Toft Holders
Wellow Village | Nottinghamshire
All   common   land   is   private   property   -   it   can   be   owned   by   a   Lord   of   the   Manor,   a   Local   Authority,   the   National   Trust,   or some   other   public   body   -   but   it   is   called   common   land   because,   regardless   of   who   owns   it,   some   others,(not   necessarily everyone in a community), has rights over it which cannot be interfered with. Wellow,   with   over   forty   acres   of   common   land,   is   second   only   to   Southwell   as   the   largest   common   land   acreage   north   of Watford. In   Wellow,   the   common   land   comprises   Cocking   Moor,   Cocking   Moor   Lane,   the   Parish   Pound   (Pinfold),   Wellow   Green, Grimston   Green,   Town   Green,   and   some   land   known   as   "wast"   (   usually   roadside   edges)   -   and   Wellow   Dam.   Wellow common   rights   belong   to   the   toftholders   -   a   toft   was   a   household,   usually   a   cottage   with   a   small   piece   of   land   attached   to it,   and   the   establishment   of   the   commons   dates   back   to   the   Feudal   System   when   the   landowners   (Lords   of   the   Manor) gave   their   commoners   rights   over   some   parts   of   their   land   .   It   has   to   be   said   that   the   land   involved   tended   not   to   be   the best bits! Although   some   of   the   original   cottages   are   gone,   replaced   by   others,the   rights   remain   -   which   is   why,   although   it   is   mostly the   people   in   the   older   properties   who   retain   toft   rights,   some   newer   places   built   later   on   the   same   sites   share   them.   The number   of   people   with   toft   rights   has   changed   over   the   years,   as   large   properties   were   divided   into   smaller   dwellings,   or as more than one cottage was put together to make one large one. In   1967/68   a   national   exercise   was   carried   out   to   get   the   "rights   of   common"   registered;   in   Wellow,   the   toftholders registered   their   rights,   but   sadly,   nationally,   many   rightholders   did   not,   resulting   in   the   loss   of   large   areas   of   land   as commons. The   toft   rights   in   Wellow   allow   for   the   pasturing   of   animals   on   the   spaces   named   above   -   not   whole   herds,   but   specific numbers, depending on the type of animal! Now   you   may   be   thinking   that   its'   a   long   while   since   you've   seen   any   of   the   toftholders   grazing   sheep,   cows,   or   anything else,   come   to   that,   on   the   Green! And   you   would,   of   course,   be   correct!   But   having   the   right   to   do   that,   rather   than   actually doing   it   is   one   of   the   things   which   protects   the   green   space   for   us   all.   Whilst   these   rights   are   guarded,   the   open   spaces around   the   village   should   be   safe.   And   although   we   accept   that   we   all   live   in   the   21st   century   not   the   18th,   we   would   be the poorer if the common land was lost, or allowed to become derelict. The   toftholders,   therefore,   do   not   own   the   land,   but   do,   through   a   committee,   look   after   it,   and   try   to   keep   it   well   - maintained.   The   money   for   this   comes   mainly   from   the   fees   paid   by   the   Fishing   Club,   and   their   contribution   is   used   for getting   the   greens   mowed,   and   for   general   maintenance.   So   Wellow   Dam   is   a   valuable   asset   to   the   community,   not   just   for its own sake, but as a source of income which enables work be carried out elsewhere in the village.
Wellow Village
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