Common Land Laws

Common Land Laws

Not all commons have owners, but all common land is, by definition, registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965, as well as the rights of all commoners if they still exist. The registration authorities are the county councils, and if there is no property, a local council, such as a parish council, usually obtains guardianship by transferring ownership in accordance with the law (Article 8). Common Land, an English development, was used in many former British colonies, for example in Ireland and the United States. The North American colonies adopted English laws by establishing their own commons. Famous examples include the Boston Common in Massachusetts and the New Haven Green in New Haven, Connecticut, some of the oldest commons in the United States. [54] This includes a description of common rights (e.g., the right to graze a certain number of sheep), the common space over which the right can be exercised, the name of the right holder and whether the right to land belonging to the right holder (the citizen) or to a right is strongly linked, i.e. not related to the land. You can find information on shared land in the owners` files. The National Archives holds large amounts of records spanning many centuries relating to Crown estates, as well as some private mansion records that have been presented as evidence in fair proceedings, particularly before the Court of Chancery.

Crown commons were lands held directly by the Crown and, therefore, the common rights that could be used were rights of use rather than property rights. Unlike the communes, the rights of use of the Crown communes (for example, for grazing livestock) were accessible to all, not only to neighbouring landowners. There are no more Crown Commons in Scotland; those that survived the 20th century were taken over by the Crown Estate. Common land is land owned by one party over which another party has certain rights, such as the right to graze livestock. Common land is not owned by the public, but may have a right of public access or the public may be allowed to use it. The Commission`s report resulted in the Registration of Municipalities Act 1965, which provided for the registration of common land and urban and village greens. Records should be kept by provincial councils. Registration began on January 2, 1967. The Registration of Municipalities (Deadlines) Ordinance 1966 stipulated that registration would be open until 31 June 1966. March 1970; this measure was extended by an amending ordinance until 31 July 1970.

These registries are now usually located at local registrars. Find out where the land in your local community or the greenery of your village is by contacting your local council. It maintains the “Register of Common Lands and Green Villages” for your region. The largest quantities of documents from the National Archives relating to common land belong to the archives of the Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAF). Within the MAF department is a department of land ownership registers, copying of enclosure and tithes, as well as land use and improvement. This section contains many of the main series of documents on community lands, including those listed below. The Registration of Municipalities Act 1965 required each county council to establish a register of common lands. They were also required to manage the registration of community land and urban and village greenery required by the 1965 Act.

Communes are older than parliament or even the monarchy and are a legacy of the time when land was mostly “wild” and ownerless. The seigneurial system appointed owners, but the peasantry retained its customary rights. The House of Commons Act 1285, also known as the Statute of Westminster II, affirmed the right of landowners to “approve” common lands, that is, to fence off surplus common land beyond what was necessary to meet the needs of citizens and to use it for more profitable agricultural use. This was a frequent source of conflict between landowners and commoners until the practice of licensing was finally regulated by the Act to Amend the Law of the Communes Act of 1893. It has since been abolished. By the mid-nineteenth century, many common rights had been eradicated by enclosures, but some survive to this day. The Registration of Municipalities Act of 1965 was intended to record all common land, owners and rights. Unfortunately, many could not be registered at that time and there were disputes.

Some commons have been written off due to loopholes in the law. One of the most anticipated elements of the 2006 Act concerned the possibility of submitting a request for rectification of the register.

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