Shropshire History

Shropshire Common Land

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Common land is land owned by one or more persons where other people, known as ‘commoners’ are entitled to use the land or take resources from it. All common land is owned by somebody, either privately or by a public body such as a local council or the National Trust. A commoner is a person who usually owns property on or near the common land and certain rights are included in their land deeds. These rights have been handed down from medieval times when lords granted villagers certain rights on their land. The rights are still in existence today and their origin can be seen from the names, ie

·          

·         Pasturage - the right to put livestock out to feed on the land, usually grass but can be heather or other vegetation

·         Pannage - the right to put pigs out to feed in wooded areas of the land

·         Estover - the right to take specific timber products from the land, like whole trees or firewood

·         Turbary - the right to take turf or peat from the land to burn as fuel

·         Piscary - the right to take fish from ponds, lakes, rivers and streams

·         Soil - the right to take soil or minerals from the common

·         Animals - the right to take wild animals

Lammas Rights – the right to pasture following the harvest, between Lammas Day (12th August) to 6th April, even if they did not have other rights to the land.  

·          

·          

Commoners can only take enough turf, peat, fish, minerals or animals for the property to which their right of common is attached. An owner of a common can use the land and take resources from it provided this doesn’t interfere with commoner’s rights. An example of this would be where a commoner had grazing rights on the land, so the landowner couldn’t build houses there as it would reduce the amount of grazing land.

 

Today there are over 7,000 registered areas of common land in England alone but once there were a great deal more. Many were lost as a result of the Enclosure Acts from the 16th Century onwards, although most of these took place between 1760 and 1820. A good background to the enclosure of common land can be found in Wikipedia.

 

The general public have no commoner rights but they do have a right to roam on the land and to use it for outdoor activities such as walking and climbing. Horse riding is allowed on some commons but not all. The public is not allowed to :-

 

·         - camp without the owner’s permission

·         - light a fire or have a barbecue

·         - hold a festival or other event without permission

·         - drive across it without permission or right of access.

 

It is an offence to drive a vehicle onto common land unless the driver intends to park it within 15 yards of a public road or the driver has permission from the landowner. Such permission may be for access to their property or to manage livestock.

 

Town and village greens are now registered as common land and can be used for sport and recreation, eg playing football or walking a dog. Some also have ‘rights of common’ over them like grazing livestock (for which reason many have a pond for the cattle to drink). Many greens are owned and maintained by local parish or community councils but some are privately owned.

 

In some areas, common land has been created by specific Acts of Parliament and there are unique laws for how the local authority can manage it. It is often the case that commoners and landowners work together on a Commons Council to manage the land. Such councils can make legally binding rules for how people use the common land. Commoners and landowners can also set up a voluntary group called a Commons Association but this has no legal power and relies on members to agree how the common should be managed. There are several pieces of legislation relating to commons, ie

 

Erection of Cottages Act 1588

There was a belief that if an English man or woman could build a house on common land, raise the roof over their head and have a fire in the hearth between sunrise and sunset, then they could have the right of undisturbed possession. The belief was actually a fallacy but the Act was passed to stop landless peasants unlawfully squatting on commons.

 

Commons Act 1876

This Act regulated 36 commons in England and Wales and allowed for part of them to be enclosed

 

Commons Act 1899

This Act enabled district councils (and subsequently and National Park authorities) to manage commons where their use for exercise and recreation is the prime consideration and where the owner and commoners do not require a direct voice in the management, or where the owner cannot be found.

 

The Law of Property Act 1925

·         Section 193 gave the right of the public to "air and exercise" on Metropolitan commons and those in pre-1974 urban districts and boroughs.

·         Section 194 restricted the enclosure of commons, which would now require Ministerial consent.

·          

Commons Registration Act 1965

This established a register of common land. Not all common land has an owner but it is all registered, along with the rights of any commoners if they still exist. The registration authorities are the County Councils and, when there is no ownership, a local parish council is normally given guardianship.

 

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

This Act gave all of the public the right to roam freely on all registered common land in England and Wales.

 

Commons Act 2006

This Act enables commons to be managed more sustainably by commoners and landowners working together through commons councils with powers to regulate grazing and other agricultural activities. It also prohibits the severance of rights of common grazing, preventing commoners from selling, leasing or letting their rights away from the property to which rights are attached,

 

 

 

Gazetteer of Commons

 

At present, there are 86 registered areas of common land in Shropshire. There is a national searchable database of common land giving more details for these. Below is a list with summary information for the registered common land in Shropshire. More details are available by clicking on the pdf file below.

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQISU07CL_9Wz_OA03A5vS-O9UTQ7TDkoU-9bAPNLkzjWc0mQ9UKT7MwZQ

 

Albrighton Pool

Albrighton

SJ811045

Batchcott Common

Batchcott

SO493713

Baveney Wood Common

Buttonbridge

SO698794

Bettws Pool

Bettws-y-Crwyn

SO204812

Brown Clee Hill

Abdon.

SO594865

Brown Heath Moss

Brownheath

SJ460301

Brown Moss

Ash Magna

SO562394

Catherton Common

Crumpsbrook

SO628783

Clee Hill Common

Cleeton St Mary

SO600780

Clee Liberty

Cockshutford

SO585845

Clenchacre

Broseley

SJ676017

Cwms Common

Church Stretton

SO477945

Flaxpool Lane

West Felton

SJ341255

Goldstone Common

Lockleywood

SJ700290

Gospel Oak

High Ercall

SJ594176

Gravel Hole

Dudleston Heath

SJ368359

Grimpo Common

Grimpo

SJ362267

Hanway Common

Batchcott

SO485709

Henley Common

Henley

SO456880

Henley Common

Wolverton

SO462879

Hollinwood Common

Hollinwood

SJ521363

Homer Common

Homer

SJ622015

Hungry Hatton

Hinstock

SJ676269

Lightwood Coppice

Lightwood

SJ697290

Llynclys Hill

Llynclys

SJ272238

Long Mynd Field No. 252

Asterton

SO399908

Lower Short Ditch

Sarn

SO224884

Marl Allotment

Dobson's Bridge

SJ501358

Marl Hole

Lockleywood

SJ694280

Merrington Green

Merrington

SJ465209

Obley Allotment

Obley

SO339784

Obley Well

Obley

SO329778

Old Pinfold

Bagley

SJ399277

Old Quarry

Hayton's Bent

SO519809

Oreton Common

Oreton

SO644801

Overton Common

Overton

SO499720

Paper Mill

Alveley

SO765856

Pike Common

Cleobury Mortimer

SO674765

Pole Cottage

Medlicott

SO412936

Prees Heath

Prees Heath

SJ559375

Rhiwgantine Turbary

Llanllwyd

SO187832

Rhos Fiddle

Hall of the Forest

SO209850

Roadside Waste

Bucknell

SO353740

Silvington Common

Silvington

SO618790

Silvington Common

Silvington

SO625792

Spoad Turbary

Newcastle

SO253808

Squires Hill Turbary

Clun

SO315748

Stapeley Common

White Grit

SO310990

Steel Heath

Steel Heath

SJ543365

Stoke Enclosure

Blackford

SO586834

Stretton en le Dale Manor

All Stretton

SO430950

Temes Green

Ashford Carbonell

SO521708

The Allotments

Asterton

SO397920

The Allotments

Norbury

SO361941

The Cliffe

Ruyton-XI-Towns

SJ395210

The Common

Hungryhatton

SJ669272

The Commons

Ellesmere

SJ409343

The Flash

Cockshutt

SJ436295

The Garden Allotment

Chelmarsh

SO722870

The Grove

Bridgnorth

SO723931

The Knapps

Pulverbatch

SJ422020

The Maypole Field

Ashford Carbonell

SO528710

The Moss

Lower Hopton

SJ378209

The Old Race Course

Rhydycroesau

SJ258310

The Pound

Hodnet

SJ620291

The Pound

Knockin Heath

SJ350211

The Pound

Much Wenlock

SO617998

The Pound

Stoke St. Milborough

SO568823

The Quabbs

Bettws-y-Crwyn

SO215805

The School Ground

Asterton

SO397920

The Shrubs

Valeswood

SJ394200

The Square

Bucknell

SO357739

The Stiperstones

Stiperstones

SO365000

The Tumps

Prees Lower Heath

SJ576327

The Turbaries

Obley

SO328788

Travelly Well

Llanllwyd

SO193815

Trebodier Turbary

Llanllwyd

SO189825

Trebodier Turbary

Llanllwyd

SO190826

Treginford Pool

Kynaston

SJ354201

Tuck Hill

Tuckhill

SO788880

Vinegar Hill Quarry

Plasau

SJ351207

Walton Hill

Trelystan

SJ275055

Wem Moss

Northwood

SJ474344

Wentnor Prolly Moor

Wentnor

SO394929

Weston Hill

Stoke St Milburgh

SO553827

Whitcliffe Common

Ludlow

SO507743

 

There are also a number of areas in Shropshire with the name ‘Common’ but these are not registered. The name is probably historical and commoners’ rights have been lost as a result of them being enclosed in the past. The list is as follows :-

  

Corra Common

SJ611382

Edgmond Common

SJ713217

Glyn Common

SJ306113

Heath Common

SO519929

Hopesay Common

SO397836

Kenley Common

SO562985

Leamoor Common

SO429865

Longden Common

SJ436045

Morton Common

SJ291249

Netchwood Common

SO615918

Overwood Common

SO686793

Pukins' Common

SJ368223

Sheriffhales Common

SJ773122

Shirlett Common

SO655982

Sneinton Common

SJ616036

The Common

SJ438182

Wain Common

SO220796

Weston Common

SJ429261