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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 10 months ago

Where was Blackwater Fair held?


The answer was provided by Michael Holroyd, first published in the Yateley Society Newsletter no.16 Nov 1983.



by Michael Holroyd


An important incident in the history of Yateley Common took place in 1826. This was described by Rev C. D. Stooks in 1905, in his History of Crondall and Yateley. Stook's account however was based only on the vestry minutes and omitted some important facts.


The Minutes record that Bartholomew Arlett was reported to be "enclosing nearly three acres on Yateley Common near Blackwater where Blackwater Fair is usually held" Mr Arlett claimed that he had been given permission to enclose this land at the Crondall manor court. The vestry denied that the manor court had authority to give this permission, and resolved that "the said enclosure if persisted in must be pulled down to assert the rights of the copyholders," but the minutes do not relate how the story ended.


An inspection of the manor records in Hampshire Record Office has now helped to fill in further facts. Mr Arlett was the owner of Frogmore Park and the park had evidently been previously extended at the expense of the common. The enclosure which caused the trouble in 1826 was of Blackwater Green, which occupies the north-east corner of the junction of the A327 (now B3272) with the A30. The court records show that the the lord of the manor had indeed sold the land in question to Mr Arlett. This would not in itself entitle him to enclose the land, which was subject to common rights, although it has sometimes been claimed that a manorial court having a jury of copyholders to represent the commoners could give permission to enclose.


However, whether by force of legal argument or by pressure of public opinion, the vestry appears to have won the day and Blackwater Green remained unenclosed and part of the common. Very recently however Hampshire County Council has been given permission to take parts of it for a roundabout - a move which has proved more difficult to resist.


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