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The Manor Conservancy


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  • 08/06/2015 3:54 PM | Web Master (Administrator)

    An award has been established to recognize individuals for their exceptional efforts toward the preservation of land in northern Baltimore and Harford Counties. Francis "Ike" Iglehart was recognized as the first recipient of the award presented in 2011.

    The award brings new life to the Sergeant Murphy Trophy, whose history is particularly appropriate to its new intended use. It is a reflection of the heritage and countryside we seek to preserve in the Manor Area. The colorful history of the horse, Sergeant Murphy, his achievement as the first American owned horse to win the English Grand National at Aintree, his roots in Maryland, the Harford Hunt Races - a point to point held on the grounds of Harvey Ladew's Pleasant Valley - are just part of the story. The Sanford family's connections with the Manor and the fitting return of the trophy to honor those committed to preserving open space, agriculture and rural lifestyle, make for a very special denouement to Sergeant Murphy's journey.

    Maryanna Skowronski, Director of the Harford County Historical Society, has researched its background and has written the following:

    The Sergeant Murphy Point to Point was held from 1925 through 1934 (no race in 1931) as a part of the Harford Hunt Races held on the grounds of Pleasant Valley Farm, home to Harvey S. Ladew. The race was sponsored by Stephen "Laddie" Sanford and was named in honor of Sanford's 'chaser Sergeant Murphy, who in 1923 was the first American owned horse to win the English Grand National. British newsreel footage of the race still exists. Originally intended as a hunt horse for Sanford, The Sergeant, as he was known proved not suited for the field.

    Stephen Sanford was the heir to the Sanford carpet fortune and hailed from New York. He was the son of John Sanford owner of Sanford Stud Farm and is best known as a member of the champion Hurricanes polo team. Sanford was married to the former stage and film actress Mary Duncan Sanford. Mary Sanford can be seen performing with Katharine Hepburn in the film Morning Glory.

    During the height of the Harford Hunt's Long Island invasion, the Sanfords maintained a stable at Farmington (the club). According to newspaper accounts of the day, Mrs. Sanford was considered to be glamorous and popular. Not an accomplished equestrienne in the beginning, she rapidly learned to ride and astonished everyone by tackling her husband's horse Bright's Boy which became her favorite mount.

    Among the noteworthy or recognizable names on the Sergeant Murphy Trophy are Redmond Stewart, Wassie Ball (winning rider of the last running) and A. C. Bostwick.

  • 16/04/2015 5:05 PM | Tara McDonough

    The Department of Public Works will hold its 7th annual public meeting to discuss rural roads, bridges, repaving, and traffic issues at the Agriculture Center on Shawan Road, Tues, April 28th 5:30-7:30 pm. The meeting fulfills the County's pledge to meet annually with residents interested in preserving the rural character of the County and to apprise them of infrastructure plans. 

    For information call: 410-887-2171.

  • 17/12/2014 12:20 PM | Web Master (Administrator)

    For the past twenty-five years, I have served as president of The Manor Conservancy. I am extraordinarily grateful for that opportunity. Our board, volunteers and landowners have been a wonderful team, working together to preserve the rural heritage of our area. During that time, we have been instrumental in preserving over fifteen thousand acres in northern Baltimore and Harford Counties, some through donations of conservation easements, some through purchase of easements using government funds.

    Besides our easement programs, we have, on four occasions, purchased threatened property outright and resold it after placing it under a conservation easement. By our joint efforts, we have protected much of the environmental, agricultural, aesthetic, horticultural, and historical riches of our very special rural landscape.

    I am immensely proud of our successes. The work of The Manor Conservancy, along with several other land trusts in the area, has elevated the density of conservation in northern Baltimore and Harford counties so that we are now ranked among the most highly concentrated protected land areas in the United States.

    We have much more conservation work to do and, as 2015 approaches, we are looking to the future. I have the honor of being appointed Chairman of the Board of the statewide Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) and, in that role, will continue to partner with The Manor Conservancy’s efforts to preserve our land.

    I ask you to please help me in welcoming incoming President, long-time Manor area resident, Henry Pitts. Henry had a career as a pension fund manager with Mercantile Safe-Deposit and Trust Company, and is now retired. He has served as Chairperson of the Conservancy’s Stewardship Committee for the past five years and will lead the organization’s efforts to maximize the vital stewardship expertise we provide to landowners and members of the community. Henry brings both passion and experience to his new position.

    Our organization is growing up in other ways too. We have brought on Bridget Sampson to be the Conservancy’s Administrative Director. Bridget brings non-profit experience, including successful grant writing and fundraising. She was the Executive Director of Chefs in the Making, a non-profit associated with the farm-to-table Baltimore restaurant, The Dogwood. She owned it with her husband for eight years. Before becoming a restaurateur, Bridget, who is trained as a writer, ran her own freelance writing business and taught writing at University of Baltimore. She and her chef-husband live on Pocock Road in Harford County. They are both avid supporters of our local farms and their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

    Become a member or donate to support our work

    At this time of year, when we are able to enjoy the season in this stunning place that we all treasure, think of making a tax-deductible contribution to The Manor Conservancy to support our continued commitment to the beauty, history, and environment of the area. If you have not renewed your membership or are not yet a member, please do so by visiting our web site

    We can increase our efforts only with your help. All best wishes for the holiday season,

    Jimmy Constable

  • 23/10/2014 5:08 PM | Web Master (Administrator)

    Ron Maher SrThe family of the late Ron Maher, Sr. recipient of the TMC Land Preservation Award was recognized at the TMC Annual Meeting on Oct. 20, 2014.
    Ronald Maher Sr. moved to the Manor in 1954. 

    He was an avid horseman and loved the countryside. In the 60′s he was a founding member of the Manor Area Association. It was one of the first groups formed to fight development and unwarranted disturbance of the land. He also helped to complete one of the first buyouts in the area, the Sutton Farm on Old York and Markoe, preventing a major subdivision in the heart of the Manor Area.

    When it was possible to sell one’s development rights to preserve the land, Ronny jumped on it. He was always working with neighbors to go in and form a group to preserve it. He put his farm under easement in 1989. He was responsible for bringing hundreds of acres under easement in some form or other. He was one of the founding board members of the Manor Conservancy.

  • 23/10/2014 10:44 AM | Web Master (Administrator)

    Two new Board members were elected at the Oct. 2014 Annual Meeting. We welcome their energy and expertise. They are:

    Joe Ward, who resides on Manor Road; Partner in Miles & Stockbridge; adjunct professor at University of Maryland School of Law; Director Association for Corporate Growth; Director Charles Street Development Corporation; Director The Arc of Baltimore.

    Hope R. Pearce, former office manager of large grain farm, consultant for field crop management, agricultural and equine programs; multi-generational Manor heritage and North County resident. 

    All Board member bios may be seen on the contact page of the website.

  • 17/10/2014 5:11 PM | Web Master (Administrator)

    Rural Legacy 2014The State of Maryland has granted TMC $698,000 for the purchase of easements under the Rural Legacy Program in 2014. These purchases are often used to preserve land that adjoins other preserved properties and does not qualify for other programs. 

    Our Rural Legacy area includes land in Harford and Baltimore Counties. TMC co-holds these easements with the Department of Natural Resources and is responsible for their administration in perpetuity.
    Applications for RL grants are submitted annually.

  • 09/09/2014 6:14 PM | Web Master (Administrator)

    The Manor Conservancy is an Internal Revenue Service qualified land trust as
    opposed to an advocacy organization. Our focus is permanent preservation of land through perpetual easements and stewardship of the land that under easements held in which TMC has an interest. Although we do become involved in land use planning and zoning issues that have a wide impact on properties under easement, we cannot and do not represent individual landowners in issues that might affect their land unless it is under easement . In such a case, our interest is protecting the sanctity of the easement. We generally suggest that the landowner look elsewhere to deal with an issue not directly related to the easement. In fact, in some cases our protection of the easement may be in conflict with the landowner’s desires.

    The pipeline expansion is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory
    Commission, with State and County input. It was approved by the Commission.
    Columbia Gas has the right of condemnation and landowners are compensated for any diminishment in fair market value. Unless TMC holds an easement on an
    impacted property, it has no standing to object.

    Different landowners have different concerns. Location is a problem for some. Yet
    if we became involved in a location dispute, we may be doing a disservice to the
    owner of the land over which an alternative route would be proposed. The
    inconvenience during construction is a problem for some. Compensation is an
    issue for some. Some have no objection and settle on a price they are willing to
    accept for the additional pipeline easement. These issues are unique to the
    individual landowners unless the property involved is subject to an easement held by TMC. In those cases, The Manor Conservancy becomes involved, reviews the proposals, and deals with Columbia.

    Any landowner interested in joining a group opposing the pipeline should contact
    Theaux Le Gardeur at Backwater Angler in Hereford. Theaux runs the Gunpowder
    River Keeper organization ( Virtually all
    of the property in our area over which the pipeline runs is in the Gunpowder
    Watershed. Theaux has a legal team, and is looking for support.

    The Manor Conservancy has received comments criticizing its lack of opposition.
    We welcome the criticism, because it reminds us of the need to explain our role
    and avoid future misunderstandings.

  • 08/09/2014 6:18 PM | Web Master (Administrator)

    Gunpowder FallsPreservation of an important locale in the Manor Area has been accomplished by the Merryman/Gilmore family who have granted a conservation easement for 209.8 acres.

    The acreage includes agricultural land, forests, open fields, a portion of Sawmill Branch, natural habitat, recreational trails leading to Gunpowder Falls State Park and scenic value of significant public benefit along Stansbury Mill Road. The easement is co-held by The Manor Conservancy and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as this beautiful property remains under private ownership and management.

    The community appreciates the efforts of the landowners to provide for conservation of the natural, agricultural, environmental, scenic, cultural, rural, woodland and wetland characteristics of the Property.

  • 20/06/2014 6:20 PM | Web Master (Administrator)

    Columbia Gas would like to provide an update to all those concerned with the progress of the Line MB extension.

  • 17/02/2014 4:21 PM | Web Master (Administrator)

    The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation is seeking applications for the current easement cycle. Recent cycles have combined funding for two years. If this occurs again this year, the next application will be in 2016. Furthermore, the easement sale process can take 18 months. For these reasons, staff encourages landowners who may be thinking about an easement sale to apply now. Baltimore County staff is ready to assist landowners with their applications. The application period is open and the deadline is May 1, 2014. The State requires that applications be mailed directly to the County to be processed and then submitted to the State by July 1, 2014.  

    To be eligible the land must meet minimum soil criteria and be at least 50 acres in size or adjacent to an already preserved farm. Funding is extremely limited so selection will be based upon the quality of the farm land, development potential, discounted asking price, and other factors. 

    Information and application forms for the State program can be found at with specific County information at 

    The application materials are to be sent to the attention of Wally Lippincott, Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, 111 W. Chesapeake Avenue, Room 319,Towson, MD 21204 by May 1, 2014. For any questions, please contact Wally Lippincott or Carmela Iacovelli at (410) 887-3854 or email at

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