Gilling Common Land

The following is a copy of the copy of the regulations governing the common land at Gilling.

Most mediaeval villages had areas of land on the edge of the village set aside for cultivation by the villagers. Gilling was no exception. The earlier plots allocated to the villagers, who probably all worked for the Lord of the Manor, the de Ettons or the Fairfaxes, were in the field adjacent to the land occupied by the school and to the west of it. It is easy to identify the plots, all about the same width, by the rig and furrow corrugations. The ridges stop near a line of oaks (now only one left) where there is a public footpath to Ampleforth. They do not carry on to the present fence. When these strips ceased to be used is not known, but the common field was transferred to the field immediately east of the glebe field along the Cawton road. The following is a copy of the regulations for this field and dated 1886.

April 1886
Rules and regulations for
Cow Pasture
A Pearson

The document is as follows:

Rules and regulations for the tenants
of the Cow Pasture at Gilling April 1886

  1. The pasture is for the use of 7 cows only and is not to be eaten by Horses or Sheep.
  2. Each Cowkeeper shall be entitled to turn in one cow or young beast only from 12th May to 20th of September in each year after which date the pasture is to be freed for one month and the cattle again turned in until 1st March from which date the pasture is not to be eaten until May Day.
  3. The pasture shall be under the care of two Bye Law men (being tenants) who shall be appointed annually at a meeting of the Cowkeepers to be held in the month of April in each year and such byelaw men shall be responsible for the proper care of the pasture and for all repairs of the hedges, gates, drains and ditches belonging thereto - the ditches shall be properly cleansed and scoured in the month of November or December and the hedges cut and slashed not later than the 1st March in each year to the satisfaction of the landlords Agent or Bailiff who will inspect the same in the month of April each year and any defects in the drains Ditches, gates and fences found then will be made good by the landlord and the cost charged to the Tenants of the Pasture.
  4. An account shall be kept by the byelaw men of all sums expended by them for repairs or other expenses connected with the pasture and such account shall be submitted to the cowkeepers at the annual meeting in April. Each tenant shall contribute an equal proportion of the expenses incurred.
  5. The Byelaw men shall be authorised to remove from the pasture any animal suffering from an infectious disease or any animal turned in contrary to these regulations.
  6. These rules and regulations shall be signed by each cowkeeper who shall be bound to conform to the same.

Ralph Skilbeck
Edward Dawson
George Kilvington
Cow Keepers W. Harper
John Beedom
Robert Easton
William Brough
Pasture Masters Ralph Skilbeck
William Harper
Pasture Masters Ralph Skilbeck
1888 George Kilvington
Pasture Masters John Haythorne
1893 Seth Plowman

When the cow pasture ceased to be a cowpasture is not known but it was certainly still such in 1893. The estate was sold by Fairfax Cholmely in 1895. It is probable that the arrangement ceased then. In the sale prospectus of 1929 there is no mention that the area under consideration was a tenanted cow pasture. The field, between the Glebe field and the cemetery in Cawton Road was part owned by Mr Mosey of Cawton and part by Mr T. Harrison of The Forge, Gilling East. In 1986 all that piece of land belonged to Mr Mosey.

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