§ On the order for the Third Reading of the Military Lands Provisional Orders Confirmation (No. 2) Bill (Lords),
§ Sir C. DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
Since this Bill was before the House on the last occasion I have been informed that there is in the list of orders contained in it an order which includes an alleged common. It is taken by the Bill as though not subject to common rights. If it is common it ought, of course, to be regulated by a scheme, and be used by the commoners at the times when it is not used by the War Office. I have been, by the kindness of the Under Secretary of State for War, shown a document in his possession which goes to throw doubt upon the land in question being common. I was aware that there had been a dispute with regard to it between the lord of the manor and the alleged commoners, and according to the right honourable Gentleman, I believe he is prepared to state that, in the opinion of the War Office, the land is not 464 common. That is to say, that the lord of the manor has successfully urged his right against any rights of the alleged, commoners. Under the circumstances, I do not care about taking the responsibility of postponing this Bill till tomorrow.
THE UNDER SECRETARY of STATE FOR WAR (Mr. W. St. John BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
As stated by the right honourable Baronet the War Office has no reason whatever to believe that this is common land. The lord of the manor claims it as his absolute property, and exercises rights of ownership over it, and whenever attempts have been made to set up rights of common over it they have failed, and on prosecutions being commenced, convictions have followed. It, therefore, appears to me to be perfectly clear that in law no such rights exist. I may, however, say that this land will not be inclosed, and that there will be no interference whatever with the public going on it, excepting while firing; is going on.