Records of Land Tenure, Enclosure, Copyhold and Tithes, and Land Use and Improvement

Reference:
MAF Division 1
Title:
Records of Land Tenure, Enclosure, Copyhold and Tithes, and Land Use and Improvement
Description:

Records created and inherited by the agriculture ministries relating to land tenure, tithes, common land, enclosures and copyhold tenancies, and to land use and improvement, including forestry.

Land improvement records: general correspondence is in MAF 48; registers of land improvement loans are in MAF 66 and MAF 238; planning approvals are in MAF 264; registered files concerning land management research are in MAF 253.

Registered files of the Land Use Divisions are in MAF 140, MAF 141, MAF 142, MAF 143, MAF 144, MAF 185, MAF 226, MAF 239, MAF 272, MAF 285, MAF 315, MAF 367, MAF 378, and MAF 391.

Land type maps are in MAF 289. Files of the Land Settlement Society Ltd are in MAF 139. Records of the Welsh Land Settlement Society Ltd are in MAF 193.

Forestry records: MAF 230 and MAF 374.

Records relating to Enclosure Awards and Awards of Regulation of Commons are in MAF 1, MAF 2, MAF 3, MAF 4, MAF 8, MAF 9, MAF 11, MAF 13, MAF 14, MAF 16, MAF 17, MAF 18, MAF 19, MAF 20, MAF 21, MAF 24, MAF 25, MAF 27, MAF 28, MAF 30, MAF 76, MAF 233. Records of the manor of Paglesham, Essex, are in MAF 5 and MAF 6.

Certificates of redemptions of rentcharge are in MAF 22 and MAF 26.

Registered files of the Land Tenure Division are in MAF 235, MAF 237, MAF 245, MAF 292 and MAF 348.

Parish returns are in MAF 65.

Records of the Royal Commission on Common Land are in MAF 96.

Registered files on farm productivity of the Land Improvement Division and General Agricultural Policy Division: Review of Grants and Subsidies are in MAF 419.

For information on the appraisal and selection decisions applied to records relating to nature conservation produced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food see Operational Selection Policy OSP10, Nature Conservation in Great Britain 1973 - 1991.

Date:
1386-1985
Related Material:
Awards for crown and other estates are in:
LRRO 16
ADM 79
See also the records of the Tithe Commissioners: TITH
Further enclosure awards are in CP 43
CRES 6
DL 44
DL 45
DURH 4
Awards for Exmoor Forest are in E 141
Commissions for enclosure under the Dean and New Forests Act 1808, together with certificates and reports, are in J 124
Separated Material:
Other records of the Agriculture departments arising from their responsibilities under various Tithe Acts are in IR
Legal status:
Public Record
Language:
English
Creator:
Agricultural Land Commission, 1947-1963
Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, Land Division, 1903-1919
Board of Agriculture, Land Division, 1889-1903
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Land Division, 1919-1945
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Land Division, 1953-1955
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Land Division I, 1945-1953
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Land Division II, 1945-1953
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Land Use Division, 1946-1955
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Land Division I, 1955-1958
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Land Division II, 1955-1958
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Land Improvement Division, 1958-1986
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Land Management Division, 1958-1962
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Land Tenure Division, 1966-1972
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Land Use and Livestock Improvement Division, 1971-1972
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Land Use and Smallholdings Division, 1962-1966
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Land Use and Tenure Division, 1972-1996
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Land Use Division, 1955-1962
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Land Use Division, 1966-1971
Physical description:
57 series
Administrative / biographical background:

Land tenure, Enclosure, Copyhold and Tithes, pre-1851

Land tenure in England, and the rights of landlords and their tenants, were regulated by law from the nineteenth century. In 1837, tithe commissioners were appointed under the Tithe Commutation Act 1836.

The Enfranchisement of Copyholds Act 1841 was the first of a series of Acts passed to enable landlords and tenants to require and compel the extinguishment of copyholds, and saw the establishment of the Copyhold Commission. Copyhold commissioners were responsible for administering these Acts, their main functions being to record deeds of voluntary enfranchisement and to make awards for compulsory enfranchisements.

In 1845, enclosure was formerly effected by legal action or by private Act of Parliament, under which commissioners were appointed to divide and allot the land. The Inclosure Act 1845 established the Inclosure Commission, empowered to frame and present to Parliament provisional orders for enclosure.

They administered the various Enclosure, Conveyancing and Commons Acts, concerning the enclosure of waste and commonable land, exchange of land, and partitions and divisions of intermixed land. Their duties involved the making of awards and orders, arbitrating disputed claims, settling compensation and regulating the use of commons.

Administration, 1851-1889

The Inclosures Act 1851 authorised the appointment of commissioners to perform the functions of all three commissions under the joint title of the Copyhold, Inclosure and Tithe Commission. In 1882, under the Settled Land Act 1882, this combined Commission was merged into a body of Land Commissioners for England under the Home Office.

In 1889, the Land Commissioners' functions concerning land tenure administration, land use and land improvement, were inherited by the newly established Board of Agriculture.

Administration after 1889

In 1889 the Board of Agriculture inherited the functions relating to the administration of the various Enclosure, Conveyancing and Commons Acts, including the making of awards and orders, arbitrating disputed claims, settling compensation and regulating the use of commons.

The board also inherited functions relating to copyhold for recording deeds of voluntary enfranchisement under the various Copyhold Acts and for making awards for compulsory enfranchisements before remaining copyhold land was enfranchised as from 1 January 1926 under the Law of Property Act 1922.

The board also took over the functions relating to the redemption, apportionment and merger of tithe rentcharge. Most of these passed to the Tithe Redemption Commission in 1936, though certain limited functions remained with the Ministry.

In 1889, the board also inherited the Land Commissioners' functions under the Improvement of Land Acts, and established a Land Improvement Branch (later Land Division) to discharge these duties. Responsibility for land improvement had two distinct aspects: for management of the land and for the usage to which land was put.

This was reflected by the division of the Agriculture Departments by the Land Division . Responsibility for land management and improvement lay with Land Division II to 1945, when land improvement was transferred to Land Division I and briefly amalgamated with functions relating to land use.

The board was also the first modern government department to have any general responsibility for forestry and in 1912 a Forestry Branch was established. This was wound up in 1919 when the board's forestry powers were transferred to the Forestry Commission. However, the board retained functions relating to use of private land for forestry exercised by the various Land and Land Use Divisions. From 1945, the Forestry Act vested direction of the Forestry Commission's activities with the Minister and the Secretary of State.

Before and during the Second World War most of the land tenure functions, as well as at various times functions relating to smallholdings, allotments, building and estate management, glebe lands, college lands, Common copyhold, manorial incidents, land tenure, tithe (there was a separate Tithe Branch until 1929) and, briefly, agricultural labour, were the responsibility of either the single Land Division, or Land Divisions I and II.

After the War, the Agricultural Land Commission (established under the Agriculture Act 1947) and the Agricultural Land Service (established 1948) were placed under the administrative control of Land Division I. The Commissioners' work related chiefly to management of land owned or requisitioned by the minister, but they also provided advice to farmers on land management matters.

The Agricultural Land Service administered a range of schemes and statutes for the improvement, management, tenure and use of agricultural land, provided advice on problems of estate management, and acted on behalf of the ministry in any purchases of land it made.

The two Land Divisions were briefly united as the Land Division in 1953, but were separated again in 1955, Division I being responsible for land improvement generally and Division II dealing with land management. In 1958 the divisions were renamed Land Improvement Division and Land Management Division respectively.

The Agricultural Land Commission was dissolved in 1964, but its duties were continued by the Land Improvement Division. The Land Management Division was merged with the Land Use Division in 1962 to form a Land Use and Smallholdings Division.

In 1965, responsibility for land tenure matters passed to the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, and in 1966 the Land Use and Smallholdings Division was split into separate Land Use and Land Tenure Divisions. The minister's powers in relation to the Forestry Commission were transferred to the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources (for England) and the Welsh Office (for Wales) in 1965, although powers relating to England returned to the minister in 1967.

The Agriculture Act 1967 expanded the farm improvement scheme. In the same year the Land Improvement Division's control of the Agricultural Land Service was transferred briefly to Land Tenure Division, and then to the Lands Branch of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service when it was established in 1971.

Following the UK's accession to the EEC, the Land Improvement Division gained responsibility for the EEC Standing Committee on Agricultural Structures. In 1986 this division was renamed the Rural Structures and Grants Division, and from 1990 its remit was expanded to include grants for marketing and processing agricultural produce.

Following the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1991 the division was renamed the Countryside Division and gained responsibility for issuing licences for the destruction of vertebrate pests in agricultural areas. In September 1995 the division was renamed the Land Use and Rural Economy Division, taking on some of the responsibilities formerly exercised by the Land Use Divisions.

Following the UK's accession to the EEC, the Land Improvement Division gained responsibility for the EEC Standing Committee on Agricultural Structures. In 1986 this division was renamed the Rural Structures and Grants Division, and from 1990 its remit was expanded to include grants for marketing and processing agricultural produce.

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