HC Deb 24 May 1895 vol 34 cc226-7

On the Order for Second Reading,

*MR. ALPHEUS C. MORTON (Peterborough)

said, that when this Bill was introduced into the House of Lords it contained a schedule which stated that 19 acres of Llanfrynach Common, in the parish of Llanfrynach, and 18 acres of Cantref Common, in the parish of Cantref, might be taken by the District Council for the purposes of the reservoir and other works. The Bill left the Lords with this important alteration, that whereas the 18 acres from Cantref Common remained the same, the 19 acres which it was proposed to take from Llanfrynach Common was increased to 70 acres. He wished to call particular attention to this alteration, because it appeared that the Lord of this Manor, Penkelly Wallensis, in Breconshire, or his representatives, had, without any Enclosure Act whatever, claimed the whole of the common as private freehold. In 1817, in a sworn Crown survey, this Manor being then Crown property, the land was described as common land, and he could not find that there had been any Enclosure Act affecting it. Under the Local Government Act of 1894, it was the duty of District Councils to look after commons in the interests of commoners, and as time went on he hoped they would discharge that duty. In the meantime it was very important that that House should do all that lay in its power to protect the commons. He was glad that the Board of Agriculture had, in their Report on the Bill, called attention to the fact that this was claimed as common land, and had also put into this Bill his clause with regard to barbed wire. It was provided that no barbed wire should be used on these lands. He should not move the Amendment, of which he had given notice, because he understood now that the Merthyr Tydvil Local Board was not to blame in this matter. But, of course, he should watch the Bill when it returned from the Committee upstairs.


said, he was sure the House would appreciate the anxiety of his hon. Friend to protect the rights of commoners, but the question of those rights was in no way raised by this Bill. The object of the measure was to enable certain water works to be constructed, and to that end it was necessary to give the urban District Council of Merthyr Tydvil power to acquire certain land compulsorily. There was a dispute as to whether this land belonged to the lord of the manor or to those who claimed to be commoners, but the question was not affected by the Bill. It was obvious that if the District Council took this land compulsorily they would have to satisfy the legal claims of those concerned. The question whether the lord of the manor was the freeholder or whether the commoners were the possessors of the land was not raised by the Bill, and must be settled by the Law Courts. Any rights that the commoners might possibly have were protected in the Bill.

Bill read 2°.