Dacre Parish Council owns, or is responsible for, a property and over twenty parcels of land in the Parish, with a total area of over 12ha (30 acres). Ownership is derived either from the Newbiggin & Stainton Enclosures Act of 1775, or from decisions by the Commons Commissioners in the 1980’s.
Some of the land parcels are regulated by Newbiggin Jury, part of Dacre Parish Council. Newbiggin Jury was originally a manorial jury (“twelve good men and true”) of Greystoke Manor, and separate from the Parish Council. Stainton also had a jury. However, in 1988 it was determined that the Juries were not legal entities, and could not own land. As a result they become a part of the Parish Council.
A brief description of the parish land is given below. A more detailed account can be downloaded from the link at the foot of this page.
Common Land (‘Commons’)
Everyone has right of access to Common Land, but it is illegal to damage or drive over it. Common Land may have an owner, but it cannot be fenced-off or built upon.
Cumbria has more Common Land than any other English County. There are twenty-one Commons in Dacre Parish. One is privately owned. Fourteen are owned by the Parish; five have no owner but are managed by the Parish Council on behalf of Eden District Council; and one remains protected under Section 9 of the Commons Act 1965 (and subsequent legislation). Many of the Commons have a natural spring, reflecting the important of water to our ancestors. Some are unique nature sites.
Dacre, Newbiggin and Stainton have village greens, of which Newbiggin is the largest and includes a well and its associated enclosure. Dacre’s green is small, and has an erect stone in its centre, perhaps a cross base. Stainton green has an old watering place at one side and is pleasantly situated in a triangle of houses. Blencowe also has a small village green, but it lies in Little Blencowe, which is in Greystoke Parish.
Village Greens are protected in law to ensure that everyone has access to them for enjoyment and recreation. It is illegal to damage the surface, to drive over, or to build on them.
Village Greens are owned by the Parish Council who arrange for their care and maintenance.
Newbiggin Jury Land
The Jury, part of Dacre Parish Council, owns ten parcels of land, three of which are common land. For a long time these have been rented out on an annual basis, and the rents paid into Jury (now Parish) funds for the benefit of local organizations. Rents are decided by an annual auction, which is usually held in Newbiggin Village Hall in early May. Jury Land may only be rented by parish residents, may not be sublet and may only be used for the grazing of sheep or cattle. However, much of the Jury Land is of little use, even for grazing.
This building in Stainton is owned by the Parish Council and normally let on a commercial basis.
A gazetteer of parish land and other areas of interest can be downloaded here. Please note that this is a large file (22Mb) and may take a long time to download over a slow internet connection.