When I consulted the government department handling this kind of dispute and a solicitor, they all said verbal agreement didn't work because it would be a long and expensive process to prove that such an agreement had existed. It would be much better to cut my loss and forget what's right; and concentrate on what's more easily achievable: retreat.
To lift my foul mood, I read my favourite Pride and Prejudice again and it seems villains and the less than heroic characters also used the word honour rather freely:
Upon my honour, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them you see uncommonly pretty. - Charles Bingley
There was just such an informality in the terms of the bequest as to give me no hope from law. A man of honour could not have doubted the intention, but Mr. Darcy chose to doubt it - George Wickham
Are being honourable such a rare commodity?