Regulation of Frensham Common

The Frensham Common interview reports do not contain much information about regulation of the common.  However, one interviewee, born in 1908, recalled that there was a bailiff for the ‘Jumps’ area, who used to stop children going into a particular cave; she assumed he was the bailiff of one of the landowners.  Another interviewee had memories of there being a common keeper, though they did not have that title (he thought it was one of the landowner’s estate staff); this was when the common became busy during the 1930s, when ‘people were beginning to get out there and treat it as a sea side’.  He noted that a warden and voluntary wardens were appointed after the war, when the common passed to the National Trust, and was managed by Hambledon Rural Council.  He recalled that one warden had reprimanded his wife for picking up fir cones: ‘He felt in charge of the place and you could see that difference.’  Another interviewee recalled a ‘common keeper’, suggesting that his role was to check up on the major farmers – he ‘probably just wandered the common to see that it was all in order’ – and noted that people had to get permission (a license) from this common keeper in order to shoot rabbits.

Continue on to next theme: 3. How has the common itself changed?