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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 2 months ago

Who owns the common?

There are currently six different owners of Yateley Common


Many people used to think that common land was owned by no-one. This was never true of any commons, although in recent years the ownership of common land may have become lost in the mists of time. The owner of Yateley Common was never in doubt for the last 1,000 years. From the time when King Henry VIII reformed the monasteries in the 16th century Yateley Common was the property of the Lord of the Manor of Crondall. Crondall was one of the many manors owned by the Dean & Chapter of Winchester. Note that the Bishop of Winchester also owned a large number of other manors and they were owned and administered separately for about 300 years.


Eventually all lands owned by all parts of the Church of England were amalgamated under the ownership of the Ecclesiastical Commissions, who later became known as the Church Commissioners. As recently as the 1920s parliament did away with the old manorial system rendering property held from the manor becoming the freehold land of today . Evenso the Church Commissioners continued to own most of Yateley Common, Yateley Green, Frogmore Green and Darby Green, and all the land in Yateley, known as waste of the manor‘. The latter is all the land in Yateley which the Commissioners and its predecessors had not sold off to third parties The waste of the manor mostly comprises road side verges and triangles of land at road junctions.


In 1891 the Commissioners sold to Lord Calthorpe all the common west of the north/south line made by the old route of Vigo Lane which used to continue due south across the common from the Anchor public house, through the site of the Terminal building to the site of Sir Arthur Godley‘s house west of Cat Hill on the Fleet Road. This sale to Lord Calthorpe did not mean that the land ceased being common land. It was probably purchased by Lord Calthorpe to enjoy the hunting and shooting.


In 1951 the Church Commissioners finally decided to sell all the rest of their common land and manorial waste to Yateley Town Council. Some time prior to this sale the Commissioners had sold all the common land south of the A30 and east of Lord Calthorpe‘s part. The sale was probably to Mr L. Currie who owned Minley Manor. In the late 1930s the Minley Estate was sold to the War Ministry (now the MOD). I do not know the precise dates of these sales.


In WW2 all the common west of Cricket Hill, ie all Lord Calthorpe‘s part and the common still owned by the Commissioners, was requisitioned by the Air Ministry to build the airfield which became known as RAF Hartfordbridge. So by the late 1950s 600 acres of Yateley common was in use by the Air Ministry and the War Department, leaving only 400 acres free to the public for air and exercise, although even this was designated a military training area right into the 1980s.


In 1960 the airfield was derequisitioned reverting to common land owned by Lord Calthorpe and the Church Commissioners. Lord Calthorpe retained his ownership of the common south of the A30 but sold that part north of the A30 to Air Vice Marshall D C T Bennett, who continued to operate Blackbushe Airport. This was hotly disputed by Yateley Town Council and Hampshire County Council.


As a result of this dispute, and it was thought, in order to facilitate the legal proceedings, the Town Council sold most of its part of Yateley Common to Hampshire County Council in 1964.


In 1890 there was single owner of the common, the Lord of the Manor. In 1891 there were two. Sometime during WW2 there were three. By 1964 there were four main owners, and that is how it remains today, except that Yateley Town Council retains two parcels, south of the cemetery and east of Simms Metals, and Blackwater & Hawley Town Council own the common north of the Hawley roundabout near the Total Service Station. That makes 6 owners in all.


Back to Yateley Common Facts

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