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Common land

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Modern-day pannage, or "common of mast", in the New Forest

Common land (a common) is land where local people have certain rights. For example, to allow their sheep to graze, to collect firewood, or to cut turf for fuel.[1]

Originally in mediaeval England the common was part of the manor. Although it was part of the estate owned by the lord of the manor, tenants had certain rights.

By extension, the term "commons" has come to be applied to other resources which a community has rights or access to. Today the term "common" is mainly used for the land over which the rights are exercised. A person who has a right to common land is a commoner.[2][3]

Today commons still exist in Great Britain and the United States, although their extent is much reduced from the millions of acres that existed in the 17th century.[4]

Related pages


  1. Natural England.
  2. Anon. "Commoner". Farlex Inc. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  3. Neeson J.M. 1993. Commoners: common right, enclosure and social change in England, 1700-1820. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Template-specific style sheet:

    ISBN 0-521-56774-2
  4. De Moor, Martina; Shaw-Taylor, Leigh; Warde, Paul (eds) 2002. The management of common land in North West Europe, c. 1500-1850. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols.

    Template-specific style sheet:

    ISBN 978-2-503-51273-0