Waste Land of a Manor


Evidence of manorial status (i.e. that the land was at some time in the past ‘waste land of a manor’) may be found amongst the records held by the Registration Authority of the original application. A right of access to these documents is confirmed by s20 of the 2006 Act. Further information and evidence may be discovered in the Local Record Office (including e.g. Inclosure Awards, deposit plans for public works, etc — which, though not of manorial origin, may afford proof of manorial status). The Manorial Documents Register provides a detailed catalogue of manorial records and their place of deposit. The Register is maintained by The National Archives at Kew, but is available online for some areas of the country, currently: Wales, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Surrey, Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Norfolk, Yorkshire (all three Ridings), Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire. Outline information on local manors may be provided by the Victoria County History (VCH). This should be available in the reference section of local libraries; though many of the volumes can now be accessed online at: www.british-history.ac.uk. For a map of the areas covered by VCH, click HERE. An introductory guide to the manorial system/manorial records is included on the MDR site. This is taken from the Cumbrian Manorial Records Website (created in 2006 by Lancaster University).


Current Status as 'Waste Land’

The requirement to show that land is ‘waste land of a manor’ at the time of a Schedule 2(4) application is to be read in the light of the Hazeley Heath judgement, which defines waste land of a manor as: ‘waste land which was once waste land of a manor in the days when copyhold tenure still existed’. For the applicant, this definition may be resolved as two separate questions:


   (1). Was the land waste land at the time of the Schedule 2(4) application?


   (2). Was the land at some time in the past ‘waste land of a manor’?


Question (1) concerns the physical state of the land at the time of the Schedule 2(4) application and the extent to which this has been affected by its use (is it still waste land?). The legal status of the land (e.g. the existence of a legal ‘occupier’, past inclosure, etc) is not relevant. Nor is the legal definition of ‘waste land of a manor’ to be found in AG v Hanmer. The latter is applicable only in the context of question (2). In considering question (1), the Hanmer criteria (‘open, uncultivated, unoccupied’) may be adopted as a practical guide, but only on the condition that they are understood as purely physical descriptors. So that, for example, the question of ‘occupation’ must be seen in terms of land use. The existence or absence of an owner or leaseholder (i.e. a legal ‘occupier’) or the terms of any lease are irrelevant. Legal issues of this kind may be raised in the context of question (2). However, what is to be demonstrated here by the Schedule 2(4) applicant is that the land was at some time in the past ‘waste land of a manor’. In contrast, an objector must show that the land never had this status. These issues are discussed at length in a set of Briefing Notes. For further advice, contact us.


Re-Registration and Deregistration

Schedule 2 also provides for the deregistration of land that is currently registered as a common or a green. Individuals or groups with an active interest in re-registration may also wish to keep track of, and oppose, unwarranted applications for deregistration. If so, they should request inclusion in the e-mail list of those required to be notified by the registration authority of applications and proposals. For further details, see: Other Provisions page.