The Chancellors Group operates across the Home Counties, Oxfordshire, London, Herefordshire, and mid-Wales, and has a heritage spanning more than 200 years.
Our roots can be traced back to 1807, when George III was the reigning monarch and Nelson’s victory in the Battle of Trafalgar was a recent memory. The founder, James Cain, had his premises at King Street, Richmond and swiftly became a well-established and respected firm of auctioneers, valuers and estate agents.
The name Chancellors came about after Edwin Chancellor, an architect and surveyor, joined the Company in 1852 and held the reins for the next five years. His younger brother Albert served as an apprentice, but eventually became a senior partner, a position which he held for over 50 years, and it was he who really put Chancellors Estate Agents on the map.
Albert was responsible for the expansion of the Company, opening a second office in Sunningdale in 1882 and two years later another in Ascot. In 1907 the original King Street office in Richmond was demolished as part of the town expansion plan. New offices were subsequently built at The Quadrant.
Aside from his estate agency achievements, Albert was also responsible for establishing the Richmond Horticultural Club, as well as being Secretary of the first Industrial and Fine Art Exhibition. He later became Mayor of Richmond in 1897. He died in 1911 and his two sons, Beresford and Algernon took over the business.
The Company was family-run for a further two decades, and began to expand further in to the Home Counties. The progression was slowed during both the First and Second World Wars, and the Chancellor family suffered another loss when Albert’s grandson Richard, a Captain in the 7th Royal Berkshire Regiment and student at Oxford University, was killed in action whilst leading his men in a raid on the enemy trenches. Caring only for the conduct of the raid, he insisted that the wounded men of his company should be carried back first. Had he lived he would have been recommended for the Distinguished Service Order. He is commemorated on the wall of Christ Church, Oxford and at the Harrow School.
Following the end of the war, the company went from strength to strength. It took on board additional partners and became a force to be reckoned with in the property industry – acquiring a handful of other firms on the way. All bar two of these have since been aligned under the Chancellors name, with the exception of Anscombe & Ringland and Russell Baldwin & Bright, who both came under the ownership of Chancellors & Co in October 1987. Their names were preserved due to their own long-established heritages and their excellent reputations in the areas they operate.
Anscombe & Ringland was founded in 1826 in St John’s Wood, London, opposite Lord’s cricket ground. After 155 successful years of servicing the residents of St John’s Wood, the company opened a second branch in Hampstead, progressively expanding to the finer residential areas of Central and North West London.
The roots of Russell Baldwin & Bright trace back to 1846 when Edward Russell, a successful farmer, began carrying out “agricultural valuations and stock sales”. The business then became a family operation for three generations, when his grandson Frank Russell formed a partnership with a former rival, Archer Baldwin (who later went on to be a Sir and take the seat of MP for North Herefordshire) and developed the business, specialising in both residential and agricultural property. In 1939, Geoffrey Bright joined the firm and it assumed its present name.
Chancellors & Co was taken over by Hogg Robinson in 1987 as part of an acquisition programme of some fifteen organisations. Hogg Robinson Property Services was formed and was itself acquired by the Sun Alliance Group in 1990. This combination led to the formation in 1990 of The Chancellors Group of Estate Agents Limited, the official company title today. The Group was then headed by Managing Director James Scott-Lee FRICS (1952-2017), an experienced estate agent and human resources professional.
When the Group was formed, its Head Office was based initially in Maidenhead and later Ascot, where the branch was one of the first premises that bore the Chancellors name – a fitting coincidence.
James served as a Chairman of the Group and was a Fellow of RICS, member of ARLA and Fellow of NAEA. He also chaired the RICS Residential Group, and sat on both the Ombudsman Services: Property Liaison Panel and Members Forum of the Tenancy Dispute Service.
His son Robert is the Group’s Managing Director, who is, along with Operations Director Darren Simpson, tasked with ensuring Chancellors’ two-century history of excellent customer service, attention to detail and industry knowledge continue for many years to come.
Correct at time of publication. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Chancellors Group of Estate Agents Ltd or its subsidiaries. References to legislation, best practice and other matters with legal implications such as fees, rules and processes are included for information and editorial purposes only and are not authoritative, nor should they be interpreted as advice. When in doubt you should only take advice from an industry professional or solicitor where appropriate. E&OE.