that provides water to residential properties on the estate.
The trial is set to take place at Salisbury Magistrates Court later this year.